"The nation’s elite universities disdain honest intellectual inquiry, which is by its nature distrustful of authority, fiercely independent and often subversive. They organize learning around minutely specialized disciplines, narrow answers and rigid structures that are designed to produce certain answers." ~ Chris Hedges (Emphasis mine.)
This is an excellent piece about the state of higher education in America, the elites who run it, and what it's producing. Hedges, a self-proclaimed atheist who holds a seminary degree from Harvard, brilliantly diagnoses the elitist attitude in higher education and its rotten fruit. I highly recommend it. (The article, that is.) Of course, I don't agree with all of Hedges analysis but, overall, it is a brilliant piece about all those who think they're the smartest people in the room (and the blogosphere).
Hedges' comment that the "learning around minutely specialized disciplines, narrow answers and rigid structures that are designed to produce certain answers" is especially applicable when it comes to the study of the *Civil War. Just cruise around the blogosphere and read the academic sites related to the study of the war - they are all singing off the same song-sheet (though off key), discussing the same "minutely specialized disciplines", walking in lockstep orthodoxy and rarely disagreeing among themselves regarding the causes of the CW, the results of that war, and the various personalities involved in the conflict. They are so predictable.
I'll have more to say on this piece later.
*(The same could be said about the study of Western civilization and American history in general.)