High Culture, Religion, Philosophy and Esoterica.
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Why Milo Scares Students, and Faculty Even More
Rachel Fulton Brown
February 16, 2017
On Wednesday, February 1st, there was a riot at the University of California, Berkeley. The College Republicans had invited Breitbart Senior Editor Milo Yiannopoulos to campus for what was supposed to be the concluding event of his year-long “Dangerous Faggot Tour.” Over 100 UC Berkeley professors signed a letter saying that Milo shouldn't be allowed to speak, but the administration let the talk go ahead, acknowledging that the First Amendment prohibits public universities from censoring speakers on the basis of their views.
Milo himself has characterized the violence at Berkeley as fundamentally political, but the fervor with which students supported the rioters suggests that it has deeper roots. “Politics,” as Andrew Breitbart liked to say, “is downstream from culture.” But culture's wellspring is religion, the one thing that most colleges and universities, their students, and faculty claim—as a result of their commitment to academic freedom—not to have. More even than the current tensions in the political sphere, this denial of religion as the basis of culture is the source of the violence we are now witnessing, both on campuses and across America at large.
The tradition of higher education in America is deeply indebted to Christian ideals. In his talk at Minnesota State University shortly before Christmas, Milo cited a commitment to education as one of the most important things Christianity gets right. “The first law in America to require general education,” he noted, “was called ‘The Old Deluder Satan Act’ to teach children to read the Bible in 1647. 122 of the first 123 colleges in America were Christian universities. Think about Harvard University, one of the epicenters of liberalism today. This is the founding statement of Harvard: ‘Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, John 17:3.’”
Author, Rachel Fulton Brown, is Associate Professor of Medieval History, Fundamentals, and the College at the University of Chicago, and Associate Faculty in the Divinity School. Her research and teaching focus on the intellectual and cultural history of Europe in the Middle Ages, with an emphasis on the history of Christianity and monasticism in the Latin West. Her book Mary and the Art of Prayer: The Hours of the Virgin in Medieval Christian Life and Thought is forthcoming from Columbia University Press in 2017.
“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.” … George Orwell