The Issue at a Glance

Immaturity on Campus (

Joseph Epstein, author of Charm: The Elusive Enchantment (Lyons Press, 2018)

With students now in control of campus and classroom, Joseph Epstein wonders in the first entry of our special feature, “Immaturity,” if it is all the result of raising children in the therapeutic ethos. Epstein himself was raised in a different ethos, a world in which there was no shortage of adults beseeching youngsters to “grow up.”

Maturity, Immaturity, and Indoctrination at Sarah Lawrence College (

Mitchell Langbert, Brooklyn College, CUNY

When Professor Samuel J. Abrams of Sarah Lawrence College took to the New York Times op-ed page to call out left-leaning college administrators for stifling campus debate, students there called for review of his tenure (along with a list of other educationally indispensable appurtenances like free tampons, free detergent, free storage space, and free tax advice.) Immaturity cannot explain the students’ belief that Abrams “threatens the safety and well-being of marginalized people within the Sarah Lawrence community.” For that, institutionally imbedded political indoctrination is to blame.

Undergraduate Education and the Maturation of Students (

Craig Evan Klafter, American University in Myanmar

The purpose of liberal arts education was once conceived as the social and intellectual maturation of students. But with the importation of “Humboldtian” distribution requirements in the nineteenth century, permissive parenting in the 1950s, and the politicization of the professoriate in the late twentieth century, student choice and administrative indulgence have taken priority, leaving a desperately dependent and demanding generation of young adults on our campuses.

Humanistic Inquiry: Reconciling Reality, Knowledge, and Imagination (

John A. Berteaux, California State University Monterey Bay

Through a discussion of the meaning of tolerance in two philosophical traditions, John A. Berteaux makes the case that studying the humanities and the classics is essential for providing students the ability to appraise their thinking, “as well as the principles at stake in their everyday lives.”

Cultural Appropriation, Futbol Lady, and Soccer Man (

Howard S. Schwartz, Oakland University

An exchange on an Oberlin College student blog provides occasion to decipher the meaning of “cultural appropriation.” With the help of psychoanalytic theory, Howard S. Schwartz explains that those who jealously guard the indicia of “their” culture are exhibiting “primary narcissism,” a desire for the safety of mother’s love before father—the outside world—usurped it.

Societal Immaturity: Failed Limit-Setting and Regressive Destabilization (

John Oakley Beahrs, Oregon Health and Science University

John Oakley Beahrs tells us the United States has failed to set limitations for its youth, a process that requires those in authority to have confidence in the goodness of those limits and a supportive social consensus behind them. Over the past many decades, we have lost both.

Lonely and Scared: College Students’ Culture of Immaturity (

Jane Clark Scharl, National Association of Scholars

Today’s college students are more fragile than their counterparts of previous generations, less able to cope with challenges, less prepared to adapt to disagreeable living situations, less resourceful in making their lives better, and unable to tolerate those who think differently from them. Jane Scharl suggests this might be a “semi-rational” response to a world dominated by the internet, social media, and rapidly shifting cultural mores.

Middlebury College and Liberal Education (

Elizabeth Corey, Baylor University

A Middlebury College student manifesto, written in the aftermath of the infamous 2017 attack on guest speaker Charles Murray and his faculty host Allison Stanger, reveals a deep antipathy for the fundamentals of liberal arts education. For the students, the free exchange of ideas is “unhealthy,” “unsafe,” and “violent.” These ideas come care of the burgeoning class of “re-education” professionals in “student support services” and the faculty, argues Elizabeth Corey in the last entry of our special feature, who reassure students that they “need not get caught up in the details of issues before engaging in activism.”

Prejudice and Victimization Themes in New York Times Discourse: a Chronological Analysis (

David Rozado, Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand

A study of word usage in the New York Times indicates that public preoccupation with sexism, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and related phenomena has reached new heights just as instances of bigotry and intolerance have declined. David Rozado identifies “concept creep” and “victimhood culture” as the culprits.

Facts vs. Passion: The Debate over Science-Based Regulation (

John Staddon, Duke University

Historian of science Naomi Oreskes’s attack on a proposal to raise the scientific standards utilized by federal regulatory bodies—and on the National Association of Scholars, which supports it—reveals how thoroughly passion and ideology have compromised scientific rigor. If the politicization of the science related to second-hand smoke is representative, the federal government and the scientists they employ appear ready to swing the regulatory scythe on the basis of almost no evidence at all. John Staddon calls for separating the scientific mission from the regulatory function at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Federally-Funded Middle East Studies Centers Need Scrutiny (

Winfield Myers, Middle East Forum

In 2019 the U.S. Department of Education launched an investigation of the Duke/University of North Carolina Consortium for Middle East Studies over the possible misuse of federal Title VI funds. This investigation should be expanded to other Title VI funded Middle East Studies centers, where biased scholarship and political activism has undermined the goal of enhancing U.S. national security through informed scholarship.

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