Corrosion of Ivory Tower

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

The view of academia from outside the gates may be bleak, but from inside, it’s much worse. “I asked a job candidate what he thought about Western Civilization,” Bradley C. S. Watson of St. Vincent College remembered in remarks to the Philadelphia Society last weekend. “’Western civilization?’, he asked, ‘what’s that?,’ with an emphasis on the ‘that.’” Watson currently serves as Chairperson of the Department of Politics and Co-Executive Director of the Center for Political and Economic Thought.

He holds the Philip M. McKenna Chair in American and Western Political Thought and Professor of Politics at Saint Vincent.  “Academic institutions do nothing to halt the erasure of memory,” Watson said at the Society’s regional meeting in Atlanta. “Indeed they frequently try to accelerate it.”

Watson is the author of Living Constitution, Dying Faith: Progressivism and the New Science of Jurisprudence. “We live in an era of academic specialization combined with condescension and ignorance,” he told the audience in Atlanta last weekend.

A Canadian by birth, Watson clearly has a greater appreciation of American traditions and mores than many pedagogues born here, and a greater knowledge of them. The two seem to go together.

“As conservatives, we must be ready to take our tie-dye pocket squares and take over the dean’s office,” Watson wryly advised his audience.


Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail