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Posted on April 29th, 2014, by

The ground of the present malaise, in Bloom’s diagnosis, is current philosophy that has infected people in 2 ways – through the political life and with the help of 19th and 20th century European thought. Concerning politics the USA was established on current ideas of liberty and fairness, which we take from Locke and Hobbes. This liberty appeared to mean liberty from all self-restraint, and parity appeared to mean the devastation of all dissimilarities of rank and nature. The Founders may have worked with a firm trust in celestial providence but the natural-rights philosophy, asserts Bloom, was inherited from atheists Locke and Hobbes.

The relativism of current students is, in Bloom’s opinion, an ideal expression of the actual soul of freedom that from the beginning, in Hobbes’s thought, meant the life had no basic meaning. Here is the final source of the opinion freedom presupposes nothing more than self-realization with no essential moral restrictions. The anti-nature doctrines of females’ liberation that deny the apparent natural dissimilarities between males and females in the name of fairness, are destroying the final leftovers of a family that had been the heart of society through entire America’s history (Kohn, 70-71).

Similarly, the anti-nature doctrines of positive action – insisting equal chance is suppressed till all categories of American citizens come out the same – refute the noticeable natural dissimilarities among individuals in regard to intelligence and ambition. Therefore, according to the author, equality and freedom finally created self-satisfied relativism that sees no requirement to seek anything beyond itself spiritual detumescence (Kohn, 70-71).

Another ground of the troubles nowadays, Bloom asserts, is the post-Lockean current philosophy. The famous names are Nietzsche, Rousseau and Heidegger, however their opinions have been popularized by people like Freud, Marx and Max Weber. Let us elaborate on the author’s analysis and utilize the health analogy.

If Bloom is right, our nation’s founding ideas, borrowed from Locke and Hobbes can be compared to AIDS. The organism, whose defenses are breaking down, can seem healthy for years before it becomes clearly sick. Therefore, though in Bloom’s opinion our founding ideas were relativistic and atheistic at bottom, the body politic sustained to appear healthy for almost 180 years before the illness started to manifest openly.

Bloom prescribes a medicine for this illness. It is Great Books education in the elite universities, educated in a spirit of opening people up to the challenge of philosophic experience (Bloom, Bellow, 188). Naturally, Bloom is not so inexperienced as to believe reading several good old books will alter US intellectual and political life. He means this type of reading can actually assist in restoring some seriousness to education and to life. Bloom willingly admits this is a slight hope (Kohn, 70-71).

It is hard to subscribe to Bloom’s analysis of the troubles of US education, though it is simple to agree with Bloom that relativism is the foremost hazard today. The main objection to the author is summed in this manner: Far from being the resource of the trouble, America’s founding ideas are for people the best reason of a resolution. Far from being the corresponding of mental AIDS, the ideas are the immune system. The author is naturally right when he asserts current prevailing idea of freedom can not differentiate itself from license. Once Hobbes asserts no action of administration may ever be unfair, he tends to legitimize current liberal opinion. Indeed, as is recognized, in Hobbes’s thought there seems to be no righteous opposition to tyranny, tyranny being nothing else than monarchy misliked, and the monarchy being the type of administration advised by Leviathan. But the US Founders were far from Hobbesians, nevertheless, usually Bloom and his advocates repeat the mistake that they were (Kohn, 70-71).

Bloom’s prescription for the medicine to the ills centers on university. The author is definitely against the notion the university must serve the social order. Bloom’s university is to be openly devoted to creating the philosophic living, by pointing learners away from own nations and customs. However, in the existing climate that is already all willing to ask questions concerning the value of US social order and administration (as Bloom himself stresses), would this direction not be inclined to legitimate the existing discrimination?

The liveliest and most precise fractions of The Closing of the American Mind are the start and finale, those chapters, which deal straightforwardly with university living in current America. That is what the author knows well as he has been engrossed in it and has observed it narrowly since the youth. As he feels so much at home with intellectuals, the author overlooks politics. He is thus not capable to appreciate the grounds of sound education in the nation is far more likely to be encouraged by bourgeois politicians than by the intellectual sophisticates.

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