It’s a College, Not a Cloister
The NYT's Frank Bruni gives Santorum a well-deserved thrashing as well:
What good are ideas formed and fortified in a protective cocoon, without exposure to other ways of thinking? Or convictions that haven't been tested by, and defended against, competing ones?
Not much, I'd submit. And in this, as in so much else, I apparently part company with Rick Santorum.
By now it verges on overkill and laziness to tease out and examine his overwrought statements. They're legion. He outdid himself over the weekend, for example, by casting Camelot as ipecac — and saying that when he long ago encountered John F. Kennedy's words on the rightful separation of church and state, he feltlike throwing up. I wonder not only about the degree of hyperbole in that memory, but also where Santorum ate just before he aquainted himself with Kennedy's speech. I think he got a bad clam.
His recent attack on college, though, is just as unsettling, and worthy of even more attention than it has received.
Most of that attention has focused on his complaint that President Obama's stated goal of making higher education accessible to all is a snobby one that assumes academic inclinations where they may not exist. But Santorum has also decried universities as enemies of faith, environments that leach some of the unquestioned piety out of young adults who are, in this new setting, being prodded to ask questions. He went so far as to call colleges "indoctrination mills" that ridicule and isolate young conservatives.
February 27, 2012
It's a College, Not a Cloister
By FRANK BRUNI