I am old enough to remember when America’s colleges and universities seemed to be the most open-minded and intellectually rigorous institutions in our society. Today, something very much like the opposite is true: America’s colleges and universities have become, and have been for some decades, the most closed-minded and intellectually dishonest institutions in our society.
To which Alan asks:
What do people mean when they talk about intellectual dishonesty? How does that differ from any other kind of dishonesty? Is there some kind of dishonesty that’s not intellectual? I have just never understood that phrase. What would Barone’s sentence lose if you just struck out the word “intellectually”?
It’s a good question. In my post on what it means to "intellectually respect" someone, I say that intellectual honesty is the willingness to change one’s mind and be open to all viewpoints. But it’s definitely ambiguous.
As to the original point around whether America’s universities have become closed-minded and intellectually dishonest, I think there’s something to it. Fortunately not all colleges fit this bill.
If you really want to go suck the gas pipe, read this New Atlantis review of I Am Charlotte Simmons by two professors who say college is really as soul-sucking as Tom Wolfe thinks, or read Bill Bennett in the NRO who thinks we should abolish the department of education.