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literature

Culture

When Diversity Politics Debase Our Books And Minds

Should we judge a book by the content of its pages or by its author’s skin color? Today’s cultural credo, informed by the politics of multiculturalism, demands the latter. High society and academia promote ‘diverse’ authors as an urgent redress for the dominance of straight, white men in the Western literary canon. No sane mind would deny the benefits of studying literature by meritorious authors belonging to varied demographics. But the project of diversification is less interested in encouraging talent, and more focused on redistributing social power, historically enjoyed by white males, to the others. Behind the facade of egalitarianism lies a deeply flawed understanding of how and why the traditional literary canon came into being. As Roger Scruton explains in his essay, “Rousseau and the Origins of Liberalism” (The New Criterion, 1998): The traditional curriculum existed because it contained an accumulation of social knowledge – knowledge of the human mind, the human character, and the human heart – whose utility is obvious to those who have studied it, but inconceivable to those who have not. Cultural elites and many educators fall in the latter category,… Keep Reading

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