Engraved above the colonnade of the Angell Building at the University of Michigan are the words of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged” (Northwest Ordinance). The irony of this inscription is that religion and traditional morality are not highly regarded at the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan was one of the major outposts in the campus wars of the 1960s, the legacy of which is a campus culture of multiculturalism, sexual obsession, and political correctness. Not even knowledge is prevalent in the postmodern university, if by knowledge we mean an integration of the disciplines into a coherent reality. Instead, we witness a fragmented world of deconstruction and trivial pursuits where the black perspective, the gay perspective, or the female perspective takes the place of a single reality. Each perspective is weighted by a political agenda (typically to the left), and professors, many of them having come of age with the protests of the 1960s, unload politics into the classroom.1 Though higher education is more politicized than ever, it is doing little to prepare students for responsible engagement in politics. Since there is no shared philosophy about “religion, morality, and knowledge,” we may ask whether “good government” is still possible.
"Educating Citizens: Have We Kept the Founders’ Ideals for Higher Education?,"
Pepperdine Policy Review: Vol. 1
, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/ppr/vol1/iss1/3