John Ellis

John M. Ellis, distinguished professor emeritus of German literature at UC Santa Cruz, is out with a terrific new book, The Breakdown of Higher Education: How It Happened, The Damage It Does, & What Can Be Done About It. This slim book makes for depressing reading indeed, covering the landscape of our ideologically corrupt colleges and universities. What needs to happen to change things? Is the financial crisis of higher education brought on suddenly by the coronavirus a reason for hope that college leaders might cut some of the nonsense out of necessity? Are more robust campus policies to protect free expression sufficient to the scale and nature of the problem? (Likely not.)

But along the way we take a detour into some of Prof. Ellis’s earlier work, especially his important 1989 book Against Deconstruction, which delivered a significant body blow to that malignant intellectual fad. In fact I think it is no exaggeration to say that Prof. Ellis’s book, along with a handful parallel efforts, went far in derailing that noxious fad. Alas, it has been succeeded by even more perverse postmodernist hermeneutics (Just saying that almost gives you an intellectual hernia), forming much of the basis of the insidious identity politics of the present moment. Prof. Ellis offers some great war stories about fighting against the deconstructionists back in the day. And I offer a few of my own thoughts in my show summary at the end.


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Published in: Education

There are 4 comments.

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  1. Hank Rhody, Badgeless Bandito Contributor
    Hank Rhody, Badgeless Bandito

    “You can’t find a professor of physics (I think) who talks nonsense about elementary mechanics”

    Not on purpose, no. I’ve known a number of physics professors.

    • #1
  2. Dr.Guido Member

    Excellent and...please…the name of the music at the end. 

    • #2
  3. Steven Hayward Member
    Steven Hayward

    Dr.Guido (View Comment):

    Excellent and...please…the name of the music at the end.

    Thanks! Music is: Beethoven’s 7th Symphony #7 in A minor.

    • #3
  4. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne

    Fantastic interview. I recorded it on Otter so I can quote it more accurately. It is so sad that he accurately describes the modern college.

    • #4
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