I have always admired the tag corruptio optima pessima: the corruption of the best is the worst. Take the Ivy League. These super-rich, super-prestigious institutions are so wealthy and so beguiling because, once upon a time, they represented and — more to the point — successfully transmitted to their students the prime civilizational values of our culture.
We’re told, and I have no reason to disbelieve it, that the light we see from distant stars is very old and, in some cases, is light from stars that were long ago extinguished. It is same with the Ivy League and their near competitors.
Today, they are utterly bankrupt — not financially, of course. No, in a good old greedy capitalist sense, they are filthy, stinking rich. It is only in an intellectual and moral sense that they are bankrupt. They are, all of them, totally in thrall to what we have come to call “woke” ideology, which has poisoned the well of their intellectual pretensions by subordinating the life of the mind to identity politics.
All the old liberal virtues — disinterested inquiry, due process, colorblind justice, advance according to merit, not some extraneous racial, ethnic, or sexual quota — all that has been rebranded as the invidious patent of reactionary and therefore impermissible vice. In sum, the educational establishment in its highest reaches is today a cesspool, contaminating the society it had been, at great expense, created to nurture.from Roger Kimball