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Alan Bloom
1930 - 1992

Professor of sociology, co-director of the John M. Olin Center for Inquiry into the Theory and Practice of Democracy. Bloom's book The Closing of the American Mind (1987) is a study of the narrowing scope of "permissable" intellectual criticism and discovery in universities, and a reduction of the rigour of their curriculum, as effects of rampant humanism and the declining importance of morality in these institutions.

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The Closing of the American Mind (1987)
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Students these days are, in general, nice. I choose the word carefully. They are not particularly moral or noble.

1987 - from The Closing of the American Mind
... one should never forget that Socrates was not a professor, that he was put to death, and that the love of wisdom survived, partly because of his individual example.

1987 - from The Closing of the American Mind
Rousseau's theoretical frankness, or harshness, about legislation [to enforce equality] put off succeeding generations of thinkers, who nonetheless wanted the results of that harshness, i.e. community. Or, more likely, Robespierre's practical harshness and the failure of his attempt at legislation scared off moderate observers. Changing human nature seems a brutal, nasty, tyrannical thing to do. So, instead, it began to be denied that there is such a thing as human nature.

1987 - from The Closing of the American Mind
The real community of man, in the midst of all the self-contradictory simulacra of community, is the community of those who seek the truth.

1987 - from The Closing of the American Mind
First radio, then television, have assaulted and overturned the privacy of the home, the real American privacy, which permitted the development of a higher and more independent life within democratic society. Parents can no longer control the atmosphere of the home and have lost even the will to do so. With great subtlety and energy, television enters not only the room, but also the tastes of old and young alike, appealing to the immediately pleasant and subverting whatever does not conform to it.

1987 - from The Closing of the American Mind