Detaching Universities from the Church Hasn't Freed Them

At a London conference this Monday, Sir Roger Scruton gave an illuminating address on why people have need of nations. But what had people talking afterwards was his answer to a different kind of question: whether people have need of universities.

During the Q&A, a young conservative who had studied philosophy at Birkbeck College, where Scruton once taught, recounted how he experienced the college as a place in which he feared to speak his mind. He said his nephew was now in university, and actually fears for his physical safety if he dares speak anything which dissents from leftist orthodoxy. The young man finally asked Sir Roger a fair and pointed question: "have we lost control of the universities?" And the answer Scruton shot back was, "it seems that we have."

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