According to a National Association of Scholars report issued in 2011, “The Vanishing West: 1964-2010,” only two percent of colleges offer western civilization as a course requirement.
[Note: This article was originally posted on December 19th, 2011. The IFNM website was attacked by hackers and many articles are now gone from the archives. As a public service, IFNM is now reposting said articles.]
It is astonishing that those in the West are living through the near extinction of their civilization. For students in the Academy today, the Western Civilization history course, virtually a standard curriculum offering 30 years ago, has disappeared.
This survey course covering classical antiquity to the present was the glue, the all-embracing narrative, that gave coherence to everything else the university taught. At the very least, students came away from this course with a partial recognition of their civilization and its monumental achievements.
Now Western civilization survey courses have been eliminated from the general education requirements, replaced in large part by courses and programs that either undermine traditions in the West or “Balkanize” the curriculum. Latino studies, for example, exalt the accomplishments of Spanish speaking people. Black studies emphasize the plight of blacks in white societies. Women’s studies superordinate the role of women. However, white studies denounce male dominated, colonial societies. American history, on the rare occasion it is required, tells a story of conflict, exploitation and imperial goals. Third World studies is ostensibly a rehearsal of abuse and unfair dominance by the West.
Is it any wonder, poll after poll demonstrates students are alienated from their own culture? Clearly many of those who will eventually assume leadership positions are no longer learning about their civilization’s triumphs and its singular role in transforming the human condition.