We Stand in Solidarity & in Good Company
Readers who were privileged to hear Anthony Esolen speak at Touchstone's 30th anniversary conference last October will agree that he is inspiringly passionate about the education of the next generation. This passion is not fueled by resentment over the deliberate rejection of the best of Western culture and civilization, nor by the refusal of our politically correct colleges and universities to properly educate young people in the best traditions of our forebears.
Rather, the source of Tony's passion, I believe, is the sheer joy and wonder experienced in encountering the multifaceted and richly diverse and liberating culture of Christian civilization—including its appreciation of and commentary on the older culture of the Jews, which lies at its root, and the classical Greek and Roman cultures, which richly augment it. He loves teaching Dante because it allows him the privilege of sharing Dante's resplendent insights into the Divine Love that moves the stars and moves our hearts toward the glory of Christ.
Esolen and other purveyors of Christian culture have watched the devotees of a new religion called "diversity" pack the treasures of our cultural heritage into storage boxes and relegate them to the attics and basements of the academy. Access may be permitted for private study—much as Soviet researchers were allowed guarded access to books in Old Church Slavonic or on the lives of the saints—but, say the Diversity Police, such books are not fit for public consumption or for fair presentation in the public marketplace of ideas. Indeed, some might prefer to throw them in the dumpster or just burn them up for good.
This suppression is carried out under the banner of "diversity" or "multiculturalism," which ironically claims that all cultures are equal while it derides Judeo-Christian culture—and will eventually denigrate any other culture that doesn't support the cookie-cutter diversity agendas of the LGBT lobby. Those who do not affirm gender theory and racial identity politics are homophobic, hateful, "on the wrong side of history," and therefore expendable.
And so, Dr. Esolen, Providence College's most prolific, popular, widely known, and widely read professor, but one who dared to criticize the lack of true diversity at his college, must be destroyed. Rod Dreher and others have written in detail about the shameful Esolen affair at Providence.
But Esolen is not alone—in more ways than one. Many other teachers, at schools small and large, have been harassed, punished, and even silenced for their adherence to orthodoxy. Not many years ago, I had lunch with two gifted professors, from two different schools in Virginia, who both suffered at the hands of the academy because their Christian views had been discovered in Touchstone articles. And we likely do not know the half of it. If all the tales of academic persecution by the devotees of "tolerance" and "diversity" were to be told, how many pages would they take up? (One might start in the pages of Academic Questions, the journal of the National Association of Scholars.)
The editors of Touchstone stand solidly with our brother Tony Esolen and with all who are targeted for censorship or expulsion. We do so neither out of malice nor with resentment over the losses that have been endured, but for the honor of bearing the mark of those who have seen the Light of Christ and will not be silenced, ever. •
James M. Kushiner is the Executive Editor of Touchstone.