The Oxford Classics Department is considering removing Homer and Virgil from their syllabus. Apparently they fail the test of diversity and ‘relevance,’ and alienate some students.
This is rather like qualifying as a premiership footballer when you refuse to kick a fucking ball or accept the basic rules of the game. It is an exercise in futility. What is the point of a university? There are other ways to give people technical skills. Most jobs don’t require you to know how to write an essay. Scientific research can be conducted on a commercial basis just as successfully as it is conducted in a university environment.
The practical arguments for a university are actually quite weak, regardless of how much universities and governments pretend that they serve a vital utilitarian purpose. The real purpose of a university is a moral one. They are for the preservation and transmission of the best of human achievement, and specifically, the achievements of western civilisation.
We have a storehouse of two and a half thousand years of genius. We have the greatest works of literature ever written. We have the preserved thoughts of many of the most brilliant minds in history. This is the wisdom of the ages. It is the very heart of who we are and who we can be.
It is an example and a lesson to all mankind, both as a specific achievement which constitutes our heritage, and universal (thus university) in that these works tell us what it is to be human.
They are the best expressions of humanity that exist, the hard, solid core of civilisation. Making new generations understand their worth improves those generations and links them to a continuity of history. It is both a moral and an aesthetic duty to value these things.
The corruption of this heritage, the deliberate reversal of the purpose of a university, is a cultural tragedy for which few precedents exist, save perhaps the loss of knowledge that followed the fall of the Roman Empire. And it is something being done deliberately, consciously, purposefully by the very people tasked with the protection of these treasures. The custodians are the barbarians.
This matters, because the purpose is to deny us who we are, and the end result can only be a new Dark Age where the light of true civilisation has been extinguished.