At eminent universities, Europhobic cultural Marxism is taught to succeeding generations of music majors, prejudicing each generation against the canon of great music that Europe has produced, not because it is bad or lacking in beauty but simply because it is deemed politically incorrect for no other reason but that anything European must be bad.
Once upon a rational time, colleges and universities in the United States prided themselves in what was known as “academic freedom.” The idea was that differing opinions could clash catalytically in a constructive conversation. Such conversations were seen as a healthy sign of the intellectual life of the academy, a sign that people cared about what was true and sought to bring such truth to light. This healthy exchange of minds included the refutation of error so that the truth of things could emerge from the shadows cast by pride and prejudice. This is no longer the case. Far from it. In today’s secular fundamentalist and philosophically materialist academy there is no room for dissident voices. There is no tolerance for those who depart from the party line. Any suggestion that a faculty member has deviated from the dogmatic assertions of radical relativism results in his persecution by students as well as the institution, and, if he doesn’t repent and recant, his summary dismissal as a heretic whose opinions cannot be tolerated. The forced resignation last week of the Catholic chaplain at M.I.T. for daring to suggest that we needed a reasoned debate on the circumstances surrounding the death of George Floyd is a case in point.
In the new totalitarian academy, dissident faculty members are reduced to whispering amongst themselves, out of earshot of the Orwellian Big Brother who is ever-watchful for signs of heresy on campus. In such an inquisitional environment, these dissidents dare not bring their dissenting and non-orthodox views into the classroom. They are terrorized into silence, stifling any genuine objectivity in the courses they’re teaching.
In this draconian environment, it is difficult for academics to speak of the brainwashing that has replaced education in the modern academy. Should they have the courage to do so, it is necessary that they do so under the cover of anonymity. This being so, I am forced to keep the identity of a professor of music who contacted me about the ideological conditioning which his students are undergoing at the eminent university at which he teaches. He quoted to me one of his students who, regurgitating what she’d been taught, told him that “classical music itself is a critical part of the creation myth of European exceptionalism which was obsessed with re-creating and re-invoking the past. And not just any past: the primordial, mythical past, in which Bach and Beethoven are glorified as the pinnacle of human genius.”
Professor X, as we shall call him, lamented that such views were a direct consequence of the cultural Marxism which has become the non-negotiable dogma in the humanities departments in almost every secular college and university. “What you will find here is evidence of the real disdain that my colleagues are teaching to music students for European exceptionalism while at the same time not actually teaching them European music. The students, who really know very little of the musical canon, can be heard clearly regurgitating the pet phrases of my colleagues.” In this ideologically-charged environment, students are not educated or instructed but are programmed. They cease to be free-thinking souls in pursuit of goodness, truth, and beauty but become mere parrots, echoing the party line. “It is worth noting,” laments Professor X, “that these colleagues themselves came from the ranks of failed music performance majors who switched to a music history major because they were denied junior level class rank as performers due to poor performance juries.” He told me that nobody begins as a freshman music history major. “Had they switched to another major outside of music, they would have had to stay at college an extra year. So many of them enter the music history profession with a chip on their shoulder that their own music history professors (with the same story) quickly exploit in order to indoctrinate them into the hatred of Western culture.” This is the self-perpetuating process, animated by sour grapes, by which Europhobic cultural Marxism is taught to succeeding generations of music majors, prejudicing each generation against the canon of great music that Europe has produced, not because it is bad or lacking in beauty but simply because it is deemed politically incorrect for no other reason but that anything European must be bad.
“These students, lacking a personal encounter with the greatness of great music itself and not really having emotionally experienced what makes it great, have been taught to see the classical canon only as an example of a culture that is no better than any other, which has been imposed upon other peoples through cultural imperialism.” Thus, beauty is not seen as something that transcends the sordidness of power or politics but is seen as being subject to it, or even as a product of it. “This plugs into the self-hatred they are being taught for Western civilization in every liberal arts class on campus,” laments Professor X. “These particular students major in musicology and composition, in which this problem is worse. At least the violin majors get to play great music in the orchestra and know better from that experience that it is great, even if they are not having to listen to it in their coursework.”
Professor X offers an example of the political brainwashing of his students in the words of one of them who told him condescendingly that, “as the current classical music profession stands, there really is no way to avoid this elitism, racism, and chauvinism, no matter how well intentioned we are.” So there we have it. The new religion. There’s no such thing as Original Sin of which we are all guilty, irrespective of skin colour, but there is the “one sin to rule them all and in the darkness bind them” and that is elitism, racism, and chauvinism, a sin with which only those unfortunate enough to be born with the wrong colour “European” skin are tainted. We’re all racists because we’re white, and there’s nothing we can do about it, except, as an act of self-loathing, to cast into the fire all that’s good and beautiful and European. Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms need to be put against the wall and shot for the crime of being European, and we are the ones who need to pull the trigger as proof that we do not share their guilt.
There is a grim irony here because Professor X has an impeccable record in promoting genuine diversity, as distinct from the ideologically-conditioned conformity of his students. “I have been promoting musical diversity and inclusion, and the fact that black lives matter, from long before any of my students were born,” he said, adding that “I am not quite as unenlightened as my students seem to suppose.” He showed me a plaque which was presented to him at a dinner in his honor to acknowledge his twenty-five years of work in promoting and administering music scholarships and grants in the black community. He told me that he was usually the only white person on the board of directors of some of these groups promoting racial justice. He was the one who thought of, proposed, lobbied for, and accomplished having an all-black a cappella choir give the gala concert at the opening of a new large concert hall on campus. He was active in promoting practical efforts to bring diversity to the university’s music department when no one else was talking about it.
None of this matters because Professor X does not bend the knee to the new compulsory orthodoxy of ethno-masochistic self-loathing. He is still a pariah who is forced to speak to me under cover of anonymity for fear of reprisals from Big Brother and his minions. He does, however, lay down the gauntlet to those ideologically brainwashed students to put their anti-racism into practice as he has done over the years. “I would challenge young people to get involved in non-musical activities and making friendships across whatever their personal boundaries are. Deliver Thanksgiving dinners to the disadvantaged, volunteer for habitat for humanity building homes for immigrants; host dinners with people of varied backgrounds in your home. These and other things have helped me over the years to love people of every kind and to try to be inclusive musically, too. I see so much anger now, and of course people are frustrated, but love is the only way to accomplish authentic justice.”
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The featured image is courtesy of Pixabay and has been brightened for clarity.