Robert Paquette, President of The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI), has published a review of Stanley Kurtz’s report on The Lost History of Western Civilization for The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. Mr. Kurtz’s report was commissioned by the National Association of Scholars (NAS), an educational non-profit that “fosters intellectual freedom, searches for the truth, and promotes virtuous citizenship.”
Kurtz, a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, has a distinguished record of commentary on higher education. In the review, Paquette praises Kurtz for his step-by-step demolition of the argument, which has found wide currency in the academy, that “the very idea of Western civilization is a modern invention devised during World War I.” In part two, Kurtz focuses on Stanford University and its dismantling of its very popular Western civilization requirement. He identifies those chiefly responsible and examines the justifications of their acts. In the third and final part of the report, Kurtz investigates the campus phenomenon of “intersectionality,” how campus agitation against a coherent liberal arts education has mushroomed under the impact of multiculturalism and become a far more dangerous force.
“In many ways, AHI lived through what Mr. Kurtz describes,” said Paquette. “One example: In 2006, when Doug Ambrose, James Bradfield, and I were negotiating with Hamilton College’s administration to establish on campus an Alexander Hamilton Center for the Study of Western Civilization, the College’s president and dean of the faculty called me into their offices on separate occasions to ask me why I attached ‘for the Study of Western Civilization’ to a center to be named after Alexander Hamilton, the College’s namesake. Neither official wanted the phrase, and each demanded that I justify it. When the original agreement collapsed, College officials, behind my back, attempted to trademark the name ‘Alexander Hamilton Center’— without ‘for the study of Western Civilization’—with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, using language taken verbatim from a charter I wrote. AHI’s experience, in fact, underscores Kurtz’s arguments. His report deserves a wide audience.”