they must fail to excite

The inability of the present generation of young people to read, write, and think is only a symptom of our departure from dialectical learning, but it is everywhere being treated as the disease itself. So long as these skills are valued only for utilitarian ends, such as those delineated by Mao, they must fail to excite in our youth the efforts necessary for their mastery. Not until we once again recognize and articulate the transcendent value of sound thinking, wide reading, and lucid writing will our students respond to their lessons enthusiastically.

…The pedagogical avoidance of dialectic and dogma and of whatever touches man in his individual and religious domains forfeits the possibility for a truly classical education. Whereas Socrates’ dialectic embraced the whole and encouraged a struggle between the normative and utilitarian and between the dialectical and the analytical, modern ideology declares the struggle ended by peremptorily deciding the issue in favor of the utilitarian and analytical.

From Norms and Nobility by David Hicks, pages 75-76.

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