The Closing of the American Mind

How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today's Students

Allan Bloom

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Book Synopsis

"The Closing of the American Mind" by Allan Bloom is a provocative and influential work that critiques the state of education and cultural relativism in American society.

Bloom argues that the American mind has progressively shut itself off from the pursuit of transcendent values, leading to a narrow focus on personal desires and a loss of connection with the past. He examines how the rise of popular culture, particularly in the form of rock music, has contributed to this decline and weakened the ability of individuals to engage with high culture and intellectual exploration.

Bloom also critiques the liberal education system, stating that it often fails to impart foundational knowledge and critical thinking skills, resulting in students who lack a deep understanding of Western philosophy and history. He suggests that the emphasis on relativism and the rejection of moral absolutes in academia produces graduates who are intellectually closed-off and unable to engage with complex ideas or consider alternative perspectives.

By exploring various philosophical, historical, and literary works, Bloom offers a passionate call for a return to the principles of the Enlightenment and a rediscovery of the great achievements of Western civilization. He argues that this reengagement with the classics and higher education can help individuals regain a sense of purpose, moral clarity, and intellectual depth.

"The Closing of the American Mind" serves as a thought-provoking critique of contemporary American culture and education, challenging readers to reconsider their assumptions and advocate for a more rigorous and intellectually vibrant society.

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