My Old Friend, Controversy

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Inside Higher Ed has published a fair-minded piece on the resurgence of classical Christian education at the college level, which you can read more about here. Since New St. Andrews is featured prominently in that piece, and since NSA has among its founders a controversial figure (three guesses), and a portion of the article was dedicated to that particular item of interest, I thought to post just a few words on my old friend, controversy.

First, anybody who thinks that genuine reformation of education is possible without exciting this kind of controversy is like the person who wants to raft down the Grand Ronde without encountering any white water. Further, anyone who expects the controversy in such circumstances to be a fair fight, Marquis of Queensbury style, where your views are fairly represented, is going to be wrong most of the time. This article, actually, was an exception to that rule of lopsided reporting — a rule established in years past for us by our local putt putt journalism.

Second, in such controversies, the man who would be a vertebrate must, in his apologies, distinguish between truth and error. The honest man will always want to correct and apologize for any errors, but the real game will always be over trying to get him to back away from his advocacy of various unsavory truths. So you want me to recant my views of slavery? Sure thing, comes the reply. Just show me where those views were mistaken. You will have to do more than tell the world breathlessly that I have unpopular views of slavery.

And last, since this whole topic has now been kicked upstairs to a wider, national audience, this gives me a chance to point out that the booklet mentioned in the article (Southern Slavery as It Was) has been updated, refurbished, expanded, and now has two coats of wax on it. Black & Tan contains my collected thoughts on that whole business. And if I may, ahem, Prov. 27:2 and all, draw your attention to Eugene Genovese’s blurb on the back? [Wilson] “may not be a professional historian, as his detractors say, but he has a strong grasp of the essentials of the history of slavery and its relation to Christian doctrine. Indeed, sad to say, his grasp is a great deal stronger than that of most professors of American history, whose distortions and trivializations disgrace our college classrooms.”


When they finally get me, and the time comes for me to mount the gallows, I trust that commendations like this one will be numbered among my minor consolations. First among my consolations would of course be the obedience and perfection of Jesus Christ for all His people. Second would be the fact that I am departing from this place, and going to a place not within the jurisdiction of the House of Representatives. And third would be that I hadn’t said I was sorry for finding out what had actually happened.

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