Bruce S. Thornton
This is my original unedited interview with Professor Bruce S. Thornton of the University of California at Fresno, published in Greek on Davlos Magazine (No. 238. Oct. 2001. pp.15255 15264)
Q. Would you comment please upon the two trends currently influencing American Academia today, that is, “Postmodernism” and “Multiculturalism?”
Postmodernism is an intellectually incoherent and childish fashion whose inconsistencies and errors of logic are easily identified. Briefly, postmodernism denies the possibility of stable truth, meaning, identity, etc. but of course itself is an ideology which claims to be meaningful and true. It’s like the old Greek riddle: ´All Cretans are liars.’ A Cretan said this! Postmodernism is not new, the radical Sophists of the later fifth century B.C. are their forefathers.
Multiculturalism is the heir of the romantic nationalism that emerged in Germany in the 19th century and whose monstrous offspring include fascism. The idea that individuals are to be defined and validated by their accidental birth into an ethnic category possessing mystical, unique qualities is irreconcilable with liberal democracy, which sees individuals as the locus of rights, not groups. Multiculturalism spawns identity politics, the attempt to secure privileges, rights, etc. for whole categories. Finally, these categories in the U.S. are predicated on victimization of the groups have validity because they are presumably the victims of oppression and exclusion. Thus, multiculturalism insidiously institutionalizes inferiority, since the victim is by definition less powerful than the victimizer.
Q. Why in your opinion these tendencies were created and supported by so many influential professors and how the academic society can accept the scientific falsehood (with pseudoscientific arguments and techniques) in the American Universities?
by Bruce S. Thornton
This talk was presented February 28, 2005 at California State University, Sacramento at a dinner hosted by the Tsakopolous Hellenic Foundation in honor of California State Senator Nicholas C. Petris
The centrality of the ancient Greeks to the foundations of Western Civilization once was an obvious truth, one memorably expressed by the poet Shelley when he said, “We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religion, our arts have their roots in Greece.” One hundred and twenty years later, Edith Hamilton agreed, writing in her classicThe Greek Way, “There is no danger now that the world will not give the Greek genius full recognition. Greek achievement is a fact universally acknowledged.” Yet it took a mere fifty years to prove Hamilton wrong about that universal recognition, for in many colleges and universities today the phrase “Greek genius” is considered reactionary and ethnocentric, nowhere more so than among the professional classicists who are the presumed caretakers of that tradition.
One famous columnist and classicist, for example, scorns the “rather gaga (or Edith Hamilton) idealization of ‘the Greek spirit.'” Another eminent Classical historian, recently moved from Princeton to Stanford, rejects the “now-embarrassing essentialist fantasies about the ‘Greek miracle.'” As the sneer quotes around “spirit” and “miracle” show, to these scholars the Greeks aren’t so brilliantly original, and in fact, to many classicists the ancient Greeks are guilty of numerous sins for which they should be held to account. This attitude, moreover, creeps into the curriculum and textbooks, and eventually shapes the way the Greek heritage is taught in our schools.
The Afrocentrists, for example, tell us that if there is anything good in Greek civilization, it was all stolen from black Egyptians—a double historical lie, as the brave Classicist Mary Lefkowitz has demonstrated. The feminists tell us that the Greeks oppressed their womenfolk in what one professor calls a “phallocracy,” a regime of sexual apartheid that kept women locked away in dark, dank houses, unnamed and underfed. Some critics fault the Greeks for keeping slaves, others for constructing the non-Greek “other” whom they oppressed and vilified, still others deny any connection at all between the achievements of the Greeks and Western Civilization, instead considering the Greeks to be just another exotic tribe to be examined with the anthropologist’s eye.
ΣΥΝΕΝΤΕΥΞΗ – ΒΟΜΒΑ ΤΟΥ ΜΠ. ΘΟΡΝΤΟΝ ΣΤΗ ΝΑΝΣΥ ΜΠΙΣΚΑ, Περιοδικό «ΔΑΥΛΟΣ», Τεύχος 238, Οκτώβριος 2001
«Tο μοναδικό αντίδοτο στις πνευματικές τοξίνες της εποχής μας είναι η λαμπρή Ελληνική Γραμματεία. Φέρτε πίσω τους Έλληνες!»
Tον κώδωνα κινδύνου για την κατάσταση που επικρατεί στην ανώτατη εκπαίδευση κρούει ο γνωστός καθηγητής Bruce S. Thornton, καθηγητής Kλασικών και Aνθρωπιστικών Σπουδών του Τμήματος Ξένων Γλωσσών και Φιλολογίας του πανεπιστημίου Fresno στην Καλιφόρνια. Πρόσφατα δημοσίευσε την εργασία του με τίτλο “Ελληνικοί τρόποι: Πώς οι Έλληνες δημιούργησαν τον Δυτικό πολιτισμό” («Greek Ways. How the Greeks Created Western Civilization 2000») η οποία θεωρείται ως η συνέχεια του βιβλίου της Edith Hamilton πριν από 70 χρόνια με τίτλο “Ο Ελληνικός Τρόπος” («The Greek Way»).