by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Amanda Shreve writes for the Martin Center on C.S. Lewis’ observations about education.
Postmodern academia no longer searches for truth. Except in the physical sciences, objectivity is too often replaced with moral relativism, “critical theory,” and the “lived experience” of individual scholars. But none of this is new. It is an outgrowth of the cultural problems C.S. Lewis observed 75 years ago in one of his shortest and densest works: Abolition of Man.
Contemporary Perspectives on C.S. Lewis’ ‘The Abolition of Man’: History, Philosophy, Education, and Science, published by Bloomsbury, revisits this work to honor its 75th anniversary. Its point is to help digest Lewis’ heady work and remark on its enduring cultural relevance. …
… In Abolition of Man, Lewis takes the pseudonymous The Green Book to task for dangerous ideas which he believes will have a catastrophic cultural impact, and which will create “men without chests.” The Green Book is a primary school textbook that teaches subjectivism. Lewis’ chief concern is that children will be taught to use their heads, but not have the character to make good choices as a result of the teaching its authors put forth. In this, Lewis was on point. In fact, Lewis’ cautions are even more needed today, as his warnings 75 years ago went largely unheeded. Now we find ourselves in the situation Lewis foresaw—men afraid of making moral judgments; people who will say “this is wrong/right for me, but who am I to say it is so for someone else?” When objective truth is rejected, all foundation for virtue disappears.