Reflections on Virgina Tech massacre
Posted by comartslibrarian on April 18, 2007
While reading Nancy Pearcey’s book Total Truth this morning, I came across an unsurprising statistic:
“In a recent Zogby poll, 75 percent of American college seniors said their professors teach that there is no such thing as right and wrong in a universal or objective sense — that ‘what is right and wrong depends on differences in individual values and cultural diversity.'” (Pearcey 113)
There has been a great deal of analysis and speculation about the Virginia Tech massacre since Monday. Some have blamed lax gun laws, others have blamed a culture that diminishes or even glorifies the consequences of violence (i.e. movies, music, video games). Some point to the alleged signs of depression and isolation that troubled Cho Seung-Hui, the shooter.
All of these ideas bear serious consideration, but so does another haunting proposition: The culture of academe bears some responsibility. Many of the faculty at state universities subscribe to a post-modernist worldview which eschews any sense of objective truth or morality, as Zogby’s poll would suggest. This tendency is particularly strong in the humanities. Cho himself was a senior majoring in English, and his final notes indicated that he felt justified in shooting “rich kids” for their “debauchery.” Given the culture — some might say religion — of moral relativism pervasive in education today, can we ignore the question of whether these influences contributed to Cho’s heinous actions?