By Paul L. Allen. I don’t know about my university colleagues, but lately, between syllabus creation and the business of textbook ordering, I’ve been treated to an online feast of editorials and articles over the past month on the state of academe, and the problem with the humanities in particular. The angst is palpable and I’m not surprised. Consider: the challenge of Massive Open Online courses, the state of student writing, declining attention spans, the alleged decline of the lecture, the decline of reading and Western civilization in general. One recent contribution to the Wall Street Journal by Canadian philosopher Jamie Smith is an open letter to sophomores, the group of returning second-year students whose intellectual curiosity has been squelched by a combination of snide political correctness and unintellectual cant. More...