EDITORrnThomas FlemingrnMANAGING EDITORrnTheodore PappasrnSENIOR EDITOR, BOOKSrnChilton Williamson, ]r.rnASSISTANT EDITORrnChristine HaynesrnART DIRECTORrnAnna Mycek-WodeckirnCONTRIBUTING EDITORSrn]ohnW. Aldridge, Harold O.].rnBrown, Katherine Dalton, SamuelrnFrancis, George Garrett,rnE. Christian Kopff, Clyde WilsonrnCORRESPONDING EDITORSrn]anet Scott Barlow, Bill Kauffman,rnJohn Shelton Reed, Momcilo Selic,rnDavid R. SlavittrnEDITORIAL SECRETAKVrnLeann DobbsrnPUBLISHERrnAllan C. CarlsonrnPUBLICATION DIRECTORrnGuy C. ReffettrnCOMPOSITION MANAGERrnAnita FedorarnCIRCULATION MANAGERrnRochelle FrankrnA publication of The Rockford Institute.rnEditorial and Advertising Offices:rn954 North Main Street, Rockford, IL 61103.rnEditorial Phone: (815)964-5054.rnAdvertising Phone: (815) 964-5811.rnSubscription Department: P.O. Box 800,rnMount Morris, IL61054. Call 1-800-877-5459.rnFor information on advertising in Chronicles,rnplease call Rochelle Frank at (815) 964-5811.rnLI.S.A. Newsstand Distribution by Eastern NewsrnDistributors, Inc., 1150 Cleveland Road,rnSandusky, OH 44870.rnCopyright © 1994 by The Rockford Institute.rnAll rights reserved.rnChronicles (ISSN 0887-5751) is publishedrnmonthly for $28 per year by The RockfordrnInstitute, 954 North Main Street, Rockford,rnIL 61105-7061. Second-class postage paidrnat Rockford, IL and additional mailing offices.rnPOSTMASTER: Send address changes tornChronicles, P.O. Box 800, Mount Morris,rnIL 61054.rnThe views expressed in Chronicles are thernauthors’ alone and do not necessarily reflectrnthe views of The Rockford Institute or of itsrndirectors. Unsolicited manuscripts cannot hernreturned unless accompanied by a sclf-addressedrnstamped envelope.rnChroniclesrnVol. 18, No. 4 April 1994rnPrinted in the United States of AmericarnPOLEMICS & EXCHANGESrnOn Maya Angelou andrnWake Forest UniversityrnJohn Meroney’s article (“Maya Angelou’srnInaugural Poem,” Decemberrn1993) about my colleague here at WakernForest University deserves serious attention.rnIt reveals much about America’srnpoet inaugurate, but, even more importantly,rnit probes into the bizarre reasonsrnfor the poem’s popularity among thernClinton administration and its supportersrnin the world of education.rnAngelou’s poem is so lacking inrnpoetic merit that one is forced to lookrnelsewhere for reasons why it was receivedrnwith such fulsome praise. To see why,rnone must look to the political pop culturernthat nourished it. If the poem wasrnnot plagiarized from Norton F. Tennille,rnJr., it had to have grown froin some similarrnplant flourishing in a new, Clintonesquernsoil. And, as Meroney notes,rnthis is a soil quite different from the onernthat nourished John F. Kennedy and hisrnchoice of Robert Frost.rnOne thing stands out from ProfessorrnAngelou’s convoluted exposition. It isrnthat the past, even the immediate past,rnis ignoble and loathsome. One findsrnnothing in the way of old civil rightsrncomplaints about unjust schools or housing.rnThe old standards no longer apply.rnThey were put forth for profit, we are tornunderstand, just as today’s health carernproblems are said to result from profitseekingrnby insurance and pharmaceuticalrncompanies. One can almost hear KarlrnMarx in the wings insisting that the realrnbogev is the capitalists and that what wernneed is an administration of things, notrna politics of human beings. Or possiblyrnone can hear Franklin Roosevelt withrnAdolf Berle insisting that the bogey isrn”corporate America.”rnA different picture of Angelournemerges from Wake Forest University’srndefense of its lifetime professor of Americanrnstudies. She is known at Wake Forestrnas one who urges her students on tornwhat her sponsor, President ThomasrnK. Hearn, Jr., has called “integrity.” Butrnin defending Angelou, Wake Forest isrnabandoning its rich church-sponsoredrntradition, not to mention the Americanrntradition. Something new is meant byrnintegrity as it is featured by Hearn.rnHearn rejects the idea of a universalrnstandard by which to measure any moralrngoal. One can demonstrate integrity inrndefense of any number of majority orrnminority standards, or even in defensernof standards applicable to family life,rnbusiness contracts, and other such lesserrnassociations. Integrity is a firmness inrndefense of whatever standards, even nonhumanrnones, are portrayed as requiringrnself-sacrifice. And from Angelou’s numerousrnautobiographies, we learn thatrnsuch standards may be associated withrnany number of seamy callings: her booksrnproudly celebrate her life as a singlernmother and her careers as a prostitute,rnburlesque stripper, and madam. In thernwords of those who have thought morernclearly about these matters, the “moral”rnquality—integrity—is a “triumph of thernwill,” or even a “will to power.”rnHere at Wake Forest, the traditionalrnmorality brought by so many studentsrnfrom home is challenged not bv traditionalrnSocratic wisdom but by coursesrnthat eclipse traditional learning. Indoctrinationrnin cultural relativism is disguisedrnas study to improve “understanding”rnof “diversity.” There are also newrncourses in women’s studies, hoinosexualrnliterature, ethics and leadership. Thesernobscure the traditional standards ofrnmorality contained in philosophic andrnbiblical sources. They teach contemptrnfor tradition and for those “profitmaking”rnsources that are said to havernsponsored it. The administration encouragesrna vague sense that all traditionrnbefore Freud was oppressive. The university’srnorthodoxy, its political correctness,rnindoctrinates students and reducesrnits “liberal education” to little more thanrnhysterical brainwashing.rnWhat remains stable for PresidentrnClinton and his educator friends likernHearn and Angelou is their contemptrnfor the past and their dedication to arnformless future, a future engineered bvrna vague new technology and describedrninnocuously as “reinventing.” Such politicsrngo in the same sad direction that educationrnhas gone at Wake Forest. Itrnpromises a future contemptuous of thernequality of men before “the laws of naturernand of nature’s God” and ever morernstrident in defense of its Utopian vision.rn—David BroylesrnProfessor of Political PhilosophyrnWake Forest UniversityrnWinston-Salem, NOrn4/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn