Saturday, August 29, 2009

And You Thought It Couldn't Get Any Worse...

Fahey's new advertisement for TMC in Human Events:
 At what point do I start lying about where I went to college? 

Mother: "We'd understand each other better if you'd studied some philosophy in college."  

Daughter: "You mean dead white guys like Aeropostale

Don't laugh: that girl's probably the product of some nearby Cliff's Notes College, where all it takes to graduate is half-an-hour a day with Cliff's Notes.

Contrast her sorry education with that of our friend and patron, Robert Novak, who passed away just last week.

In his memoirs, he fondly recalls the values that were instilled in him by his liberal arts education from the very first day he stepped on campus:

"It was a golden moment for a 17-year-old boy from Joliet, leading to four years of exploration in the riches of our heritage: Plato, Aristotle, Chaucer, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Milton, John Donne, Hawthorne, Melville, T.S. Eliot --- dead white men all. How barren would be my life without that background!"

In subsequent decades, armed with his classical Western education, Robert Novak battled --- and defeated --- many formidable, well-educated thinkers. But much of his time was spent swatting lightweight lawmakers who learned pygmy philosophy, politics, history, and foreign policy at their local equivalent of Cliff's Notes College.

Answer me this:

Would you let a Med School Lite surgeon operate on you?

Would you trust a Cliff's Notes Captain to lead your son into battle?

Are you comfortable with congressmen who can't tell Aristotle from Aeropostale deciding whether we legalize gay marriage, fight in Iraq, or let the government take over health care?

 Robert Novak never was.

Not for a second.

Which is why, when he gave large sums of his own money to colleges to carry on his legacy, he turned his back on the Cliff's Notes Colleges that clutter our nation and instead established a scholarship here at Thomas More College . . . . . . the school that provides the kind of education that, so many years ago, laid the foundation for Robert Novak's many strengths and his great wisdom.

As he told our graduates in his Commencement speech here just three short years ago, "You are entering the world as something rare today: educated men and women." 

He saw that on our modest campus of less than ten acres, we've created a gracious community of faculty and students rooted in the virtues that alone make civilization possible and give it the strength to endure.

Students walking around campus

He knew that for four years, we require each of our students to dwell in the Great Books that built Western Civilization in the first place, authors whose study nurtured him, and will once again make our nation a shining city on a hill: Plato, Aristotle, the Bible, Cicero, Plutarch, St. Augustine, Dante, St. Thomas Aquinas, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Jefferson, Madison, de Tocqueville, Hawthorne, Melville, T.S. Eliot, and the other great men and women whose wisdom gives courage its meaning.

He recognized that Thomas More College provides the education our nation needs today --- and countless respected conservatives agree.  

Says Patrick Buchanan: "Excellence in every respect is what Thomas More College offers young people. I do not exaggerate when I say that Thomas More College is exactly the kind of college you want your children and your children's children to attend."  

And National Review: "In all the hundreds of letters National Review received about scores of different schools, none brought with them an eloquence or a passion the equal of the ones from the friends of Thomas More."

Unfortunately, praise doesn't pay the plumber, Great Books don't win big grants, and we've been slammed by the market's collapse, as have the parents of most of our students.

To help our beleagured students continue their education, we've slashed all non-essential expenses, and last Fall some of our professors even went without pay.

Those cuts have not been enough, and now, with just two weeks left before classes start, we need to raise a final $150,000 to provide our students the aid they need this fall.

You know, our graduates don't merely know the difference between Aeropostale and Aristotle: they understand and value Aristotle, and the other great thinkers whose wisdom undergirds all that is great about our nation.

What Robert Novak said about our students a few years ago at Commencement remains true today:

They are entering the world as something rare today: educated men and women.

Consider what that means: consider the impact that just one such educated man --- Robert Novak --- had these past decades, the young boy who recalled with joy his own entry into such a school: "It was a golden moment for a 17-year-old boy from Joliet, leading to four years of exploration in the riches of our heritage: how barren would be my life without that background!"

Suppose lack of money had exiled the young Robert Novak to a Cliff Note's College.

How barren all our lives would have been!

Please help now, so that not one of our students will have to leave here and enroll somewhere in College Lite.

$50 would be very helpful; $100 even better; but we need to raise $150,000 immediately.

No contribution is too small --- or too large!

And please remember to say a prayer for Robert Novak! He was a good and faithful man, and a good friend to all of us here, and to our students.

William Fahey,
President Thomas More College of Liberal Arts
Six Manchester Street
Merrimack, New Hampshire 03054

Recent accolades for Thomas More College  

Ranked as one of the top 50 schools in the country by All-American Colleges: Top Schools for Conservatives, Old-Fashioned Liberals, and People of Faith. 

Ranked as one of the nation's top 100 schools in the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's best-selling college guide, Choosing the Right College: The Whole Truth About America's Top Schools. 

Featured by Time Magazine in a cover story titled "Who Needs Harvard?" as a unique alternative to large, ivy-league schools for those seeking a rigorous education in the Western tradition. 

Included in The National Review College Guide: America's Top Liberal Arts Schools and Cool Colleges, and recommended by the Young America's Foundation.