Response of Allan Bloom, smiling, when following him after a lecture. Didn’t ask about the lecture topic, or other topics in that first year political science course, where he chainsmoked throughout his lectures. Could only think of asking “How can you afford to smoke so much?” To which he responded.
Could think of nothing further to ask.
Then he was gone, with teaching assistant who was walking beside him remaining. Asked teaching assistant what he was studying. Masters or doctorate on Wittgenstein, under the supervision of Allan Bloom.
Could think of nothing further to ask there, either.
Other than hearing his lecture criticism of “people writing bad poetry on the banks of the Seine”, didn’t see Allan Bloom as did Patrick Deneen:
Thus, not only is academia indifferent to whether our students become virtuous human beings (to use a word seldom to be found on today’s campuses), but it holds itself to be unconnected to their vices—thus there remains no self-examination over higher education’s role in producing the kinds of graduates who helped turn Wall Street into a high-stakes casino and our nation’s budget into a giant credit card. Today, in the name of choice, non-judgmentalism, and toleration, institutions prefer to offer the greatest possible expanse of options, in the implicit belief that every 18- to 22-year-old can responsibly fashion his or her own character unaided.
Bloom was so correct about the predictable rise of a society defined by indifference…
Patrick J. Deneen, “Who Closed The American Mind?” (2012)
What a difference a day/decade/life has made