Devon, PA.  Mark T. Mitchell’s powerful essay on Jane Austen in the age of porn coincides with an interesting news item on Inside Higher EdA group called the Young Conservatives of Texas have helped craft legislation which would require any Texas public university with a center for “homosexual” students (or those with any other predilection from the contemporary smorgusboard) also to sponsor a center for “heterosexual” students.  The legislation has passed the Texas House as part of a larger budget bill.

It is evident from the article that neither the group nor the legislators take the proposal seriously.  Their intention is to create a hurdle that no university would wish to jump, and that, therefore, the universities will simply closed down these centers of self-esteem and identity politics for good.  Further, it is evident that the writer of the article expects this project to provoke the right minded liberal, and that this intended audience will respond to “mock” legislation with mockery of its own.  No doubt the comment-board will fill up with facetious notes on the “poor oppressed” straight male following the boilerplate of comments about “poor oppressed whitey” that appear anytime a news item calls attention to the systematic process of racial discrimination that is “affirmative action.”

Fair enough.  I can see the grounds for laughter on both sides.

But, if state university systems really did want to cater to the concerns of attentive parents, they might revisit the Texas legislation once sobriety has been restored.  While universities normally have centers and resources for those who have been victims of sexual assault — a trend that will likely continue so long as the numbers regarding sexual assault and rape on campuses continue to be pumped up artificially — I have never seen a university that made any serious effort to help students with the difficult duty of living chastely in the usually decadent environments of the contemporary campus.

When higher education is done well (which is rarely), it consists of education into the mystery of Truth and initiation into the ethical traditions that help us best to live in its light; the intellectual life consists of the work of the intellect as part of a particular way of life, and so is as much an ethical as it is a speculative project.  But undergraduate students are typically thrown into an environment of debauchery and juvenile freedom in which the only “adult” presence is some boob from the health center handing out condoms.  Far from being a supplementary or even over-reaching service, it seems close to the core mission of universities to help students navigate these ugly and dangerous waters in hopes that they might get though the “consequence-free” “green room,” and into the adult world of courtship and marriage with as little to regret as possible.

I am a college professor; I have no intention of sending my children away to school, so long as the present environment remains typical.  Indeed, I would not even then.

Aside from the distressing frequency of rape in college communities (and those numbers remain significant even once one has stripped away the thick padding of statistics that note what is, unfortunately, par-for-the course these days: drunken sexual encounters), the general “hook-up culture” that Mitchell describes, and which Jeffrey Polet has discussed elsewhere in greater depths, pretty well guarantees that students will emerge from their education with, in the terms of Austen, their senses disordered and their sensibilities coarsened.  I know a number of parents who are terrified of sending their children away for this reason, and perhaps universities would be putting their tendency to pander-to-public-relations to good use for once in instituting an office to help students practice the virtues of temperance, chastity, and modesty in a climate that will surely put them to the test.

I should add two notes before concluding.

First, it is true that undergraduate education has always been typified by a certain kind of debauchery.  There is a reason that gown-and-town riots were frequent in medieval Oxford, after all — and, as I recall, Blessed John Henry Newman makes reference even to the moral squalor that tended to pullulate around the academies of the ancient world.  I would welcome the prospect of reevaluating the model of education among groups of coevals altogether — a reevaluation for which the old one-room school house provides a prototype, and which contemporary homeschoolers have undertaken with great success and little attention.

Second, I recall buying a kit for growing sea monkeys when I was a child.  As those of you who also had them will likely recall, the instruction book was a veritable thicket of scare-quotes, e.g. “You’ll ‘love’ your ‘sea monkies’!  Just put them in their water ‘jungle’ and see how they ‘play!'”  It provided an early lesson in what happens when one violates a judicious use of punctuation.  Unfortunately, our age’s sexual epidemics and decadence are such that I find it impossible to discuss them without employing more than a gentleman’s share of quotation marks.  I “ask” the reader to “forgive” me.

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James Matthew Wilson is Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities and Augustinian Traditions at Villanova University. An award-winning scholar of philosophical-theology and literature, he has authored dozens of essays, articles, and reviews on subjects ranging from art, ethics, and politics, to meter and poetic form, from the importance of local culture to the nature of truth, goodness, and beauty. Wilson is also a poet and critic of contemporary poetry, whose work appears regularly in such magazines and journals as First Things, Modern Age, The New Criterion, Dappled Things, Measure, The Weekly Standard, Front Porch Republic, The Raintown Review, and The American Conservative. He has published five books, including most recently, a collection of poems, Some Permanent Things and a monograph, The Catholic Imagination in Modern American Poetry (both Wiseblood Books, 2014). Raised in the Great Lakes State, baptised in the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas, seasoned by summers on Lake Wawasee (Indiana), and educated under the Golden Dome, Wilson is scion of a family of Hoosiers dating back to the early nineteenth century, and an offspring of Southside Chicago Poles whose tavern kept the city wet through the Depression (and prohibition) years.  He now lives under the same sentence of reluctant exile as many another native son of the Midwest, but has dug himself in for good on the margins of the Main Line in Pennsylvania with his beautiful wife, dangerous daughter, and saintly sons. For information on Wilson's scholarship and a selection of his published work, click here. See books written and recommended by James Matthew Wilson.


  1. “I have no intention of sending my children away to school, so long as the present environment remains typical.”

    Fair enough. But where WILL you send them? In my experience, any place that serves as a gathering place for young people turns into meat market. By far the worst moral environment I have ever experienced is the small social circle surrounding bar and restaurant work. It makes fraternity life look like a monastary. Ever been anywhere near an Army base or Marine barracks? Guess what those people talk about, and guess the level of decorum achieved.

    I went to one of the Sodom and Gomhorrah universities that people worry so much about. (Co-ed bathrooms!) Was there some debauchery? Sure. I also know a guy who became a Jesuit priest after graduation, and a whole host of folks who are now strident activists on the pilitical “right.”

    They are going to have to face down the debauchery and make their own choices at some stage. Seems to me that if they aren’t prepared to make the right choices at 18, they probably never will be. And there’s nothing that an RA or a drill instructor can do about it.

    And if you think that grad school or the corporate training programs for new grads are any less debauched… they aren’t.

  2. Just a quick clarification. I don’t face the same sort of choice most parents do on this point; for the professoriate, the most financially managable way to put one’s children through college is to have the students live at home and commute to the school where one teaches — since there are usually steep tuition discounts that come as a benefit of employment.

    The implication of your last paragraphs seems to be one of which no one has ever previously accused me: that I should think only one aspect of our society or culture debauched.

  3. @sam m
    Seriously? “Well they’re going to run into this crap some day anyway?” What’s it? Will you send them to the local stripper bar on your dime as well, because, after all they’ll eventually go anyway?

    I attended and now work at a university that is reasonably successful at holding back the tide. Perfect? Hardly (and some of the worst were some that tried to look the best… a certain dorm of largely religious students being called the rabbit warren as I recall). But it is better than Debauchery U.

    My cousin went to UC Davis and the experience he relates about that environment there is terrifying by comparison.

    There are better choices, and there us a choice.

  4. “First, it is true that undergraduate education has always been typified by a certain kind of debauchery. ”

    There are also wonderful exceptions where we can send our children such as Christendom and Thomas Aquinas College where that environment doesn’t and never has occurred.

    Where not only is the education superior to the local state u. But the environment is culturally Catholic.

    The state u’s and similar are hopelessly beyond repair.

  5. @David:


    Yes. Seriously. And I am not sure that your analogy to the strip club applies. Nobody “needs” to go to the strip club. Nobody get’s job training (or… hardly anybody gets job training) there. Nobody is exposed to the liberal arts there.

    As flawed as the higher education system might be at the moment, anyone who wants to be a heart surgeon needs to go to college. Last I checked, there was no “home schooling” option for mechanical engineers or architects.

    That’s not to say that all colleges are the same. They can’t ALL be tops on Playboy’s list of party schools. But I know people who have gone to Penn State and managed to get a great education. Were they tempted by the fraternity culture? The flat and honest answer to that question is “yes.” Does anyone manage to survive it with dignity? The answer to that is also “yes.”

    I don’t care who your child is or what she wants to do in life. Eventually, you need to send her into the world. Do you do it with blinders on? No. Must you remain watchful? Sure. But if she has a strong interest and inclination in computers, should you find a way to send her to MIT? If she has a strong interest in medicine, can she go to Johns Hopkins without turning into a harlot? And even if you WON’T send her to such schools, will she eventually face all of these same temptations and challenges in other contexts? Is it possible that she will resent you for not trusting her? I suspect that the answer to all these questions is also yes.

    To equate that with “send them to the strip club” seems like a pretty poor debating point.

  6. Sam M.,

    Obviously it’s possible to go through the state university system cesspool without drowning in it., but that doesn’t reduce the vileness of that existing cesspool. Nor should that possibleness reduce our reluctance as parents to want to subject our children to swimming through it.

    It’s been a while since I was in school, with my oldest child now an undergrad, but I can hardly imagine the atmosphere has improved where there is not a chance in the world we would have let our daughter go to local university in Boulder.

    If we have raised our children well, then they should be have some ability to resist the world. But why subject them to it when we can send them to a school that is culturally like themselves where they will be with like minded students who likewise see the world through Catholic eyes.

    We sent our oldest daughter to Christendom knowing full well that the school took seriously its responsibility to provide a Catholic environment. Which is not only an enjoyable environment to live in, but also an environment where error is not mistaken for the truth.

  7. @sam m,

    I don’t find your reply particularly more nuanced than I originally accused. The point of my logical fallacy was to point out that lack of nuance.

    Has it occurred to you that perhaps medical school is not a viable option if to obtain it one must accept such hazards to virtue? Perhaps, perhaps our interests (particularly the sort promoted on FPR) have real consequences. Or else, as your retort suggests, this is just an academic debate.

    Our positions here have real consequences and result in real choices, or they are imaginary game-sayings.

    I am not speaking here of the obvious choices which I assume you, I and everyone make such as not to rob a bank or trick old women out of their life savings. Not the mutually reasonable, personally proactive background morality of our age. I mean that moment when real hardship might come as a part of our necessarily moral actions.

    Perhaps it is not wise (not impossible or impermissible, but not wise) to send the next generation of moral actors into this new sodom. Or at least mitigate it significantly by sending them to such institutions as make material investments in holding back the tide of filth.

    To answer your question, no. I would not send my children to such places. The economic benefits which are statistically dubious or benefits to equally dubious goals of professional achievement are not merely insufficient to warrant such a venture, the nature of the venture categorically forbids any such considerations even if they were magnificent.

    These environments are just as unacceptable as a strip-club. How’s that for un-nuanced?

  8. “Has it occurred to you that perhaps medical school is not a viable option if to obtain it one must accept such hazards to virtue?”

    No. That hasn’t occurred to me. And I hope it does not occur to the next generation of cardiologists. I will be needing them eventually, and so will millions of others.

    Hazards to virtue. My goodness. If your child is so delicate that he or she cannot come within whiffing distance of a fraternity house without succumbing to Britney Spears Disease, perhaps “choice of college” should not be the top priority on your list of concerns. I knew kids at Yale (Yale!) who participated in Yale Students for Christ. I knew kids who kept kosher. I knew kids who signed chastity pledges. I knew kids at the University of Pittsburgh who did the same. And I have known kids who have gone to Grove City and gobbled some many drugs it would make your head spin. Maybe my anecdotes don’t amount to data, but neither do yours.

    “equally dubious goals of professional achievement”

    So the only goals of becoming, say, a pediatric cardiologist are financial and professional achievement? There is no other reason to do so?

    But I guess here is where will will simply have to disagree. I WOULD send my daughter tio MIT. If you think that’s tantamount to sending her off to dance in a strip club or to view the same, and you see no distinction whatsoever, I think that says something about either my judgment or yours. I will leave that to others to decide.

  9. Distinction without a difference. And no I do not consider cardiology as essential as virtue. Life at the cost of virtue isn’t.

    We homeschool my children, not for the scholastic advantage, but the development of their character.

    This matter has nothing to do with the delicacy of my children, but to do with prudence. Such judgment used to have merit, apparently we have fallen farther than I thought. Caution, careful company, the avoidance of evil, remaining unstained by the world, etc etc.

    Why is investment banking or lawyering or government quantity surveying so important that it must be done at such heedless risk?

    To clarify, I’m not saying that we are trapped between the devil and his demons, for we must all make some sort of peace with the evils of the world (as much as we are able). Mennonites and monastics have more extreme vows than I do.

    I confess surprise that on FRP I find myself so isolated in my defense. I must remain, I’m afraid the village curmudgeon.

  10. I’m a young (27 y/o), married man. My wife and I both received our undergraduate degrees from the Univ. of Dallas. Before UD, I spent a year at Loyola U. in Chicago. While not my reason for transfer, there were obvious (sometimes stunning) differences between the two putatively Catholic institutions handled themselves in matters of faith, culture, and social teaching. (Full disclosure: I’m a cradle Papist and, hopefully, grow more faithful every day.)

    Of yet I have no children. Even if I did, there’d be little sense in wringing my hands over where they might enroll in university (I haven’t even made all MY education decisions yet). But, I will say, it heartens me to know that there are fathers out there having debates like that on this thread. For if no one is even ASKING such important questions, we can never expect to have them answered.

    Lastly, I greatly admire David’s conviction. It’s thoughtful and acknowledges a greater Truth than itself–which all we can hope for in meaningful debate.

  11. @Barry

    You do me a kindness, one perhaps I do not deserve. I cannot say whether I am a mere reactionary choosing to support my pride with piety, or a convicted man who realizes that my choice to follow Christ (incidentally since you mention the Pope, I’m an Orthodox Christian) has consequences. Perhaps this particular ascesis is not for everyone, but I have faith that it will bear fruit in my life and the lives of my children.

  12. I do not begrudge anyone their choice. Christendon instead of Harvard? Perfectly legitimate if that’s what you want to do. Hillsdale versus Michigan State? Have at it. The Marine Corps versus college? Homemaking versus college? Factory work? These are all things that people choose. And my family walks that line, too. All three of my susters gave up lucrative professional careers to stay homw with the kids, and people call us nuts. Which is fine.

    But is sending a kid off to Penn State for a degree in civil engineering REALLY the same as sending him to a strip club? I get your point, and believe me, I am not one to take offense. But others are, and these things can be important. A lot of families who make the same choices as mine regarding child-rearing often go on tears about other alternatives, saying, “So and So’s mom is back to work already? My Gosh! Why have kids if you HATE THEM? Are you really so selfish that you will send your kid of to some child molester so you can afford name-brand tooth paste?”

    It scores a lot of points when you are preaching to the choir. But it’s not very charitable, and even less productive.

  13. @sam m,

    Now that cuts to the quick. And fairly so. This is the ultimate danger of such pontificating. My own wife has, on more than one occasion, said “I’m really struggle with our friends X. I don’t want to think badly of them, but I just don’t understand how they can do this (or that)?”

    In fact, the situation has become such a matter for conscious consideration that I am convicted that I must ask our local Abbess during this Sunday’s next visit to the monastery how she puts up with all of us stinky sinful folks mucking about the place all afternoon without going batty with judgment.

    I shall be very disappointed if I just get back something routine as an answer, such as keep saying the Jesus prayer until the thought passes out of your mind. I’m wanting to approach this problem differently so as to avoid the generation of the thoughts and not just combat the buzzards flying around in my head.

    We have made decisions for which the debate and angst were every bit as painful (perhaps more) than the actual opportunity cost (if you’ll forgive the vulgar economic expression).

    And I know there are those more righteous than I, that have avoided the TV and National Newspapers that would consider me poorly for my wicked ways.

    But I do remain committed to make what stand I can in my own life against anything I can stand to stand against and encourage my brothers and sisters to do likewise (and yes, this should be about uplifting wisdom not judgmental condemnation).

  14. Sam M. points out, and rightly so, that if a kid is not ready to go out in the world at 18, then when will he be? I tend to agree that the first 18 years are about forming the kid to be free, so that he’ll be ready to choose the good when he’s out from under the parental umbrella. Still, the question MJW’s post raises (in my mind) is whether most colleges and universities are the kind of place you can send a well-intentioned, fairly-well-formed kid in good conscience, knowing that he will be able to have a fighting chance of following a good path there.

    I think that the answer, all Sam M.’s anecdotal evidence to the contrary, is “No.” Most schools are not good for even well-brought-up kids (and the vast majority, of course, aren’t well-brought-up), a fact evidenced by the social science data collected by Christian Smith and others on young people and faith. Most kids stop going to Church in college, start living more loosely, and alter their moral views accordingly. If Professor Wilson is right that higher ed. is about both intellectual AND ethical formation (as he must be, for intellect is inseparable from character), then we owe our kids more than simply cutting the apron strings when high school is over. Inserting them into an on-going “near occasion of sin” is not giving them a fighting chance.

    Do we respond, then, by keeping our kids home longer, as MJW suggests? I’m not so sure. Should we limit our kids’ choices to the UDs, Christendoms, and Hillsdales of the world? That’s closer to the mark.

  15. “Most kids stop going to Church in college, start living more loosely, and alter their moral views accordingly.”

    Is this a function of “college,” or is it a function of being 18? Even the Amish view this age as a time to step away and decide whether to come back.

    Do Marine Corps recruits go to church at the same rate after Parris Island as before? I honestly do not know the answer to that question. But before researching it, if the answer turns out to be no, do you view that as a strong reason not to allow your kids to joint the Marines?

    What about kids who join the workforce? I worked on a landscaping crew when I was in grad school, and I can tell you that the level of debauchery achieved in that crew far surpassed anything I saw in college. Is that a good reason to discourage your child from being a landscaper? If so, what careers do you think are limited to people of high moral standing? What leads you to believe that?

    Moreover, who said ANYTHING about simply cutting the apron strings? I have said that sending your kids into an environmennt like this requires a high degree of diligence. My own mother used to quiz me on the Sunday gospel to make sure I attended. And there were other ways she proved she was paying attention and expecting me to meet certain standards.

    Here’s a question: At what age ARE they old enough to face these demons? Should Prof. Wilson’s extended family be harping on him to flee from Villanova, even as an employee? Is it too dangerous even for him? Is that because of age? A degree of maturity? How do we measure that?

    And isn’t it POSSIBLE that some people achieve that level at different rates? My mother decided NOT to allow my one sister to attend Penn State right out of the chute. She made her go to a small catholic college that offered a 3/2 program with PSU. It cost my parents an extra year of tuition, but she wasn’t mature enough for a 40,000 student, frat-driven campus at 18. On the other hand, the Catholic school did not offer the degree she was seeking. At 21, they deemed her ready for PSU and off she went. As far as I know, no harlotry ensued.

    There are plenty of things parents can do. Make the kids wait. Make them pay a portion of the tuition so they don’t fritter away the opportunity. Make them live with like-minded people.

    I understand your concerns, and perhaps “Hillsdale or nothing” is the only option you feel comfortable risking. That’s a perfectly legitimate reaction. But it’s not the only reaction, and it strikes me as bizarre to think that all of the the other possible reactions amount to nothing more than simply sending your kids into the lion’s den without any support or guidance or standards. Seriously, are the only options “send your kids to Christendom” or “give them a credit card, a crack pipe and one-year membership in the local strippers union”? Surely you can see that’s not the choice other people see themselves as making. Maybe you disagree with that choice, just like I disagree with the decisions other people make regarding day care. But I try to be very careful to distinguish between “I disagree with you regarding these issues” and “you are a negligent parent who doesn’t care a lick about your kids.”

    Now, surely, some people make decisions that are beyond the pale. For instance, I saw a mother on TV who actually WAS supporting her daughter’s decision to be a stripper. I just think it’s not all that useful have to simple categories: Risks I choose to take versus things vile people do.

  16. Sam M writes : “At what age ARE they old enough to face these demons? . . .”

    It’s not a matter of age, but a matter of ordering our lives about us. A properly ordered society doesn’t place undue burdens on those who live within it.

    Unfortunately, we don’t live in a properly ordered society, and so we must do our best to seek out those entities and such which are properly ordered.

  17. Excellent thoughts, Sam. While I would restate my own claims less baldly, and use all-caps less frequently, I actually agree with much of what you say.

    To bring up only one quibble: I think it’s not right to equate the moral/intellectual quality of most college life with that of, say, landscaping or soldiering. Both of course feature a mass of libidinous young people, but any place will have better moral standards–real-world moral norms, expectations, customs, etc.–than the progressive ideological pleasure-dome most colleges provide and try to justify. The collegiate combination of widespread immorality and a pervasive intellectual account that denies said immorality makes the university experience much different than the other options you’ve mentioned. If I’m right (and you probably don’t think I am), then it’s not prima facie ridiculous to ask questions like MJW, “Love the Girls,” and David are asking.

  18. Sam M. hits on an interesting issue–one that had been on my mind, too–toward the end of his last post; namely: What of the real, monetary cost of this education?

    I had the good fortune of having my college paid for (parents + scholarships). It wasn’t a “blank check”, but it was pretty close. That is, if I’d picked UT or A&M or Notre Dame (or Berkeley or Vermont), my folks would’ve picked up the tab.

    Many, many others–including my dear wife–didn’t have that benefit. She made the decision to go to UD anyway, and that’s a decision that has taken–and will take–many years to payoff. We’ll be fine, because not least of which because my aspirations lie in law and finance, not literature and photography. But what if they did? I (or she) might’ve been more willing to roll the dice with the Univ. of North Texas.

  19. Love the Girls:

    “It’s not a matter of age, but a matter of ordering our lives about us. A properly ordered society doesn’t place undue burdens on those who live within it.”

    Then I would re-ask the question: Should Professor Wilson remove himself from Villanova for fear of his moral well-being? What of Professor Peters? Do they risk too much? Do you think they will manage to resist temptation? How grave is their danger? If a typical college is such a cess pool that it is an inappropriate place to learn, surely it is an inappropriate place to earn a paycheck.


    “it’s not prima facie ridiculous to ask questions like MJW, “Love the Girls,” and David are asking.”

    I don’t think the questioning is ridiculous. And while I do not agree with their conclusions necessarily, I don’t find those conclusions ridiculous either. What I do object to is the construction that any choices other than the ones they make amount to gross parental neglect.

    Some things amount to gross parental neglect. Like supporting your daughter’s life as a stripper, in my view. And maybe most readers here agree that allowing a daughter attend State U is the equivalent of the greasing up the stripper pole for her. But that’s where will will have to disagree.

    Does allowing my son to play football pose real physical risks?Yes. Is that decision therefore equivalent to hitting that same son in the head with a hammer? I think not. Does that mean I think people who won’t allow their sons to play football are crazy? No, I do not. Does that mean I am completely giving myself over to relativism, and therefor think any level of risk is just a matter of personal choice? No. I do not think that. Rather, I think that we were blessed with an ability to reason through difficult questions, and that reasonable people can come down on different places on the spectrum.

  20. Sam M writes : “Then I would re-ask the question: Should Professor Wilson remove himself from Villanova for fear of his moral well-being?”

    He would certainly be better off teaching at a school such as TAC in Cal. because that school is culturally as well as intellectually Catholic. But such schools are few and far between, so if one’s vocation is to teach at the college level then prudence must guide him to weigh all in the balance.

    A prudence with likewise informs us as parents to do as well for our children as we can. Where sometimes the best that can be done is to simply not let our children participate because the risk does outweigh the projected good.

    A prudential weighing which could have also led Prof. Wilson to forgo his vocation because the risk likewise outweighed the projected good. A prudence which Prof. Wilson used in thinking it same for his own children to attend Villanova, where as I would never consider Villanova as safe, intellectually or morally for my own children.

  21. Love the girls,

    Thank you for the response. This is just another case where folks will have to disagree. I do not think that people of good character are threatened by living near or working on a college campus of any sort. I have come to this conclusion not through hard data, which is hard to come by for such questions, but through observation. I know plenty of high character people who have worked on college campuses for many years and do not appear to have been degraded. I cannot think of a single person of high moral character who went to work on a college campus and was subsequently consumed by debauchery.

    Therefore, I know a lot of people who have survived this plague, and not a single one who has succumbed to it. Your experience might be different, and your opinion is your own. Perhaps my confidence is misplaced and Professor Wilson is in grave moral peril. Only the coming years will tell the tale.

    You speak of prudential weighing, however. And that’s exactly what I am talking about here with regard to my own kids. If two colleges are side by side and equal in every way, I will choose the one with the higher moral code. If the only difference is $5,000 in tuition, my answer would likely be the same. But let’s say they are equal but one does not offer the preferred course of study. Or one will see my kid graduate debt free versus another that will see him graduate $200,000 in debt.

    Even that will not seal the deal. If the child in question has shown himself to be easily swayed be the wrong sort of influences, I would pay a ton of extra money for the added moral dimension. If the two schools are thousands of miles away and I cannot keep a reasonably close eye on him, the same would be true. But if I have a morally resolute 18-year-old who has a strong mind and a well-developed ethical code… I honestly don’t think I have a lot to fear from a horde of harlots from Penn State.

    If I have an 18-year-old who is not morally resolute and does not have a well-developed moral code… Hillsdale isn’t going to change that.

    Most kids are in between, of course, which is why I think the right thing to do is make judgments on an individual basis.

  22. I attend the university that was just ranked (again) the #1 party school in the nation by Playboy. It also has some things of great positive value to offer in the way of academics and engagement with others from different backgrounds and with challenging points of view. There are myriad ways to navigate life at the university. To a large extent, the experience is what you choose to make of it. Self-control is one of the fruits of the spirit, and acquiring it is part of growing into real adulthood. As someone who was homeschooled K-12 in an extremely conservative home, I can’t stress this enough. Folks, the answer is not leaving the world. We are to be “in it” but not “of it” and this does not mean running in fear from major spheres of influence (medical school?). Furthermore, I can’t put into words how deeply it bothers me whenever I read that some believe it is their prerogative to control their adult children. If you even believe you should have this degree of control (nevermind whether you actually have it) it will backfire on you in some way, shape, or form. Of course, choice of financial support is a different matter.

  23. I heartily second the remarks of the wise author. Most parents DO face this very challenge; I know, being a recovering high school history teacher.
    But what about those of us who went, participated in the debauchery, and have experienced a Damascus Road moment? Since FPR roots itself in community, to what little platoon do people like go? Living in a very ungraceful part of the Bible Belt, I apparently have nowhere to go. To a Reformed fundamentalist pastor to be told I’m not saved? To parents I have to parent? Please help.

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