From my inbox, I discovered another insightful essay by our beloved Professor Carol (Reynolds). Dr. Reynolds has generously served as an Academic Advisor of the Institute and regular participant in the annual Symposium. But, more importantly, she offers a voice of reason and modesty in a time of extreme passions and overt hubris. So, when Professor Carol speaks, I lean in and listen closely.
Her June 4 essay, entitled “A Pandemic of Vitriol,” points out how an emotionally charged populace so easily deteriorates into vicious displays of outrage, eroding the basic courtesy needed to sustain social life. From her own experience, even the otherwise neutral social app nextdoor.com has become a forum of “astounding vitriol.”
Reynolds training as a music historian, specifically in the Russian context, has provided her opportunities to look at the big cultural picture within which music is composed and promulgated. And, because Reynolds looked closely at the music of the Russian experience across the 20th century, even traveling to Russia in 1981 for her doctoral research, she witnessed first-hand the destructive forces of the Bolshevik Revolution, “the dark tentacles [which] strangled the average Russian’s life.”
With the radical totalitarianism of the Russian regime as a backdrop, Professor Carol seems to suggest that the American regime is currently struggling with a radical and dangerous reorientation of our nation’s shared commitment to first principles: “The outward destruction and violence [today] are but visible manifestations of a danger that goes deeper. That danger was seeded 50-plus years ago by the inferior academic, social, and moral education that has painted so many young people into a corner.”
And, so we return to the central concern of education, which has been Professor Carol’s life’s work. I would certainly join her in praying that cooler heads will prevail—or, as she so eloquently concludes, “May we quickly see restoration of moral rectitude and wisdom in people’s actions and restraint in their tongues.”