Cover Letter for Video: Bari Weiss and Her Battles In the Culture Wars

30 January 2023

In its corporate charter, The Generals Redoubt (TGR) is charged to “administer and expend funds for the following educational purposes;” among these is “to engage in other charitable and educational activity as determined by the board of directors to preserve the history, values and traditions of Washington & Lee University and its Named Founders.”

Among the traditional educational purposes of the University is to teach its students the benefits of free and open inquiry and viewpoint diversity, with an emphasis on developing critical thinking skills.  It is also a tradition to encourage the faculty in the pursuit and practice of academic freedom.  Arguably, these are the key collective values at the heart of academic community campus life.

In consideration of these traditions, we believe it is important to keep a close eye on the potential cultural context in which these goals are pursued.  This means that from time to time, TGR will circulate articles or videos that we feel can make a worthwhile contribution to this discussion.  And in the process, we would value hearing your reactions and publishing your responses, with you choosing to self-attribute or remain anonymous.

Today we are pleased to provide a link to a YouTube presentation that is labeled Bari Weiss on Post-Mainstream Media Life and Her Battles in the Cultural Wars.  She is interviewed, likely in mid-year 2022, by Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institution, which is headquartered on the campus of Stanford University but operated independently.  It runs for approximately an hour.

We were inspired to present this piece after coming upon a quotation from Plato’s Republic in which we have chosen to equate its reference to “youth” or “a young and tender thing” or “children” to include undergraduate students at Washington and Lee or other comparable institutions of higher learning.  Here it is.

“You know that the beginning is the most important part of any work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression is more readily taken…. Shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales which may be devised by casual persons, and to receive into their minds ideas for the most part the very opposite of those which we should wish them to have when they are grown up?

“We cannot…. Anything received into the mind at that age is likely to become indelible and unalterable; and therefore, it is most important that the tales which the young first hear should be models of virtuous thoughts….

“Then will our youth dwell in the land of health, amid fair sights and sounds, and receive the good in everything; and beauty, the effluence of fair works, shall flow into the eye and ear, like a health-giving breeze from a purer region, and insensibly draw the soul from the earliest years into likeness and sympathy with the beauty of reason.

“There can be no nobler training than that.”

Enjoy the interview and please send your thoughts to:

Tom Rideout
Thomas P. Rideout, President
The Generals Redoubt
Preserving Our History, Assuring the Future 

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