“Dare to be True” is the motto of beautiful and stately Milton Academy, established in 1798, and located at the other end of the subway line from Harvard University. Milton prides itself on its commitment to diversity. On the school’s website there is a page titled “Embracing Diversity” which tell us: “Milton has long fostered critical thinking and has understood how important diversity is for learning.”
Whether diversity is in fact important for learning is debatable (Were Watson and Crick gender sensitive? And Pythagoras?), but assuming it is, we can ask, How is Milton doing in promoting learning?
According to the website, “Students of color, who define themselves as African-American, Asian-American, Latino, indigenous or bi/multi-racial, are 41 percent of Milton’s student body” (don’t miss “who define themselves”). Thirty-five percent receive financial aid. Faculty members of color are 19 percent of the faculty.
Milton has a number of student groups: among others, an Asia Society, a South Asian Society, a Caribbean Student Association, and a Christian Fellowship. And also GASP! (Gender and Sexuality Perspectives). “GASP! provides a safe space for LGBTQ people and their allies to discuss issues of sexual orientation and educate others, and provides support to people of all orientations.”
Clearly, Milton has embraced the trinity of identity politics: race, gender, and sexual orientation. But what about learning at Milton? Is that diverse too?
One of Milton Academy’s traditions is a War Memorial Lecture. The official description is: “The Alumni War Memorial Foundation was established in 1922 to honor those Milton Academy graduates who gave their lives in World War I. In recent years those graduates who have sacrificed their lives in subsequent wars have also been honored by the memorial.”
The last 23 of the 49 speakers have been: The Lady Barbara Ward Jackson, The Honorable Charles E. Wyzanski Jr., J. Robert Oppenheimer, Edwin O. Reischauer, Jean Mayer, Ralph Nader, William F. Buckley Jr., Ivor Richard, Lord Caradon, Lt. Gen. James M. Gavin, Soedjatmoko, Maya Angelou, Bruno Bettelheim, William Manchester, Helen Suzman, Stevan Dedijer, Amory Lovins, Oscar Arias, Togo West, Kenneth H. Bacon, David McCullough, Randall L. Kennedy, and Vivek H. Murphy.
Some of those speakers may not have been known primarily for their political views and not all may have been card-carrying liberals. But the only recognizable conservative in the entire group is, of course, William F. Buckley Jr. One out of 23. Diversity?
As part of Milton’s reunion day activities this June, the school scheduled a discussion titled: “Alumni Panel: Politics and Policy.” The listed panelists were a man who helped lead the team that challenged and overturned California’s prohibition of same-sex marriage; a man who served as executive editor of Foreign Policy and The New Republic and who was the chief foreign policy speechwriter for John Kerry; a woman who is the head of a left-leaning research and advocacy group who served in 2008 as John Edwards’ Deputy Policy Director; and a reporter for The Hive, a Vanity Fair operation. Diversity?
Just inside the front door of the library there is a stand showcasing books described by a big sign, “Milton Students / Literature to Change.” On the stand are: "Their Eyes Were Watching God," "The Michael Eric Dyson Reader," "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents," "We Should All be Feminists," "Invisible Man," "Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions," "Roots," "Everyday Sexism," "Malcolm X," "Symptoms of Being Human," "My Beloved World," "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race," "Speak," and "Men Explain Things to Me."
Eighteen books. You may not know them, but they are a veritable bible of identity politics. How much would you pay to read, or have your child read, "Symptoms of Being Human"? It’s a novel about Riley Kavanagh, who, according to the Amazon blurb, “is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl.”
Tuition at Milton is $55,410, and bright students have an excellent chance of getting into Harvard: sixteen of this year’s graduating class of 184 students are going there, more than to any other college. It’s not likely there are many Riley Kavanaghs in that group.
Can it be worth it? Who really wants to pay $221,640 for four years of gender fluidity? A whole lot of people, apparently: Milton’s acceptance rate is 16 percent.
And it’s a good guess that, with the exception of explicitly Catholic schools like Portsmouth Abbey in Newport, Rhode Island, all the other tony prep schools are just like Milton, busily preparing students to take their places among the nation’s intellectual elite, training them for diversity. And for the Resistance.
Milton’s beautiful and stately campus is far from the heartland of America. And it does not seem likely that these students will be leaders in making America great again.
Dare to be true indeed. If gender is fluid, so is truth. And what is truth, anyway? And didn’t some historical figure ask that once? Do Milton students learn who he was?
Daniel Oliver is chairman of the board of The Education and Research Institute, and a director of Citizens for the Republic, founded by Ronald Reagan in 1977, and of The Pacific Research Institute, of which he is a former chairman. During the Reagan Administration Mr. Oliver served as Chairman of the FTC and General Counsel of the Departments of Education and Agriculture. Mr. Oliver was Executive Editor and subsequently Chairman of the Board of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review. Mr. Oliver worked in William F. Buckley Jr.’s campaign for Mayor of New York City in 1965 (and ran for the New York State Assembly that year) and served as Director of Research for James L. Buckley’s successful campaign for the U. S. Senate in 1970. Mr. Oliver is a graduate of Harvard College. He served in the U. S. Army from 1959 to 1962. He can be contacted via TheCandidAmerican.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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