October 21, 2019

A Tale of Two Professors

Professor Number One

At the university, it was a tradition that a new professor would give a public speech on a topic of his choosing prior to teaching his first class. And so the young man with a degree in philosophy arrived at the school with great excitement and expectation.

He was a devout Catholic and had written many books and articles defending the teachings of the Catholic Church. At a previous college, he would, when appropriate, place a theological viewpoint into his lectures. At the same time, he kept politics out of the classroom but wrote openly about his conservative views.

As he headed toward the auditorium, he was stopped by the dean of the university, who said, “Professor, you cannot give your lecture. There is a fierce demonstration going on against you. It might lead to bloodshed.”

The professor replied, “I must give my talk, and I shall give it. You understand that if I give in today, those who oppose me will repeat the show, and I shall never be able to teach at the university.”

A few minutes later, the man in charge of security at the university told the professor, “You will give your lecture. I have just called out forty-eight armed policemen, who will take care of the troublemakers and remove them from the lecture hall.” Escorted by the police, the professor delivered his lecture without incident.

Shorty thereafter, the professor learned that the demonstration had been planned by a majority of his colleagues. In fact, they had encouraged their students to come to the lecture with clubs in order to attack the new professor.

Over the next three years at the university, when he would enter the faculty lounge, his leftist colleagues would refuse to shake his hand or would simply turn their backs on him and act as if he were invisible. It was a difficult position to be in, but he persevered.

Professor Number Two

He had been a professor at a Catholic college for twenty-six years and was tenured in the Humanities department. He was a noted translator of The Divine Comedy and had written many books, one of which focused on the need for a Catholic world view to restore American culture. His classes were popular, and many students praised his knowledge of classic literature.

Like many professors, he supplemented his income by writing articles for various magazines. This gave him an opportunity to spread his views outside the confines of the classroom. However, two articles would change his life.

In the first article, the professor challenged the school’s “diversity” program and what it actually meant:

What comes from Tucson, written in English by an Hispanic author for a current audience, counts as Hispanic. What comes from Spain, written in Spanish for a Spanish audience four hundred years ago, does not count as Hispanic. Learning the Semitic language known as modern Arabic counts. Learning the Semitic language known as ancient Hebrew does not.

The professor also pointed out the beautiful real diversity that has existed in the Catholic Church for two-thousand years. Many cultures are incorporated into the Church where a true, unified community is created.

Modern diversity, however, only separates people.

In the second article, the professor again attacked the college’s diversity program with regard to the “diverse” groups on campus that practice and promote various abnormal sexual lifestyles. His key question was, how can a Catholic college, under the guise of “diversity,” support groups that spit in the face of Catholic teaching? For this point of view, the professor was vilified by some students and faculty members for his “racist, xenophobic, misogynist, homophobic, and religiously chauvinistic statements.” Many wanted him fired.

In an email to five-thousand students, the university president admitted that the professor was protected by freedom of speech, but he added, “. . . he speaks only for himself. He certainly does not speak for me, my administration, or for many others [at the school] who understand and value diversity in a very different sense from him.”

The professor instantly recognized that he had been libeled and that his reputation on campus had been destroyed.

As one can see, both professors were persecuted for their orthodoxy and their willingness to challenge the Zeitgeist of their day.

So who were these Catholic heroes? The first was Dietrich von Hildebrand. His trials took place at the University of Vienna in the mid-1930s. Although Hildebrand had once taught in Germany, he was forced to move to Austria because the Nazis were plotting to assassinate him because of his outspoken condemnation of Nazism. But after the Anschluss, the Nazis controlled Austria, and Hildebrand had to flee in order to save his life. After many close calls, he was able to escape to the United States, where he taught philosophy at Fordham University. He died in 1977.

The second professor is Anthony Esolen, of Providence College. Esolen did not face assassination threats after his articles upset the snowflakes at the school. However, he could read the writing on the wall: diversity would destroy the college. So, he resigned his position and took a faculty position at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire.

When asked why this college was so easy to choose, he gave the following response:

. . . Thomas More College is a sound and sweet and wise place that deserves the prayers, the attention, and the support, financial and otherwise, of every Catholic who wishes to see culture–the real thing, not its mass-produced counterfeit–restored in America; culture in general, and a vibrant Catholic life in particular.

Esolen did not flee for his physical life, but he fled to save his intellectual and moral life.

With regard to Hildebrand, someone may argue that the threats against his life could not happen today. After all, that was over eighty years ago and involved the hated Nazis. But how many professors in American colleges today have lost their jobs for not being politically correct? How many have been prevented from expressing their views in a public forum and have been shouted down by screaming students? How many speakers would have suffered physical harm by the likes of Antifa and other fascist groups had not security escorted them away to safety?

The Nazis used violent protests to intimidate dissenters. When that tactic did not work, they would simply turn to murder. But that could not happen in America today, you say. Would you bet your life on it?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Written by
Thomas Addis

THOMAS ADDIS is a retired high school teacher and published author, most recently authoring a children's book, A Gift of Light, which is available at Amazon. An M.A. graduate of Oakland University, he is Associate Editor of Catholic Journal. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and cycling.

View all articles
Written by Thomas Addis
Click to access the login or register cheese