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By Dr. Donald DeMarco, Catholic Exchange, May 6, 2022

Dr. Donald DeMarco is Professor Emeritus, St. Jerome’s University and Adjunct Professor at Holy Apostles College. …


When Fyodor Dostoevsky sent the manuscript of his celebrated novel, Crime and Punishment, to the publisher, he included a brief note.  “This is the story,” he wrote, “of a university student who is infected by ideas that float on the wind”.  There are three things this brief message conveys that are worth amplifying.  One is the vulnerability of university students to pernicious ideas.  The second is how such ideas, “floating on the wind,” are either difficult or unlikely to be recognized for the harm that they bring.  In Book III of the Republic, Plato explains that when the mind is infected by something alien, one of the most serious impairments that results is the mind’s inability to know that it is infected.  “Vice cannot know virtue too,” he writes,” but a virtuous nature, educated in time, will acquire a knowledge both of virtue and vice:  the virtuous, and not the vicious man has wisdom” (409d).  Likewise, a thoroughly dishonest man cannot recognize an honest one because he has no pattern of honesty within himself. …

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