The subordination of marriage and family to the demands of work inverts a proper order of goods and mistakes what work is and what it is for. It is a symptom of what Josef Pieper identified as our characteristic form of acedia: the spiritual sluggishness attendant upon a world of total work, of work for the sake of work or, worse, ambition. Our college campuses spread the problem, as they make nearly impossible the soul-freeing experience of wonder, and confirm in young people the lie, that the only worthwhile achievements are those that come by hard work, and that the only young people worthy of our respect are those who devote themselves to the laborious pursuit of credentials.
Dr. Anthony Esolen is a professor at Providence College in Rhode Island, where he teaches Renaissance English Literature and Development of Western Civilization. He is a senior editor of Touchstone Magazine and the editor and translator of several epic poems, including Dante’s Divine Comedy. He holds his M.A. and PhD. in literature from the University of North Carolina. Previously he has taught at UNC and Furman University. Dr. Esolen’s recent publications include: Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (ISI Press), The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Regnery Press), and Ironies of Faith (ISI Press); and his newest work, Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child (ISI Press). He is a regular contributor to The Claremont Review, First Things, Crisis Magazine, and Touchstone Magazine, among others. Dr. Esolen has dedicated much of his career to a study of the classics and is proficient in Latin, Italian, Anglo-Saxon, French, German, and Greek. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife Debra and their two children.