Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind elicited a storm of critical discourse regarding the condition of higher education in the United States. This essay performs a retrospective evaluation of the rhetorical modes that animated that body of discourse, suggesting that the polemical responses offered by Bloom's detractors validate his claims about the contradictory ways that openness, tolerance, and diversity are pursued in the university. Revisiting this controversy provides an opportunity for considering the ethics of the academic polemic.

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