Although many of Kwinter's criticisms can be levelled at universities. It is also true that Kwinter's appeal to an self-critical society, enclave or not, resembles an ideal university: open critical discussion, stripping away of ideological and other illusions, seeing things in their true context, in a real community that fosters cognitive and behavioral adventure and refuses to take the accepted as normative.

This issue of Culture Machine applies that ideal to the university. We could indulge in condemning present institutional arrangements for not living up to their great ideals. That criticism is easy. Perhaps digital media and the wired world could help the university approach its ideals by improving communication and access to information and discussions. It's easy to imagine new kinds of seminars, new spaces for reflection and communication.

Important as that may be, it avoids the central question. Should we be criticizing, not just the institutional structures, but the ideal itself?