Education

Leftist Social-Justice Dogma Killing Liberal Arts

The Left bemoans the coming death of the liberal-arts degree, which they are responsible for killing.

Culture Beat · Dec. 20, 2018

Adam Harris recently wrote an article in The Atlantic ominously entitled, “The Liberal Arts May Not Survive the 21st Century.” Harris points to the recent announcement of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point — it plans to drop liberal-arts majors in geography, geology, French, German, two- and three-dimensional art and history — as evidence of the demise of liberal arts.

Harris, clearly impacted by his leftist sentiments, instinctively lays the blame for this growing problem at the feet of conservatives. “Governor Scott Walker released his administration’s budget proposal, which included a change to the university’s mission,” he complained. “The Wisconsin Idea would be tweaked. The ‘search for truth’ would be cut in favor of a charge to ‘meet the state’s workforce needs.’”

However, National Review’s Victor Davis Hanson places the blame not on government, nor conservatives, but on the leftist takeover of universities. Hanson writes, “Twenty years ago, John Heath and I co-authored Who Killed Homer? The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom, a failed warning that formal university study of the classical past was dying off, caught between vocationalism, or narrow specialization, and politicization of both the classics curriculum and faculty research. In other words, at the very time it was becoming necessary to offer the university a counter-argument that liberal arts do enrich the education of business and tech grads and can make them both more-aware citizens and better managers and engineers, liberal-arts faculty in so many cases narrowed their fields, employed a new off-putting jargon, and recalibrated the past in monotonous fashion as a primer on victims and victimizers. And students as a result walked, as academics killed their own field and blamed their suicide on larger sinister forces in society.”

To put it bluntly, a growing number of students simply aren’t interested in or see little value in what universities are now offering in the field of liberal arts. On top of that, the type of liberal-arts graduates that the universities are producing are, as Hanson describes, “quite confident and yet so often poorly educated,” while would-be employers are “turned off by the strange combination of youthful ignorance and arrogance.” He adds, “Employers had clearly no desire to be enlightened by fresh graduates who were entirely unaware that their inductive skills were suspect or nonexistent.”

In short, universities have brought this on themselves by caving to leftist social-justice dogma.

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