Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Back to Tocqueville

After reading this blog post by Ramesh Ponnuru:
One thing that surprised me about our panel, though, was how little they dwelt on political correctness and how much they talked about another threat to the liberal arts: the tendency to view higher education purely in terms of its economic benefits. “Our age is an age of the celebration and valorization of wealth, power, influence, status, prestige," George said. "Those things are not bad in themselves, but they easily and all too often become the competition for leading an examined life.”
FLG thought of a passage from Tocqueville that he often references:
It is evident that in democratic communities the interest of individuals as well as the security of the commonwealth demands that the education of the greater number should be scientific, commercial, and industrial rather than literary. [...] A few excellent universities would do more towards the attainment of this object than a multitude of bad grammar-schools, where superfluous matters, badly learned, stand in the way of sound instruction in necessary studies.

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