Current/Recent Reading List

15 November 2007

An Older Issue Than I Expected

So what is the point (or perhaps main points) of having an education in a democratic society? What constitutes educational success? We've discussed this here before. Clearly, the party line (from all parties) leans toward the view that education exists to help us all "get ahead." Suffice to say, you'll never hear a politician or education bureaucrat speak about much of anything other than the most tangible practical skills acquired, so that we can compete in the modern international economy, etc., etc. What good does it do, however, if we are also turning out moral morons with no taste for exploring why we live, and why we ought to live in certain ways (check out some of the best and brightest in Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons sometime)?

The latest The New Criterion is a special issue marking the 20th anniversary of Allan Bloom's The Closing Of The American Mind (I've read Bloom's book just once, but am feeling the urge to return to it). I've just gotten started on the special issue, but loved this quote in the opening article, taken from a book Robert Hutchins wrote in the 1930's:

"The people [education academics] think that democracy means that every child should be permitted to acquire the educational insignia that will be helpful in making money. They do not believe in the cultivation of the intellect for its own sake."

Because, of course, there are no fixed truths available for cultivation anyway - right?

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