27th November 2012
In an age of rising sticker prices, low graduation rates, increasing enrollment by non-traditional students, dim job prospects, and weak learning outcomes, many students, parents, academic administrators, and politicians are asking whether a degree in History or English is worth the effort and expense. The answer is not clear: to mention one complication, liberal arts graduates have higher initial unemployment rates than graduates in vocational fields, but appear to earn more at mid-career. The question itself, however, is not going to go away.
Like the term ‘liberal’, the term ‘liberal arts’ has become perverted over time.
It used to be that ‘liberal arts’ referred to familiarity with what was best in current civilization, the ability to ponder questions in the widest of contexts, informed by the accumulated wisdom of the ages and the mental tools that had been honed by thousands of years of expert use.
Nowadays, however, ‘liberal arts’ means indoctrination with the currently fashionable Politically Correct worldview, in which critical thinking is encouraged only when it is critical of Those Other People, the ones who decline to Get With The Program.
So the answer, which used to be Yes, is today No.