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Education For Liquid Modernity

A great e-mail from a reader:

Had a very interesting conversation with a guy at my church today whose daughter babysits our children, about their problems with things they ran into in education (curriculum and content), and the alternatives they’re pursuing. The universities no longer have any claim to learning and are just running short of credibility with people like this family, and they really are just dropping out and pursuing other ways to get degrees – online and independent study, low-residence things, all sorts. The kids of theirs pursuing something technical like nursing or engineering, of course, have to attend an accredited program, but with liberal arts, you really don’t have to — and in his opinion are better off if you don’t.

The two of the four of his kids I’ve met are just quality young people. All of theirs were homeschooled, and the two I know are confident, competent, and responsible.

Even with some apprehension, they tried sending a couple to large public universities in our state, and they ran into the sort of radical Left-leaning agenda that we see on so many campuses, and it pushed them away. The really respectable part about that is that it was their kids’ judgment and decision a couple of different occasions to switch programs, even schools. Liberal Arts programs though, they’re just done in this family’s opinion, just utterly destroyed by this stuff, though they still see so much value in what they should be teaching. English departments, from what I can tell, don’t just teach literature any more without this huge overlay of critical theory and an obsessive focus on the race and gender element – and this is in Shakespeare classes, I can’t imagine newer works. One of his daughters started as an English major at a large state university, and ended up switching — even if that meant losing some scholarship money, but with her Dad’s blessing – after the sort of junk they were having them read. After one semester the daughter was distraught and decided to give it one more — was slated to take some sort of course that was supposed to be about children’s books for future teachers, and sure enough, front and center was tons of stuff — for kids — about gay and lesbian families and gender fluidity on the syllabus. She just quit the program, changed majors and decided if she wanted to read, she didn’t need to sit through these awful lectures about their social agenda, all under the guise of “inclusivity”. (And If you want to see the future of English departments, go look at a large university’s website where they show the Ph.D. Thesis topics of future professors).

This dad just told me straight up, “We’ve invested too much into our girls to send them to a university that is actively trying to undermine and undo everything we tried to do right.” It’s true. I have a long way to go before we have to think about this, but I’m more and more mistrustful of public education, especially when I think about what teachers in my very progressive city school districts will be teaching. Even now, with our toddlers, there arw bilingual and math pre-schools here friends of mine have kids in, and I’m interested, but just skeptical of all the other non-sense that comes with it.

This, I think, is the whole problem with public education, that public schools don’t just teach math, science, reading, and writing any more, it’s been co-opted by the Left to push a social agenda, and people like me are just not going to go along with it. It’s not like my small town where my friends’ parents were on the school board, and most of our teachers were probably at least church-goers. My parents didn’t have to worry about this, and didn’t see the school as potentially adversarial, we all had the same general values of respect for adults, showing up on time, completing work, and teaching an agreed upon set of knowledge. The pro-gay marriage and ‘non-judgmental’ attitudes about all permutations of gender and sexuality, I expect, will just be in the water. I think I’ve said this before, but I’m surprised we haven’t had more of a clash so far with public universities and conservative state legislatures. My guess is that legislators aren’t aware of what exactly is being taught.

I’m committed to getting my kids a decent education, but not at the price of sacrificing their character. And more and more the people I see that have followed that model have benefited from it, and even if their kids aren’t getting the accolades and getting to go to prom, they’re going on to live really thoughtful, meaningful lives as adults, or at least have a shot at it.

I see too many examples of people that didn’t think about this stuff, trusted the education system and culture, and their kids are doubting their faith. And in this good example of these faithful, competent young people, they definitely have a vigilant dad, who I’m going to be seeking out for lots of advice and see as an example.

This to me is the heart of what you’re articulating as the Benedict Option, people who just can’t go along with the mainstream culture having to be a little bit more vigilant and creative so that the culture — and now unfortunately institutions of public education – don’t undo everything you’ve tried to do right, in critical thinking, character, and in behavior.

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91 Comments To "Education For Liquid Modernity"

#1 Comment By Tyro On December 5, 2017 @ 9:38 am

The funny thing is that conservatives keep saying that the solution to this is to insist on traditional liberal arts curriculums with a grounding in western civilization. That was their approach when establishing St. John’s College and Patrick Henry College. The end result is you end up with a bunch of well educated liberals.

Business studies, science and economics, for example, can sit uneasily with a religious sensibility.

Conservatives generally feel uncomfortable and unhappy in the sciences. It provides no clear answers and focuses on how to discover small mysteries waiting to be unraveled, and you work may or may no succeed, and there is no clear economic benefit.

Conservatives gravitate towards both business and engineering. Because those are about training, not education. Economics is good for the smarter conservative crowd because it teaches people how to be sociopaths.

Once again, if you want to cultivate the conservative youth of tomorrow, you need to stop thinking you’re going to do that by going back to “traditional liberal arts.” The backbone of the conservative movement will never be made up of literature and history scholars from Christian colleges. You simply cannot inculcate conservatism by taking a small down Christian and exposing him to the thousands of years of different ideas from around the world.

The backbone of the conservative movement will always be the people who major in business, communications, and education in state colleges.

#2 Comment By justanerd On December 5, 2017 @ 9:38 am

On the other hand, a very long time ago, I went to a small Southern, liberal arts, church affiliated college that ranks high on lists for its conservatism. I loved my Bible classes and went on evangelistic campaigns. Interestingly, it gave me the tools to move away from fundamentalism and become theologically liberal and politically moderate. I sometimes wonder if I would have stayed more conservative if I had gone to a state school?

#3 Comment By Youknowho On December 5, 2017 @ 9:50 am

Alas, while classrooms and academic settings can be needed for the sciences (they have the labs), when it comes the humanities, it is better to learn by yourself. John Lukacs, the historian, derides those who think that only those with academic degrees can write history – and tells how many great history books were written by amateurs (like Churchill). I never got a degree in history, but I know how to dig information, and how to do research. And my guiding muse is Miss Marple (“what does this remind me of?”)

Given a good library, a search engine, and curiosity, you can learn all you need to know.

#4 Comment By Violet On December 5, 2017 @ 9:54 am

I went to the Baylor Great Texts Program and never had a liberal-agenda-pushing teacher my entire stay, so there’s hope! The problem is that if we religious conservatives don’t get accredited degrees, we can’t go back and teach in the same public schools, as my husband and I are, to try to change the culture.

#5 Comment By Chris On December 5, 2017 @ 9:58 am

In the protestant world, there are places like Grove City College, Wheaton, LeTourneau, Covenant, Patrick Henry, Liberty, Biola, Bob Jones, etc

Wheaton is hardly a conservative academic institution, and certainly not in the same category as Bob Jones, Liberty or Patrick Henry.

#6 Comment By Bernie Bridges On December 5, 2017 @ 9:59 am

Our eldest attended public school K-12. As a result of some issues that became crystal clear to us in his senior year, we have homeschooled our remaining six children ever since.

One issue was the school play. His school chose to perform “Kiss Me Kate” by Cole Porter. This was a gay-feminist critique of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew,” and our son performed essentially a strip-tease praising the virtues of the Kinsey report. Dreadful propaganda.

Now fast forward seven years and our middle-school daughter asked to be a part of the school play, which is by law available in our state for homeschoolers. We allowed it, as try-outs did not announce the title of the play. It turns out the play was “Anything Goes,” also by Cole Porter. Our 13 year-old was only in the ensemble, but she did clearly find the play to be “dirty and embarrassing.”

Both of these plays are indicative of the values the modern school system is trying to push on its students. Shakespeare was, according to them, a misogynistic old white man, and Christ was really just a person who said that judging other people is the only sin. In other words, anything goes, and if you disagree, you’re a hypocrite and a bigot.

Ultimately, I do not think the solution however is to completely isolate one’s progeny from the realities of the Bohemian revolution. Rather, I think that a real classical education is protective of these corrosive influences. Our eldest went to college to study political science, and I worked really hard to help him to choose a school that would give him a solid foundation. He ended up in a conservative program that focusses on a classical education. The numbers-crunching form of political science is all fine and good, but it tends to lack content and perspicacity. Same with a pure STEM curriculum. I know plenty of losers with Ivy-league degrees in science who don’t have a clue of what it means to be a human being. This is not to knock science or math, but a nothing-but-STEM education tends to create liberal zombies who latch onto over-simplistic ideals.

One of the dangers of homeschooling is becoming a helicopter parent who tries to control every aspect of the children’s lives. There are two antidotes that I can see to this problem. First, provide a solid classical education. Read the Greeks, the Romans, and real literature. Kids actually love real literature, and they don’t like the watered-down children’s curricula with an agenda. Our kids actually hated some of the Catholic curricula provided by one of the more conservative homeschool providers. But they love the classical curriculum purveyed by another Catholic homeschool provider. Truth: with some eclectic exposure, most kids are able to recognize propaganda–whether it’s Catholic or liberal-progressive. And they tend to hate it! I suppose I’m a bit repetitive here. The second and main point is that a good classical education will open the children’s eyes–you can trust them to explore the world because they will do so with open eyes. Sure, look for a good conservative school. Hillsdale might be an example. Others are available, if you are cautious. Might I suggest the Ashbrook Scholars Program at Ashland Univ., not the most prestigious, but a solid program in an otherwise average school?

#7 Comment By jamie On December 5, 2017 @ 10:05 am

A liberal arts degree even from an accredited school is good for getting a job stacking boxes in Walmart.

That’s not fair, a lot of LA majors go into marketing, human resources and administrative work. It’s not uncommon to do an LA degree before getting an MBA or doubling in LA while doing pre-law or pre-med. LA majors deal with clients, that’s really what it trains you for.

Tolerance of homosexuality and the trad bugaboos being essential to doing all of these jobs. If you’re an account exec at an ad agency and you share a negative opinion of homosexuality with a client who happens to be gay, you’re probably fired, period. For money reasons, not political ones.

Strike that- if you are not accomodating and enthusiastic toward your coworkers and clients, your career will be quite limited. If you’re working in a studio and a supervisor assigns you to, say, a TV show with a gay executive and several gay characters, your mind had better be right. Which is not to say you have you even have to believe in it or like it, you just have to be able speak about the issue critically in a way that acknowleges everybody in the room is a complete and orderly human being. If you adhere to the belief that most of the human race is broken and filthy, there are a lot of public- and client-facing jobs you simply won’t be able to do.

It’s been observed that social conservatives appear inordinately often already in STEM professions, with a heavy emphasis on engineering — this is referred to as the Salem Hypothesis. This may be because these professions have an ideology of certainty that the humanities simply do not offer. It may also be because these careers minimize the contact the practicioners have with human beings, or at least it gives them more control over who they will interact with.

#8 Comment By James Kabala On December 5, 2017 @ 10:19 am

I am well aware, but is still a term more likely to confuse than to enlighten. Maybe it more sense in the original Polish. (I am not fluent or anywhere close in the tongue of my forefathers.)

#9 Comment By James Kabala On December 5, 2017 @ 10:56 am

Chris: I hope you realized the earlier poster meant Wheaton (IL), not Wheaton (MA). If you did know that, do you have any details as to why Wheaton does not meet your standards?

(Which is a problem with the whole discussion. For some posters the standards are so strict that even Anything Goes is controversial; for others that would seem overly strict by far.)

#10 Comment By Eliavy On December 5, 2017 @ 11:41 am

Thomas Hobbes says (December 5, 2017 at 2:53 am):

Thanks! I think those all popped up 20 years ago when I was in college too. Of course students were expected to poke holes in all of those as well as before we moved on. Was it taught as dogma to you instead?

——————————————

Thankfully, I did not have to learn critical theory as dogma; it was taught neutrally while learning the different schools of criticism. I did spend some time learning it well enough to identify it, understand it, and use it.

While I did benefit from learning critical theory in terms of understanding the root of some of the ideas on the ascendant in our culture, discovering these ways of thinking was one of the most profoundly depressing experiences in my life. My enthusiasm about grad school waned when I saw how many questions there were about Derrida on the English GRE. Literature is far more interesting to me than shallow critical theory would allow.

To this day, my brain randomly churns out, “That tower is phallic imagery!” or “That shot of the buttocks of women in bikinis is feeding into the male gaze.”

#11 Comment By Dan Lo Pan On December 5, 2017 @ 11:57 am

What, because Shakespeare wrote it, we can’t criticize the treatment of domestic abuse in Taming of the Shrew?

#12 Comment By Skip Rigney On December 5, 2017 @ 11:58 am

I’ll just say amen to those who have pointed out the limitations and dangers of getting a liberal arts degree in 21st century secular U.S. universities (and probably most other universities in the developed world). The economy is going to create a lot more–and, I mean a lot more–jobs for engineers, computer programmers, and statisticians/data analysts than jobs for liberal arts majors. And, as many commenters have pointed out, the training for these professions is not amenable to politicization. I use the word “training” rather than “education,” even though to receive the best training in these technical areas still means going to a university and earning a degree (or degrees). I’m a huge proponent that we need an educated citizenry with in-depth exposure to the arts, especially literature, philosophy, religion, and theology. That includes citizens who are data analysts, computer scientists, engineers, and wellness scientists. But, it is far better that they (and, in fact, the vast majority of us) make that education a life-long pursuit and avocation using the enormous resources now at our disposal (online courses and lectures, self-directed reading, etc.) rather than getting a B.A. in a liberal arts field from a university that has been overtaken by the various pathologies discussed in this post. Let’s encourage the young to (a) get degrees that will lead to employment, and (b) point them to the incredible resources that have become available to receive a top-notch “liberal arts” education without getting a college degree from a liberal arts college.

#13 Comment By catbird On December 5, 2017 @ 12:23 pm

The very first comment in the thread says ” I just finished rereading Moby-Dick. The riches in great books are endless. But you won’t learn that from most of my colleagues in the humanities & social sciences.”

I don’t know exactly how “just a prof” reads Moby Dick, but if you don’t race front and center in Melville’s reading of the Pequod, and through it of America, well, I think you are grossly traducing what Melville intended to write.

and let’s not even bring up Melville’s attitude towards traditional theism.

Profs pounding in arguments about the blindness and brutality inherent in unquestioned racial hierarchy and a world created by an unjust, or uncaring God–that’s just responsible reading of the text in question. Not quite as in your face as in “Benito Cereno” but it’s there. So if you read Moby Dick and you think it’s affirming of your values as a conservative home schooled kid, I just think you aren’t getting it.

Which is one reason why I’ve always been ambivalent about Melville.

#14 Comment By Chris On December 5, 2017 @ 12:37 pm

Chris: I hope you realized the earlier poster meant Wheaton (IL), not Wheaton (MA). If you did know that, do you have any details as to why Wheaton does not meet your standards?

I did. I am very familiar with Wheaton (IL). The faculty is largely made up of liberal mainline Protestants and social justice concerns, pro-immigration, gay rights, gender issues, etc are at the forefront of the student body’s discussion and concerns.

I didn’t say anything about my standards, just that Wheaton is not actually the conservative evangelical institution that it markets itself to its donors as being.

#15 Comment By Jesse On December 5, 2017 @ 12:38 pm

The reasons why even conservative states have liberals school is simple – even if they attempted to equalize the number of conservative and liberal teachers, they’d quickly run out of conservatives, thanks to nearly forty years of the children of conservatives being told to get a “useful degree” and more importantly, it’d be difficult to find conservatives willing to teach for the low amount the conservative state would likely be offering.

You want a conservative takeover of various state schools in say, Wyoming? Actually pay for it.

#16 Comment By Will Harrington On December 5, 2017 @ 12:39 pm

Kwill

it’s strange that you have seen a fairly even mix of liberal and conservative faculty after living much of your life on college campuses when most polls of college and university faculty shows that the conservatives are greatly outnumbered by the liberals. I won’t posit an explanation, just comment that your experience seems to be unusual based on the research that has been conducted.

#17 Comment By JonF On December 5, 2017 @ 1:02 pm

I’m left wondering if Bernie Bates is a sort of clever troll. “Kiss Me Kate” was written in the 1940s and it is not remotely a “gay and feminist” work. I can’t see anyone seriously objecting to it unless their views are so far out in the fever swamps they also think if you play a Beetles record backward you’ll hear a message from Satan.

#18 Comment By Funbud On December 5, 2017 @ 1:13 pm

“It turns out the play was “Anything Goes,” also by Cole Porter. Our 13 year-old was only in the ensemble, but she did clearly find the play to be “dirty and embarrassing.”

I guess a “glimpse of stocking” is still pretty shocking for some. “Anything Goes” premiered in 1934.

#19 Comment By Richard M On December 5, 2017 @ 1:38 pm

Tyro,

That was their approach when establishing St. John’s College and Patrick Henry College. The end result is you end up with a bunch of well educated liberals.

On the other hand, see Thomas Aquinas College, which was also erected as a Great Books program. But its (determinedly orthodox) Catholic sectarian mission allowed it to escape the kind of drift you are identifying in St John’s and Patrick Henry.

#20 Comment By BadReligion On December 5, 2017 @ 2:07 pm

First, Angolo, why are you suggesting that only women ought to be dropping out of their careers and such to rear children?

Second, I’m glad that some of the commenters have pointed out that there’s good reason to be looking critically at, and reading different works than, literature by white (usually hetero) males.

I’m not sure why that’s referred to as, among other things, “garbage.”

#21 Comment By brians On December 5, 2017 @ 3:51 pm

College is a racket, especially these 30k a year “conservative” liberal arts schools. Hey, junior, go to a good school so you can be a sprocket in the global corporatist machine, and blow your brains out in your cubicle by the time you’re 35.

Educate for homecoming. Only the subsistence farm can preserve a free society.

#22 Comment By genotypical On December 5, 2017 @ 3:53 pm

In the protestant world, there are places like Grove City College, Wheaton, LeTourneau, Covenant, Patrick Henry, Liberty, Biola, Bob Jones, etc…

Of course, at a number of those places (e.g. Biola or Liberty) there is a tradeoff–you will be taught creationism instead of real biology/astronomy/geology, which is a problem for all students, not just those interested in the sciences.

#23 Comment By Matjaž Horvat On December 5, 2017 @ 5:13 pm

@Tyro:

Perhaps it may have something to do with the fact that 50% of professors are willing to discriminate against religious conservatives?

Source: [1]

Just take a look at this example, and then tell me if it’s really all about self-selection: [2]

And this Socratic gem: [3]

#24 Comment By Matjaž Horvat On December 5, 2017 @ 6:34 pm

P.S.: Also, this:

“Conservatives generally feel uncomfortable and unhappy in the sciences”

is downright bizarre. Newton, Linneaus, Bacon, Galileo, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle, Steno, Faraday, Joule, Mendel, Pasteur, Kelvin, Maxwell, were all devout, conservative Christians.

#25 Comment By TR On December 5, 2017 @ 8:01 pm

Re: To one of the commenters above: Philosophers don’t “reject” other philosophies. No discipline is more aware of all of its predecessors than philosophy. (And that includes theology.)

As for critical theory: As I have said before, Derrida was passé even before the nineties were over.

My main problem with the comments is that those who are most vociferous are obviously looking for a “conservative” (read: religious fundamentalist) school which will teach the “gospel truth.” Friends, that is not the same as critical thinking.

#26 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On December 5, 2017 @ 9:50 pm

What, because Shakespeare wrote it, we can’t criticize the treatment of domestic abuse in Taming of the Shrew?

It is neither productive nor edifying to determine that Shakespeare is a contemptible bigot, so its not really worth reading his stuff anymore except to denounce it.

It is both fair and useful to examine common cultural standards for men and women at the time Shakespeare lived, how he reflected or challenged those norms, and to what extent those norms continue to be reflected today. It might also be useful, if politically incorrect, to examine if there are patterns of behavior in the world today that are analogous to those of “the shrew,” and how we in our modern enlightened age deal with similar anti-social traits.

Then, even if we would never act like that, perhaps its worth sitting back and enjoying the play.

#27 Comment By Tyro On December 5, 2017 @ 11:15 pm

On the other hand, see Thomas Aquinas College, which was also erected as a Great Books program.

One of my friends went there. I will have to ask her about it. That said, as far as I know, she is not a movement conservative.

is downright bizarre. Newton, Linneaus, Bacon, Galileo, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle, Steno, Faraday, Joule, Mendel, Pasteur, Kelvin, Maxwell, were all devout, conservative Christians.

None of them would qualify as movement conservatives or evangelicals. Every single one of them with the exception of Kepler, who was Lutheran, was either Catholic or Anglican.

Modern conservatism prioritizes a few things: living both close to home and/or in a distant exurb, not associating with academic scholars, high earning potential, and early earning potential in order to marry young. An extension of these are that the job must provide some social esteem. All of that is incompatible with the sciences. The added problem of repeatedly coming up with ideas which may or may not work is a further impediment: if it doesn’t “pay off,” then it’s worthless. Finally, science is essentially a public trust– it depends on public funding and a culture that prioritizes it. The values of modern conservatism are explicitly against that.

#28 Comment By jamie On December 6, 2017 @ 12:28 am

What, because Shakespeare wrote it, we can’t criticize the treatment of domestic abuse in Taming of the Shrew?

A live dispute in Taming is wether or not we’re supposed to take the presentation as literal or objective. The play is presented, in full form, with an induction scene where the play is not Shakespeare’s, but is a tale related by the character Christopher Sly; thus the audience and Shakespeare have enough distance from the material to either treat it as critiquing Katherine or ironically affirming her, and attacking the attitude of the drunkard Sly. In any event actresses have found a lot of room in the final monologue to make it say whatever they want it to say.

Eliavy-

As best I could figure, the major educational goal of learning to read and understand the great works of literature has boiled down to training people to see exclusively who is oppressing whom and which famous literary characters or authors were secretly gay.

Your comment reminds me of [4]

The course will focus on the grammar, logic, and rhetoric of cinema and how film can be used to specifically deliver information, shape thoughts, form our affections, and influence culture.

This is not a program for a “classical” approach to film criticism, it is, in fact, post-structuralist. It’s everywhere! Conservatives are pretty sharp deconstructionists when it comes to figuring out who is oppressing Christians, and which cultural institutions are covertly anti-western, anti-white, whatever. Conservative critique was a lot more clever when Marcuse or Barthes were doing it the first time, mutates mutandis.

The economy is going to create a lot more–and, I mean a lot more–jobs for engineers, computer programmers, and statisticians/data analysts than jobs for liberal arts majors.

It really is a great time to be alive. In previous times, you had to be independently wealthy and dedicate years of your life to become a dilettante. Now you can TRAIN for it!

#29 Comment By Eliavy On December 6, 2017 @ 1:41 am

jamie says (December 6, 2017 at 12:28 am):

Your comment reminds me of this…

The course will focus on the grammar, logic, and rhetoric of cinema and how film can be used to specifically deliver information, shape thoughts, form our affections, and influence culture.

This is not a program for a “classical” approach to film criticism, it is, in fact, post-structuralist. It’s everywhere! Conservatives are pretty sharp deconstructionists when it comes to figuring out who is oppressing Christians, and which cultural institutions are covertly anti-western, anti-white, whatever. Conservative critique was a lot more clever when Marcuse or Barthes were doing it the first time, mutates mutandis.

———————————–

I’m attempting to find the oppression dynamic in the example cited here and don’t see it. I do not have a solid opinion one way or another on how common deconstruction is in Christian educational circles, but the quote does not appear to focus on oppression or the unreliability of language. The passive voice may allude to propagandistic power dynamics, but it’s hard to argue with the presupposition that what goes in is often what comes out, regardless of the creator’s intent.

We are all shaped by the water in which we swim in profound ways. It wouldn’t shock me at all if deconstruction has infested Christian thought. How often do American Christians have culture shock between the City of God and the City of Man, anyway?

#30 Comment By JonF On December 6, 2017 @ 6:29 am

Re: None of them would qualify as movement conservatives or evangelicals

Newton, though Christian of a sort, was not at all “conservative” or “orthodox”. He denied the Trinity and dabbled in occultist things we would probably classify as New Age Superstition today.

#31 Comment By mdc On December 6, 2017 @ 6:53 am

Tyro: “The funny thing is that conservatives keep saying that the solution to this is to insist on traditional liberal arts curriculums with a grounding in western civilization. That was their approach when establishing St. John’s College and Patrick Henry College. The end result is you end up with a bunch of well educated liberals.”

Richard M: “…allowed [Thomas Aquinas] to escape the kind of drift you are identifying in St John’s”

St. John’s was not founded by political conservatives, it doesn’t particularly produce liberal graduates, and it hasn’t drifted.

#32 Comment By Potato On December 6, 2017 @ 9:33 am

Lawyers need a good LA degree from a respected school to get into a good law school. There are very few to no alternative routes, at least at the present time. Doctors, a version of the same, but with an emphasis on science. A smart, talented kid who is prepared to work hard will do well in either profession.

Unless his or her parents are wedded to the idea that doing some correspondence school thingy is good enough.

The very best law schools are not very interested in undergraduate programs in “pre-law.” They want a solid, regular, Liberal Arts degree with good grades from a selective school and a nice, high LSAT score. We have found that a broad beginning is the best foundation.

A Bible-school creationist (egocentrism too? Why not flat earth even?) background in “science” will not be helpful to someone who wants to become a physician. If our lives depend on science, we want good science.

If you want your kid to be a subsistence farmer you can ignore most or all of this. I

#33 Comment By Potato On December 6, 2017 @ 9:35 am

I meant “geocentrism” not “egocentrism” although there are some who think they are synonymous.

#34 Comment By James Kabala On December 6, 2017 @ 9:40 am

Faraday actually belonged to a small denomination called the Sandemanians who had at least similarities to modern evangelicals. Kelvin was a Presbyterian. I assume (but am not sure) that Linnaeus must have also been a Lutheran.

#35 Comment By mdc On December 6, 2017 @ 10:24 am

Tyro: “Conservatives keep saying that the solution to this is to insist on traditional liberal arts curriculums with a grounding in western civilization. That was their approach when establishing St. John’s College and Patrick Henry College. The end result is you end up with a bunch of well educated liberals.”

Richard H: “But [Thomas Aquinas’] … escaped the kind of drift you are identifying in St John’s”

St. John’s was not founded by conservatives, nor does it produce particularly liberal alumni, nor has it drifted.

#36 Comment By TR On December 6, 2017 @ 3:42 pm

Eliavy: the tower as phallic image is a holdover from Freud. In the good old days before naughty Derrida came along, there was always at least one Freudian and one Jungian in every graduate class.

#37 Comment By mdc On December 6, 2017 @ 4:16 pm

sorry for the double post

#38 Comment By anon_parent On December 7, 2017 @ 2:51 pm

@Rhys — it was interesting to learn of your background.

I was an evangelical pursuing graduate humanities studies in Ireland & the UK in the late 80s/early 90s. I thought critiquing the critique was great sport, such as pointing out that to assert that we all actually exist inside an ideological hall of mirrors requires being outside of it to make what is in essence a universal Truth Claim — a postmodern no-no –and so forth.

Later it was my hope to raise an offspring who could go and do likewise by the time they reached university. It has been greatly humbling to not achieve this and instead have a child who is pretty conformist to today’s ideological obsessions — partly because the cultural support for radical subjectivity is much more intense.

Although I will admit that even they have moderated on some things thanks to extremism by leftist tweeter users and others.

#39 Comment By Free Speech Advocate On December 7, 2017 @ 3:35 pm

When I read many of these “it ain’t so bad” comments, I wonder, are folks that uninformed of the ongoing meltdown and strife on American campuses: Fires burning at UC Berkeley, the erstwhile home of the free speech movement!

Higher ed adminstrators and faculty impress me as ironically so unself-aware of their own privileged seclusion that they were caught totally flat-footed when their (paternalistic) admissions policies about marginalized students came back to bit them in the butt. (And I say this as a conservative who lived among the socio-economically “marginalized.”)

Who will ever forget the Yale “master” being screamed at by an African-American female student? Why wasn’t she grateful to receive what they offered, Yale wondered? Well, in part, because she was taught by them through today’s interpretive grid that they are her oppressors. And, moreover, her voice wasn’t represented in the canon in the first place. Why send your own kid into that mess?

The Proverbs say that “the fool tears down their own house” and so it might be with a lot of secular US academia — not to mention the unsustainable economics of the whole enterprise for parents and students which might bring about the demise of the under-endowed.

For now, many Christian colleges, frankly, strike me as either too fundy or too beholden to the “Intellectual Respectability Club.” And that’s if their sports program hasn’t already discredited their faith-witness (looking at you Baylor.)

But as one commenter rightly noted: these institutions are for granting credentials to high paying jobs. And I would add –controlling access to that credential. One actually could get a fine education from great professors online, but not the credential. So education, per se, really isn’t the point in higher ed.

#40 Comment By Mia On December 7, 2017 @ 7:52 pm

“Once again, if you want to cultivate the conservative youth of tomorrow, you need to stop thinking you’re going to do that by going back to “traditional liberal arts.” The backbone of the conservative movement will never be made up of literature and history scholars from Christian colleges.”

Tell that to Tolkien and CS Lewis.

#41 Comment By Mia On December 7, 2017 @ 8:01 pm

“But as one commenter rightly noted: these institutions are for granting credentials to high paying jobs. And I would add –controlling access to that credential. One actually could get a fine education from great professors online, but not the credential. So education, per se, really isn’t the point in higher ed.”

Take it a step further. I shudder every time I hear about people from overseas desperately wanting to get into Harvard or Yale, because all of that crap will now be exported around the world to poison other countries that often already need a breather from the insanity going on domestically.

Even worse, we have been weaponizing the second generation of immigrants for some time, and I’ve seen a lot of bad stuff going on with them for many years even when their parents seem reasonable. I remember one very ambitious second generation immigrant daughter with big plans to work in international affairs who even studied at some prestigious French university (she was not French by ethnicity) who told us at dinner one night unironically that sure Mao, Stalin and Hitler killed people, but they did what they had to do. This dinner was around the time when some German man was in the news for advertising a partner to have sex with and eat, she blithely told us there was nothing wrong with that since that was another variety of sexual expression just like, well, you fill in the blank. It was just jaw-dropping, and that would have been around 2003 maybe this happened.