he purpose of education, in the words of perhaps the 20th century’s most preeminent pedagogue, Mortimer J. Adler, “is to liberate the mind.” Similarly, according to the grandfather of the modern Conservative Movement, Russell Kirk, the true purpose of any discipline in the liberal arts — and higher education, more broadly — is, or rather, shouldbe, “the acquisition of some measure of wisdom and intellectual virtue . . .” By these elevated and exacting standards, so-called “higher education” has been an abysmal failure in the U.S. for nearly a century.
Today, not only is the undergraduate mind not being liberated at college, it is being fettered by, and freighted down a priori with, anti-intellectual ideology and dogma. But while the university builds bigger buildings and libraries, expands its non-teaching faculty, and further inflates its professorial cadres, ultimately it cannot hide the educational rot that is eating away at its core. Students graduate with expensive degrees that are worth essentially nothing in the labor market (e.g., women’s studies, gender studies, sociology, leisure studies, and the like); students have eleven Leftist professors for every one conservative professor; students are infantilized by their professors and administrators who provide the havens for puerility that are “safe spaces,” which are places on campus where one can go to hide and quiver in fear if one hears someone voice a non-Leftist idea; students are given “trigger warnings” during lectures; students are allowed to take over conservative lecture events because they feel “offended”; and unfortunately — it brings me no joy to report — the enumeration of campus problems above hardly does justice to the moral and intellectual sickness pervading college campuses.
Admittedly, students do learn something at college. It would be nearly impossible not to learn somethinggiven the vast amounts of information available to students today. We live in an age with more information than any prior age. Indeed, today there is more available “knowledge”– in the most limited sense of the word — like never before. But on the other hand, wisdom, I submit, is a scarcity today as it has not been since troglodytic times. What’s more, the university not only lacks wisdom — it wars against it. This warring quickly reminds us, as William F. Buckley Jr. once noted, “where there is a repository of learning, there is not necessarily a repository of wisdom.”
Read the rest at: Education Failed