University watch: Liberal profs starting to complain too?
|September 2, 2011||Posted by News under Intellectual freedom, Intelligent Design, News|
At The New Criterion, (September, 2011), exploring “What’s wrong with our universities?,” James Piereson note tht liberals as well a conservatives are beginning to voice serious discontent:
… many of the criticisms formerly made by conservatives are now being reprised by liberals, or at least by authors who are in no way associated with conservative ideas or organizations. At least two distinguished academic leaders, Anthony Kronman, the former Dean of the Yale Law School, and Harry Lewis, the former Dean of Students at Harvard, have published stern critiques of colleges and universities for failing to challenge students with the great moral and political questions that were once incorporated into liberal arts curricula. Now several books have appeared, written from a liberal point of view, that take colleges and universities to task on various counts: they are too expensive; the education they offer is sub-par, especially in relation to costs; they are administratively top-heavy; their faculties are too specialized; they do not emphasize teaching; their catalogs are filled with bizarre courses; and, more importantly, they are not providing the liberal arts education that students need and deserve. These are serious charges, especially when one considers who is making them. What lies behind them? And what do the authors propose to do about them?
The problem is, the “liberals” publishing the stern critiques are probably old style “liberal arts” types – when liberal arts meant something rational and relevant. Today’s liberals are actually utopian statists who have little interest in the life of the mind and much interest in enforcing conformity to their central ideas. They are increasingly the targets of student civil rights groups like Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and we must wish the Foundation much happy skewering.