16.2.16

A CONSERVATIVE POSTURE TOWARD HIGHER EDUCATION.

In Glock and Man at Mount St. Mary's, Daniel J. Flynn correctly characterizes embattled president Simon "I'll drown the bunnies, and the tenured faculty too" Newman as a college president in over his big head.
A true liberal arts education in what Matthew Arnold described as “the best which has been thought and said” equips young people with the tools to govern their souls and their society. This instruction, once dubbed the education fit for a king, must fit for everybody in a nation governed by millions of people, as Mortimer Adler pointed out more than a half century ago. The world needs educated graduates who know how to think rather than trained ones told what to think.

The Nicomachean Ethics and Measure for Measure do a better job in instructing souls and citizens than computer programming. We need the latter; more so do computer programmers need Aristotle and Shakespeare. Their eternal quality beats the ephemeral education the big man on campus pushes in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Capitalists err in running businesses like charities, donating shareholder money to causes and campaigns. A related mistake sees capitalists running charities like businesses. Tenure, shared governance, freedom of speech, and other features of campus life make it impossible for a college president to govern, at least for long, as a dictatorial CEO. And if he does, he opens the school to expensive lawsuits, ridicule in national newspapers, and the ensuing scorn from prospective students, quality faculty, and donors.
Precisely.

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