Apr 292013

Education and politics both seem to have lost a rudder. I watched my son Jacob go through the University of King’s College Foundation Year Programme in Halifax, a reading year devoted to old fashioned Great Books and a history of Western Culture. It did not make him narrow-minded and racist; it taught him to think and gave him a basis of self-understanding upon which to reach out and understand the larger world while critiquing his own immediate surroundings. If I were a kid getting ready for university, I would be breaking down the doors of that little school.

Here is an interview with Yale Classics Professor Donald Kagan on the university and the culture wars (which we have lost).


Universities, he proposed, are failing students and hurting American democracy. Curricula are “individualized, unfocused and scattered.” On campus, he said, “I find a kind of cultural void, an ignorance of the past, a sense of rootlessness and aimlessness.” Rare are “faculty with atypical views,” he charged. “Still rarer is an informed understanding of the traditions and institutions of our Western civilization and of our country and an appreciation of their special qualities and values.” He counseled schools to adopt “a common core of studies” in the history, literature and philosophy “of our culture.” By “our” he means Western.

via The Weekend Interview with Donald Kagan: ‘Democracy May Have Had Its Day’ – WSJ.com.

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