Why Liberal Education Matters
Peter Berkowitz, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, where he co-chairs the task force on the virtues of a free society, wrote, “Why Liberal Education Matters,” which was published in the Wall Street Journal May 15, 2010.
Berkowitz agues that, while teaching science and math is very important, there is an “urgent need to reform liberal education,” noting, “Liberal education supposes that while individual rights are shared equally by all, the responsible exercise of those rights is an achievement that depends on cultivating the mind.” He takes to task the way in which the humanities are taught in colleges—citing “confused faculty and incoherent university curricula” as the culprits.
Berkowitz poses the question, “How can one think independently about what kind of life to live without acquiring familiarity with the ideas about happiness and misery, exaltation and despair, nobility and baseness that study of literature, philosophy and religion bring to life?” To answer that question, he posits, “For the sake of science and math, for the sake of international competitiveness, and even more for the sake of defending the worth and dignity of the individual, the reinvigoration of the humanities and the restoration of liberal education as education for freedom must become a priority.”
MHC would like to know what you think about the value of a liberal education and whether/how to reinstate humanities as an integral element of a college or university education. Please reply here or on Facebook.
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