Monday, November 4, 2013

More on the Death of the Humanities

Walter Russell Mead's blog has a post on the death of the humanities, but he also suggests how the humanities might still survive. He points out that the humanities died because the professors abandoned the great books and great ideas, which they were supposed to be engaged with, for the latest fad.
Great teachers teaching great books and great ideas are exactly what most students need. Unfortunately, too many people in the field in the last generation were interested in producing bad or indifferent teachers who taught dull and impenetrable books filled with tendentious and superficial ideas. And as for concepts like character and spiritual development, forget it.
Mead notes that not only have the students abandoned their support for the humanities, but the donors and other supporters have too. No one really has an interest in supporting people who are not doing what they are supposed to be doing, or who argue that what their doing has no interest or relevance to anyone. Those who abandon the best books for the mediocre probably deserve to be abandoned. As Mead puts it:
The priests deserted the gods; the gods have deserted the temple.
Yet, no one really wants to hold the guilty accountable.