The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Nuance For Scalia: It’s The Commie Takeover Of Liberal Arts We Hammer

Posted on | March 28, 2015 | 31 Comments

by Smitty (via HotAir)

Christopher Scalia in the WSJ:

Dismissing the liberal arts seems to have become a litmus test for conservative politicians.

Earlier this month, addressing the issue of student debt, Sen. Marco Rubio joked that students ought to know in advance “whether it’s worth borrowing $40,000 to be a Greek philosophy major. Because the market for Greek philosophers is tight.” His remarks echo North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who in 2013 mocked liberal-arts courses and said, “I don’t want to subsidize [a major] that’s not going to get someone a job.” Gov. Rick Scott of Florida and former Gov. Rick Perry of Texas have passed legislation encouraging students to major in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines rather than the liberal arts.

There is no shame in the liberal arts per se. It’s their inversion into a quagmire of illiberality that we denounce:

Everything about modern liberalism is about destroying the mind, as though the goal of education were some infantile, Commie Zen. Or maybe breeding immature dependency upon the uber-State is just a Cloward-Piven driven plantation management strategy.


Thomas Jefferson recognized that a broad education could ensure the survival of the new democracy. He recognized that “even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” To defend against this threat, Jefferson wanted “to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts, which history exhibiteth, that, possessed thereby of the experience of other ages and countries, they may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purpose.”

Alive Today, one suspects that Thomas Jefferson would arrive at UVA armed with a rubber chicken and flog-march President Teresa Sullivan right off campus. Amiright? If the ridiculous insult to education, justice, and rationality itself perpetrated at UVA bears any useful fruit, may mark the turning point when we start to flush our institutions of those inimical to learning.

If my little guys want to study liberal arts, the short list includes Hillsdale.

Update, from the comments:

. . .those who obtain degrees today in the liberal arts disciplines are not thinkers; they are mere parrots capable of rote recitation of whatever lunacy their professors insisted the learn.

Societal improvement shall commence subsequent to the purge of this intellectual deadwood.


31 Responses to “Nuance For Scalia: It’s The Commie Takeover Of Liberal Arts We Hammer”

  1. librarygryffon
    March 28th, 2015 @ 9:40 am

    I’ve never worried about Greek Philosophy majors. Most of them are intelligent enough to realize that it’s not a degree that will necessarily lead directly to a specific job as will a degree in, say, electrical engineering. But it’s a useful degree still in expanding the mind, in creating those well educated people we need, who are capable of doing many, many things. My complaint, and I believe many other’s) is all the (fill-in-the-blank) studies, especially things like womyn’s studies, which seem to lead to a more closed, more illiberal (in the classical sense) mind, and therefore to unemployability.

  2. M. Thompson
    March 28th, 2015 @ 10:00 am

    The Chair of the College Republican Chapter at Husky Hockey State U is a philosophy major. She’ll have no trouble getting a job in some political backroom. It’s about who you know, personality, and what you’re going into.

    While degree programs can help you with the who you know and what you’re going into, personality and who you know are up to you.

  3. Jeanette Victoria
    March 28th, 2015 @ 10:01 am

    At one time I wanted to get my master’s in History. I gave up the idea as I would never last as most history programs are run by Marxists

  4. Jeanette Victoria
    March 28th, 2015 @ 10:03 am

    Thy prolalay ddn;t want to say woman’s studies Chicano studies, Black studies & Queer studies because they wouldn’t want to microagress the readers

  5. McGehee
    March 28th, 2015 @ 10:11 am

    What degrees did history’s great polymaths hold — other than honorary ones like Ben Franklin’s doctorate?

  6. RS
    March 28th, 2015 @ 10:14 am

    Unfortunately, the term “liberal arts” has been twisted beyond recognition. The trend, though inching forward from the end of the 1970s, really starting ramping up just as I was leaving the field (German Literature) after two degrees in the early 1980s. Until then, you had a majority of classically trained scholars who taught a wide variety of critical approaches to literature, philosophy, history and so forth. As the older professors retired and were replaced by younger Ph.D.s steeped in Derrida and Critical Theory, the time tested means for analyzing Western Culture were jettisoned in favor of “Grievance Studies” to various degrees employing the tools of Critical Theory and Deconstruction to turn the fields on their heads. I woke up to a field where suddenly, there was only one correct interpretation of Goethe or Schiller, and that interpretation required a 20th Century lens to see.

    Suddenly, an understanding of the Thirty Years War was irrelevant to interpreting German Humanism, The Reformation or Baroque poetry. As a consequence, the field lost its rigor, and those who obtain degrees today in the liberal arts disciplines are not thinkers; they are mere parrots capable of rote recitation of whatever lunacy their professors insisted the learn.

    There are still rigorous liberal arts departments in this country, but you have to search far and wide. Those graduates do OK. The majority do not, and liberal arts faculty are discovering to their detriment that tenure in Chicano Studies doesn’t help you when parents are no longer willing to pay for their kids to take your classes.

  7. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    March 28th, 2015 @ 10:19 am

    The liberal arts used to be the Empire Club style study of Western Civilization. While a few schools still pursue the Great Books and Classics…most have abandoned that.

  8. DeadMessenger
    March 28th, 2015 @ 10:30 am
  9. Jeanette Victoria
    March 28th, 2015 @ 10:46 am

    Posted it today! LOL one of the reasons I dropped out of my master program to become a therapists I felt I would end up throwing things at my patients and telling them to get a life.

  10. Squid Hunt
    March 28th, 2015 @ 11:15 am

    You want to fix the liberal arts field? Stop subsidizing it. Just like anything else it touches, government turns college degrees into a useless pile of crap. Those that aren’t producing anything meaningful will quickly be relegated to obscurity and bankruptcy and we’ll reignite critical thinking in this country. For a further explanation of why government intervention in education or innovation is bad, I highly recommend Ms. Ayn Rand’s “Censorship: Local and Express.”

  11. Southern Air Pirate
    March 28th, 2015 @ 11:27 am

    Because they are too dense for the modern student to grasp or they are too western and white that invites microagressions

  12. kilo6
    March 28th, 2015 @ 11:39 am

    You may be familiar with the verse:
    Have you heard the Creda’ of Jacques Derrida?
    There ain’t no writa’ (writer)
    And there ain’t no reeda (reader) either
    an obscure lament I heard from a guy who had “anti-foundationalist” Stanley Fish as a lit prof in the late 1970s

  13. Adobe_Walls
    March 28th, 2015 @ 11:55 am

    It’s been my experience that degreed historians make good carpenters.

  14. Grandson Of TheGrumpus
    March 28th, 2015 @ 1:03 pm

    I know this question makes me seem the ignoramus, but what/whom is this “TFA” quoted in the piece?

    I admit I don’t have the encyclopedic knowledge of the writings of our Founding Fathers that my Grumpa had, but I doubt Jefferson ever wrote that our form of governance was a democracy!

    Again and again, the Founding Fathers wrote on the inherent congenital defects of a democracy, often going so far as to state that even a ‘bad monarchy’ was much more desirable than a ‘good democracy’.

    The propaganda shift to mis?idéntify our system of governance wasn’t accident— and both the difference and proper identification, (along w/the difference) are very important!

    In a Republic, for example, the forms to the Ends are important. The Forms must be followed or they must be changed!

    In a Democracy, the form is less Important than the vote. It doesn’t matter if the form (i.e. the method or route to the End) was “fudged” as long as the result is ratified by a vote.

    BTW, the Progressive’s started calling us a “democracy”, even though they knew better, and were led in this by Wilson, who knew that a popular vote could be easily controlled.

  15. Grandson Of TheGrumpus
    March 28th, 2015 @ 1:36 pm

    You want to see some blow a gasket, when a college rep starts to talk about programs, at the appropriate spot refer to them, (an a neutral, off?hand way, of course,) as “Grievance Studies”— the meltdown will entertain for days!

    Oh! I can’t take credit for that: one of my girls has an acerbic sense of humor, and won’t suffer fools… when the fellow started to turn his sputtering on her, she did a perfect mimic of a feminist attacking some poor slob, (as I strongly clamped my jaws hard?shut)!

    I learned early in her teens that it was more entertaining to not jump in when she held herself a certain way… and that the target of her ire often needed the shaking?up.

    I honestly almost thought he’d melt, like the water?dowsed Wicked Witch!

  16. smitty
    March 28th, 2015 @ 2:17 pm

    TFA is “the fine article”, going back to Christopher Scalia.

  17. Them Folks at Dictionary dot com
    March 28th, 2015 @ 2:24 pm

    […] I rest my case. If you’d like to read some commentary on the Dictionary dot com liberal education crowd, may I suggest this? I mean Them. […]

  18. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    March 28th, 2015 @ 4:56 pm

    A microagression was a clean quick death in ancient Greeks and Roman society…you didn’t want to find out what real aggression was…

  19. Grandson Of TheGrumpus
    March 28th, 2015 @ 6:52 pm

    Thank you very much, Smitty!
    Everything is clear in hindsight!

  20. Steve Skubinna
    March 29th, 2015 @ 1:56 am

    I have never regretted my BA in History from UCSD, 1979. I never expected it to pay my way. It did qualify me for Navy OCS, so there’s that. Today still I love reading history and so I can say that in terms of enriching my life its value has been beyond measure.

    That being said, I doubt that I would make it in today’s academic environment. The older I get, the less willing I am to suffer fools gladly, let alone in silence. And fools with no real life experience? They have nothing to say to me.

  21. Steve Skubinna
    March 29th, 2015 @ 6:09 am

    Funny that you mention Schiller in one paragraph and then the Thirty Years War the next. I found Schiller’s history of the latter available for Kindle and finally got around to reading it a couple months ago.

    Guy had a serious man crush on Wallenstein, didn’t he?

  22. Rick Caird
    March 29th, 2015 @ 10:13 am

    LOL. Good move The therapist licensing board would probably cast a disapproving eye on such actions.

  23. theoldsargesays
    March 29th, 2015 @ 4:16 pm

    I notice that when ProgLibs, professional grievance industry members and race hustlers use that word, they do so in order to deflect facts that run counter to their own causes.

    In the case of the infamous “hands up, don’t shoot” incident they accused the police of pushing their racist narrative when they announced that Mike Brown had robbed a convenience store immediately prior to attacking Officer Wilson.
    Like wise, when video of vandalism and looting in the aftermath of that incident took place, they accused the authorities of pushing “their own narrative”.
    The term ” pushing a narrative ” seems to me an accusation of dissimilation of fictional accounts. Hard evidence is not pushing a narrative, it is….evidence. Period.

    Narrative. When the professionally discontent use that word, I don’t think that word means what they think it means.
    But then I’m not speaking of a group of people known for intellectual honesty.

  24. theoldsargesays
    March 29th, 2015 @ 4:27 pm
  25. theoldsargesays
    March 29th, 2015 @ 4:38 pm

    ” It did qualify me for Navy OCS, so there’s that.”

    Your comment reminded me of my days in the Corps as a helicopter crew chief.
    Naval Aviators with ‘real degrees’ got jets. Those with BA’s ended up in helos.
    ( not 100% true of course but that was the joke )

    My brother has a BA in History. Earned it while serving twenty in the Corps and it enabled him to retire as a WO3.

  26. Veritas
    March 29th, 2015 @ 6:06 pm

    Liberal arts studies are wonderful. Preparing you for a future with ever expanding opportunities and possibilities not limited by the restrictions of science, reason nor logic we can find Liberal Arts graduates in all levels of government, advertising, used car sales, the legal profession, and voodoo. Heck just look at our Congress and see how well Liberal Arts majors can do despite their ethnical and mental limitations.

  27. Daniel Freeman
    March 29th, 2015 @ 6:19 pm

    Narrative. When the professionally discontent use that word, I don’t think that word means what they think it means.

    I think it’s the projection strategy: accusing the other side of what you’re doing, to create a false appearance of equivalence when you’re eventually called out on it. I just don’t know if it’s conscious.

  28. Steve Skubinna
    March 29th, 2015 @ 11:51 pm

    At OCS one of my instructors said if you want to piss off a helo pilot, ask if he graduated in the bottom 15%.

  29. Steve Skubinna
    March 29th, 2015 @ 11:53 pm

    Actually a large proportion of those guys have law degrees. So don’t blame the liberal arts for that.

  30. theoldsargesays
    March 30th, 2015 @ 12:48 pm

    We had a couple of USNA grads in our squadron, neither of whom could fly for sh°t.
    There were those who would fly the aircraft (sh°t hot sticks) and those who would let it fly them (this meaning that they were barely competent as pilots). Those were the guys we as crew members had to really watch over.

  31. Grandson Of TheGrumpus
    March 31st, 2015 @ 7:22 am