rush to the bottom
January 24, 2011, 6:23 pm
Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: ,

Following is a letter I posted in response to an article on the rocketing cost of education in the UK.  I felt the columnist didn’t talk about the deeper costs of loss of accessible education in a free society.

My letter:

I remember reading an essay in a Literary Criticism class in my undergraduate university called Does Literature Humanize? I like Mr Fish’s essay but he doesn’t say enough about the consequences of these changes to the British system. Poor, underprivileged people won’t be educated, which is insane and tragic and backward, but there are other consequences.

I have come to believe that the humanities do humanize which has huge implications for civilized life. After all, someone has to say killing Iraqis in an unjust war is questionable policy, or that executives making 20,000 USD a day is an unsustainable and inequitable state of affairs etc. And it’s not going to be people who have ‘invested’ in ‘training’ at an expensive ‘ivy league’ and are cashing in by buying themselves more houses and more cars. It’s going to be people who have had their heads and hearts cracked open by all the wisdom of the ages written in all of the great books that we are made to read in our liberal arts schools. There are real consequences if we lose humanities knowledge: a coarse, hardscrabble vision of living, a rush to the bottom, thug leadership, more fear. Real consequences.

-Letter to the editor, New York Times, The Value of Higher Education Made Literal, Stanley Fish

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