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22 June 2012


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Babak Makkinejad

I tried to present to you historical examples of education that was aiming at the improvement of individual and society which failed to save that society form destruction at the hand of the foreigners.

Chinese had their own set of "Liberal Arts".

And they failed in understanding and responding to the world that they found themselves in 1600.


Maybe this highly competitive school has a very tight admissions process, or .....
They don't send customers packing - my original point.

Patrick D

Just building on your point. If they send too many customers packing it also means their selection process is broken which devalues their degree as a screening tool for prospective employers and eventually devalues it in the eyes of prospective customers.

As an example, hiring a new History BA from Big State U. is perceived to be risky because they have lower admission standards and the degree has no immediate relevance to the job vs. hiring a new grad with any degree from Ivy League U. is perceived as a lower-risk proposition because a student who met admission requirements there is presumed to be smart enough to do well anywhere doing anything.


Pat, I wanted to post to this discussion on Friday but I was unable to do so as I was pressed for time to get to Lexington for my 40th High School Reunion. While in Lexington, I had lunch with my faculty advisor from VMI a member of the Class of 1964 Tom Davis who taught English History.

The University of Virginia is not the only institution that is dealing with the debate regarding the usefulness of particular department or areas of study. You may or may not be aware that German will no longer be taught at our Alma Mater, that Physics may be stripped of its degree granting status, and that there is a move to move the English Department from a focus of Literature to that of Rhetoric, Speech, and Composition. During a recent BofV meeting one member, a very successful businessman went on and on regarding the teaching of the language of Baseball.

When I was a Cadet in the 70's, as you were during your cadetship, there was requirement for taking courses outside the Liberal Arts curriculum in Math Department--Calculus 1; Chemistry 1 semester of General and 1 Semester of LA Organic; and an additional two semesters of science and additional semester of math. While I did not do particularly well in these courses I believe that they were useful and I would not change anything.

I recently saw a Doctor at Bethesda who was a UVA undergraduate. His undergraduate degree was in Philosophy, although he had to take his premed courses. When I asked him why, he said he wanted an education not to learn a trade.

The whole debate at UVA and other colleges is about how you measure success, unfortunately the quality of a work of history of literature, or the works of Kafka in the original German can be measured--without a measurement why should we keep them as they can not prove their self worth.


In the absurd terminology of American conservative political discourse, liberal is a charged word.

For the know-nothing GOPer wing there will be little outrage about the attack on the liberal arts - to the contrary - they will cheer it on. Are they not the liberal arts after all? Trivium, Quadrivium, Schmadrivium ...


Absolutely true regarding advanced degree holders from East Asia. I found the average advanced degree holder from East Asian countries that I met to be much less capable than their counterparts from Europe or Asia. This is not to say that East Asian PhD's, say, are less capable just because they are East Asian, but their pool is so diluted with the "jobbers" that the chance of running into an East Asian PhD who has no interest in his own field is a lot higher than one from, say, the U.S. Imagine a Paul Wolfowitz (whom I consider a good example of a jobber PhD in US), and people like him, those who are interested in leveraging their degrees for jobs or political influence or whatever, but not pursuit of intellectual interests, are 10-20 times more common (semi-random guess--I don't know what the real numbers are like) among East Asian PhD's.

Babak Makkinejad

That is all fine but a History degree from the University of Chicago costs at least $ 200,000.

Is it worth it for the clerical/low level job being offered?


So 'empirical' means 'a thought experiment in my head'.


"I'd say a lot of it has to do with the minority studies programs that only exist to create more minority studies professors."

Yes, it must be that those changes (affecting possibly *several percent*) of the professors must have ruined liberal arts.

It's always funny how many right-wing critiques of liberal arts show that they haven't any education in them.


"There is some hope however, as universities are very much empty shells without the people within them. The ones that "get it" will shine like beacons amongst the cogs."

The elites don't mind empty shells. That means that the looting was successful, and that no further threat is posed.

As for the ones which 'get it', those will be reserved for the children of the elites.


Mr. Deavereaux,

Sir, why am I ALWAYS thinking 'bout this place?



" Of course Goldman Sachs has a 'for profit' education arm. Surely Goldman Sachs knows how to teach.

When G-S is involved, you have a 100% guarantee that things are crooked.


"What was saved in Texas was the perks and privileges of a surprisingly unproductive senior tenured faculty and a top heavy, overpaid non-teaching academic administration. "

That's important - these 'reform' efforts are not for the purpose of making things better, but for looting and suppression.


"More than a passing knowledge of literature, history, and philosophy is a requirement for those who would consider themselves freemen."

Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
People talking, people laughing

A man playing guitar
Singing for us all
Will you help him change the world
Can you dig it (yes, I can)

A bronze man still can
Yell stories his own way
Listen children all is not lost

People reaching, people touching
A real celebration
Waiting for us all
If we want it, really want it
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I've been waiting such a long time....



Why does this all seem to hark back to the Days of Czarist Russia?

Re: "Now the new kids graduating from Humanities who do not know why there was a WWI and WWII."

F**k me to tears!


Mr. Henning,

"Shoving students into a mold of producing business related thinking will clearly help in the dumbing down of a once great country that is already scratching the bottom economically and in international affairs"

子曰: 以不教民戰、是謂棄之

Zǐ yuē: Yǐ bù jiào mín zhàn, shì wèi qì zhī.

Confucius says: To lead an untrained people to war is to throw them away.

To lead them via methods of dumbing down is to literally delegating them to the garbage heap.

Sad state-of-affairs indeed.


"The liberal arts survived the PC assault of the 1990's and will survive this as well. However, we will all pay a price along the way"

The obvious difference is that the 'PC assault' was conducted by factions with limited power. These sorts of assaults are conducted by the elites, who have most of the power and money.


So what? Students have a choice to get a history degree or not. There are hundreds of other universities/colleges offering BA degrees in history. The University of Wyoming is only $104/credit hour. That's 12K. It's not Chicago, either.

rjj du Nord

will do, honeydear.

this is a test. it is only a test.


To all, a compromise...lol



Here's a shocker:


I wonder if the WAPO will take some time to investigate the business connections between all the BOV members and contracts thier companies have with UVA (and other universites) and if their position (and pressure asserted) was the cause of getting such contracts. "Follow the money" was an old WAPO mantra, but then they used to do journalism.

Medicine Man

Some quality snark from Crooked Timber on this subject: http://crookedtimber.org/2012/06/20/the-declaration-of-independence/

municipal bond

Hi Semper, thanks for sharing. Nice insight you have here and i totally agree with what you said. 'nuff said, this is the best article i have read so far today. Cheers!

food storage

every single person is a best for business.


As much as these bureaucrats are ignorant of it and liberal arts types would hate to admit it, “administrative science” is applied Economics, Sociology, Psychology, etc.

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