Another excellent takedown (and, really, there’s oh-so-many) of McCrory’s absurd view of liberal arts education:
As a political philosophy, conservatism is grounded in intellectual thought and deliberation. The governor’s statements about education are therefore not only counterproductive but also anti-conservative.
Ironically, the notion of colleges and universities as factories for job-performance smacks much more of leftist, socialist societies where individuals were not valued for their knowledge or perception but for their ability to perform tasks. As a philosophy, conservatism has in fact battled this idea for hundreds of years. The governor is apparently not familiar with this history. Perhaps his education was not liberal enough.
Is it not practical, in preparation for entering the workforce, to have read deeply in philosophy, cultural history, politics and literature? Those 3 a.m. debates with college roommates about these ideas produce individuals better able to obtain rewarding positions in the ever-more competitive global marketplace.
The point of a liberal arts education is to make those debates possible, to give young students a broad-based knowledge that allows them to think about matters widely and deeply, to form their own opinions and find their place in society. Only an environment that teaches the value of knowledge, not just “information,” will allow them to decide what path they wish to take and what identity to choose: liberal or conservative. Choices cannot be made without perspective…
Turning colleges into trade schools is counterproductive as well as anti-conservative. If there is to be a revival of conservatism, which is today moribund at best, it will happen only if an educated new generation can converse with its opponents in well-informed terms.
Technocratic specialization is the enemy of democracy, which asks us to have a wide lens – a “liberal” view not sequestered within our own limited perspectives. Conservatism, properly understood, asks us to engage, not disengage.
That is the purpose of a liberal education…
Conservatism is in freefall. We have no successors to William F. Buckley Jr. in our midst. We will be able to nurture new conservative thinkers only if we teach our young people about the intellectual legacy that produced intellectual leaders like him.
And, the crazy liberals who wrote this?
Jonathan Riehl, a communications consultant for political campaigns and nonprofit organizations, has taught at Wake Technical Community College, UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University. Scot Faulkner was director of personnel for Reagan-Bush 1980 and chief administrative officer of the U.S. House of Representatives under Speaker Newt Gingrich.
In his efforts to somewhat walk back the extremity of his comments, McCrory further showed that he just doesn’t get it:
“I never mentioned liberal arts in a negative way,” McCrory told reporters.
“I believe education is for two purposes,” he continued. “One is to help exercise the brain and get good critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and understand our past and our future. And the second reason is to teach us skills that will also help us get jobs.
“That’s clearly what I said, and I stick with it.”
Umm, first, if he doesn’t consider his comments about liberal arts to be negative, he might want to look up “negative” in a dictionary. More importantly, there’s a huge, fundamental error here– apparently McCrory thinks critical-thinking and problem-solving skills are just for fun and have nothing to do with getting a job. Read it again, it’s the clear connotation of his own words. I’d hate to live in Pat McCrory’s version of NC where none of the jobs rely on critical-thinking and problem-solving. Good Lord.