Commonplace Book #8

Our leading colleges and universities pride themselves on their refusal to offer the kinds of vocational majors that most students opt for at most schools, subjects like communications, business, education, and nursing, but everything  they teach is vocational now, because of the spirit in which they teach it.  Everything is technocratic–the development of expertise–and everything is ultimately justified in technocratic terms.  Elite schools like to boast that they teach their students how to think, but all they mean at this point is that they train them in the analytic and rhetorical skills that are necessary for success in business and the professions.  No more than in high school are students equipped to address the larger questions of meaning and purpose, about their education and their lives, that come so inevitably in young adulthood.  Religious colleges, quite frankly–even obscure, regional schools that no one’s every heard of on the coasts–often do a much better job in that respect.

–William Deresiewicz, Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite & The Way to a Meaningful Life. 63-64.

2 thoughts on “Commonplace Book #8

  1. John,
    I must say that I am pleased to see you posting this quote—-not only because I agree with it but secondarily that it takes a back-handed slap against the coastal elites. And, of course, those elites run the liberal establishment media centers. The cities of NYC, DC, and the broader Silicon Valley area, the major purveyors of information in our country, are according to William Dereiewicz out of touch with valuable information on higher education. Would it not follow that they may also be lacking other salient facts about the country? All the while they are daily doing their very best to instruct us religious yokels in the hinterland how to think and act.


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