Round Table Discussion

Virtual Education

Having observed and worked for over 30 years in what is euphemistically called American higher education, it seems to me that what is worst about it is not what it teaches but how it misrepresents itself. Contrary to the impression created by neoconservatives and some misguided traditional humanists, educators (at least the ones I have known) do not corrupt the rising generation by lecturing on post-medieval or postmodernist texts. I would be exhilarated if most of my colleagues read William of Ockham or Martin Heidegger—or belabored their students with the ideas of these putatively subversive figures. I also see no evidence that p.c. lightweights like Cornel West and Andrea Dworkin are being digested (if that is the proper term) in our classes. Professors are too busy enhancing their own evaluations by making the kids feel good about the "college experience."

On the basis of Ockham's "non sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitatem," it appears foolish to manufacture ideational causes for what is simply crass behavior. In the 60's and 70's, we mass-produced dummies with doctoral degrees, most of whom had taken advantage of "defense loans" or some other federal subsidy. We compounded the error by expanding the number of degree-granting institutions which could provide jobs for the newly certified intelligentsia. A large pool of badly educated high-school graduates, whose parents...

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