We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Boyd in The American Scholar has a fine critique of what they call "Theory" in the humanities. Somehow in the 60s, the humanities got terribly excited about having a world-debunking Theory - or a theory at all, without realizing that in all other disciplines theories are a dime a dozen. I think it made them feel rigorous and scientific to have a theory, but I don't think most of them ever took Physical Chemistry or Statistics, so they don't know much about the rigor and the self-criticism which are essential to serious theory-play. A quote:
The position you represent has neither the intellectual nor the moral high ground you are so sure it occupies. Until literature departments take into account that humans are not just cultural or textual phenomena but something more complex, English and related disciplines will continue to be the laughingstock of the academic world that they have been for years because of their obscurantist dogmatism and their coddled and preening pseudo-radicalism. Until they listen to searching criticism of their doctrine, rather than dismissing it as the language of the devil, literature will continue to be betrayed in academe, and academic literary departments will continue to lose students and to isolate themselves from the intellectual advances of our time.
It's not exactly light reading, but it's good. Here.
A reader sent us a piece by Victor Hanson, a long-time prof himself, From the Classroom to the War. A quote:
Why when academia is so critical of other American institutions, from the Republican party and corporations to churches and the military, does it ignore its own colossal failures? The level of knowledge of today’s graduate is the stuff of jokes, exactly what one would expect once a common shared instruction in science, history, literature, languages, and mathematics largely disappeared, replaced by a General Education potpourri of specialized classes in gender, race, class, and politics masquerading as knowledge-based?
The thing is that the larger society simply doesn't care what happens in the social "sciences." They care about the hard sciences and medicine, but in the softer, more politicized studies they endure their classes and then promptly forget what they were taught. Look at the booming demand for popular history and traditional literature in everything from Amazon.com to the History Channel. There is a tremendous hunger for this sort of stuff - if they didn't let you read Jane Austen in school, well, it now is just four mouse clicks away. So we may be quietly gaining a whole generation of autodidacts made possible by new technology - partly explaining why there is little impetus to reform institutions that society doesn't care about anyway.