The Best Explanation of Why Liberal Arts Matter; to the Individual; and to Society; and the Effect of Content Deflation

Here is a link to an article by Jonathon Jacobs (Director, Institute for
Criminal Justice Ethics, Professor of Philosophy and Presidential Scholar, John Jay College/CUNY)

I referenced Prof. Jacobs before in this post Wonderful Essay on Education and Society in WSJ

While on the topic of the importance of Liberal Arts, here is my take on it.  (The politics below don’t matter and one might disagree with our conclusions.  Still I think the type of analysis we did was right.)

I think it is hard for even well-educated people to see how important a liberal education is.  I remember distinctly my wife’s reaction when Dick Cheney said he didn’t even know Joe Wilson, and didn’t ask anyone to check into “yellow cake”. She said “Let’s read Joe Wilson’s Op-Ed, read the exact words.”  When we did it was clear what had probably happened.  Cheney said in a high level meeting “I wonder if….” Then someone in the meeting didn’t need to be told to find the answer.  And that is essentially what Joe Wilson wrote.  My wife received an excellent liberal education at Rice Univ.  But it was not till then, that we both realized that a lot of the credit for this kind of analysis goes to Rice.  Finally, the ability to carefully understand what people are expressing certainly helped her in her positions on the headquarters staff of one of the countries largest corporations and that ability will help any individual in any position, and, as Prof. Jacobs points out, in both his paper and his WSJ essay, that same ability is neccessary for our society to function well.  To paraphrase Jefferson: if, in a democracy, the people are not educated, there will be no end of [fill in the blank] who will take the people’s money.

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