Can the Liberal Arts Be Saved?

Harvey Mansfield likes to say that the job of modern conservatism is to save liberalism from liberals. The educational corollary is that conservatives are the only people who can save the liberal arts from liberalism, which has done its best to ruin them. The post-modern left now dominates the traditional liberal arts disciplines, and wonders why fewer and fewer students want to major in any of those fields any more.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week:

The number of humanities degrees declined by almost 9% between 2012 and 2014, according to a 2016 analysis from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. That led to a drop in humanities’ share of all bachelor’s degrees to 6.1% in 2014, the lowest level since record-keeping began in 1948.

Undergraduate students are opting instead for programs leading to jobs in homeland security, parks and recreation and health care. As a percentage of all bachelor’s degrees, those three disciplines jumped to 17% in 2015 from 9% in 2005, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

I can’t argue against practicality, especially with the high cost of universities today (also the fault of liberalism). But on the other hand, there is a use for people training properly in the liberal arts. Just ask the Israelis:

Mossad looking to hire humanities majors

Liberal arts majors can finally stick it to all those naysayers who said their degrees had no employment prospects — Israel’s Mossad spy agency is hiring.

According to a post on the Mossad’s website, the agency is looking for candidates for intelligence officers with at least a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, history, law or communications, as well as political science, international relations, Middle Eastern studies, security studies, conflict management and resolution, economics, communications, business management or any of the exact sciences.

The Mossad describes the position as a “challenging and influential role at the heart of the organization’s activity, that includes responsibilities over producing intelligence reports, formulating intelligence and operational recommendations and turning them into reality.”

I doubt they’ll want to hire people marinated in postmodern nonsense. My interview screen would be simple: Give me five minutes on Thucydides.


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