Back in the 1960s, Bowdoin’s College Bowl team mopped up on the television contest show whose questions focused on academic knowledge. I thought seriously of going there, but took Yale’s offer instead simply because the larger university offered an even greater selection of course offerings.
Bowdoin is still generally regarded highly. In fact, it is ranked sixth in liberal arts by U.S. News & World Report. But a new study by the National Association of Scholars, released on Wednesday, contends that Bowdoin has become an instrument for partisan indoctrination with Progressive ideology.
Bowdoin boasts of training its students in critical thinking. The NAS study concludes:
[Allegedly] Bowdoin’s emphasis [is] on “critical thinking,” but the real… emphasis [is] on politics. Politics is enthroned at Bowdoin where Reason once reigned. Like all usurpers, this one presents itself as the legitimate heir of the old order. Bowdoin manages this substitution by claiming that Reason all along was political and that “truth claims,” seen accurately through the lens of “critical thinking,” are only assertions of self-interest by the powerful. Since everything was politics anyway, why not promote the politics you prefer? This is the short route to replacing open-minded liberal education with political activism centered on diversity, multiculturalism, same-sex marriage, sustainability, etc.
So, despite Bowdoin’s lack of cohesive intellectual order, it is a “whole” and can be examined as something that possesses organic unity. In that light, our guiding questions were: What kinds of knowledge does Bowdoin emphasize or prize? What does it want all Bowdoin students to learn? What does it want all Bowdoin faculty members to teach? What intellectual habits and attitudes does it cultivate? What understanding of the unity of knowledge does it prompt students to recognize? What divisions of knowledge? What abiding perplexities and matters for lifelong study? What moral yearnings does it plant in the souls of students? How does it urge students to comprehend the self, and what qualities does it uphold as worthy of pursuit? What qualities as better restrained or overcome? How should we treat other people? What obligations do we have as citizens? What are our obligations of stewardship to the achievements of past generations? What are our obligations to the generations to come? What combination of knowledge and character represents an ideal towards which students should strive? What is the good life? What is the good society?
Bowdoin does not spend much time debating possible answers. Rather, it has settled doctrine that informs students what sorts of knowledge, habits, dispositions, and aspirations are desirable. What does Bowdoin want all students to learn? The importance of diversity, respect for “difference,” sustainability, the social construction of gender, the need to obtain “consent,” the common good, world citizenship, and critical thinking. The answers embedded in these terms are not, as we have noted, arrived at by careful weighing of arguments and evidence. The general procedure has been for the college president to announce a “commitment,” such as President Mills’s announcement in 2007 that he had signed the “College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment,” or the College’s 2009 release of its “Carbon Neutrality Implementation Plan.” The same procedures underlie Bowdoin’s creation of the Studies programs, its commitment to minority student recruitment, and its determination to increase the number of minority and women faculty members.
All of these decisions may well have captured the prevailing views of Bowdoin faculty members and students. They might well have, therefore, prevailed in open debate. But as far as we can tell, there was no meaningful debate. Without hesitation, Bowdoin skips to certainties on some of the most contentious issues of our time. What most should be subject to debate never is.
When critical thinking is most necessary, it is most absent. What happens at the level of college policy is reflected at the level of college culture. When Bowdoin speaks of the “common good,” when it promotes “diversity” and “inclusivity” and apotheosizes “difference,” it is similarly by-passing debate on the idea s that are at the center of the great debates in America today. Rather than give these debates a respectful and full hearing, the college pre-empts them with closed-minded orthodoxies.
Of course, not only Bowdoin practices this same kind of one-sided, ideological indoctrination. Yale certainly does, as well—to one degree or another—as every other elite university and college in America.
Dvice.com has a story of an educational experiment confirming the optimistic point of view with respect to human curiosity and ingenuity.
What happens if you give a thousand Motorola Zoom tablet PCs to Ethiopian kids who have never even seen a printed word? Within five months, they’ll start teaching themselves English while circumventing the security on your OS to customize settings and activate disabled hardware. Whoa. ...
Rather than give out laptops (they’re actually Motorola Zoom tablets plus solar chargers running custom software) to kids in schools with teachers, the OLPC Project decided to try something completely different: it delivered some boxes of tablets to two villages in Ethiopia, taped shut, with no instructions whatsoever. Just like, “hey kids, here’s this box, you can open it if you want, see ya!”
Just to give you a sense of what these villages in Ethiopia are like, the kids (and most of the adults) there have never seen a word. No books, no newspapers, no street signs, no labels on packaged foods or goods. Nothing. And these villages aren’t unique in that respect; there are many of them in Africa where the literacy rate is close to zero. So you might think that if you’re going to give out fancy tablet computers, it would be helpful to have someone along to show these people how to use them, right?
But that’s not what OLPC did. They just left the boxes there, sealed up, containing one tablet for every kid in each of the villages (nearly a thousand tablets in total), pre-loaded with a custom English-language operating system and SD cards with tracking software on them to record how the tablets were used. Here’s how it went down, as related by OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference last week:
“We left the boxes in the village. Closed. Taped shut. No instruction, no human being. I thought, the kids will play with the boxes! Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, but found the on/off switch. He’d never seen an on/off switch. He powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs [in English] in the village. And within five months, they had hacked Android. Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera! And they figured out it had a camera, and they hacked Android.”
Talk about a chilling effect on speech, Yale has made its community downright frigid. We criticized Yale last year for censoring a book with cartoon images of Mohammed in an academic book about those very cartoons, and for quashing its Freshman Class Council’s T-shirt for the annual Harvard-Yale football match because the shirts quoted F. Scott Fitzgerald referring to Harvard students as “sissies.” Yale has kept busy since then. It censored the freshman class again, absurdly refusing to approve this year’s tees unless Harvard approved them, too (see Harvard’s entry). Under pressure from the federal government, Yale also suspended a fraternity for five years after the pledges’ satirical, juvenile, and intentionally offensive outdoor chants about sex were deemed to be “imperiling the integrity and values of the University community.” Yale raised eyebrows when it gave academic justifications for closing down the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism not long after the center came under criticism for holding a conference … about antisemitism. And after a committee recommended ending Yale’s annual Sex Week, the university forced the organizers to change the content of their festivities or else have no Sex Week at all.
Read the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s Yale page, and weep.
FIRE’s President Greg Lukianoff published a repackaged version of the same press release on HuffPo.
The critique of Yale is correct and damaging, except in the case of the final item, the so-called “forcing to organizers of Sex Week at Yale to change its content or have no Sex Week at all.”
FIRE seems to suffer from the characteristic liberal intellectual confusion over free speech.
The use of Yale University’s lecture halls is pretty strictly limited by the administration normally and conventionally. Students cannot borrow a lecture hall, during the hours that it isn’t being used for classes, to operate a business for private profit, to hold an organizational meeting, or to throw a party. If you were to ask, they’d tell you that janitorial services and utilities cost money, and there are security and insurance issues as well. If somebody falls down and bumps his head at your party or meeting, Yale does not want to be sued. Lecture halls are for classes, they would tell you, and you typically cannot borrow them.
Students who want to have some kind of organizational event, like Sex Week at Yale, do not normally get access to major lecture hall facilities. Yale granting that kind of access is a way of subsidizing and lending university support to an event, which could only be expected to happen if the university believed the event being held had some kind of educational purpose or otherwise represented a valuable contribution or worthy cause.
Why the university ever believed that sex toy demonstrations, bondage displays, and lectures by pornographers and porn stars represented any kind of appropriate beneficiary of that kind of access and support is unclear. My guess is that the university was scammed by extremist gender identity groups that it previously had confused with worthy causes.
Limiting access to university facilities conventionally so as to exclude sex technique demonstrations and celebrations of porn is not really limiting free speech, it is really just being more sensible about what kind of speech one treats as significant, it just means discriminating appropriately between substantive speech and porno.
Mark Steyn puts Sandra Fluke’s speech to the DNC into perspective, identifying exactly which plimsoll mark Fluke represents as civilization sinks beneath the liberal waves. He also rather amusingly compares her to Lola Montez.
Sandra Fluke… completed her education a few weeks ago – at the age of 31, or Grade 25. Before going to Georgetown, she warmed up with a little light BS in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies from Cornell. She then studied law at one of the most prestigious institutions in the nation, where tuition costs 50 grand a year. The average starting salary for a Georgetown Law graduate is $160,000 per annum – first job, first paycheck.
So this is America’s best and brightest – or, at any rate, most expensively credentialed. Sandra Fluke has been blessed with a quarter-million dollars of elite education, and, on the evidence of Wednesday night, is entirely incapable of making a coherent argument. She has enjoyed the leisurely decade-long varsity once reserved for the minor sons of Mitteleuropean grand dukes, and she has concluded that the most urgent need facing the Brokest Nation in History is for someone else to pay for the contraception of 30-year-old children. She says the choice facing America is whether to be “a country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom, or one where that freedom doesn’t apply to our bodies and our voices” – and, even as the words fall leaden from her lips, she doesn’t seem to comprehend that Catholic institutions think their “voices” ought to have freedom, too, or that Obamacare seizes jurisdiction over “our bodies” and has 16,000 new IRS agents ready to fine us for not making arrangements for “our” pancreases and “our” bladders that meet the approval of the commissars. Sexual liberty, even as every other liberty withers, is all that matters: A middle-school girl is free to get an abortion without parental consent, but if she puts a lemonade stand on her lawn she’ll be fined. ...
Any space aliens prowling through the rubble of our civilization and stumbling upon a recording of the convention compatible with Planet Zongo DVD players will surely marvel at the valuable peak airtime allotted to Sandra Fluke. It was weird to see her up there among the governors and senators – as weird as Bavarians thought it was when King Ludwig decided to make his principal adviser Lola Montez, the Irish-born “Spanish dancer” and legendary grande horizontale. I hasten to add I’m not saying Miss Fluke is King Barack’s courtesan. For one thing, it’s a striking feature of the Age of Perfected Liberalism that modern liberals talk about sex 24/7 while simultaneously giving off the persistent whiff that the whole thing’s a bit of a chore. Hence, the need for government subsidy. And, in fairness to Miss Montez, she used sex to argue for liberalized government, whereas Miss Fluke uses liberalism to argue for sexualized government.
But those distinctions aside, like Miss Fluke, Miss Montez briefly wielded an influence entirely disproportionate to her talents. Like Miss Fluke, she was a passionate liberal activist who sought to diminish what she regarded as the malign influence of the Catholic Church. Taking up with Lola cost King Ludwig his throne in the revolutions of 1848. We’ll see in a couple of months whether taking up with Sandra works out for King Barack.
By now you’re probably wondering what this is all about, why FBI agents pulled you out of your barista job, threw you on a helicopter, and brought you to NASA headquarters. There’s no time, so I’ll shoot it to you straight. You’ve seen the news reports. What hit New York wasn’t some debris from an old satellite. There’s an asteroid the size of Montana heading toward Earth and if it hits us, the planet is over. But we’ve got one last-ditch plan. We need a team to land on the surface of the asteroid, drill a nuclear warhead one mile into its core, and get out before it explodes. And you’re just the liberal arts major we need to lead that team.
Sure, we’ve got dozens of astronauts, physicists, and demolitions experts. I’ll be damned if we didn’t try to train our best men for this mission. But just because they can fly a shuttle and understand higher-level astrophysics doesn’t mean they can execute a unique mission like this. Anyone can learn how to land a spacecraft on a rocky asteroid flying through space at twelve miles per second. I don’t need some pencilneck with four Ph.D’s, one-thousand hours of simulator time, and the ability to operate a robot crane in low-Earth orbit. I need someone with four years of broad-but-humanities-focused studies, three subsequent years in temp jobs, and the ability to reason across multiple areas of study. I need someone who can read The Bell Jar and make strong observations about its representations of mental health and the repression of women.
Maybe there is a solution for the problem of out-sized tuition costs from elite universities which leave graduates hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.
Andy Kessler, in the Wall Street Journal, describes what happened when a Stanford Computer Science professor last year decided to offer an Artificial Intelligence course over the Internet for free.
[Sebastian Thrun was] [f]rustrated that his (and fellow Googler Peter Norvig’s) Stanford artificial intelligence class only reached 200 students, they put up a website offering an online version. They got few takers. Then he mentioned the online course at a conference with 80 attendees and 80 people signed up. On a Friday, he sent an offer to the mailing list of a top AI association. On Saturday morning he had 3,000 sign-ups—by Monday morning, 14,000.
In the midst of this, there was a slight hitch, Mr. Thrun says. “I had forgotten to tell Stanford about it. There was my authority problem. Stanford said ‘If you give the same exams and the same certificate of completion [as Stanford does], then you are really messing with what certificates really are. People are going to go out with the certificates and ask for admission [at the university] and how do we even know who they really are?’ And I said: I. Don’t. Care.”
In the end, there were 160,000 people signed up, from every country in the world, he says, except North Korea. Rather than tape boring lectures, the professors asked students to solve problems and then the next course video would discuss solutions. Mr. Thrun broke the rules again. Twenty-three thousand people finished the course. Of his 200 Stanford students, 30 attended lectures and the other 170 took it online. The top 410 performers on exams were online students. The first Stanford student was No. 411.
Mr. Thrun’s cost was basically $1 per student per class. That’s on the order of 1,000 times less per pupil than for a K-12 or a college education—way more than the rule of thumb in Silicon Valley that you need a 10 times cost advantage to drive change.
So Mr. Thrun set up a company, Udacity, that joins many other companies attacking the problem of how to deliver the optimal online education. “What I see is democratizing education will change everything,” he says.
Dan Greenfield describes the symbiotic relationship of three key manifestations of modernity.
Universalizing college has not universalized education; it has not made us a better educated country, only a dumber one. Universal education has led to dumbed-down education and meaningless degrees. The only way we could keep moving more and more students up the ladder was by making the ladder as short as possible. Promotion, populist education and educators who barely knew more than the students have taken care of the rest.
A college degree was once a mark of distinction, now it’s a checkmark even for jobs that don’t have any innate reason for requiring it, and fortunes have been spent by government and students just to “stay in place” with the jobs of yesterdays high school graduates going to tomorrow’s college grads.
The primary purpose of a degree in many fields is to provide demonstrable proof to prospective employers that you aren’t an idiot. A high school degree once served that purpose. Now not even a college degree does. But with a surplus of job-seekers, it’s a useful way to winnow down the stack of applications to people who can analyze the heteronormative subtext of a detergent commercial and have few options for employment because of their massive student loan debt.
Treating college as the new high school hasn’t benefited students who waste four years of their lives and pick up staggering debts which make it harder for them to buy homes and start families, but it has benefited the liberal arts infrastructure, which, despite the liberal spin, is just as good at handing out useless degrees with no career path as any for-profit college. And it has benefited the Democratic Party, which rightly sees college campuses as recruitment grounds and liberal-voter-training seminars. ...
Manhattan, home to Barnard, its sibling Columbia, NYU, Pace, and dozens of others, has one leading line of work, the restaurant business. The restaurant business doesn’t require a degree, just the willingness of pretty white people with student debt to wait tables at below minimum wage, and of some of the city’s three million illegal aliens to work illegally in the back. The city used to make things, now it makes sandwiches for Chinese tourists going to see a Disney musical on Broadway. Students dissatisfied with the low wages are, according to the erratically reliable New York Post, working at strip clubs. Fidel Castro boasted, that in Cuba, even the prostitutes have university degrees. Adopting the socialist degrees for everyone approach means we can now say the same thing.
The denouement in which Harvard proceeded to crush the Bulldogs 45-7 seemed a sufficiently inglorious return to ordinary reality, but the Kindly Ones were not finished with Patrick Witt and Yale.
The New York Slimes, last week, published a story based on information from anonymous sources (apparently from within the administration of Yale itself), flagrantly violating that institution’s confidentiality policies, alleging that Witt’s Rhodes application had been compromised by an “informal” sexual assault charge made against Witt in September by another student. The article went on to detail a couple of minor brushes with the law on the Yale senior’s record, hinting darkly at a pattern of criminality on the part of the Yale senior.
The New York Times’ decision to destroy a college senior’s personal reputation by elevating an anonymous allegation, unsupported by any evidence and purveyed by a secondary layer of anonymous sources, to national news provoked both astonishment from ESPN and well-deserved indignation from the Wall Street Journal.
What the Times’ smear article really represents is a shocking case of toxic spillover from the radical left-wing head of the Obama Administration’s Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Russlyn Ali’s personal campaign to reinvigorate Title IX Anti-Discrimination enforcement on American campuses.
Her approach amounted to nothing less than arm-twisting university administrations to participate in a federally-required witch hunt against “sexual harassment,” with sexual harassment defined in the broadest possible terms to include “verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct” in any fashion connected with sex which is “unwelcome” to someone or anyone, and asserting that harassing conduct in general may create “a hostile environment” anytime the conduct is deemed “sufficiently serious” as to interfere with some student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s program.
Russlyn Ali’s notorious “Dear Colleague” letter of 4 April 2011 essentially mandates new grievance procedures, processes, and tribunals, specifically reduces standards of proof, and threatens “appropriate remedies” for noncompliance including both withdrawal of all forms of federal funding and assistance and lawsuits by the Justice Department.
The Obama Administration’s Education Department mandates on-campus inquisitions into a supposititious pattern of nation-wide victimization of female students by sexual harassment and assault. Patrick Witt, a white male member of Yale’s Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, ideally fits the favored profile stereotype of male harassers and assaulters. These days, a politically incorrect smart remark or an unwelcome date request can be construed as a punishable offense. Who knows who accused Witt of exactly what or why? We can, I think, tell that the charge did not rise to what we usually think of as a crime since no police complaint was made. He hasn’t been arrested or charged with any crime. The assault the Times reported was clearly one of the notional assaults prosecutable only in the kind of jurisdictions, like our university campuses, successfully annexed by the radical left, where justice consists of whatever Russlyn Ali says it is.
The Economist explains why universities admit enormously more students to doctorate programs than will ever find jobs in their fields.
[U]niversities have discovered that PhD students are cheap, highly motivated and disposable labour. With more PhD students they can do more research, and in some countries more teaching, with less money. A graduate assistant at Yale might earn $20,000 a year for nine months of teaching. The average pay of full professors in America was $109,000 in 2009—higher than the average for judges and magistrates.
Indeed, the production of PhDs has far outstripped demand for university lecturers. In a recent book, Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus, an academic and a journalist, report that America produced more than 100,000 doctoral degrees between 2005 and 2009. In the same period there were just 16,000 new professorships. Using PhD students to do much of the undergraduate teaching cuts the number of full-time jobs. Even in Canada, where the output of PhD graduates has grown relatively modestly, universities conferred 4,800 doctorate degrees in 2007 but hired just 2,616 new full-time professors. Only a few fast-developing countries, such as Brazil and China, now seem short of PhDs.
In research the story is similar. PhD students and contract staff known as “postdocs”, described by one student as “the ugly underbelly of academia”, do much of the research these days. There is a glut of postdocs too. Dr Freeman concluded from pre-2000 data that if American faculty jobs in the life sciences were increasing at 5% a year, just 20% of students would land one. In Canada 80% of postdocs earn $38,600 or less per year before tax—the average salary of a construction worker. The rise of the postdoc has created another obstacle on the way to an academic post. In some areas five years as a postdoc is now a prerequisite for landing a secure full-time job.
These armies of low-paid PhD researchers and postdocs boost universities’, and therefore countries’, research capacity. Yet that is not always a good thing. Brilliant, well-trained minds can go to waste when fashions change. The post-Sputnik era drove the rapid growth in PhD physicists that came to an abrupt halt as the Vietnam war drained the science budget. Brian Schwartz, a professor of physics at the City University of New York, says that in the 1970s as many as 5,000 physicists had to find jobs in other areas.
My old Philosophy professor, John Niemeyer Findlay, as a young man became infatuated with Buddhism, and wanted to take his doctorate in Sanskrit and go on to work on Buddhist sutras. His advisor at Balliol (Findlay was a Rhodes Scholar from South Africa) listened patiently, as Findlay described his career ambitions, looked at him coldly, and observed: “Mr. Findlay, there is but one single chair in Sanskrit in Great Britain, and I occupy it.” Findlay changed his subject to Philosophy.
At places like Yale, it is all but impossible to move from the junior faculty to the senior faculty. Full professors hired by Yale are all big names. You would have a better chance simply sitting at home and devoting your energy to writing the Great Big Book. If you pull it off, major universities will beat a path to your door. If you are not going to be able to write the Great Big Book, you will, at best, wind up teaching a rudimentary version of your subject at some dreadfully obscure facility in a remote fly-over location.
Amy Chua, in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, explained that her tiger parenting involved no interference with her kids when they are at college. That is very much the opposite of the father-in-law’s parents’ early 1940s approach. They dictated his major at Yale, and even told him what sports he could pursue.
What I really liked in Amy Chua’s piece, though, was this story:
Here’s an example of real tiger parenting for you. When I was 15, my father, a professor of chaos theory at Berkeley, took our whole family with him to Europe for his sabbatical year. For one semester, he threw my sisters and me into a local public school in Munich.
When I mentioned to him that we didn’t speak any German and couldn’t understand the teachers, he told me to check out some language books from the library, and reminded me that mathematics and science employ universal symbols. “This is an opportunity,” he said. “Make the most of it.” It ended up being one of the best years of my life.
No wonder she wound up a professor at Yale Law with that father.
The goofballs running the Air Force Academy spent $80,000 to construct an outdoor circle of boulders around a propane-fueled fire pit to accommodate the spiritual needs of infinitesimally small numbers of cadets self-described as “pagans, Wiccans, druids, witches and followers of Native American faiths.”
What exactly people who like extinct religions and imaginary religions have in common is unclear, but the Air Force classifies all of the former schools of metaphysical opinion as “Earth-based,” whatever that means.
If one were a Grecian pagan worshipping Zeus or a Nordic pagan worshipping Odin, wouldn’t that make one’s religion “Sky-based?”
And why exactly do these nonconformist cadets need boulders and propane? Couldn’t they sit even more comfortably on ordinary teakwood lawn furniture? Is the Academy planning to supply pious pagan undergraduates with chickens, sheep, and the occasional ox to be sacrificed on major holy days? Will worshippers of Baal or Quetzalcoatl be immunized from the common law and permitted to sacrifice unwanted children or enemy combatants to their bloodthirsty divinities? Will the usual Academy prohibitions on sexual fraternization be suspended for Wiccans to conduct Black Masses? It’s not easy to see how the officials in Colorado Springs think they can conveniently draw the line once they’ve committed themselves to honoring diversity of opinion on such a scale.
Ross Douthat, I think, rather laboriously reaches the same conclusion Count von Moltke reached long ago, but Douthat miscategorizes the offenders.
In hereditary aristocracies, debacles tend to flow from stupidity and pigheadedness: think of the Charge of the Light Brigade or the Battle of the Somme. In one-party states, they tend to flow from ideological mania: think of China’s Great Leap Forward, or Stalin’s experiment with “Lysenkoist” agriculture.
In meritocracies, though, it’s the very intelligence of our leaders that creates the worst disasters. Convinced that their own skills are equal to any task or challenge, meritocrats take risks than lower-wattage elites would never even contemplate, embark on more hubristic projects, and become infatuated with statistical models that hold out the promise of a perfectly rational and frictionless world. (Or as Calvin Trillin put it in these pages, quoting a tweedy WASP waxing nostalgic for the days when Wall Street was dominated by his fellow bluebloods: “Do you think our guys could have invented, say, credit default swaps? Give me a break! They couldn’t have done the math.”)
Field Marshall von Moltke conceptually divided his officers into a four part matrix:
• Smart & Lazy: I make them my Commanders because they make the right thing happen but find the easiest way to accomplish the mission.
• Smart & Energetic: I make them my General Staff Officers because they make intelligent plans that make the right things happen.
• Dumb & Lazy: There are menial tasks that require an officer to perform that they can accomplish and they follow orders without causing much harm
• Dumb & Energetic: These are dangerous and must be eliminated. They cause thing to happen but the wrong things so cause trouble.
In which category, do Ross Douthat’s meritocrats really belong? It seems obvious to me.
Douthat has the precise same problem our contemporary “meritocracy” has: mistaking credentials and narrowly focused technical expertise for intelligence. In reality, the meritocratic system of education rewards energy and proficiency in areas requiring certain kinds of intellectual ability almost entirely divorced from wisdom, integrity, and good judgment. What our system of education characteristically produces are skilled sophists and opportunists, most conspicuously ingenious in conformity. It is a system designed to promote the energetic but stupid.