Home > Uncategorized > NYTimes’ Ross Douthat Laments Demise of Humanities But, Like Most Conservatives, Wants to Use Earnings a Primary Metric

NYTimes’ Ross Douthat Laments Demise of Humanities But, Like Most Conservatives, Wants to Use Earnings a Primary Metric

January 12, 2020

In his column in today’s NY times titled “Academic Apocalypse“, Ross Douthat laments the secularization and decline of English departments at universities and colleges across the country. One of the opening paragraphs concludes with this:

“Jobs are disappearing, subfields are evaporating, enrollment has tanked, and amid the wreckage the custodians of humanism are “befuddled and without purpose.”

Why might this be happening? Could it be that our country’s obsession with earnings might be the cause? If you want to restore humanity to the humanities the first step might be to eliminate the idea that the best metric for determine the “value of a college education” colleges is the earnings of it’s graduates. This obsession about connecting dollars earned to college degrees is, alas, embraced by both political parties, most business leaders, and most editorial boards. The “endgame” in humanities is inextricably linked to our culture’s ultimate metric of success— which is earnings and accumulated wealth. As long as we view education as the means to accumulating more and more money and “success” as accumulating more and more stuff we can expect to see the arts and humanities decline.

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