From The Immoral Minority
The other day I happened to see a description of exactly what the Liberal Art teaches us from UCLA, and I thought I would share a portion of it here with you:
Among the intellectual skills that are at the core of a liberal arts education are the following: 1) ability to speak and write effectively in more than one language; 2) ability to think critically, and to form one’s own opinions by critically evaluating arguments and evidence rationally, and without prejudice; 3) enhanced ability in mathematics, and in scientific reasoning ; 4) ability to analyze literature and art to appreciate beauty and artistic creativity, for both pleasure and intellectual enrichment; 5) ability to engage questions of ethics and morality and to recognize responsibility for oneself and society; 6) ability to apply acquired knowledge and analytical skills to new situations, so as to find solutions to new problems that arise in an increasingly globalized and fast-changing world. In today’s economy, employers desire transferable skills – skills that employees take with them to any job, such as written and verbal communication skills, the ability to solve complex problems, to work well with others, and to adapt in a changing workplace — all hallmarks of a liberal arts education.
In short, a liberal arts education is aimed at teaching you how to think. It helps you to develop strength of mind, and an ordered intellect. To exercise the mind, any relevant discipline can be utilized – literature, sociology, or biology. The idea is that training the mind in one area will prepare it for learning in other areas as well. The following quote by educator Robert Harris makes this point well: “The mind is like a muscle; exercise makes it stronger and more able to grasp ideas and do intellectual work. Exercising the mind in one area – whether literature or sociology or accounting – will strengthen it for learning in other areas as well. What at first was difficult – the habits of attention and concentration, the ability to follow arguments, and the ability to distinguish the important from the trivial and to grasp new concepts – all these become easier as the mind is exercised and enlarged by varied study.” Think of a liberal arts major as a gym for the mind.
A gym for the mind. That may be one of the better explanations for the benefits of higher education that I have ever heard.
And it goes without saying that a strong mind is also less susceptible to superstition, manipulation, and intimidation. Which of course are all tools of the religious right, the conservatives, and the oppressors.
It is not liberal politics that they fear, it is the education which creates progressive thinkers in the first place.
Is it any wonder that they have worked so diligently to undermine intellectuals, attacked public school teachers, and worked to funnel children in to charter schools or homeschools?
In short the conservative credo is that learning is bad and must be stopped, while blind faith is good and must be encouraged.