Peter Lawler Expands Upon The Obvious

College is for technical education these days.  It's not for liberal education, or education intended to free a person from the prejudices of the dominant culture.
So far we've concluded, following Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, that most of what we call higher education is really technical education.  It's the acquisition of indispensable skills for people in a middle-class democracy.  That technical education at our brick-and-mortar colleges typically includes some "liberal education," but that part of college education is getting smaller and somewhat vaguer or more perfunctory  That's because we no longer know what the humanities are for, beyond sharpening basic skills in critical thinking, effective communication, and so forth.  The sciences, as far as I can tell, are more confident and meritocratic than ever, the humanities more dazed and confused and so angry and suspicious of the 'logocentrism" of meritocracy.

Tocqueville adds that identifying science with technology is basically a democratic prejudice  We tend to value science as useful for generating the power required to make us more comfortable, secure, and free from material drudgery.  But the truth is that there's also pure science or theoretical science, which can be distinguished even from experimental science.  (The importance of this distinction is one reason among many I admire TV's The Big Bang Theory--with the intellectual superiority of the theoretical Sheldon to the experimental Leonard always being displayed, although Leonard is a nicer guy with more normal human emotions.)
 AND that's just too bad.  But really, what else could we possibly expect?  College is, as democrats believe, for everyone.  And everyone is not meant for liberal education.  So education becomes technical; education becomes that which gives persons the power to succeed and to have power over other persons, which is what democracy is reduced to in the perceived absence of God.

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