But Technology Has Changed

Why do we care about liberal education? Maybe because we fear death. David Bromwich muses on the cost of college, the reflection theory of learning, and the desire for uniformity. There are better and cheaper ways of getting an education than attending a university that confuses physical presence with material splendor, or diversity of background with diversity of thought. But perhaps the deeper dilemma is this: in a society where how to live and how to earn a living are so radically divorced, no single method of education will be sufficient. The trend is for what is measurable, because what can be measured can be improved. But behind this lurks the same materialist assumption that builds the gleaming student centers and drives the advance of digital technology. What can be measured is also what can be bought, and economic interests have never yet baulked at doing violence to the soul. Convenience and uniformity come at the expense of students and teachers as much as do high college price tags. This is why liberal education matters: because there are some values that cannot be measured.


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