I wish I’d said that

From an 1890 Journal of Education:

“Sooner or later the classicist argues, “Whatever the value of science, it is not indispensable, for I am wholly ignorant of it.”

” My dear Sir, one longs to say, “you are the very man in whose interests I am arguing. It is you who would he so much wiser, so much less conceited, so much more conscious of the limits of your knowledge, if you had been scientifically educated. You are far from stupid, and not uncultivated, but you lack what I consider of great value, you imperfectly understand me and your depreciation of these studies results from your want of proper education. You would have more power in your own subjects and an infinitely wider range of ideas and interests if your classical education had been less unmitigated than it seems to have been.”

Now tables are turned and what we hear are varieties of utilitarians, many who don’t even know that is what they are, saying the same thing but about the arts, or literature, or history, or all manner of liberal arts topics, “I never learned that/read that/studied that, and I turned out just fine.”

I am almost never in agreement with that comfortably arrogant assumption, but one can hardly say so.

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One Comment

  1. Maggie
    Posted May 3, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    This reminds me of the “another day and I didn’t use algebra” posts I keep seeing on Facebook. There is a huge segment of the population that seems to feel schools should be focusing mostly on practical skills.

    People don’t seem to know how to take a skill and apply it different ways. I also see on Facebook a lot of posts complaining that the poster didn’t learn how to do their taxes in school. I often reply that if they learned how to read and basic arithmetic operations, they DID learn how to do their taxes.

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