My son sent me an interesting piece from Chronicle of Higher Education about what a modern scholar thinks the university should be.
The author of that Chronicle piece is a liar.First, he fails the very first test of a true humanities scholar: he refuses to define his terms. When faced with the problem of defining what constitutes humanities, his response is, "We know it when we see it." That is a lie.
And liberals have successfully redefined the humanities into their own image simply because they do control the course content. Of course, by redefining the humanities, they've destroyed any reason there might have been for taking any courses. After all, if humanities is merely identity politics, I don't need to pay $40,000 a year to have a university professor tell me who I am. I can simply look in the mirror. My own life experience is worth much more than any dead white European male's introspections. I don't need to go to university to know what my own life experience is. So, the liberal definition is self-destructive. If the liberals are correct, if the humanities really are nothing but identity politics, then the humanities courses have no reason to exist.But the author can ignore this entire problem and construct fake paradoxes if he doesn't engage the definition. And he KNOWS this, so he deliberately doesn't engage the definition.
Again, he half-way admits this when he says, "Alongside the arts were the three highers — theology, law, and medicine." But he couldn't bear to admit this without deliberately lying again. After all, since theology, law and medicine are HIGHER arts, then the other seven (the trivium and quadrivium) sat BELOW the three major arts and drew their authority from them.
And, actually, medicine was an also-ran. The original reason for the universities were theology (making God's ways known to man) and law (making man's ways in accordance with God's ways). Medicine was added later. Theology and law were NOT "alongside." Theology and law were central. The trivium and quadrivium were not alongside, they were BELOW and DERIVATIVE.This allows him to tell the biggest lie, "The reality is that the humanities have always been about courtoisie, a constellation of interests, tastes, and prejudices that marks one as a member of a particular class." Which is a careful half-truth. The humanities have always been about being CATHOLIC, being universal, having a universal palate, able to absorb all the things of men, weigh all the things of men, because all of mankind is called to Christ.
Compare the universal call to holiness to the modern "humanities" of identity politics. The modern humanities is not about binding everything back together again to make one harmonious whole, it is not about universality or university, it is instead about identity politics and fragmentation.
I can only wonder if he is a true believer in his own lies.