Victor Davis Hanson: Higher education as therapy

Historians in the News

American universities have "jettisoned the classical approach" to education and replaced it with a "therapeutic" one, says Victor Davis Hanson, an emeritus professor of classics at California State University at Fresno. The change has left Americans without "a broad knowledge of language, literature, philosophy, and history," he writes [in The American].
Higher education once had two important aims, argues Mr. Hanson. The first was to teach critical information from the past, such as Shakespeare or "the significance of Gettysburg." The second was to teach "inductive inquiry." The purpose of that approach, he says, was to help students draw from "an accumulated storehouse of information, to present well-reasoned opinions -- the ideology of which was largely irrelevant to professors and the university."

In the 1960s, though, many educators and students came to view the nation as "hopelessly corrupt and incorrigible," says Mr. Hanson. "So if, for a mere four years, the university could educate students to counter these much larger sinister forces, the nation itself could be changed for the better," he writes....

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