In an episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Peter Robinson interviews authors Joseph Epstein and Andrew Ferguson on the origin of the liberal arts and what's happened to them.
Answering the question of what's happened to the liberal arts, Epstein says:
They've been altered and changed. The very basis of them as western values have been undermined by most of the people who are now teaching them and who have been swayed and taken up by multiculturalism, feminism.... The politicization of them has destroyed them from within.
In trying to explain what went wrong, the three suggest that the humanities were "scientized."
"There was a loss of confidence that these are the great writers," said Epstein.
"The problem with universities is that they operate so slowly," said Epstein. "A person is going to be there for 40 years. Death is the only cure. Then you have to hope that they haven't affected the next generation."
Robinson points to the rise of new smaller, alternative institutions such as Thomas Aquinas College, Christendom College, and the Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts as examples of reform.
Quoting a former provost of Columbia University, Ferguson says, "It is sometimes given to people to live in an age like this...where certain things are crumbling, and you just hold on to what you know to be true."
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