Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Study of Western Culture

One of the chief defects of modern education has been its failure to find an adequate method for the study of our own civilization. The old humanist education taught all that it knew about the civilization of ancient Greece and Rome, and taught little else. In the nineteenth century, this aristocratic and humanist ideal was gradually replaced by the democratic utilitarianism of compulsory state education, on the one hand, and by the ideal of scientific specialization, on the other.

The result has been an intellectual anarchy imperfectly controlled by the crude methods of the examination system and of mind of the student is overwhelmed and dazed by the volume of new knowledge which is being accumulated by the labor of specialists, while the necessity for using education as a stepping-stone to a profitable career leaves him little time to stop and think. And the same is true of the teacher, who has become a kind of civil servant tied to a routine over which he can have little control.

Read the entire article by Christopher Dawson - one of the 20th Century's greatest historians - here.

Laudator temporis acti.

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