Conservative Tastes

The Heartlessness of the Matter

By From the October 2013 issue

OVER THE SUMMER, the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences issued the report it had been tasked to produce when it was created in 2010. Titled The Heart of the Matter, it finds the state of the humanities and social sciences in American education less than satisfactory. Some might argue that we need no blue ribbon commission to tell us this. The social sciences are in a mess all their own, but reactions to the report showed that the state of the humanities is also causing concern among observers outside of officialdom, including some who think they deserve no better. In the Wall Street Journal, for example, Lee Siegel looked forward to the extinction of the English major, already apparently on its way out, under the impression that without the chance to read works of classic literature in college, kids will be all the more eager to read them out of college. Perhaps he is of such an academic eminence that he never has to meet any actual students.

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About the Author

James Bowman, our movie and culture critic, is a resident scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He is the author of Honor: A History and Media Madness: The Corruption of Our Political Culture, both published by Encounter Books.