A horrid lack of humanites

Published: May 5, 2016

Lack of focus on philosophy, theology, literature leads to altered perspective

PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT texts and writing, such as the Gutenberg Bible (above), have fallen by the wayside and been reduced to near cultural irrelevance.

PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT texts and writing, such as the Gutenberg Bible (above), have fallen by the wayside and been reduced to near cultural irrelevance.

Commentary by
MATT DEFRENZA

It is with great fear that a sensible person walks into a library in the modern age, through aisle upon endless aisle of age-beaten and light-bleached books written and published long before any student’s life began, and worse yet is the vision of a student with three, four, five, even six books piled high in his or her cubicle.

I have walked these places of derelict hope and burdensome thought and have thankfully been able to escape with my ignorance in tact.

These poor students are forced to employ their valuable time reading what? Philosophy? Theology? History? Literature? It is a travesty that we subject our future leaders, our healthcare practitioners, accountants, stockbrokers, CEOs and entrepreneurs to a liberal arts education that detracts from their pragmatic career paths.

I think that I speak for humanity as a whole in saying that the survival of the humanities to the modern day is evidence as to the deplorable state of society as it stands, and that he or she able to address the unacceptably slow decline and able to bring about a more rapid eradication of the humanities and liberal arts should be made the president of his or her closest university.

This is not a specific crisis at any one university, but a pandemic. The New York Times reported in a 2010 survey that of all bachelor’s degrees granted, 7.6 percent fell within the umbrella term of the humanities. We as a society in our most recent generations are too close to extinguishing religious belief, historical consciousness, morality and literature, even belief as a whole, to give up now.

Still, too frequent among us is a college student learning Aristotelian virtues, reading the Old Testament laws, worse still New Testament socialism, biased history skewed by morality and literature rife with anarchistic thoughts, depressingly bleak outlooks on human life and societal critiques written from a Starbucks counter.

What do these liberal foundations of study do for a young man or woman other than bog them down with more questions than answers, present societal issues that cannot be fixed and hinder our essence of Darwinism for the sake of morality?

Who wants to go out to a respectable business lunch and have the waiter or waitress, a walking liberal degree, catch snippets of your conversation only to use it within his or her lines of cockamamie, left-leaning poetic nonsense that analyzes the growing disparity between those who have and those who have not in pretentious rhyme schemes?

Who would want to say that America is the greatest country in the world if history reminded them that this country cost the Native Americans everything and that it was built on the backs of slave labor, and that still today this perfect utopian “melting pot” resembles a discordant cacophony across every possible line of distinguishment from one person to another?

Who would be a real-estate mogul if they felt morally guilty for evicting people from their homes or a business CEO when his or her conscience would disapprove of their exploitation of laborers desperate to feed his or her families?

How could a doctor do his or her job when he or she recognizes his or her patients might die, their lives being sacred because they are made in the likeness and image of God?

Who in God’s name would want to be an accountant if they were able to question their existence and the meaning of life?

But the eradication of the humanities is the tricky part. To cut off the head only leads to the sprouting of three replacements. Socrates’ hemlock routine only led to Plato succeeding him, Nathan Hale’s last words only inspired others to join the fight, Oscar Romero’s assassination only brought a global light to issues of social injustice and poverty and Sir Thomas More’s beheading resulted in his sainthood.

Therefore, to defeat the liberal we must phase out the liberal college, pull funding from programs within the humanities and divert it to fields of study that will produce alumni able to give lofty donations to their alma mater.

The humanities have only survived to this point by the graces of those who get respectable degrees in fields of study that amount to successful jobs, and it is time that the umbilical cord is cut. Too often has the writer of various liberal backgrounds bitten the hand that feeds them. Too often has the student of humanities spoken out of place. From the Medici, to the Koch brothers, the humanities have been the longest-running charity chase and it is time they learned to stop pushing societal boundaries towards utopian ideals and to accept the world as it is, like the rest of us sensible people have.

Perhaps what will be remembered as the triumphant blow to liberal education is a certain Republican presidential candidate who will run this country without fear of moral judgment, without using superfluous and, therefore duplicitous, language, without dawdling in unsolvable, age-old dilemmas and ultimately, without humanity.

Contact the writer: matthew.defrenza@scranton.edu

One Response to A horrid lack of humanites

  1. David Velez Reply

    May 5, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    This article is galvanizing!

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