Monday, January 4, 2010

El Pedro No Do-O Macbeth-O...

During the last four decades, a well-publicized shift in what undergraduate students prefer to study has taken place in American higher education. The number of young men and women majoring in English has dropped dramatically; the same is true of philosophy, foreign languages, art history, and kindred fields, including history. As someone who has taught in four university English departments over the last 40 years, I am dismayed by this shift, as are my colleagues here and there across the land. And because it is probably irreversible, it is important to attempt to sort out the reasons—the many reasons—for what has happened.

First the facts: while the study of English has become less popular among undergraduates, the study of business has risen to become the most popular major in the nation’s colleges and universities. With more than twice the majors of any other course of study, business has become the concentration of more than one in five American undergraduates. Here is how the numbers have changed from 1970/71 to 2003/04 (the last academic year with available figures):

English: from 7.6 percent of the majors to 3.9 percent
Foreign languages and literatures: from 2.5 percent to 1.3 percent
Philosophy and religious studies: from 0.9 percent to 0.7 percent
History: from 18.5 percent to 10.7 percent
Business: from 13.7 percent to 21.9 percent

In one generation, then, the numbers of those majoring in the humanities dropped from a total of 30 percent to a total of less than 16 percent; during that same generation, business majors climbed from 14 percent to 22 percent. Despite last year’s debacle on Wall Street, the humanities have not benefited; students are still wagering that business jobs will be there when the economy recovers.


What are the causes for this decline? .........What departments have done instead is dismember the curriculum, drift away from the notion that historical chronology is important, and substitute for the books themselves a scattered array of secondary considerations (identity studies, abstruse theory, sexuality, film and popular culture). In so doing, they have distanced themselves from the young people interested in good books.


In addition to the long-term consequences, today there are stunning changes in the student population: there are more and more gifted and enterprising students coming from immigrant backgrounds, students with only slender connections to Western culture and to the assumption that the “great books” of England and the United States should enjoy a fixed centrality in the world. What was once the heart of the matter now seems provincial. Why throw yourself into a study of something not emblematic of the world but representative of a special national interest? As the campus reflects the cultural, racial, and religious complexities of the world around it, reading British and American literature looks more and more marginal. From a global perspective, the books look smaller.


As a consequence of having no interest in American, British or Western culture and history they also have no interest in Democracy, Capitalism, Constitutional Government, Law & Order, Property Rights, Freedom of Religion, the Right to Bear Arms and so on.

All the above pursuits are exclusive to the White Race.

And yet ONLY Whites go around saying, "race doesn't matter".

Once again, the critical line in the article on America's future leaders,

"...coming from immigrant backgrounds..... with only slender connections to Western culture..."

Oh well, it's not as though such a person could ever become President. Right?