The Assault on Social Sciences and Liberal Arts Education and Research

From Inside Higher Ed

by Carol Geary Schneider

This week, in what was billed as a major policy address, Virginian Eric Cantor, the Republican House majority leader, called for eliminating the research “funds currently spent by the government on social science — including on politics of all things….It is jarring indeed when a ranking national leader in a House of Representatives initially created to reflect the political will of the people proposes to do away with (or redirect, to be accurate) all research support for disciplines — including political science — that are patently basic to the fortunes of democracy and to Americans’ capacity for global leadership.

The only thing more chilling than the actual substance of such a policy proposal is the growing frequency with which similar pronouncements now appear. The fact is that the liberal arts and sciences are under sustained assault from policy leaders at both the federal and state levels. The liberal arts tradition, combined with the can-do strengths of the professions, has provided this country’s competitive advantage from the founding to the present. But indifferent to history, policy leaders seem bent on a voluntary undoing of American strength in studies that are fundamental both to democracy and to the global economy. Thomas Jefferson, the Virginian who helped articulate the integral connections between the liberal arts and democratic freedom, would surely be appalled.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/02/08/essay-house-republican-leaders-attack-social-science-research#ixzz2KPq8Uvzk 
Inside Higher Ed

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One thought on “The Assault on Social Sciences and Liberal Arts Education and Research

  1. Cantor contended. “Funds currently spent by the government on social science – including on politics of all things – would be better spent helping find cures to diseases.”

    According to the United Negro College Fund, “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Mr. Jefferson, for whom I am no apologist – I am a Hokie and he founded the University of Virginia, might be very disappointed to learn that a graduate of his alma mater, the College of William and Mary, made such a claim. Apparently his mind and those of his fellow Republicans is not open to new ideas.

    What a shame.

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