Bruce Charlton argues that:
When universities and colleges worked properly, or at least much better than they do now (which is ‘hardly at all’) – then they were vocational institutions.
Medieval universities taught that which was necessary for an individual to become a member of the intellectual ruling class (logic, grammar, rhetoric, mathematics) – and that was the vocational purpose of becoming a ‘Master of Arts’ (Magister Artium).
The Doctoral degrees were also vocational – both in a specific sense of educating for practice in Divinity, Law and Medicine – but also in the general sense of being a license to teach at Universities.
Though I have much sympathy for the necessity for relevance of education, i.e. some form of usefulness later, especially in the light of the false ideologies underpinning education today and the production of useless drones who aren’t even “educated” in the fullest sense of the word [please see Frankfurt School], nevertheless, I think Bruce is too vocationally driven here.
No argument that we need strongly vocationally driven education but there is also such a thing as the liberal arts and that is, now that it’s no longer a training camp for the ruling class, an exercise in itself, which produces a well-rounded individual. Admittedly, my grounding was at a public school but I’d hardly see it as fitting me for taking on the reins of power – I’m no lawyer or former governor.
Rather, it is an example of the theory that it’s better for freedom if a person is well-educated, in an all-round way. Such a person is less likely to be misled by Marxists, less swayed by ignorant opinion – just a better person altogether. Not only that but it should be a pursuit of state schools as well as independent. Any child coming out of that system should at least have rubbed shoulders with the classics, along with all sorts of other things, such as dance/drama, mechanics, domestic science [male and female] – in other words, general usefulness.
More than that, discipline has a huge effect on self-discipline and self-discipline does not necessarily have to mean conformity to a laid down mode of dress or behaviour. It can be that people feel comfortable with societal norms, if they’re good norms but a self-disciplined man or woman is often an independent minded man or woman or at least the two should go hand in hand.
I think you see where this is going …