“…BS is the university’s loss of capacity to grapple with life’s Big Questions, because of our crisis of faith in truth, reality, reason, evidence, argument, civility, and our common humanity.
“BS is the anxiety that haunts some faculty at public universities in very conservative states about expressing their well-considered but unorthodox beliefs, for fear of being hounded by closed-minded students and parents or targeted by grandstanding politicians.
“BS is the standard undergraduate student mentality, fostered by our entire culture that sees college as essentially about credentials and careers (money), on the one hand, and partying oneself into stupefaction on the other.
“BS is the failure of leaders in higher education to champion the liberal-arts ideal — that college should challenge, develop, and transform students’ minds and hearts so they can lead good, flourishing, and socially productive lives — and their stampeding into the ‘practical’ enterprise of producing specialized workers to feed The Economy.
Christian Smith is a professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame.
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