Thursday, August 11, 2005

Moving on up or moving away?

In another thought-provoking piece, David Brooks gives advice on what field of study a precocious kid should choose to understand the world he or she lives in. Just as he described this phenomenon in his recent book, he notes that the freedom to move encouraged by globalization has created the effect of greater social fragmentation. With the right amount of prosperity, it seems that most heads of households prefer to live with people more like them rather than those who are different. Is it instinct? Or is it a perverted form of individualism? Whatever the answer is, it’s evident that social unity requires considerable political and ideological force from the outside rather than within. Whether it’s the Kingdom of God or the Marxist Utopia, there are ideas so powerful enough to counter this individual inclination towards parochialism and isolation. I credit post-modern relativism for undoing much the spiritual and philosophic glue that promoted social unity on national and even international scales.


David Foster said...

Interesting blog.

I'm a David Brooks fan, but going into 'cultural geography' is terrible advice for an 18-year-old. It's an innovation to wallow in mushy theory (probably of a highly-politicized nature) rather than learning anything real.

Much better to study medieval history, or ancient Greek, structural engineering, and leave the galactic syntheses for later.

corbusier said...

I couldn't agree with you more about the importance of a classical liberal arts education. I'm afraid that the way 'cultural geography' would be taught at most universities would consist of so post-modern relativist mush that there's little point. To study such a broad subject seriously requires a huge reserve of prior learning inexistent among high-school graduates.

Thanks for stopping by!