Victor Davis Hanson: American Universities Have Lost Their Prestige | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Victor Davis Hanson: American Universities Have Lost Their Prestige

Nothing is stranger than the contemporary American university.

Not long ago, Americans used to idolize their universities. Indeed, in science, math, engineering, medicine and business, many of these meritocratic departments and schools remain among the top-ranked in the world.

Top-notch higher education explains much of the current scientific, technological and commercial excellence of the United States.

After World War II — won in part due to superior American scientific research, production and logistics — a college degree became a prerequisite for a successful career. The GI Bill enabled some 8 million returning vets to go to college. Most graduated to good jobs.

The university from the late 1940s to 1960 was a rich resource of continuing education. It introduced the world’s great literature, from Homer to Tolstoy, to the American middle classes.

But today’s universities and colleges bear little if any resemblance to postwar higher education. Even during the tumultuous 1960s, when campuses were plagued by radical protests and periodic violence, there was still institutionalized free speech. An empirical college curriculum mostly survived the chaos of the ’60s.

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