The Book!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Turkish Delight

From a recent news piece:

“Turkey almost scuttled its own application for [EU] membership by suggesting new penal legislation that would have criminalized adultery. ‘If that ever spread to EU,’ said one Brussels wag, ‘at least half of some 400 million Europeans would become criminals.’"

Sad but probably true. And it explains why religion in general has grown less popular in North America and Europe over the past forty years. Since the “sexual revolution” of the Sixties, a huge number of us have a vested interest in rejecting the traditional teachings of religion. Because they tell us we have sinned.

Most gravely, in the case of abortion.


Ivy League

I suspect the Ivy Leagues will probably die on their own at this point. Along with the university system as we know it. The whole structure has become dysfunctional. It probably only worked when combined with a religious sense of mission. This has been systematically stripped out over the last couple of generations.

I see the research mission of universities being quickly taken over by the think tanks, and the educational mission of the universities soon being done more efficiently on-line. It is now possible to create a critical mass of scholars virtually (in both senses) at any place. This is far more efficient that trying to gather them all together physically in some town in the Cambridgeshire bogs.

No doubt many of the old schools will segue into the online world and continue as brands, but it will nevertheless be a very different thing. And students will want to, and will be able to, cherry-pick instructors and courses one-by-one, instead of being stuck with a single supplier throughout a degree program. In such a world, the reputations of individual scholars will probably count for more, and that of recognized brands like Harvard or McGill will count for less.

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