by Timothy Lane 4/3/16
College education in America is mostly hopeless these days, which no doubt is why we see so much talk of “safe spaces”, “microagressions”, and similar leftist idiocies. One rare exception is Hillsdale College. The March 28 National Review has an article by Jay Nordlinger on another good counter-example: Francesco Marroquin University in Guatemala. It teaches “the ethical, legal, and economic principles of a society of free and responsible persons.” Even as a goal, few colleges today could match this.
The university lives up to its goals. Its school buildings are named after such noted figures as Henry Hazlitt (author of Economics in One Lesson and The Great Idea aka Time Will Run Back), Leonard Read (author of “I, Pencil” and founder of the Foundation for Economic Education), Hannah Arendt, Lao-Tzu, and Booker T. Washington.
The result is that classical liberal ideas are being taught to students in Guatemala, and inevitably they influence a society in which higher education remains rare. Nordlinger notes that in the most recent presidential race, both the winner and one of his challengers cited the classical liberal economist Ludwig von Mises. You would be hard pressed to find anyone in America who would do so, partly because so few people would know who he was talking about.
Visiting the university, Nordlinger found no sense of entitlement among the students, many of whom come from poor rural backgrounds (not surprising in a nation of poor farmers and farm workers). The sort of conversations that have to be held in secret in a university like Brown can be held in the open here.
It can be done. Too bad so few want to.
Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.
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