The Value of an Education in Classical Studies: A Response to Sophrosyne

Editor’s Note: The following is Hillsdale President Dr. Larry Arnn’s response to Ricochet Member Sophrosyne’s post, “Paging Dr. Larry Arnn,” of Nov. 3. 


Dear Sophrosyne,

One does not get to read something every day that combines the good, the pleasant, and the useful.

What you wrote is good, because it is prudent and wise. It knows the order of things high and low, and it leaves to each of them the dignity it deserves.

In this as in nature, the good things low and high do not diminish but sustain and elevate each other.

It is pleasant because it is good, and pleasant for me in addition because its author puts me in a position to take some credit for its excellence. I do not deserve this, but that does not mean I do not like it. Thank you.

Finally, it is useful because it saves some time both for me and for Rush Limbaugh.  I will just show him this.  It happens that he and I have discussed topics like this from time to time.  In part because of these conversations (also in part because of his own considerable abilities) he speaks about our college in a very different sense than he speaks about colleges in general.  As you point out, he has some point when he speaks critically of colleges in general, and yet the idea of college is not only vital, it concerns (or maybe it is) the ultimate point.  This will be a chance for us all to learn more.

Rush and people like him help our college to reach those of our fellow citizens who are inclined to think that old things, but more specifically permanent things, are of value.  This is not the standard view in the academic world.  It has always been our view.  Your note will help us to serve it better.

Thank you.

Larry P. ArnnPresidentHillsdale College