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The following tape recorded program is a presentation of the National Association of educational broadcasters. Hazards to education in the United States. The University of Chicago radio office presents the last in a series of four talks by Robert M. Hudgens associate director of the Ford Foundation. Mr. Hutchens spoke under the auspices of the Walgreen lectureship at the University of Chicago. Today's program is entitled social and political conformity. Mr. Hutchens. This is my last appearance. I hope you will permit me to thank you for your generous hospitality. Being Kind of. Is an old Chicago tradition. For having established it and brought it to the hype. That has raged this way. The universities.
From which our own are descended were founded in the Middle Ages. They were either. Corporations of steel beams wanting to learn. As an adult later. Or teachers. Wanting to teach as in France. Corporations have had by modern standards. Unusual legal or customary privileges. For the purpose of carrying out the intentions of the corporators. Were common in those days. And some of the time in setting. The route and gambling party clubs. Sworn to subvert the state were recognized corporations specially licensed. To work on the project they had in view. The university corporation. Of the Middle Ages. At the height of their power. We're not responsible to anybody. In the sense.
That they could not be brought to book by any authority. They claimed. And succeeded in making their claim good. Complete independence. Of all secular and religious control. And asserting I understand pushing this claim. They had one in estimable advantage they had no property. If any secular or religious authority sought to control them they would simply move away. An idea that once occurred to me. Since the language that they used was good in any country. So it's a university and those remote days would welcome anywhere. And sense an inclination to travel. It's
always been characteristic of the academic profession. They had no difficulty in translating themselves to another community or country whenever they felt the atmosphere of the one they were in. Was oppressive. For example when the actual enemy. Of the University of the lone young. Which was a corp of students wanting to learn was the landlady's. When they put the rents to high school students would move the university to Sienna. There they would wait until a delegation. Of all unused landladies but sought them. With suitable tiers to return. And agreed to a scale of prices acceptable to the student managers
of the university. And University of Paris. Several times hoarded the attempts of king or Archbishop control it by leaving town. Or simply by threatening to do so. All the medieval universities that amounted to anything more of the same general type. They were formed because somebody wanted to learn or somebody wanted to teach. They maintained their independence on the grounds that it was necessary to the performance. Of their corporate function. They did not regard themselves as servants of either church or state. They thought of themselves as coordinate with. The exceptions like the University of Naples. Which filed early under the control of the King and. Played no significant role in the history of medieval thought.
Although the man produced by the medieval universities became leaders in the church and in the state they did not advertise that their function was to produce such men. Such men were a byproduct of the enterprise in which they were engaged which was singularly unlike the enterprise of the University of utopia. That was the discussion of the most important problems. They would have been startled if they had been asked to justify their existence in terms of the service they perform of course of science. Or they would have had no doubt that the discussion they were carrying on was its own justification. Only faint traces of these origins can be found in the organization and management of the American universities. Every American university feels called upon to justify itself
in terms of the visible tangible material benefits that confers upon the individuals who attend it and the community that supports it. Two Americans universities are businesses like every other element of this business civilization. Every business consists of employers. And employees. Trustee regions or legislatures are the employers. The professors are employee unions. They operate within the framework of the American way of life. And are subject to punishment or deviation from the popular view of that way. Like any other members of the business community. Academic freedom is I think. Generally regarded. As a device by which weak minded or vicious people in some way hang onto their jobs. When all right thinking men would agree that they ought to lose
them. The current conception of the university seems to have its roots date in American history. The American University has never been. A cooperation of students wanting to learn or teachers wanting to teach. It has always been a corporation formed by a religious denomination or by the state. For the purposes of the denomination or the state. The American University in the seventeenth century was much closer to the American University today than it was to the medieval university. The Puritan communities wanted ministers professional men. And established universities as a means of getting them. Later the religious groups wanted to extend their influence. And built
universities for that purpose. The University of Chicago was founded by devout Baptists. To stem the rising tide of Methodism in the Middle West. The requirements of the religious affiliations of the president and the trustees were designed to keep the University of Chicago on the right path. Fortunately the combination of Mr. Rockefeller and Mr. Harper and the enlightened wing of the Baptist church. Preserved the university from too narrow an interpretation of its purpose. Thomas Jefferson took peculiar pride in the fact that he was the founder of the University of Virginia. He was overall a great man in
American history. They most unlike him about the purposes of education. But he wrote a resolution. For the bird of visitors of the University of Virginia. It could never have been written in any other country. Perhaps I should point out in passing. That a board of visitors would not have existed in any other country. The Brought of trustees was an American invention and one that goes far to suggest a different conception of a university that America originated. A corporation of students or a corporation of teachers does not need a board of governors composed outside a. University that is founded to serve the purposes of the state. Or of a religious denomination or of any other external growth. Well naturally the Oan been operated by the representatives of the
agency that established it. This was Thomas Jefferson his resolution. Whereas it is the duty of this board for the government under which it lived. And especially to that of which this university is the immediate creation. Pay especial attention. To the principles of government which will be and cultivated their rent. And to provide that none shall be uncovered core which are incompatible with those on which the Constitution of the state and of the United States were genuinely based in the common opinion. Resolved That it is the opinion of this board. But as to the general principles of liberty and the Rights of Man and Nature and in society. The. Doctrines of Locke and his essay concerning the true original
intent and of civil government. And of Sidney. And his discourses on government may be considered as those generally approved by our fellow citizens of this under United States. And that on the distinctive principles of the government of our state and of the United States. The best guides are to be found in the Declaration of Independence. As the fundamental lack of union of these states. And the book known by the title of The Federalist. Being an authority which appeal as a virtually made by law rarely declined or denied by any as evidence of the general opinion of those who and of those who accepted the Constitution of the United States. On questions as to its genuine mean. And third the resolutions of the General Assembly are Virginia in 1799. On the subject of the Alien and Sedition laws. Which appeared to accord
with the predominant sense. Of the people of the United States. Fourth the valedictory address of President Washington as conveying political lessons of peculiar value. And that in the branch of the School of Law which is to treat on the subject of civil politics the Shelby you use as the text. Documents of the school. Here we have the most enlightened American statesman of his day perhaps the most enlightened of any day. Writing a resolution by which an outside board representing the state government or scribes not only the brooks that shall be taught but also all the meaning that is to be derived from them. The object of the instruction of the University of Virginia in the field of political science. Is to win Coquet those principles upon which the
constitutions of the United States and every genuine word genuinely begs. The genuinely basic principles our right common opinion as interpreted by the author of the resolutions says they are. It is the duty of the Board of Visitors to see to it that these principles are in color coded and that nothing incompatible with these principles is an collocated. The difficulty of determining from common opinion the principles upon which the constitutions of the United States and of Virginia are genuinely based. As revealed by a brief examination of an example of Jefferson uses the resolutions of the general assembly of Virginia and 1799. On the Alien and Sedition Acts. These resolutions. Like the Kentucky Resolutions which were drafted by
Jefferson were in opposition to legislation formally adopted by the Congress of the United States and signed by the president. At the date of these resolutions. The constitutionality of this legislation had not been attacked in the courts. The opponents of the Alien and Sedition Acts. Referred to rely on the protests they could star up among the state legislatures. And the leading idea of the Virginia and Kentucky resolution was that the Constitution was a compact between the states. And that the states had reserved the right to restrain the creature of the compact. The federal government whenever it undertook to exercise authority and not expressly granted by the Constitution. But this idea was not sufficiently shared to be called the common opinion.
Or the predominant sense of the people of the United States. But just by the history of the Kentucky Resolutions. The. Kentucky Resolutions were laid before the legislatures of the various states. Replies were received from Connecticut Delaware Massachusetts New Hampshire New York Rhode Island and Virginia. All but Virginia said that they did not share the Kentucky opinion of the principle on which the Constitution was genuinely Beggs. And there the common opinion of the people in regard to the Alien and Sedition Acts was eventually shown to be unfavorable. The idea of states rights. Put forward by Madison and Jefferson and the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions was never the common opinion. And today it is so little the common opinion that if the members of the
faculty of the University of Virginia attempted to follow the instructions of their founder they might get into serious trouble. Jefferson and this section of his resolution was trying to make the University of Virginia a mouthpiece of the Republican Party and its fight with the Federalists. Since there is this exalted precedent for the attempt to make the American University a means of indoctrination in the common opinion. Or even indoctrination in a partisan view of what the common opinion ought to Bain. It is not surprising that in religious economic and political controversy one side or another has often tried to take over the American universities. The outstanding example in more recent times. Was the phrase sober fight
in which presidents and professors who lost their jobs they because they took a view of the issue that was unpopular with those in a position to control the university. If the university is to win collocate doctrines endorsed by common opinion. And to shun doctrines not so when there are still those who seek to teach or even to express unpopular opinions must be disposed of. Academic freedom. Is not disposed of. This attitude helps to transform an educational system into work a stereo system. That a customer audio system tends to confirm this additive. If one object of a university or of an educational system is to indoctrinate the young with the common
opinion the doctrine of adjustment for the environment. Must become one of the cornerstones of pedagogic. The other cornerstone is the doctrine of immediate needs. Or it can be argued. That one thing the community most immediately names as citizens who have been indoctrinated with the common opinion. That's why we come to a view of university. As a place in which the young are familiarized with the tribal moorings. And which activities immediately useful to the community are carried out. This idea of a university is not helpful and meeting the present criticisms of American education emanating from congressional committees. This criticism is to a FAQ that persons who do not share the common opinion as the
members of such committees interpret it are not qualified to teach. We don't care enough about religion anymore to worry about the religious views of members of university faculties. The Federalist Republican fight for a silver or dead issue. Whereas the communist experiments in this country were once regarded as a work of harmless eccentrics and ignored as such. Now the discovery that a man has read any part of the works of Karl Marx. Or knows somebody who had. This is enough to raise a question about trusting them in the classroom. Undoubtedly this attitude results from the Cold War and when the Cold War comes to an end as all things modest The intensity of the
feeling in regard to teachers or alleged to hold heretical political or economic views well somewhat of a. Lie suggests. That our trouble is more fundamental than the Cold War. That it rests on a misconception of education. And of the universities that are after the present issues disappear. Others will arise quite as their turn. Unless we can figure out what education is and what a university is and unless we can build up a tradition in this country that supports these conceptions of education universities will always be at the mercy of those who want us or for political purposes seek to make them the protagonists of their view. I must say that I believe that the educators of America are largely responsible for the present confusion in the NT about
education. They have felt obligated in my day to seek for money first class and all the time. They have always supposed I think erroneous way that money could be obtained only for activities that harmonized with the interests and opinions of those who had it. What they have done and what they have not done has been determined by financial considerations. When New York University dropped into collegiate football the other day it did not say it was doing so because football in its present big time industrial form was an outrageously MRO activity. Not only a departure and diversion from the purposes of the university but also directly contrary to what. No New York University said that it was abandoning football because football lost money.
I admit that this is a business civilization and the business men understand profit and loss statements and balance sheets. But one of the functions of Educational Leadership is to explain to business men. That since a university has no profit and loss statement and sense its balance sheet is meaningless. There must be other standards by which its work is judged. Those standards are supplied by its purpose. And the nature of the case the educators of the country have been required to y identify the financial needs of their institutions where the moral and intellectual and spiritual needs of the people. Hence the remarkable confusion of names and things. That characterizes American education. Perhaps the most gratifying
example at present is the colleges of Liberal Arts. Every American was first asked to admit that he believes in liberal education. Since he believes in liberal education. He must support the colleges of Liberal Arts. But the question how much liberal education is there in the colleges of liberal arts is regarded as indecent. About all we can say is that a college of liberal arts is one that does not usually have professional schools. Of course a good many of them have schools of theology music and business but we have to have some kind of definition. And then when we emerge where that leaves us with this definition of liberal education. Liberal education is the name given to what is done in a college what is called the College of Liberal Arts.
The only basis of judging a College of Liberal Arts today is to one choir whether it does what other colleges of liberal arts do. It is obviously impossible to ask whether any of them ought to be doing what they are doing. The standard purpose cannot be involved. What I have said about colleges of Liberal Arts applies just as well to the humanities the social sciences. And his way of saying the wedge occasion itself. If you believe in the humanity. Who does not. Then you must support the work of professors of the humanities even if they are not doing anything humanistic. If you believe in understanding society you must support professors of social science even those whose record seems unlikely to help us understand society.
If you believe in education I want America not to do so. Then you must contribute as generously as you can to American educational institutions. And you must do this even though you have reason to suspect that these institutions are rapidly becoming all rather than educational institutions. When the Association of American colleges. Met in Los Angeles this winter the newspapers reported that they spoke of nothing but money and gave the world to understand that if only they could get enough of it. The country was safe. What is the use of doubling the expenditures on higher education. As recommended by the president's commission in 1947. Unless it is possible to make sense out of what it is doing. If the system is to be custody Oh let us figure out whether we need a custom audio system. What a
good one would be and what it would cost if in addition we need an educational system. Let us make the same inquiries and calculations with regard to Iraq. But of RA let us not be confused about which is which. Confusion from which we separate. President has a good deal to do with the difficulty we encounter in meeting the criticism of congressional committees and in defending academic freedom. Let us imagine. That this country eventually has a well-developed and poorly understood car stereo system. The object of such a system you will be remembered is to preserve the young from harm while they are maturing. The staff was selected with a view to Wixom performance of this important task. This task is more closely analogous to babysitting.
It is more closely analogous to that than to one another in our culture and may perhaps because adolescence setting. Now let us suppose that the association of adolescent setters. Brings pressure to bear upon the custody of all institutions arising out of the sense of responsibility or scarcity that every adolescent center shares. This pressure is of course toward security of tenure. Great M of speech OT so she ation. Well then without the boundaries of the custody of the institution in which the particular adolescent setter is employed. Or certainly it is only confusing the issue. If these claims are summarized under the name of academic freedom. And adolescent setter who does not indoctrinate his charges as far as he can with
the tribal mores. And the means of adjusting himself to his environment. Who disturbs the young people committed to his care by introducing unfamiliar ideas. Who does not seek to meet the immediate needs of those whom he is looking after and of the society of which they are to be apart. Such a man merits whatever condemnation the community decides to visit upon him.
Hazards to education
Social and political conformity, part one
Producing Organization
University of Chicago
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, the first of two parts, presents a lecture on the hazards that social and political conformity present to education.
Series Description
Walgreen Lecture series on the present hazards to American education as seen and presented by Robert M. Hutchins. Each lecture discusses one particular problem.
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Producing Organization: University of Chicago
Speaker: Hutchins, Robert Maynard, 1899-1977
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 55-10-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:36
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Chicago: “Hazards to education; Social and political conformity, part one,” 1955-04-24, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
MLA: “Hazards to education; Social and political conformity, part one.” 1955-04-24. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 23, 2024. <>.
APA: Hazards to education; Social and political conformity, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from