Friday, October 22, 2010

Skousen and GWC

I recall once hearing a professor of mine describe Skousen's technique for describing the world as reducing the incredibly complex to the amazingly simple.  Perhaps that's a good summary, perhaps not.  One way or another, select readings on Skousen used to be part of the core freshman curriculum at GWC.  If you hadn't memorized his list of principles from his book, chances are you had never been a student there.

The first time I read his book the 2000 year leap I loved its simple clear cut seemingly scriptural based claims.  You could solve almost any policy discussion by quickly hacking away the reality and reducing it down to how it fit into a couple of neat tidily packaged ideas.

When I read him again for my graduation exam, I hated him with a passion.  As I re-memorized his words, I found myself unable to concentrate because I kept breaking off into arguments with him about how he was so wrong.  Utterly, completely, and insanely wrong.  I think my wife had to remind me many times that I wasn't trying to agree with him, just memorize him so that if they asked me what principle number 14 was I could spout it off.  Luckily, I'm a fairly good crunch time memorizer.

So when I was looking at  their website today and reviewing the curriculum, I found to my delight they have removed Skousen from the curriculum.  I'm not certain how they did that without me hearing about it, but somehow they managed.  I guess they decided spending more time actually studying classical texts and papers by important political founders was more important than Skousen.  Maybe this has something to do with changing the president of the school a couple of times.  The entire curriculum looks better than I recall it being when I went through it.  Maybe the school is going places after all.

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