In the article “only connect”, the writer William Cronon argues that the meaning of a liberal education is distorted and he gives his own understanding of the liberal arts education to the viewers. First, in the perspective of a historian, Mr. Cronon talks about how the word “liberal”comes from Latin and the actual meaning of the word “liberal” both in the ancient greek and in the Old English. This comparison gives me a view of how the people in the ancient age define the word “liberal” and It helps me to have a clear understanding of what the author actually tries to do. Then, in order to reinforce his stance, he further blames on the behavior of actually listing the classes which classes the students should take in order to become liberate. The author considers the listing of classes a direct mislead for students to become liberated people. With the example of an institution that tries to states as the “objects of the liberal education”, the author continually dismissed the idea of listing what should be done in order to achieve the goal of liberation. However, surprisingly, he, in the end, ended gives us a list of what he calls as ten essential personalities that shows a person is liberated .
Personally, there are some parts that I do find trustworthy. For example, when he talks about how world “liberal” relates the ancient greek word “eleutheros”, how it originates from the latin and how it is akin to the old english word leoden. It does give me a clear view of how to define the word “liberal”. But, when he considers the institutions are misleading students into the wrong road by give them a list of what should be done in order to become liberated, I totally disagrees with him. The liberal arts education in the U.S ( except for those who have one hundred percent bogus liberal arts education) is what drives me ten thousand miles away from China to purse my future study in U.S . Our higher education in China is distorted. It is extremely weird that students spend day and night in the high school, receiving force-feed education and working very diligently in order to receive a satisfying grade in the university entrance examination. But once when they do and successfully go to the universities, they feel like they are freed and there’s no need for hard working. Even those institutions are in nod with what the students think. As long as they do not fail that class, they can literally do go the class every time. I think It is not an environment that nurtures the future pillar of the state, but the parasitic disease for the whole society. Though, the students are physically liberated, they’ll never be mentally liberated. The U.S higher education system, in my own point of view, is the world first class educational system. Especially for those who study in the college, as long as they completed the so called “misleading” list that the college provides them, becoming the liberated is only a step away. I do not mean to directly argue against the writer and indeed the personalities he gave us are extremely persuasive. But, in my opinion, as long as there is no any sign of how to implement what he believes into reality, I will always be a strong of supporter of the liberal arts education.
The liberal arts education in the U.S is the true liberal education.