The American Interest
Policy, Politics & Culture
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Mind-Bending Saving Higher Ed from Middle-Class Tyranny

American higher education suffers as much from inflated costs as from what Tocqueville considered middle-class morality: identifying ultimate freedom and fulfillment with work.

Published on May 4, 2014
Many earnest minds are currently puzzling over the changes to liberal arts education brought on by technology and an increasingly competitive job market. They would be well served by Alexis de Tocqueville, who with his characteristic, uncanny prescience penned some relevant insights close to two centuries ago. The morality of capitalism, he wrote, can also be called middle-class morality. Being middle class falls between being an aristocrat and being a slave. It’s to be a free being who works. The middle-class American is free, like an aristocrat, to work like a slave. Unlike an aristocrat, he has no one...