From Independent School Bulletin, March 1942
A Plea For The Humanities
There is no more disturbing or reactionary influence at work among the schools and colleges of the United States than that which questions the wisdom of the study of any foreign language or the study of the humanities. This is intellectual isolationism of the most extreme type and can lead only to an ignorance that would be as dismal as profound. Those who would deprive the American youth of today of their intellectual inheritance and start them in the practical work of life so impoverished and limited are doing the greatest damage to American youth and to American education that can possibly be imagined. It is the study of the humanities which lifts human nature out of its immediate local and personal environment and takes it up to the high places of life, from which it can see and understand what life means and has meant, what are and have been the influences and the controlling power of intellectual and of moral ideals. It substitutes the life of a true human being for that of a rather intelligent animal.
—From “A Plea for the Humanities,” by Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia University