I’m thrilled that my argument for the humanities has now appeared in Zócalo Public Square:

An excerpt:

“We have been taught to think of the liberal arts as unnecessary and wasteful, or in Ronald Reagan’s words, “intellectual luxuries that perhaps we could do without.” Memoirs of the Romanian gulag showed me what a dangerous lie this is. Educated political prisoners drew on rich inner resources to preserve their sanity and their spirits. They used their knowledge to help their fellow inmates survive as well. Their experiences reveal what the attack on the humanities really is. It is an attack on the ability to think, criticize, and endure in crisis, and its virulence betrays how vital the liberal arts are.”

Read the rest here:

“Frivolous” Humanities Helped Prisoners Survive in Communist Romania: Covertly Studying Language and Literature Connected Captives and Freed Their Minds