Liberal education in crisis? Rejoinder by Conrad

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 4 February 2014



Conrad, L. (2014), "Liberal education in crisis? Rejoinder by Conrad", On the Horizon, Vol. 22 No. 1.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Liberal education in crisis? Rejoinder by Conrad

Article Type: Authors' Rejoinders From: On the Horizon, Volume 22, Issue 1

Bussey’s (2014) comment concerning Nazi Germany and liberal education jarred with me. The regime only survived because it silenced dissent and ruled by fear. It used language insidiously to cultivate submission and passive cooperation. Did Victor Klemperer (The Language of the Third Reich) receive a liberal education? Did Kenneth Burke (who writes eloquently about Nazi rhetoric in The Philosophy of Literary Form) receive a liberal education? And what about Oskar Schindler? To be born a human being does not automatically imply an ascent toward the higher, or expansion toward the broader, more liberal aspects of what it is to be human. To have received a liberal education does not automatically imply liberal mindedness, and vice versa. The manifestation of it is as much (if not more) to be thought of as a verb than as a noun. Is there integration, or is there not? Does it (as Maxwell (2014) argues, and I read him differently than does Bussey (2014)) involve the full integration of a person with the universe in which they exist? And is that integration consistent? Those are the key questions.

When it comes to the contributors to this issue, Bussey’s (2014) assumption of homogeneity is, at least in my case, ill-founded. While I may fit into the "average" age-bracket set (I was born in 1965), my heritage is part Slav, part Coptic Egyptian. My Coptic Egyptian mother was brought up by an English governess and sounded exactly like the queen. While I was born in the UK, I went to a bilingual school in Alexandria, Egypt, from 6 to 16. I gave up on schooling and quit the propaganda-based system, and sought educational experiences elsewhere, drawing on the liberal outlook I found at home. Culturally, I have acquired a western education, but cultivated a universal outlook. I am the post-colonial product of the very colonial cultural forces he ironically assumes are absent from the mix. A brief look at the biographies, backgrounds, and interests of other contributors (Abeles’ interest in global education, Bussey’s interest in Eastern thought, and my interest in Symbolist Egyptology) give the lie to the interlinked assumption that our racial heritage or educational experience, by definition, limit our outlook.

Rejoinder by Leon Conrad, Independent Researcher, The Academy of Oratory, London, UK.

Copyright © Leon Conrad, 2013. Leon Conrad has asserted his moral rights in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.


Bussey, M. (2014), "Comment: Liberal education in crisis?", On the Horizon, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 81–87

Maxwell, N. (2014), "How can our human world exist and best flourish embedded in the physical universe? An outline of a problem-based liberal studies course", On the Horizon, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 35–45

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