The Nonprofiteer hardly knows what to say about the argument that the humanities must justify themselves economically or die out. The humanities (or the liberal arts, or non-vocational education–whatever term is current) teach people to read and evaluate arguments so they can make decisions. Is there some more useful skill than that, in the economic realm or elsewhere?
Which means that Professor Kronman’s blithe concession in the article that study of the humanities may inevitably become a luxury constitutes a rich man’s indifference to everyone else’s needs. Doubtless he simply means to be provocative–this is, after all, the same good professor who infuriated the Nonprofiteer in a long-ago Contracts class by arguing for the enforceability of slavery.
But let’s not be so quick to give up on the idea that everyone should be taught to read and write. If humanities professors can’t manage to make that argument, without stooping to “It adds hundreds of thousands of dollars to your lifetime earning potential,” they should get new jobs.