The following article is a brief introduction to some of my reflections about the industrial nature of contemporary American higher education. In it, I have attempted a summary profile of the character of our civilization, and of the advanced structures of learning it has produced. It is not intended to be anything more than a sketching on vast historical canvas; a much larger study would be required to survey such a topic. Nevertheless, I believe that it will give the reader a sense of our culture, and the context that American colleges and universities occupy. As always in the histories of our fallen world, ironies and futilities abound. The United States has generally professed a “Christian” belief structure (of highly uneven and debatable worth) throughout much of its history, but in the modern period of academic development it actually produced colleges and universities that reflect the values of a commercial-industrial republic with notably imperial tendencies.

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