Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. Excellent, but the lesson is expensive. Best bet is that only smart kids should go to college and then study subjects that lead directly to a high paying job. No sense spending all that money for a low paying job like sociology, etc. Personally, I like the idea of apprentice programs where there is no cost of college.

  2. I hope that my sons learn to do carpentry or plumbing or become electricians. It is hard work. It requires working outside in all types of weather. It requires working early mornings, late nights and weekends. It also means you can start your own business and won’t have to put up with limp wrested left wing girly men who infest college campii today.
    One thing is certain. Neither of my boys will be accountants. They will have a better chance of playing in the National Hockey League.

    We all know we need more priests. Fr. Z once posted an item about a lousy seminary, to which I replied that if they pulled that crap on one of my sons I would show up with my ax handle and go Buford Pusser on the place.

  3. My oldest child wants to go into the allied health field. He’s got a promising future. But I am NOT happy about one of his minors-philosophy. He says it will make him a better thinker. (Um, so will organic chemistry and reading Russell Kirk/Thomas Sowell.)
    He is now okay with abortion up to about 2 weeks past conception.
    I am very, very tempted to say I will not pay that portion of the tuition bill.

  4. But I am NOT happy about one of his minors-philosophy. He says it will make him a better thinker.

    If he takes the right courses and has conscientious teachers. Peter Kreeft learned from Brand Blanshard.

    I’ve had the idea for some years that a modern core curriculum should feature six philosophy courses, three levels of calculus, two courses in statistics and research methods, and 15 credits of historical surveys wherein each unit consisted of about 13 lectures, a test, and a paper. A proper Catholic college could then add Church history, several theology courses, and apologetics.

    Faculties cannot agree on a proper core because the arts-and-sciences faculty are over-run with disciplinary partisans. I once had a conversation with the chaplain at one of the remaining Brethren colleges. He tells me that everyone agrees that there should be a core curriculum but the herd-of-cats faculty cannot seem to assemble and agree on one. So, I ask him, why not have the trustees prescribe one. Well, he tells me, that would damage faculty morale (as if keeping dysfunctional people happy should be the institution’s priority). Therein lies one of the intractable problems of higher education. (And see Thomas Sowell on the effect of tenure on institutional policy: once you have tenure, the whole point of the institution is to please its tenured employees).

  5. Art Deco

    Plato regarded geometry as an essential prerequisite to the study of philosophy. ΟΨΔΕΣ ΑΓΕΟΜΕΤΡΕΤΟΣ ΕΙΣΙΤΩ ran the inscription over the door of the Academy.

    An elementary mastery of geometries, including analytical geometry, projective geometry, Non-Euclidian geometries would be a valuable grounding, introducing students to what Hardy called, “a map or picture, the joint product of many hands, a partial and imperfect copy (yet exact so far as it extends) of a section of mathematical reality” along with the realisation that it is emphatically not a map or picture of “the spatio-temporal reality of the physical world,” an error to which too many in our day are prone.

    Add to that, a mastery of the languages in which the great philosophers actually wrote, namely Greek and Latin together with a working knowledge of textual criticism, so that we can judge what they actually wrote. This latter would be of inestimable benefit to students of theology, too.

  6. Geometry will help you understand…geometry. It’s not preparatory for much of anything. Perhaps some 300-level and above courses in the mathematics department. As for classical languages, there are trade-offs. It takes a good student 4 or 5 years of study at the secondary level to garner a reading knowledge of French, much less more challenging languages (assuming about 18% of your study time is devoted to foreign language and you’re in school 180 days a year). Time spent studying classical languages is time not spent studying something else.

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