Moral idiots and a liberal arts education

The paragraph below, from Alan Jacobs, is an important one to comprehend. The rest of his post helps frame some of the wider issues at hand, and points to other helpful works for those seeking to read more widely on these things.

I want to make a stronger argument: that the distinctive “occupational psychosis” of Silicon Valley is sociopathy – the kind of sociopathy embedded in the Oppenheimer Principle. The people in charge at Google and Meta and (outside Silicon Valley) Microsoft, and at the less well-known companies that are being used by the mega-companies, have been deformed by their profession in ways that prevent them from perceiving, acknowledging, and acting responsibly in relation to the consequences of their research. They have a trained incapacity to think morally. They are by virtue of their narrowly technical education and the strong incentives of their profession moral idiots.

While it is not the only point of the paragraph, I cannot help but revisit the final sentence (emphasis mine):

they are by virtue of their narrowly technical education … moral idiots.

Learning to lead, love, and serve our world does not require more technical training, either in K-12 or higher ed. It requires more humane teaching and learning.

Your eight year old can learn to code from an app whenever they need it, whether that is this summer or twenty summers from now. They cannot so easily learn what it means to be a human being who is a member of a human society, while also learning to master the art of letters and numbers.

One of the best things you can do now to prepare young children for the moral idiocracy of our age is to ground them in a rich education in the liberal arts.

Jon Jordan @jonjordan