LIBERALISM AND LEADERSHIP
To follow the will o' the wisp of the dollar, according to Mr. Gay, leads the business man into a bog of profit and loss and his career sinks to a job. The engineer, as Colonel Wilgus explained, who thinks only in terms of girders and logarithms becomes a salaried adviser; the one who sees his building as a part of a city's progress becomes a leader. Emerson was speaking for this broader vision when he said that it was a fatal tendency of society to disintegrate into men in cubby-holes, each seeing the world through the narrow opening allowed him by his profession.
These remarks all apply to the world; but their meaning to the college is evident. For the very purpose of a "liberal" education, university studies are arranged for breadth: yet not even general examinations prevent the student from shutting up his knowledge in separate notebooks on his shelf. One listens in vain to catch in the conversation of a young, "litteratus" a reference to the science course he has taken, and the young lawyer salts his very food with leases and court rulings.
The interrelation of studies is emphasized by a writer in a recent review, who shows that history, for instance, is a combination of biology, meteorology, geography, and economics. Military successes and failures in Europe have depended not so much on men as upon "the physical geography of Belgium and Eastern France." Napoleon was thwarted at Moscow by a rain storm, and while wars three centuries ago might have been waged over the wink of a courtesan's eye, "international rivalries today grow from a ceaseless struggle for natural resources". Students in the musical departments do not always remember that pleasing harmonies are based on mathematical calculations and that a change in temperature may throw organ pipes into discord.
These facts may suggest that distribution need not end when college requirements are fulfilled. The specialist must be proficient in one field, but to be a leader he must also be an amateur in many. Or, as Lord Bacon puts it, "expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars; but the general councils, and plots and marshalling of affairs, come best from those that are learned."