A course of study of the growth of civilization is now used at Columbia University as a method of overcoming both the ultra-radicals and the ultra-conservatives. In the annual report of President Nicholas Murray Butler, he discusses this new course and states that he considers the cure for the world's radicalism of today lies rather in education than in more strenuous methods.
"One of the notable educational advances of the year," says Dr. Butler, "is the institution, under the faculty of Columbia University, of a course of instruction in contemporary civilization, prescribed for all Freshmen. The object of this course is to give the first-year college students an outlook on the modern world, as well as a point of view that will enable them better to understand and appreciate their subsequent studies.
"For those students who are enamored of the cruder and more stupid forms of radicalism, early instruction in the facts relating to the origin and development of modern civilization and the part that time plays in building and perfecting human institutions is of the greatest value. For those college students who are affected with the more stubborn forms of conservatism early appreciation of the fact that movement and development are characteristic of life and that change may be constructive as well as destructive is most desirable."
It is not the purpose of this course, according to President Butler, to teach or to preach doctrines, but rather to show the movement of civilization in its achievement of constructive progress. The context of the course is drawn out not merely from history, but from economics, politics, ethics, and political science.