Diogenes of Sinope, founder of the “Cynics,” took a dim view of contemporary education:
“He held that we should neglect music, geometry, astronomy and similar studies as useless and unnecessary.” Diogenes Laertius Lives 6.73
De Tocqueville had a similar view but with an important difference. He feared that the Classics, if poorly taught, might stand in the way “of sound instruction in necessary studies.” But he went on to say:
" ... All who have ambition to literary excellence in democratic nations should ever refresh themselves at classical springs; that is the most wholesome medicine for the mind. Not that I hold the classics beyond criticism, but I think that they have special merits well calculated to counterbalance our peculiar defects. They provide a prop just where we are most likely to fall." (Democracy in America ch. 15).
At this moment of rancor and inflammation in our body politic perhaps a good dose of that medicine for the mind may be of all studies the most necessary.