Editorial—The Importance of History

If you haven’t looked at University Affairs in the last while, you might want to head over there to read the story about the battle over post-secondary education in Alberta.  In particular, it points out that cuts to post-secondary education have been more than half a billion dollars since 2019 and points out, rightly, the attempt to shift public education from serving, well, the public, and instead setting it up service industry and the needs of corporations.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely a place for training designed to help people get into the labour market, but there should also and always be a place for pure education, as this can be the place where discoveries or inventions come from that change our world in ways that nobody would have supposed could happen.

The development of linear perspective in art, for instance, lead to significant changes in architectural design.  When Noam Chomsky, a linguist, developed a notation for defining grammars, this was used in early computing sciences for the development of the first high level programming languages, something that made computing more accessible for programmers of all types, which in turn has lead, at least in part, to the world we see around us today.

When our governments focus all education purely on the needs of industry, purely on the idea of getting people employed, it misses out on the possibility of being at ground zero of the next idea that completely changes the world—and all that can come from it.  And that’s the best case scenario, where we assume that government and the universities got their predictions right about what the labour market would need four years down the line, and that some other place didn’t come up with that disruptive idea that shifted the world around them because they weren’t so focussed on employment over education.

Meanwhile, this week, the Voice is running a bit light, as we’re in need of more students to be interviewed and some writers are on their own summer holidays before the season is well and truly over.

In the meantime, this week, we’ve got a new fiction feature that’s a lighter read, a resumption of our look at how Canada is handling organized crime and terrorism (and it’s rather an interesting look at some of the things going on in that sphere), book reviews, events, scholarships, and a recipe for Japanese cheesecake that I’m going to have to try.  There’s a couple places here in Calgary that make Japanese cheesecake,  and if you find a good one, it can be absolutely amazing.

Also, Ana Sabo brings us her second music review, and with the start of September, we look back almost over 20 years to the terrorist attack that took down the World Trade Center in 2001 in our Vintage Voice. It’s amazing to me that some of you reading this were not yet born at the time of that event, yet it’s one that changed our world in a lot of ways.  If you ask me, I suggest that it was even that event that has led, in part, to how divided we seem to be today.  Realizing that we in North America were also vulnerable to significant terrorism caused many to harden or even change their positions on many issues.  (Take a look at Dennis Miller before and after 2001 to see an example of what I mean.)  At any rate, enjoy the read!