Let me first start off by saying that I agree that the liberal arts has changed a bit over the past century, but I think the values and lessons that a liberal arts educations provides are still very much the same. With that said and in regards to the first point, I do not think a liberal arts education is required for someone to have an income that is above the equivalent of “wage slavery”. Although I think liberal arts does instill creativity and ingenuity, there are several people in this world that can or have achieved both of these elements through venturing out on their own and trying new things that are not necessarily tied to the liberal arts. Two individuals that immediately come to mind are Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. I know that these are extreme examples, but these two individuals, both of whom did not attend or finish college, embody the creativity and ingenuity that people can achieve without a liberal arts education.
Even though people can live a comfortable lifestyle without a liberal arts education, I do not think that people can truly have a liberal arts education online. I think that one of the most important aspects of a liberal arts education is the face to face interaction with other peers and professors. With these interactions, one is more engaged and is more likely to learn about/take interest in various points of view. Thus, the engagement that is required to really reap the benefits of a liberal arts education can not be achieved online. It is easier to understand someone’s point of view and their reasoning for thinking in a particular way in a face to face setting.
With these two points taken into account, I think that the appreciation for liberal arts education has dwindled over the last two to three decades. People are so eager to make money and get ahead in the workplace that it causes them to only focus on the field of study that they think will immediately propel them into a good job. As a result of this phenomenon, people have been reluctant to participate in any sort of liberal arts curriculum. This in turn has caused people to be less informed about the world that surrounds them. Hence, I think that if more people took an interest in a liberal arts education, there would be a great awareness of events and issues in the world. This increase in awareness would be seen in an increase in voting and in greater efforts to tackle issues such as poverty and global warming.