I fully agree with my distinguished colleague Harry DeMell's recommendation in his May 16 ID article Immigration Reform and Student Visas that the US should encourage American students to study in STEM areas where they are most needed.
But I have to take issue with his assertion that too many Americans study political science, literature, and other subjects in the humanities that "will not assist us in competing globally in the future".
America was founded by people who were well versed in the humanities but had no knowledge whatsoever of modern technology. Our political structure, our values and our greatness as a nation have, from the beginning, depended on our humanistic ideals, including the equality and inherent value of all people.
Yes, we need homegrown as well as foreign technologists, but we also need both American and immigrant philosophers, historians, linguists, poets and sociologists who can enable us to use the wisdom of the western and many other traditions from around the world, present and past, to build a more humanistic, caring and, above all, peaceful society here at home and throughout the planet.
I predict that if we follow this path, we will also be able to solve most of the problems which bedevil our immigration policy today, by developing greater respect for diversity and differences among people from different backgrounds and cultures, and for the dignity of all human beings
Yes, we need the best scientists, engineers and other technologists from America and abroad. But we also need humanists.