Though they cannot pursue every subject which is open to them, they will be gainers by living among those and under those who represent the whole circle. This I conceive to be the advantage of the seat of universal learning.

By this, Cardinal Newman meant among other things that university students can grow by being exposed to a broad spectrum of fields of learning, and ideas, from a variety of perspectives. Even ideas they might find repugnant (as any conservative or libertarian who’s attended a top flight university could tell you). If the purpose of a liberal education is to make young men and women worldly, they’re going to have to roll up their sleeves and wrestle in the mud with unpleasant thoughts, even thoughts as horrible as those expressed by Bill Maher concerning Islam, genital mutilation, blasphemy laws, and the beheading of infidels.

A liberal curriculum that shields its students from opposing views serves them poorly indeed. Outside the groves of academe, in the real world of horrible jobs, the best and brightest of Berkeley won’t be protected from such heresy. They’ll have to engage with the Bill Mahers of this world as best they can, and they might as well learn to do so in college, by wallowing in such ideas.