Recently a friend shocked his academic peers. He abjurednhis tenured security and left the academic sanctuary: after 15nyears of university existence, he had had enough. He contendednthat the environment he initially sought—^the community ofnscholars, the pipe and tweed—^no longer existed. He chargednthat the university had internalized the grossest values of bignbusiness without their compensating virtues. While fosteringna pretense of contemplation and scholarship, image and competitivenessnwere of the essence. The laculty concerned itselfnalmost exclusively with research output—publish or perishn—without inquiring about objective or efficacy. Thenacademic security/reward system encouraged conformity innpersons most vocal in praising nonconformity. University administratorsnawaited with bated breath the Carter Report tondetermine the number of “rated” departments. Academicn”notables” were eagerly recruited—whether they werenneeded or not. Virtually all deferred to the mendacity of professionalnathletics, justifying it in terms of public relations.nWhile projecting an image of teaching commitment andnteaching excellence, few viewed students as anything but annecessary nuisance. My friend left this world for a small northwesternncoastal village where he hoped to carve out a morenauthentic existence. He believes that he rejected a quantitativenexistence for a qualitative one.nT irtually every area of contemporary American life—neducation, politics, religion, business, environment, entertainment—^isnconfronted by the conflict between the quantitativenand the qualitative. How does one live a qualitative life in anquantitative world? How does the individual maintain his personalnintegrity in the computer-automation world?nEducation represents a vital battlefield in the qualitativequantitativenstruggle. The elementary and secondary educationalnestablishments seem primarily concerned—^in additionnto job security—^with shuffling a maximal number of bodiesnduring a minimal length of time. Social promotion preventsnthe embarrassment of failure. Achievement, challenge, and inspirationnare all secondary. The American approach to educationnseems to imply impressive enrollment figures couplednwith unimpressive accomplishment. Few were surprised bynthe ramifications cited by the report of the National Commissionnon Excellence in Education. Quantity reigns over qualitynas we become less and less able to compete on the internationalnscene. It is no wonder that thousands are rejecting the publicnschool system for the expense and challenge of a private education.nPerhaps a well-fimded alternative to pubUc educationnwould provide the catalyst necessary for revitalization.nFew areas have capitulated so totally to the quantitative asnthat of politics. In political campaigns, top priority is accordednto hiring the computer jockeys, the pollsters, the PR expertsn—most of whom are quite flexible and wiU often go to the highestnbidder. They will arrange the candidate’s image and explainnChronicles of CulturenQUALITATIVE LIVING IN A QUANTITATIVE WORLDnC 0 M M i: N Innnwhat will “play in Peoria.” They will locate the available votesnand devise the formula necessary to conjure them up. Hencenthe sameness and blandness found in contemporary Americannpoliticians. Hence, too, the decline in the caliber of personsnwilling to seek public office. The vulgarity of American politicsnis endurable only in view of its more-vulgar alternatives.nThe academic study of politics—political science—^reflectsnthe same obsession with the quantitative. Disproportionatenresources are channeled into the study of that which is mostnamenable to quantification—^voting behavior. The great questionsnrelated to justice, the good life, the ideal society mustnfend for themselves since they are not easily quantified. Politicalnphilosophy, with its concern for the wisdom of the greatnthinkers, is merely tolerated—primarily for antiquarian reasons.nTTie emphasis is on the study of political {read voting) behavior.nIt goes utmientioned that, historically, voting is of fairly recentnvintage and that comparatively few polities even today havenmeaningfiil elections. Even in a society such as the U.S. thensophisticated recognize the limited impact of the electoralnprocess and the expanded power of the bureaucracy andnjudiciary. Did the 1972 Nixon landslide afiect elitist decisionsnrelating to afSrmative action, busing, and abortion? Critics ofnbehavioral emphasis cite with glee the last statement of then1980 pollsters concerning the Reagan-Carter race that it wasntoo close to call. Similarly they cite the exit poU in the recentnChicago mayoral election indicating that only four percent ofnthe voters were influenced by race. StiU the political sciencenprofession genuflects to the tyranny of numbers in its perennialnsearrh for ironrlad laws of pnlifirsn