Among certain thinkers in classical education, there exists the idea that one must strive to cultivate good taste in children, to the betterment of their eternal soul. Here’s the problem: good taste is often confused with parental preference. Poor taste is elevated to a place reserved for actual sin.
Lest you think I have imagined this — lest you think I have imagined the pedestal Christian classicists have given to taste — consider this from a prominent writer in classical education:
“One of the most important things we can offer students is good taste, by which I mean learning to love beautiful things that have lasted. Bad taste is not a personality quirk, but a significant moral problem. If our students don’t love beautiful things, we have failed them. If we are graduating students who love shallow things, they might as well go to public school.”
Bad taste is a significant moral problem? Sin is a significant moral problem. Taste is not. We cannot, and must not, equate taste with worth.
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