Why is it that everyone thinks a STEM education means you are automatically not well-rounded or cross-disciplinary? There are universities with STEM programs that mitigate this problem successfully by creating the right requirements for the degree.
As an example, the requirements for breadth were FAR more stringent at my university for technical fields than for the humanities/social sciences. The 'science' breadth requirement for a humanities major could be satisfied by first-semester courses like the introductory Nutritional Science course, but the breadth requirements for technical majors required that students end up taking at least a couple 3rd/4th year courses in liberal arts fields (which in turn had lower-level prerequisites, naturally). This resulted in the inverse problem from my POV, whereby the majors generally assumed to create well-rounded students actually failed to do so.
Furthermore, being well-rounded is a lot more than what you study in college IMO. A well-rounded citizen has to continually invest in 'upkeep' that earns them that label. The most well-rounded folks I know read throughout their life (often across a broad set of topics), continually invest in their education on their own time through this reading, keep up on current-events, and so forth. I don't see a lack of liberal arts education precluding these activities or any other activities that might contribute to being well-rounded.
> And why can't someone get both a liberal arts education and a "practical" education?
I generally agree that this would be ideal, but it is also constrained by how much money we have as a society. Remember - you and I are contributing our own funds indirectly to subsidize this same education, and it is certainly not cheap these days (see other comments on cost of education). The trick of course is to strike the right balance and realize a good return on that educational investment. Personally, I can see value in something like a Minor in a field that is completely different than one's Major, but I don't see the benefit being much greater if one were to get two full degrees.
I generally agree that this would be ideal, but it is also constrained by how much money we have as a society.
So, a) we'll require everyone take liberal arts, to solve the problem of b) it's too expensive for everyone to take liberal arts?
The main issue I've heard people cite with majoring in the liberal arts is that liberal arts majors don't make enough money to cover costs. Raising the costs of being a liberal arts major seems like a pretty roundabout way of solving that problem.