The Key To Our Demise

WireTongueby Leigh Bravo10/6/15
We have all heard it before. Students at colleges and universities around the country are demanding that anyone who has a differing opinion than their own should be tarred, feathered, banned and removed from their sight.  Student groups claim that inviting anyone with a differing opinion onto their campus threatens their very safety or well-being. Sound ridiculous? Leaders at these educational institutions are listening to these demands  resulting in the creation of a generation that is single-minded, self-absorbed, and intolerant of others all while the same generation demands a voice, respect and tolerance from others.

What happened to “teaching our kids how to think and not what to think?”  This old adage is truly at the core of critical thinking and should be practiced at all learning institutions around the country. When a university or college stops exposing our children to differing opinions or ways of life, then we are doomed to live a life that no longer offers diversity, but demands that we all live, act and believe the same.

In a recent article by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt,  on the September cover of the Atlantic,

“In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection form words and ideas they don’t like and seeking punishment of those who give even accidental offense. This is disastrous for education and likely to worsen mental health on campus.”

“Today , what we call the Socratic method, is a way of teaching that fosters critical thinking, in part by encouraging students to question their own unexamined beliefs, as well as the received wisdom of those around them. Such questioning sometimes leads to discomfort, and even to anger, on the way to understanding. But vindictive protectiveness teaches students to think in a different way. It prepares them poorly for professional life, which often demands the intellectual engagement with people and ideas one might find uncongenial or wrong….the new protectiveness may be teaching students to think pathologically.”

Can you imagine where the world would be if we all adhered to this thinking? Those who believed the world was actually round would have been ridiculed and Columbus would never have sailed the ocean blue. Other ideas that were ridiculed include the computer, the automobile, genetics, plate tectonics and the continental drift. If, throughout history, we all bought into this educational example of shutting down those who believe differently, the world would be a different place.

Where does this  “idea discrimination” originate? Dr. Richard Paul, Director of Research and Professional Development at the Center for Critical Thinking said,

“Many of our answers are no more than a repetition of what we as children heard from adults. We pass on the misconceptions of our parents and those of their parents. We say what we heard, not what we know. We rarely join the quest with our children. We rarely admit our ignorance, even to ourselves.”

Could this bashing of anyone who thinks differently and the polarization of ideas be contributing to the increased incidences of shootings around the country? Could this atmosphere of political correctness be giving offenders a justifiable reason to believe that those with differing opinions should be dealt with violently? If our children were taught to be open to others experience and opinions, could we, as a society, become more tolerant of others and in the end solve our own politically induced problems?

Universities and Colleges across the country should be rejecting the new status quo of bias and polarization and instead base their educational instruction on critical thinking.

A well cultivated critical thinker:

  • raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
  • gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
  • thinks open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
  • communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native ego-centrism and socio-centrism.

We must reject this pattern that has been developing and spreading like a cancer throughout our educational system. If the United States wants to remain competitive in the global market,  if our young generation wants to be successful within the workplace, we must get back to common sense, logic and critical thinking and it must begin at home and within our educational institutions.


Leigh Bravo blogs at The Trumpet. • (801 views)

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11 Responses to The Key To Our Demise

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    The opposite of critical thinking is dogma, so naturally liberalism (which is extremely dogmatic in its “thinking”) has no use for it. They prefer to follow the party line.

  2. Rosalys says:

    It seems that America’s colleges and universities are producing a generation of delicate little pansies who will faint at the first sign of adversity. Can you imagine such people taking up arms to defend their country and way of life? This must be the real reason behind the push for universal college “education.”

    • Timothy Lane says:

      And yet you never know. In the 1930s, an Oxford debate concluded that they would not fight “for king and country”. But when the time came, they did — though their prior attitude helped encourage the aggressors who forced the war.

  3. We have robbed our children of the chance to think because we have insulated them from half the discussion. God and biblical perspective has no chair at the table so Christians appear to the indoctrinated as something primal and “other.” Liberals assume that human nature is totally positive and our schools permit no information to the contrary. We allow students no contact with the negative aspects of human nature, so they are ill-prepared for the truly evil among us.

    • Anniel says:

      I wholeheartedly agree with you, what with the PC crowd and self-esteem movements our children are “uncomfortable” with any independent thinking about anything at all. No challenges are permitted because they might hurt feelings or something.

      Don’t you detest the word “uncomfortable” being applied to the most barbaric of acts? Sickening.

      • Leigh Bravo says:

        The really sad part is that these so-called educational institutions are really doing more damage than good. Can you imagine them trying to find jobs and integrating themselves into a workplace where many types of people are employed? A workplace with employees with differing opinions and ideas. How will they ever be able to assimilate and become productive human beings. A great dis-service is being done to our youth. Critical thinking is necessary in order for any civilization to succeed.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Not many employers will provide playpens with crayons and cookies for their hyper-sensitive workers, unlike colleges.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Well, most education is dominated by liberals, and liberals always seek to exclude dissenting views, no doubt because they’re unable to refute them (which is why you have trolls who spend their time attacking conservatives as racists and bigots, of course).

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        The Left is good at inventing verbal constructs which are at odds with the reality people actually experience. This is a continuance of the “Big Lie” school of propaganda, but it has been well honed over the last seventy years.

        Of course, it helps when the populous is taught that some normal thoughts are unthinkable and some perfectly useful words are unspeakable. They are also quite successful at bending the meaning of many words so as to make definition extremely elastic. Convincing the gullible of such rot helps to insure that there is little which can be actually discussed and analyzed.

        When all else fails, as you say, the Left resorts to ad hominem attacks, racist, bigot and idiot being three of their favorite, which are often signals to their true obsessions and fears regarding themselves.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Note that these verbal tricks were foreshadowed in 1984. Orwell didn’t get the year right (but then, he chose 1984 because it reversed the year he wrote the book, 1948), and so far IngSoc doesn’t seem to be as sadistic as Orwell’s party (but then, maybe IngSoc didn’t start that way either; at the start of the book, the dictatorship has been in place for something in the vicinity of 30 years). But he also got an awful lot right.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      So true, Deana.

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