In the last few years, we've heard plenty of students being coddled with infantalizing "safe spaces" where they can retreat to the comfort of play-dough and plush toys if they encounter an idea that upsets them. Once universities provided a foundation upon which students learned to understand the way their society was constructed. Now they force students into "critical studies" which conditions them to reject the progression of rational discourse from Aristotle to Wittgenstein, and ignores the philosophical bases of western civilization by framing it as the bigotry of dead white European males.
This description of the state of academia may sound alarmist, but there's an overwhelming amount of evidence to support it.
One of the goals of the new academia is to get students to adhere to particular political ideologies, while at the same time convincing them that by conforming, they are "critical thinkers." We saw that in Canada's most recent federal election where the Conservative Party which, by international standards supported large social spending, supported the largest influx of immigrants of any Canadian government, and domestically supported legal abortion and gay rights both at home and abroad was somehow successfully characterized as being "far right" in local academic circles.
The unsubtle politicizing of students' minds occurs every day on university campuses. Students are taught that good people are "left" and bad people are "right." If you doubt that, then consider this question from a student survey currently being distributed by two professors at the University of Toronto's Department of Sociology. The study about student life and student protest, of which the survey is a key component, has, it should be noted, been approved by U of T’s Office of Research Ethics and Office of the Vice-Provost, Students:
while the right supports
traditional social and moral values and a free-market approach to the environment.
Where would you place yourself on the following left-right scale?
Students are then directed to identify themselves as being either "left" or "right." However, the clear implication in the language of that question is that the "left" supports women's rights and racial equality and the "right" does not. By that measure, who but a hateful bigot would not consider him or herself to be on the left?
|From the letter accompanying the U of Toronto survey|
Coming with the imprimatur of two professors at a major university, the survey is peppered with questions that are slanted in such a way as to not determine students attitudes, but to shape them.
A critical thinker would not accept something simply because it was presented to them by one of their university professors. But unfortunately, it appears that genuinely critical thinkers at our universities are in short supply.