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Ed Driscoll

Breaking News from 1968

May 13th, 2014 - 11:40 am

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“What If College Is Making People Stupid?”, Seth Mandel asks at Commentary, noting that “International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde has become the latest commencement speaker to be chased off by American academia’s guardians of the eternally closed minds.”

Mandel quotes Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, (whom we interviewed last year), who notes that this trend is accelerating exponentially:

According to a tally by his group, between 1987 and 2008, there were 48 protests of planned speeches, not all for graduations, that led to 21 incidents of an invited guest not speaking. Since 2009 there have been 95 protests, resulting in 39 cancellations, according to Mr. Lukianoff’s group.

Mandel concludes:

The question, then, is not whether American universities are producing ever more totalitarian-minded brats. Of course they are reinforcing such closed-mindedness; they are leftist institutions steeped in leftist values. This is a problem, and should be addressed. But the out-of-control speech police on college campuses, combined with the unwillingness to even listen to those who might disagree with them, raises the distinct possibility that colleges are producing brainless authoritarians.

What if college, in other words, is making the next generation stupid? Not uniformly, of course. There will always be exceptions, and there may even be a rebellion against what is increasingly making college the most expensive babysitting service in the modern world. But college administrators are now faced with the conundrum of students who pay them gobs of money to keep them uninformed and shielded from critical thinking. It’s a challenge administrators have to deal with–and the sooner, the better.

Given the spineless response from college administrators to the student protests of the late 1960s that produced today’s academic environment, I’m not holding my breath for positive change or newfound academic freedom.

Update:

As someone responding to Iowahawk’s tweet adds, “For free, can’t forget the free part.”

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