To survive and thrive, human beings must think. You might imagine that such a statement goes without saying. But you would be wrong. In fact, the necessity of thought has long been a contested notion in philosophical circles. Societies which embrace thinking , societies which embrace rationality, steadily improve the condition of mankind. Those who reject rationality devolve into darkness, fostering human suffering.
The generation making its way through academia today seems intent on the latter course, as evidenced most recently by news out of Stanford University. There, the student government just voted down a motion to require freshmen to learn “the politics, history, philosophy, and culture of the Western world” by a 6 to 1 margin. From the Daily Caller:
In contrast, over 90 percent of students voted in favor of an initiative requiring the school to administer a new campus climate survey designed to find the rate of sexual assault on campus. The school already administered such a survey in 2015, but it outraged activists by finding a sexual assault rate of just 1.9%, which they deemed far too low.
The mere suggestion that Stanford require studying Western civilization had generated immense outrage among certain Stanford communities. A low-income advocacy group at the school suspended a member based on the suspicion that he wrote an anonymous piece supporting the proposal. A hostile column in The Stanford Daily warned that accepting the proposal would mean centering Stanford education on “upholding white supremacy, capitalism and colonialism, and all other oppressive systems that flow from Western civilizations.”
When a generation becomes more interested in affirming their prejudice than seeking objective truth, when it condemns the means by which its affluence has been achieved, when it rejects rationality and the human freedom which flows therefrom, that generation is doomed. There may be little that can be done at this point to prevent the horrendous consequences of such widespread conscientious non-thought in our leading institutions of higher learning.