The millennial generation is often considered to be one of the most educated in recent history. But as some college professors have been discovering, their education is not one of factual, truth-filled knowledge. Instead, it is one based on fancy, but contradictory terms, feelings, and a general lack of reason.
Faulkner University law professor Adam J. MacLeod is one who has discovered this form of “dis-education” in his students. As MacLeod explained in a speech to his law class, today’s students:
- Are unwilling to discuss “uncomfortable or difficult” ideas
- No longer know how to make a coherent and logical argument
- Base their opinions upon their own feelings, not upon truth
- Have not been taught to examine the past beyond the lens of race, class, and gender
- Hold diversity and equality as their primary moral values
Because of this, MacLeod found that he could not make reasonable progress in teaching his students to be informed thinkers and debaters. To remedy this problem, he laid down the following ground rules for his class:
1. The only “ism” I ever want to come out your mouth is a syllogism. If I catch you using an “ism” or its analogous “ist” — racist, classist, etc. — then you will not be permitted to continue speaking until you have first identified which “ism” you are guilty of at that very moment. You are not allowed to fault others for being biased or privileged until you have first identified and examined your own biases and privileges.
2. If I catch you this semester using the words “fair,” “diversity,” or “equality,” or a variation on those terms, and you do not stop immediately to explain what you mean, you will lose your privilege to express any further opinions in class until you first demonstrate that you understand three things about the view that you are criticizing.
3. If you ever begin a statement with the words “I feel,” before continuing you must cluck like a chicken or make some other suitable animal sound.
MacLeod’s words may seem a bit harsh to our modern sensitivities. In reality, however, MacLeod is doing exactly what a teacher is supposed to do: definitively uphold the standard of truth.
The late University of Chicago Professor Richard Weaver understood this concept. In an essay entitled, To Write the Truth, Weaver noted:
“It is often thoughtlessly said that the restoration of our broken world lies largely in the hands of the teachers. The statement is true, but the implications are not drawn. The teachers cannot contribute by teaching more disorder. When something has been broken, the repairman fixes it, with his mind not on the broken object but on the form according to which it was originally made.”
It may be easy to lay the problems of this world at the feet of the good-for-nothing millennials, but before doing so we must ask ourselves if the ideas they are advancing are their own. Have they been given over to illogical, unreasonable, feelings-based thinking because that is what they have been taught in their schools?
Image Credit: (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. George Thompson)
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.