As Intellectual Takeout has explained before, there’s a bit of a void when it comes to rational discourse in America’s high schools. So much so, that some students are taking things into their own hands with after school clubs in order to provide a platform for informed, reasonable dialogue about today’s issues.
But unfortunately, it’s not only in high school where informed, rational debate is being pushed to the sidelines. Colleges, long the bastion of free thought and discourse, are having to sideline it as well, largely because political correctness has become so prevalent.
Nowhere is this more true than at the University of Texas Austin. According to a recent article in The College Fix, longtime university philosophy professor Daniel Bonevac once had a popular course—Contemporary Moral Problems—which used time-tested authors (think Aristotle and Locke) to create discussion on today’s issues. Professor Bonevac’s course was popular with students, particularly since he presented viewpoints on both sides of the issues.
But Bonevac has thrown in the towel on his popular course:
“Political correctness has frozen debate to the point that the trouble and backlash he might receive by offering such a course is not worth it, he said. At this point, he’s not willing to resume teaching the class.
‘Students clam up as soon as conversation veers close to anything controversial and one side might be viewed as politically incorrect,’ he told The College Fix via email. ‘The open exchange of ideas that used to make courses such as Contemporary Moral Problems exciting doesn’t happen.’”
Not only is the class less exciting, Professor Bonevac explains, but it’s also terrifying to students:
“‘Students know there’s a politically correct view on a lot of issues. So, when anything connected to race, sex, etc., arises, I see a lot of students turn off. I think they see it this way: Either what comes next is politically correct and they’ve heard before, in which case it’s pointless and boring, or it presents a challenge to that perspective, in which case it’s dangerous.’”
In considering Bonevac’s story, it seems apparent that the primary lesson students are being taught is the emotionally-charged entity of political correctness.
It's a worthy goal to teach students to be sensitive to the feelings of others, but have we gone completely overboard? Is it time we insist our educational institutions begin instructing students to think for themselves instead of indoctrinating them with PC ideas?
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Annie Holmquist is the editor of Intellectual Takeout. When not writing or editing, she enjoys reading, gardening, and time with family and friends.