Wednesday, December 23, 2015

How an Emphasis on "Feelings" Is Ruining Higher Education

As a parent who is getting set to send her beloved one and only young'un into the arms of academia next fall, I am less than delighted that this--the culture/tyranny of hurt feelings, high horses and hissy fits--is what likely awaits him:
Grave consequence for education and the university await those who elevate the unreasoned perspective of aggrievement. Little imagination is required to see that giving equal weight to knowledge and untutored feeling undermines the possibility of education itself. The standard of feeling presumes that human beings do not require perfecting. Feelings have the appearance of purity. They purport to be sincere and authentic; as such, they need not be clarified or contradicted by reason. Feelings appear to be self-contained, incontrovertible revelations. But education presumes that minds are imperfect—that they are distorted by various admixtures of opinions, passions, and images and in need of correction.  
Genuine education aims to destroy false feelings of self-importance, while creating doubt about ideas and doctrines that distort the mind. Feelings tell us that there is nothing to learn. Intellectual authorities worthy of reverence and imitation don’t exist. For philosophers like John Locke, education was liberation from prejudice. The modern university, by contrast, too often flatters and protects prejudice. Gaining and preserving wisdom takes a back seat to the creation of safe-spaces—shelters, in other words, for prejudice, not from it.
My kid is a libertarian who debates SJWs online. I think he may be in for a bit of a rough ride if and when he lands in a place that esteems feelings--and the coddling thereof--above all else.


Carlos Perera said...

In this writer's humble opinion, the situation for young conservative at many universities is even worse than Scaramouche's estimation. Only "politically correct" feelings are esteemed and coddled. Scaramouche may bet her bottom (Canadian) dollar that, when her son confronts the SJWs--some of whom are likely to be counted among his professors--on campus, _his_ feelings shall count for diddly-squat.

Best of luck to the young man.

scaramouche said...

I'm sure you're right. My only consolation is that he isn't planning to go into the arts or the humanities, faculties where the current insanity is the most prevalent.

Earl said...

True, dat. In the STEM system, Scaramouche II will be fine; merit and competence will prevail (ever met a "progressive" diff eq?) But G-d help him if he branches out into the Ahts or Inhumanities, where he would be crucified (metaphorically, of course... ;) ) and emerge with $100K of debt to service on a barrista's wage.