Culture

The Cultivated Ignorance of Millennials

"It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance." —Thomas Sowell

Arnold Ahlert · Nov. 16, 2017

“It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” —economist Thomas Sowell.

A poll taken last year by Harvard University revealed that 51% of 18-to-29 year-old Americans opposed capitalism, compared to 42% who supported it. Another poll taken by YouGov and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation revealed 44% of Millennials would rather live in a socialist country, versus 42% who would rather live in a capitalist one.

Yet those same Millennials rejected government control of the economy by a 2-1 margin.

In other words, many Millennials have no idea what they’re talking about.

Adam J. MacLeod, associate professor at the Jones School of Law at Faulkner University, believes he knows why such ignorance resonates among younger Americans. “Before I can teach you how to reason, I must first teach you how to rid yourself of unreason,” he explains in a speech given to first-year law students. “For many of you have not yet been educated. You have been dis-educated. To put it bluntly, you have been indoctrinated. Before you learn how to think you must first learn how to stop unthinking.”

MacLeod was dismayed by the reality that many of his students reflexively labeled the foundational knowledge contained in texts such as Plato’s Crito and the Code of Hammurabi “classist” and “racist,” because they have been taught “to label things with various ‘isms’ which prevent you from understanding claims you find uncomfortable or difficult.”

Sowell puts the blame for this Snowflakery precisely where it belongs. “If our so-called educators cannot be bothered to teach our children knowledge and logic,” he writes, “they can at least refrain from undermining the importance of knowledge and logic by leading students to believe that how you feel and express yourself are what matter.”

It’s not going to happen, because undermining knowledge and logic — in pursuit of unassailable power — is the centerpiece of the progressive agenda. And nothing enables that agenda better than legions of younger Americans who remain perpetually offended, because, MacLeod insists, they have “learned to associate truth with your subjective feelings, which are neither true nor false but only yours.”

Thus, while 71% of those same Millennials profess to be champions of free speech, 48% would limit it on social media, and 45% want it limited on college campuses — so no one is offended.

College campuses are the epicenter of the progressive assault on reason and logic, and the University of Texas at San Antonio reveals how organized and dedicated the assaulters have become. The Federalist’s Robert Tracinski chronicles an exchange between bisexual graduate student Alfred MacDonald and UTSA Philosophy Dept. Chairwoman Eve Browning, following MacDonald’s post-class discussion where he noted his sexual identity could get him “killed in ten Muslim countries.”

Given that homosexuality is punishable by death in some Muslim nations, the statement is accurate. Nonetheless, he was summoned to a meeting by Browning. Suspicious of her motives, McDonald recorded the conversation and produced a transcript.

Smart move. Despite his insistence that he was making an observation about religious practices in certain Islamic countries, Browning warned him “that kind of thing is not going to be tolerated in our department.” And if it happened again, he would be referred to a “Behavior Intervention Team,” which could ultimately recommend “that you be academically dismissed.”

Browning then said something that makes a complete mockery of anything resembling a course in philosophy: “I would add to that that confrontational interaction with other graduate students is objectionable and unprofessional.”

No doubt the Behavior Intervention Team would heartily agree. They have specific guidelines for dealing with “disruptive” students, giving faculty members sole discretion for defining the term. That colleges actually have something called a Behavior Intervention Team, or philosophy departments that insist confrontational interaction is objectionable and unprofessional?

“There you have it, the predominant culture of the contemporary university: don’t think, don’t argue, don’t try to understand, don’t seek to defend or justify yourself. Just conform,” Tracinski explains.

Nothing breeds ignorance more effectively than conformity.

Thus for example, when Millennial champion Bernie Sanders promotes the notion of a free college education, it resonates among those so economically ignorant that they have no idea the word “free” represents an abject lie specifically tailored to exploit that ignorance.

They also remain vulnerable to nonsensical diatribes about class warfare. An article by The Guardian cites a report entitled the “Billionaire Bonanza” that reveals “the three richest people in the US — Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett — own as much wealth as the bottom half of the US population, or 160 million people.” Adding a dollop of racialist arson to the mix, the report further notes the top 25 wealthiest people are Caucasian.

What the report omits? That the accumulation of wealth by one person has no relationship to another person’s lack of wealth. Despite what progressives believe, there is no finite amount of wealth. Nor is there a limit on the amount of envy and class warfare progressives will cultivate in the pursuit of power administered by “enlightened” progressives, whose socialist-inspired “benevolence” will transcend the capitalist instincts of their “deplorable” subjects.

“I’ve seen the failings of modern-day capitalism,” declared Grayson SussmanSquires, an 18-year-old Wesleyan University student who came to New York City last week for a forum called “Capitalism: A Debate.” It was a discussion about whether capitalism should be overthrown. “To him and many of his peers, he said, the notion of well-functioning capitalist order is something recounted only by older people,” Bloomberg News explains. “He was 10 when the financial crisis hit, old to enough to watch his older siblings struggle to get jobs out of college.”

What else were SussmanSquires and his peers old enough to watch during the same timeframe? The disintegration of the Venezuela and the “21st-Century Socialism” championed by the late Hugo Chávez. Socialism that has devolved into an outright dictatorship under current President Nicolas Maduro.

Thus, a nation of 32 million citizens that was once the richest in Latin America, in possession of the largest proven oil reserves in the entire world, now endures life-threatening shortages of food, medicine and other essentials, while the value of its currency, the bolivar, has been so decimated, the International Monetary Fund predicts inflation will hit 650% this year — and a mind-numbing 2,300% in 2018.

On Monday, Venezuela also defaulted on its debt payment, which will further exacerbate its humanitarian crisis.

“Glib demagogues have been the curse of the 20th century and tens of millions of human beings have paid with their lives for the heady visions and clever talk of political egotists,” Sowell warned us 19 years ago. “Yet the danger is not that a particular child will follow in the footsteps of Lenin, Hitler or Mao. The danger is that great numbers of people will never know what it is to know, as distinguished from sounding off.”

Millennials are sounding off on the glories of socialism, even as a 2016 CBS/New York Times survey found that only 16% of them could accurately define what socialism is.

The danger is here.

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