Lewis Morris / March 3, 2022

Campus Coddling Is Creating Sheep

Intellectual curiosity and independent thinking have all but disappeared from our nation’s colleges and universities.

Recent analysis in The Wall Street Journal by Harvard senior Julie Hartman offers a revealing insight into American higher education. In it, Hartman explains how students at America’s most prestigious university reflexively accept any and every COVID rule the administration sees fit to implement, unquestioningly accepting the mask and the vaccine and jumping through the repetitive testing hoops dangled before them.

It’s not the kind of behavior that instills confidence in today’s best and brightest — and tomorrow’s leaders.

When we think of college — or at least when we used to think of college — we conjure up images of students achieving social self-awareness and intellectual independence. We imagine young men and women imbued with insatiable curiosity, limitless potential, and fresh ideas. Instead, as Hartman writes, we’re cranking out COVID sheep.

Higher education in America is supposed to be the place where tomorrow’s leaders are made. But these institutions of so-called higher learning are no longer anything of the kind. America’s colleges and universities are now indoctrination centers run by leftists who see evil in most anything that’s white, male, and American. Their only goal is to create legions of like-minded sheep that can be sent out into the world to do their bidding.

The spirit on college campuses in the 1960s and ‘70s was to challenge everything. You remember the bumper stickers: Question Authority! Students pushed against every boundary they could find, which is both a quality and a curse of youth. The ones who did the most pushing were the leftists who wanted to burn down the whole Republic. The campus takeovers, the violence, and the destruction of property were all inspired by young Marxists and Maoists. These shaggy-haired revolutionaries didn’t know any more about Karl Marx than they did Groucho Marx, but they wrapped themselves up in the cloak of intellectualism and proceeded from the viewpoint that they knew better than everyone else. On campuses across the nation, it was assumed that those who disagreed with leftist dogma did so not because they were privy to other information but because they were stupid and dangerous. So much for the free exchange of ideas.

The leftist revolution of the '60s didn’t work in the near term, but it’s certainly doing so in the long term. When the '70s came, and society decided it was time to settle back down to reality, the leftists stayed on campus. They became professors, counselors, and administrators. Slowly, over the course of several decades, they took over America’s university system. Politics went from right-of-center to hard left. Contrarian ideas went from being engaged and discussed to being censored.

Free thought and vigorous inquiry are anathema to the modern American university. Rather than maintain open campuses where free ideas are exchanged, colleges are closed off. Students who want to be treated like adults are encouraged to act like children, like Maoist Red Guards: shouting down speakers, rushing stages, damaging property, even doing bodily harm.

If you want your children to gain education and experience to prepare them for life in the modern world, you should weigh other options before sending them to college. Young minds are already dulled by staring at screens and focusing their energies on digital worlds that don’t exist. Is it any wonder that they’re so susceptible to the indoctrination that takes place on our college campuses?

Why do we marvel that college students seem to be among the most fearful Americans when it comes to a virus that claims almost none of them? Or, as Hartman says she asks her friends, “Why do young, fully vaccinated students continue to tolerate these irrational Covid restrictions?”

After all, it has wrecked their college experience. “Most of my classmates lost nearly a third of their time on campus,” she says. “The aggregate burden of these measures over two years — combined with the discouraging realization that many of them do little to protect public health — has diminished our college experience.” And their overall education, to boot.

She rightly concludes, “The inability of Harvard students to question or oppose these irrational bureaucratic excesses bodes ill for our ability to meet future challenges.”

America’s children are still our future. But only if they can think for themselves.

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