Postmodernists Make Activists, Not Students

Our nation was founded with the marketplace of ideas in mind. The Founding Fathers of the United States would meet in coffee houses and share ideas in preparation for the revolution. They enshrined both freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in the Bill of Rights to protect the marketplace of ideas. The free and open discussion of ideas not only turns us into good citizens, but also empowers our pursuit of the truth.  

This is the purpose of a liberal arts college education. Students are introduced to an array of professors with a diversity of opinions on different subjects. This sharpens the students and enables them to navigate our complex world more effectively. Stephen Hicks wrote about John Stuart Mill’s view of education. Mill argued that “students must learn not only the best answers but also their contenders, and that a trained mind will know not only the reasons for the best answer but also the strongest criticism of it.” This is liberal education done right. 

Liberal college education goes horribly wrong, though, when post-modernism enters the mix. Post-modern philosophy is based on a skepticism towards traditional narratives and a rejection of absolute truth. Without truth, though, what is a college professor going to teach about? Hicks explains that in post-modern schooling, “truth is out, and racial/gender/class/ethnic-group conflict prevails.” 

Post-modernists decided it would be good to turn education into a political weapon. The oppressive gender and racial narratives must be overturned, the post-modernists thought, and what better way to do this than to turn the college classroom into an activist training camp? 

Additionally, post-modernists do not believe in the marketplace of ideas. Contrary viewpoints run the risk of giving credence to oppressive white male ideas. 

Liberal arts education is no longer the sharpening marketplace of ideas it once was. Postmodernists have infected American colleges like a disease, turning our children into radical progressives.  

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