Victor Davis Hanson is an oasis in a vast common sense desert. He is a professor emeritus at Cal State, Fresno and a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. His recent analysis of what’s happening in many of our universities deserves attention.
An issue he raised is the reason for this post. Graduation from many colleges and universities today with a Bachelor of Arts degree is no guarantee that a graduate can communicate effectively or think inductively, Davis says.
In the world of work and productivity, communication skills have been historically keys to success. According to Education Week (Sept. 25, 2018) employers say they have problems finding new hires with good communication skills. Writing for the Society for Human Resources Management, Dana Wilkie states, “college grads are deficient in critical thinking, speaking and writing and teamwork,” executives say (Oct. 21, 2019).
Hansen contends that the loss of thinking inductively is harmful to a nation’s graduates. To practice inductive thinking, open discussions and the free exchange of ideas must permeate centers of higher learning. How can that happen when speech is restricted? How can ideas flow when groups ban or threaten speakers with whom they disagree politically with violence?
Thinking inductively involves specific observations leading to an initial conclusion that is likely, but not certain. Simply put, inductive reasoning moves from the specific to the general. If information is limited when colleges restrict some words or views they decree as being offensive, the student learns conformity not inquiry.
Conformity then can become obedience as students are regulated and inserted into groups. Sound familiar? That is classic fascism-the very evil thing progressives say they oppose.
Have the regulations and controls on thought and speech become so authoritarian on campuses that some must advertise having Free Speech Zones? They’ve got the masks, will the whips be next?