In a comment on an earlier post, Tim of the North asked
Do you find any college kids at all interested in this stuff [political theory]? Do any of them care about reading, are any of them capable of being challenged?
The short answer is: No. Their attitude is, if they don’t already know it, it’s not worth knowing. They exist in an endless, contextless now, with an obsessive focus on the present moment that would be the envy of a Zen master (if Zen masters could envy). “Pebbles in a pond” used to be a pretty good metaphor for education — the pebble of fact sinks below the surface, and the ripples spread all around, moving everything in their path. Nowadays, it’s pebbles in thick mud. The fact drops — splat! — and just sits there, unaffected, affecting nothing. And that’s assuming you can get them to acknowledge that it is a fact in the first place — they’ve been trained since kindergarten to avoid correlating the contents of their minds, lest the obvious contradictions between the “facts” they’re required to parrot lead to badthink.
This is the only way to function in the modern college environment. At some point on this blog I suggested they think in tweets and upvotes — that is, each statement is to be evaluated entirely on its own, with no reference to anything, even the speaker’s own timeline. If it’s upvoted or retweeted, it’s true, even if the exact opposite thing got upvoted and retweeted just five minutes ago. That’s an awkward way of expressing it, but I think it’s essentially right.
That’s the only way one can chant the catechism without skull-smashing cognitive dissonance. As far as I can tell — and I’ve been in and around academia a long, long time — a modern college “education” can be summed up in three propositions:
- Everything is society’s fault (“socially constructed”), and
- Change (they call it “progress”) is good in itself, BUT,
- Everyone must be one thing only, always and forever.
So, for example, every day on campus presents a dilemma like this:
- Gender is a social construction, but
- how dare you suggest I could ever be anything other than a yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin?
The only way out is to Facebookify it. Gender is a social construction? Upvote. You’re a yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin? Upvote. There’s no “logical connection” button on Facebook, though, so the (to normies, glaringly obvious) link between the two never gets made: “You can socially construct yourself a different identity — a heterosexual human female, for instance.” It can’t be upvoted, so it doesn’t exist.