Thomas Sowell
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 If education provides anything, it should be an ability to think -- that is, to weigh one idea against an opposing idea, and to use evidence and logic to try to determine what is true and what is false. That is precisely what our schools and colleges are failing to teach today.

 It is worse than that. Too many teachers, from the elementary schools to the graduate schools, see their role as indoctrinating students with what these teachers regard as the right beliefs and opinions. Usually that means the left's beliefs and opinions.

 The merits or demerits of those ideas is far less important than whether or not students learn to analyze and weigh those merits and demerits. Educators used to say, "We are here to teach you how to think, not what to think."

 Today, students can spend years in educational institutions, discussing all sorts of issues, without ever having heard a coherent statement of the other side of those issues that differ from what their politically correct teachers say.

 There are students in our most prestigious law schools who have never heard arguments for the social importance of property rights -- not just for those fortunate enough to own property, but for those who don't own a square inch of real estate or a single share of stock. How they would view the issues if they did is a moot point because they have heard only one side of the issue.

 People who go through life never having heard the other side of issues ranging from environmentalism to minimum wage laws are nevertheless emboldened to lash out in ignorance at anyone who disturbs their vision of the world. The self-confident moral preening of ignoramuses is perhaps an inevitable product of the promotion of "self-esteem" in our schools.

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Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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