black holes and gray matter. in one thousand tangos.

“But can we please admit that many four year colleges do in fact attempt to indoctrinate students? And that a lot of Americans, including President Obama, regard that as a good thing? […]

It is nevertheless true that institutions of higher education generally value reason more than faith; they value intellectual achievement more than moral achievement; they’re implicated in America’s careerism; they advance a whole host of value judgments under the banner of diversity, some of them uncontroversial, others deeply contested; and if the typical American college was more like Hillsdale or Notre Dame or Bob Jones than Harvard in its value judgments, I cannot believe President Obama would be equally enthusiastic about subsidizing them. Am I wrong?”

Conor Friedersdorf

theatlantic: Let’s hear it. Is Conor wrong? 

markcoatney: Yes. Also, if I were a Notre Dame alum I’d be fairly offended at being lumped in with a racist institution like Bob Jones. 

Politicalprof: This is pedantry at its best.

All education is transformative. No one is born believing a darn thing. Your parents, your church and your community all install ideas and beliefs and faiths in you. College comes late to the game, and can only provide those students who care to develop them with the skills and tools they can use to challenge and/or reconfirm those faiths.

Put another way, let me ask this: is society likely to be healthier, stronger, more flexible and more capable of adaptation to the world’s inevitably changing social and political shape if it is filled with people who are comfortable and capable of wrestling with  complexities to the fullest extent possible, or not? Is a community likely to be more successful or less successful if it embraces the capacity to develop new knowledge and perspectives over time, or if it keeps people as permanent 6 year olds, having learned everything they needed to know in kindergarten?

Despite the ethos of the Facebook era, not everything one sees or reads is supposed to reconfirm your existing biases. The world has an intriguing way of upsetting one’s apple cart with regularity. The important thing is to be able to think of a way to resettle it, not just pout that things didn’t go the way you wanted them to. 

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