Reclaiming the Transformative Purpose of the Liberal Arts
Nice job. Critical thinking is different then the mess they are teaching in the schools. The woke ideology uses words that we revere against us. What they are actually offering is something called Critical Theory. This Theory was developed by the Germans in 1930's Germany. They were looking for a way to deconstruct their society because they saw that it was heading towards authoritarianism. (Obviously their theory didn't help stop the Nazis.) They did realize however that societies are made up of metanarratives (stories) that hold them together. Whether these stories or themes are about morality or science, the nature of good and evil or whether a boy can be a girl, the stories inform the culture. Meanwhile, at the same time, in a French philosophy department, the professors were toying with a thought experiment called existentialism. Existentialist say that "one's existence precedes their essence." This means that first you are born (you exist), then you form your essence (you come into being through your lived experiences). Man therefore determines his own essence, by the life he lives. This process means that he has free will (something that religious people had long debated).
America's grievance studies departments brought these two ideas together, through a philosophy called postmodernism. This philosophy offers radical skepticism about whether objective knowledge or truth is obtainable and has a commitment to cultural constructivism. They took existentialism (you exist before you have essence) and applied it at the society wide level (society exists, but we can determine its essence). From there, postmodernism adopted the fascist idea that power and knowledge should go hand in hand. They said that those who have power get to decide what is known and how. The rich have power-knowledge.. This turned postmodernism into a fascist ideology. The colleges should have immediately rejected it when they saw this, but instead that allowed this regressive ideology to infect the schools. It began to "control" America's reality. Christian morality was thrown out the window as a new ideology came into the fore. Critical thinking was replaced along the way with Critical Theory. The Enlightenment was replaced by Marxist ideology. A brilliant book on this topic is Cynical Theories, by James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose. I'd recommend that anyone interested in these ideas, read it.
Thank you for the essay. All your articles have been a breath of fresh air in an environment where nuance and discovery are essentially discarded as useless. You certainly have an audience hungry to get past the cacophony that passes for discourse these days. Keep up the good work.