In cities all across the world--though mostly America since it's election year--leftist radicals continue to take to the streets tearing down statues, defacing buildings, starting fires, and beating helpless bystanders. As one might guess, those on the left cheer on the violence, seeing it as an appropriate response to the many injustices that exist in the developed world, be it systemic racism, economic inequities, or bad fathers. Those of the right witness this madness (that fortunately takes place in mostly blue states) and can hardly determine whether this some kind of revolution or an extreme mass temper tantrum.
What is striking about these riots, besides the nihilistic permissiveness of politicians letting their own cities and monuments get destroyed, are the people behind them. They are not professional battle-hardened mercenaries carrying out a meticulously planned insurrection against their country; they are ignorant youth mouthing irrational slogans and refusing take responsibility for anything. A study of the rioters in England found that the “rioters were predominantly young. About three-quarters of those … were aged 24 or under, with just over a quarter … involving juveniles under 18.” Based on footage taken around the country, many rioters in the United States also seem to be mostly coming out of high school or colleges.
This fact should offer some guidance on how to best respond. The organized nature of these riots shows this not just a momentary burst of adolescent rage. However, the foolishness and hypocrisy of the participants betray a lack of seriousness to their supposed grievances.
For instance, what does one make of this old tweet from “lauracouc,” an 18-year-old who describes herself as a “she/they lesbian anarchist”? She tweets, “the homeless people we invited took away all the food at the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone. we need more food to keep the area operational. please if possible bring vegan meat substitutes, fruits, oats, soy products, etc. – anything to help us eat.” This would be funny if she wasn’t part of a terrorist group occupying one of America’s largest cities. What makes it worse is that her parents or one of her many followers probably brought in her some impossible burgers to keep this insanity going.
Considering the actual privilege here, it becomes difficult to rationally explain the outrage. What could young people like lauracouc possibly be angry about when life has treated them so well? Evidently, there was some deep indoctrination that convinced them to take down civilization and take selfies as they do it. But are the leftist instructors on college campuses and high schools really so skilled in brainwashing that they can radicalize affluent vegan millennials and iGen?
Yes and no. Yes, education plays a role in the radicalization of today’s young people, but not in the way one might think. It is not what the students learn to think in their classes, but how they learn not to think. Rather than being powerful hypnotists who directly fill their captive audiences with leftist ideology, most teachers will clear the way for those types in the media. They achieve this by neglecting lower-level thinking skills, rejecting academic rigor, and implementing a strict moral relativism.
Schools Lay the Groundwork for Radicalization
In the past few decades, particularly with the rise of personal technology, it has become increasingly fashionable, particularly with Common Core, for teachers to ignore lower-level thinking skills in favor of higher-level thinking skills. The idea is that teachers would save their students’ time by skipping skills like memorization, reading comprehension, or arithmetic—which could all be done with technology—and focus on the higher-level thinking skills like analysis, evaluation, and real world problem-solving.
This approach has resulted in students learning not to think at any level. Without training the mind to handle basic functions of knowledge retention and acquisition, one cannot process complex ideas or think critically. If a student does not know the facts of history, he cannot evaluate whether a certain figure in history was good or bad. If he cannot decode and understand texts, then finding the main idea or evaluating arguments becomes impossible. If he cannot perform simple calculations, he will lack all sense of scale and will struggle making sense of any numerical data.
Because of these limits on thinking, the work students have at school tends to be easy. With the exception of Advanced Placement (AP) classes, most on-level classes will only demand that students parrot a few formulas and scripts to show competency. They will follow the “sentence stems” in essay writing, find the key words in a historical document, or plug in numbers into deconstructed math equations to “show their work.” Beyond this, they will spend most of their time on projects, which involves mostly dawdling and copying and pasting random things from the internet. In many cases, students can be functionally illiterate and innumerate, yet still pass their standardized tests and earn A’s in their classes.
As learning and rigor are compromised, schools will slip into moral relativism. There is nothing good or bad in anything, just different. Western civilization, what little is discussed about it, is different from Eastern civilizations, not superior or more relevant to Americans today. The YA fiction of Jason Reynolds has the same literary merits as the classics of Charles Dickens; they just wrote for different times. And it will always be a mystery where math or science come from or what their purpose is.
Depending on the instructor and the culture of the school, this approach can evolve into clear prejudice against conservative pro-American values. However, much of the time, it translates into a simple refusal to judge or think deeply on anything. One argument is as good as another, one fact is as important as another, one lifestyle has as much merit as another. Even if parents at home try to stress the importance of living responsibly and keeping the faith, this is undermined by the ease and moral indifference prevailing at school.
Besides leaving students more ignorant and less competent, these trends seriously compromise young Americans’ ability to think. They are unable to apply logic, use their imagination, or even empathize. They’re not just stupid; they’re dangerously immature, exhibiting the behavior one would normally see in prepubescent children. The cognitive dissonance that should bother them when they are hurting the very people they claim to defend has not happened yet. This is because there is no cognition to begin with.
This problem leaves younger generations incredibly vulnerable to propaganda and mass hysteria, however ridiculous. Thus, they mindlessly consume the notions that America is founded on racism, capitalism has failed, climate catastrophe is imminent, and nuclear families perpetuate oppression. Obvious realities never seem apparent to them, and what emerges from this delusion are young adults resembling a cross between the dystopian street punks in A Clockwork Orange and the yokels of Idiocracy.
Possible Ways To Reverse This Problem
The situation has become worse with the internet, which has become the dominant influence, much more than parents or teachers. As writer Matt Walsh notes, “if your child is on her phone nine hours a day, it's the phone — and the people she interacts with and watches when she uses it — that will form her.” Moreover, Big Tech companies have done their part to ensure leftist content dominates the screen and conservatism disappears completely.
Dire as the situation is, understanding the way indoctrination and radicalism have come about offers possible solutions. First, in regards to the thought-discouraging education that afflicts so many schools, taxpayers must make a stand and demand reform, particularly with the bogus pedagogy, loss of standards, and prevailing relativism. When this is ignored, leftist indoctrination and riots are assured.
A great way to do this would be pushing school choice. Most American parents want better educational options for their children, but do not have this freedom. School vouchers and more charter schools would fix this problem. As Joy Pullman suggests in a recent essay, public leaders should “Liberate public funds from these institutions with a century-long record of failure. Return it to families. At least half of them will be delighted to choose pro-America schools.” Fortunately, it seems that President Trump is behind this idea and continues to make school choice a priority: “We are renewing our call on Congress to finally enact school choice now, school choice is a big deal, because access to education is the civil rights issue of our time.”
As for the domination of leftist media, conservatives need to keep fighting to keep the debate alive. Politicians can do their part in pushing for legislation that discourages censorship and propaganda while conservative public figures can continue pushing this issue to their audiences. On a practical level, people should be deliberate in their use of the internet and social media. Everyone, not just children, could use a little less screen time and a little more contact with reality.
Never has it been more important to follow Mark Twain’s advice, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” Probably most Americans who love their country can credit their beliefs to rogue teachers who actually taught their students how to think or loving parents who pushed back against leftist corruption. They need to pay this gift forward by engaging with others, challenging the status quo, and voting for people and policies that will build up America, not destroy it.
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