R.I.P. Civil Discourse

OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

So, it’s been a while…

Man… have I missed having a captive audience to rant to! Now, the big question is… what to rant about. There seems to be a never-ending stream of choices!

I guess I’ll start with something that’s been weighing heavily on my mind for the duration of the semester… the failures of the public education system.

Now, I know there are SO MANY things we could say on this subject, but I don’t want this post to be a mile and a half long, so I’ll do my best to keep it focused.

What’s been bothering me as of late is the fact that my peers were passed through middle and high school without demonstrating fluency in the most basic concepts. Spelling, citations, paper formatting, editing, basic history, and a whole slew of other things that I won’t bore you with.

I had an assignment for my English course this semester where I wrote an 8-page research paper on how public schools are teaching sanitized history (and how utterly ridiculous that is). I knew it was a problem before I started my deep dive on the databases, but wow…

It made me feel even worse about where we are right now (and further solidified my choice to pursue History as my field of study, because MAN do we need more conservative/libertarian historians). My heart aches for the future of this country and, to be frank, the rest of the world. If America is still the “beacon of hope” that she once was, then damn… that’s one bleak looking future.

I don’t mean to sound so pessimistic, but it’s hard to keep the spirits up for the future when you realize that very few of your peers see the problem. They don’t see why they need to be able to write a proper e-mail, or why they need to know how to properly format an academic paper. Worse, some find learning about certain historical events (like the Holocaust) pointless, and harmful to their mental health. Now… I’m not saying I’ve personally encountered anyone who thinks that learning about the Holocaust is harmful to their mental health (God Bless Texas!), but we all know how prevalent this kind of sensitivity is.

The ability to have constructive conversations is quickly disappearing from college campuses (and everywhere else for that matter). Civil discourse is dead, ladies and gentlemen. Out of fear we might hurt someone’s feelings (cry me a river), we just won’t be having good conversations. College used to be the place to explore different viewpoints without fear of being ridiculed, but now it’s “think like this or you’re a racist, xenophobic, homophobic, white supremacist/domestic terrorist that’s an imminent threat to society.” Lovely…

I’m going to link an opinion piece here that Greg Gutfeld wrote last year on this subject. Here’s my favorite quotation if you don’t feel like reading it for yourself:

And while nearly all conservatives said they would be friends with a liberal, a large minority of liberals wouldn’t reciprocate. No wonder 70 percent of conservatives fear expressing their views in class.
So college is now where you send your kids, not to be educated but to be indebted; no longer to engage, but to punish each other.

I don’t want everyone that I meet to agree with me. I’m not asking for an echo chamber. You can give me any opinion on any subject and I’ll consider it. I enjoy thinking critically about everything. I like to think that it’s what I do best (besides reading, that it). The only thing I’m missing is the opportunity to share my opinions without feeling like it could come back to bite me later. That’s all I’m looking for. Sadly, it doesn’t feel like that exists anymore.

At what point are people going to realize that disagreement is healthy? How do college kids even know what they truly believe if they never want to test these beliefs against differing opinions? Is that why liberals fight this so hard? Because they’re afraid they might have their bubbles popped, and deep down might actually agree with what their political “enemies” have to say? God forbid you might actually learn something new. Isn’t that what college was supposed to be about, anyway? That’s what the real issue is. We’ve let college become a reinforcement of beliefs and biased thinking instead of going into it with an open mind. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t hold onto what we believe in, but I have the feeling that most of these kids (and adults, for that matter) don’t really know what they believe, or why they believe it.

Sorry for the long-winded rant, but man is it good to be back! I’m looking forward to a long winter break of writing for you all!

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