Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Post-secondary education system is failing our young adults

As a society, we have allowed our top educational institutions to be overrun by so-called progressives who masquerade as academic elite but are often nothing more than propaganda-pumping puppets in a badly broken system.

The curious public actions of three Ivy League presidents recently in sidestepping the question about whether students should be disciplined for calling for the genocide of Jews – College Presidents Under Fire After Dodging Questions About Antisemitism – was one symptom of dysfunction. Cheat on a test and you could be expelled, but call for the genocide of a particular group – well, that is apparently more of an ethical grey area for the leaders of these (formerly) fine universities.

Another telling sign was the despicable behaviour of York University faculty members and staff in vandalizing an Indigo bookstore in Toronto, Canada, along with the subsequent protest of predictable suspensions – York University sees walkout after putting faculty, staff members on leave in wake of charges in Indigo vandalism. The vandalism was allegedly a response to Indigo CEO Heather Reisman’s charity that “provides scholarships to former “lone soldiers” — those without family in Israel, who served in the Israel Defence Forces,” the Toronto Star reported.

Faculties throughout the western world have decided that Israel – and, by extension, Jews – are the bad guys in the Gaza war. They avoid discussion of the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7, deny that they even happened, or attempt to justify the actions. I wonder how these folks would react if their friends and neighbours were simultaneously raped and murdered – Attackers laughed as they raped and murdered a woman in Israel on October 7, witness says. Hamas has been labelled a “terrorist organization” by the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the European Union for good reason.

Of course, that does not mean that we should not be pushing Israel to be more measured in its military response. The killing of three unarmed, shirtless, and white-flag-holding Israeli hostages in Gaza by Israeli forces was one clear indicator that the military response has been anything but pinpoint – Israeli troops killed hostages, mistaking their cries for help as ambush – military.

However, it is entirely unacceptable for post-secondary faculty to pretend that there is but one villain in this conflict.

Academic leaders should be encouraging discussion of the history of the Middle East, and engaging in constructive dialogue about possible outcomes in an incredibly complicated conflict.

Most are doing no such thing, and they did the same with COVID-19 … and they continue to do it with climate change. They pick a side, convince themselves that they occupy the moral and intellectual high ground, and espouse the woke cause of the day.

There is no shortage of studies and data showing that most western governments’ COVID-19 interventions caused more harm than good – e.g., Detailed analysis of 2021 death data reveals disturbing trends, A look back at the causes of death in the first year of COVID-19.

But arrogance among the academic “elite” prevents them from ever looking in the rear-view mirror to see how dreadfully wrong they were and continue to be regarding the most pressing matters. I have yet to see a public apology from any of the many thousands of university leaders and professors who inaccurately professed that the lock-down-and-vaccinate approach was the only way to combat COVID-19.

One of the key reasons behind the remarkable staying power of counterproductive COVID policies was a steady supply of unscientific studies from university research teams. Epidemiologist Dr. David Vickers provided a review of one such flawed study: Bold statements regarding hybrid immunity belie checkered evidence.

There is also an abundance of information – including historical context – indicating that climate alarmists are off their rockers. A young adult might gain more PRACTICAL knowledge about climate change and energy transition in one hour of reading articles by geoscientists Brad Hayes and Laurie Weston than in six years of study to gain an undergraduate degree and master’s in environmental science at a “progressive” university in the western world …

There are exceptions, of course, and I feel for the rational, education-focused professors and other staff at universities and colleges. It must be a terrible feeling to be surrounded by narrow-minded fools who are systematically eroding the integrity and reputations of formerly revered institutions.

Living near higher (more so because of the prevalence of recreational weed use) learning facility University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, affords me many opportunities to engage in conversation with students.

One student was close to finishing a master’s degree of public health but had never even considered the idea that some messaging, for example, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, could be affected by corporate influences.

Thankfully, the student was open to an exchange of ideas, and seemed to accept as reasonable commentary by Johns Hopkins University professor Marty Makary, who alluded to simple absurdities in a presentation to a U.S. Select Subcommittee on May 11, 2023:

“Universities, like my own, put their heads in the sand, ignoring the data and forcing young, healthy students to choose between the risk of myocarditis or getting kicked out of school, even though they already had natural immunity.

 The media parroted whatever Fauci and the CDC fed them, just as they did when government leaders told them there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, parroting whatever the government told them without asking any questions.

 And is anyone surprised that Pfizer & Moderna never talked about natural immunity as a reason to not get one of their products?

 Meanwhile many practicing doctors knew the power of natural immunity and used it to custom tailor their vaccine recommendations, just as much of Europe did. Many of us wrote dozens of articles on the topics, as we received secret praise from hundreds of doctors who often reached out to us. Some, with big national profiles, would tell us that privately they agreed with us but were afraid to speak up publicly because they get grants from Dr. Fauci, or because their hospital would bully them.

 While many doctors practiced medicine factoring in the powerful role of natural immunity, the highly political leadership of the medical establishment supported 100% of everything Dr. Fauci said, not because he was correct, but to show their political solidarity. At the same time, the CDC put out their own highly flawed studies to support their position while ignoring a mountain of evidence to the contrary.”

A father of a UBC medical student recently lamented the idea that he was parting with large sums of money in order to have his child subjected to what he called a “Marxist indoctrination camp.”

Just last week, a UBC environmental science student initiated conversation with me at a Vancouver coffee shop. He seemed excited to tell me about the book he was reading that described how expensive oceanfront real estate was being swallowed up by fast-rising sea levels.

I asked him when the book was published and if any of the predictions were coming true. He glanced at the front of the book and said, “2017 … not yet, but sea level is rising fast.”

When I suggested that climate alarmists have been consistently wrong for decades, and that sensationalism is employed regularly to sell books and evoke fear from which the alarmists profit, the young student started to get upset. “You are wrong,” he said.

My reply: “I don’t mean to offend you, but I hope you will question the information you are absorbing. It’s likely that a lot of what you are being told is inaccurate.”

At post-secondary institutions throughout the western world, critical thinking has lost out to group-think, and curriculum has been enveloped by propaganda.

It is important that those of us who observe this academic decay push back. We can do it by challenging myopic dialogue on social media, by having respectful subsurface conversations with post-secondary instructors and young adults in our networks, and by encouraging constructive discussion of the big issues on any public platform.

Thankfully, there are pockets of academic excellence to which we can direct curious minds. Hayes, through his work with the University of Alberta and Mount Royal University, Makary at Johns Hopkins, and Roger Pielke Jr. at the University of Colorado Boulder, for example, are thought leaders who care about accuracy, practicality, and integrity in education.

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

Rob Driscoll
Rob Driscoll
Rob Driscoll is co-founder and president of BIG Media Ltd. He is a writer and entrepreneur who is deeply committed to elevating the level of coverage of our society's most pressing matters as well as the level of respect in public discourse.
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