A word of praise (second in a series)

Yes, we’re at it again. As a reminder, at AHC we do critical thinking and critical thinking involves being, well, critical. They do cheerleading elsewhere (maybe everywhereelsewhere) on the net. So we have a special responsibility to offer the occasional word of praise for worthy things we stumble across.

Way back on Monday the 14th, Megan McCardle posted a follow-up to an earlier piece on liberals in academia in which she spoke about bias. Yes, for all my blathering and complaining about elites I do troll the Boston/NY/Washington intelligentsia axis to keep an eye on the mutterings of the ├╝ber class. Every journey begins somewhere. Mine always do in the MSM.

I actually find the liberal question itself terribly uninteresting. My own undergraduate education came at the hands of Marxists. Consequently I have a hard time seeing liberals as anything other than conservatives who delude themselves.

In my own case–and we always must suspect samples and focus groups of one–I never became an apologist for Sendero or the Khmer Rouge and my sympathies are so profoundly an odd admixture of anarcho-syndicalist and libertarian that I sound at times like a Tea Partying Castro. Some of my classmates, though, are another story.

But if the real work of education is happening then indoctrination should not be possible. If the real (as opposed to feared) outcome of faculty domination by liberals (let’s just take it as a given for a moment) is a cadre of graduates merely able to parrot back what the prof wants to hear, then the whole experiment is a failure and a waste of time and money.

But back to McCardle. She has done a true service in her limning of some important cognitive biases. Questioning one’s biases and beliefs; going back to the data; facing facts even when they have the unpleasant consequence of making you reconsider the premises you’ve been operating under, that’s what you’re supposed to do. That too many people don’t and yet want us to believe they have no ax to grind is the true problem of our times. Than you, Megan for helping push out that critical thinking thing one more time.

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