The Urgent Need for an Intellectual Revival

Political polarization cartoon depicting the need for an intellectual revival
Political polarization cartoon (Brown University)

In the 2nd week of January, the Daily Wire, a conservative media website, published an article written by Matt Walsh, titled: “Don’t Believe The Lie, Kids. You Don’t ‘Need’ To Go To College. And You Probably Shouldn’t.” In the piece, Walsh argues that only a “small minority” of the population should consider going to a four-year university. He cites evidence proclaiming the massive increases in student debts, millennials still living in their parent’s house, as well as many unemployed or unprepared for professional work. All of this certainly poses a serious concern, particularly about the sustainability of higher education…

I’ll take it one step forward: college is not only unnecessary because of the rising costs, but actually more harmful than it is good, especially at its current status.

I say this, however, because of something more serious than rising costs.

The college campus has long been held as a bastion of free speech, free expression, and a place where a young adult has a tangible, realistic, and genuine opportunity to grow as a person. Perhaps this vision is not too far out of the question, but in order for our college institutions to regain it’s intended purpose, the left, as well as the right, drastically needs an intellectual revival.

One of the things that perhaps is the most visible on the left, and certainly the most talked about, is the spread of “political correctness” or “PC” on college campuses. I will freely admit that there are some realistic and reasonable scenarios where political correctness can be appropriate. But if there was a dial measuring “PC” on college campuses, that reasonable metric would be set at 3, but right now, it’s cranked up to 10. Whether it be blocking opposing viewpoints by rioting and causing public endangerment, or creating safe spaces that “protect” individuals from challenging experiences, I don’t think you have to be a right winger to notice the ridiculousness that has become our campuses.

This problem has been proliferated by a very dangerous notion, that has unfortunately taken hold of many millennials: If you disagree with my politics, you are attacking my character. It is from this idea that our “micro-aggression” culture has dominated. Even though a large part of our politics is derived from our own personal values, disagreeing over policy should never devolve into, nor be interpreted as a personal attack against your values, and by large, it is never meant to.

Once we go down the rabbit hole of this logic, we inevitably end up with the destructive notion of identity politics—something that people on both the right and the left practice. We must treat each other as individuals. Unless we do this, our college campuses are going to continue to divulge into further insanity. Dave Rubin, over at the Rubin Report does a fantastic job explaining this destructive concept:

The right is not innocent in this either. Conservatives often hold themselves inside of their own political ideology and struggle to find common ground with the left or even bother looking for it. When we hide in our own intellectual corners, not only do we fail to challenge our beliefs, but we discredit ourselves and contribute to the polarity of our already divided nation. The right occasionally over-generalizes the left, proclaims they are all crazy SJW feminists who have no respect, admiration, or love for our country. We demean ourselves by resulting to name calling and insults, calling those that disagree with us “snowflakes.” None of this is helpful or increases the quality of debates during political discourse.

This is a harsh reality for both aisles of the political spectrum, but this is something that both sides must accept. Our nation cannot afford a generation of whose contempt for each other reaches the capability of violence, simply for speaking an opposing point of view. We cannot afford to play into identity politics and reject the value of the individual. We cannot hide in our intellectual corners, studying only what we want to study, and hearing only what we want to hear. Unless our generation leads an honest and open intellectual revival, our nation holds a serious risk.

And most of all, we are all adults now; it’s far past time we start acting like it.

About Cameron Greenfield 7 Articles
Kansas State University 2021. Marketing Major Libertarian. Chief Marketing Strategist, BiPolitics. Co-Host of "The BiPartisan" Twitter: @greenfield_cam

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