College isn’t what it used to be.
Today, postmodernism dominates campuses through faculty so enamored with intellectualism that they fail to truly understand the more practical effects of their philosophies.
As a philosophy, postmodernism denies the existence of an objective, natural reality. It views truth and logic as mere constructs, and it favors a deconstructionist approach to problem solving. All of this is problematic for students in the real world, both at school and after.
For instance, if there is no objective reality, why should undergraduates exercise critical thinking to arrive at correct conclusions? One of the general education requirements for many California colleges is a passing grade in a critical thinking or logic class. As a tutor, I have the privilege of reading many essays for these classes. I never knew critical thinking could sound so canned. Most of the essays I read simply regurgitate popular talking points from the Left.
Despite having the world at their fingertips, undergraduates no longer take time to properly research their essay topics or to analyze it from multiple angles; instead, they go searching for sources that confirm their original opinion, regardless of actual evidence. I’ve seen students bend over backwards to force a quote to support their barely thought through stance on a complicated topic.
Critical thinking classes are not true critical thinking classes anymore. From a postmodern perspective, there’s nothing wrong with this. After all, these undergraduates are simply expressing their truths. Their opinions are just as valid as anything else out there.
This ties into today’s rampant narcissism. Postmodernist faculty and undergraduates alike are so enamored with their own thoughts that they fail to truly consider anything outside of themselves. In practice, college faculty values personal truths so much that they actively ask undergraduates to use personal experiences in essays alongside objective evidence. Too often, I read argumentative essays grounded in anecdotes rather than concrete evidence because the anecdotes are believed to be just as valid as any other piece of evidence.
This marks an alarming trend away from well-researched and logically sound argumentation and toward anecdotal discourse which finds its foundation in emotional appeals and subjective perception.
Yet another problem with the postmodernist philosophy is its tendency to see deconstruction as a problem solver. In most of California’s English 101 classes, undergraduates must write rhetorical analysis essays which analyze the structure of and strategies used in someone else’s argument. Regardless of whether the students analyze a poster, commercial or chapter from a textbook, every essay must deconstruct the source to its core elements and implied messages.
In the context of learning, deconstruction has value. It’s a great way for students to analyze the good and bad of their chosen major. The problem arises when professors expect this approach to provide solutions to greater socioeconomic issues, or they ask undergraduates to find evidence of social bigotry within basic advertisements. When people over-rely on deconstructionism to problem solve, they force a worldview which strips away substantial meaning and finds implied bias around every corner. Undergraduates leave college with a mentality that seeks to destroy established institutions and jumps to conclusions about others’ motives.
By denying the existence of absolute truth, valuing lived experiences on the same level as concrete evidence and teaching deconstructionist problem solving, postmodernist faculty effectively indoctrinate their undergraduates into a Leftist worldview which threatens American culture as we know it. Too large a portion of this world’s next generation is graduating college without knowing how to think, argue or effectively problem solve.
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–By Elise Ozanich