During my two decades as a college professor, I, along with a number of my colleagues, would at the start of each semester teach a class called Freshman seminar. The one week, required seminar was designed to help incoming students acclimate to the college environment.
To illustrate one of the points we were supposed to teach, I would ask a random guy in the class if he had ever asked a girl out on a date. Invariably he had. Then I would ask if he had ever met any girls that he would not want to ask out. Again, another yes. Then I would ask a random girl if she had ever been asked out… by a guy with whom she did not want to go out? Well, yes. Then I would ask them both whether they would be able to give specific reasons why they would choose to go out with one person and not another. I didn’t want to know what those reasons were, I just wanted to know whether they knew. Then I asked a question that stumped almost everyone in all the Seminars I taught over the years. “Why are those reasons the standard by which you determine your choice of dates?” With that, I accomplished my purpose. Instead of just going with what their parents, peers, or favorite movies told them was a good choice, I now had them questioning their preconceived ideas. Those students had taken the first step toward learning how to think for themselves.
I mention this story because too many people hold certain beliefs, but they do not know why they hold them. They have never questioned those beliefs, and they cannot defend them against counter arguments. They just blindly hold on to their cherished beliefs. Those people have learned what to think, but they have not learned how to think.
It’s like geometry, which is built on postulates and theorems. Postulates are ideas that are assumed to be true. Theorems are ideas that must be proven using postulates and other theorems.. The problem comes when a false idea is assumed to be true. People use it as a postulate, which results in faulty logic and false theorems.
Higher education in America has become driven by socialist educators who tell their side of the argument and expect their students to accept that side as a postulate. They do not allow other views to be presented. And if a student wants a passing grade, they have to parrot the professor’s pet philosophy. In no way does that teach students how to think for themselves. It only teaches them to buy into “group think” and to be close-minded about anything that does not walk in lockstep with it.
The inability to think and challenge basic ideas is a waste of American minds and is destroying all that is good about America.
One Democrat postulate is “orange-haired man is bad.” Supporters of the socialist philosophy assume their disdain of President Trump is based on supposed postulates that they were taught in class or were fed by CNN, MSNBC, and other hyper-liberal sources. They use those postulates – that are not real postulates – to justify their positions, their theorems, if you will, upon which they build their political philosophies. Unfortunately, those passionate and vitriolic Trump-haters have never bothered to explore the underlying sources of their beliefs. They expend an incredible amount of psychological and physical energy based on what someone else has declared to be a postulate rather than on what they have explored and determined for themselves is the truth.
Socialist educators do not want their students to engage in exploratory reasoning because they know that their socialist “postulates” will not stand against open and honest scrutiny. They are false ideas. They always have been. These socialists hide their falsehoods behind loud, raucous screams of outrage against things they claim others have done when actually they themselves are guilty of those exact things. It is by these tactics that educators and media personalities attempt to keep their rank-and-file so busy reacting to what they have been taught, that they will not find the time to examine the truth behind the “postulates” that are the basis of their teaching.
Thankfully, many among the Democrat rank-and-file are starting to really examine the socialist postulates. And because they are, they are leaving the Democrat Party. They no longer start at the point where their socialist influencers want them to start. They now go two, three, ten steps further back in the reasoning process. When they start with real postulates, real truths, they come to totally different conclusions than the ones to which the false postulates they have been taught would lead them.
Americans owe it to themselves to evaluate why they think what they think and whether they are basing their beliefs on actual truths. It is the first and essential step in learning how to think.
Steve “Doc” Troxel, Ph.D.