Coincidentally – or perhaps not – one of the most valuable skills taught in the humanities is that of critical thinking.
Ideally, critical thinkers learn to question everything, including existing social norms and traditions. They learn to think systemically. They look beyond the obvious. They use evidence, logic and reason in their arguments. They avoid making assumptions. They consider different perspectives and they use all those skills and more to arrive at judgements. These skills are invaluable in personal and working life. Indeed, critical thinking is taught in some schools with a view to equipping students for life post-school, no matter what direction that takes.
Death to critical thinking it’s too progressive and leads to people from the bottom have second thoughts (ODT)
The emotion-laden headlines read:
- The ABC is a left-wing blob of boring, woke views;
- ABC becoming too right-wing’ following ‘occasional conservative guest;
- The ABC no longer even pretends to be balanced; and
- Forces from within are destroying the ABC.
The notion that “the ABC is too left-wing” seems to be gaining momentum. It appears that News Corp has played a significant role in furthering this narrative.
Trump followed Abbott but he doesn’t have the ABC that got in the way of Abbott. Murdoch was there for both of them and made $$$ CRITICAL THINKING has made the difference it’s our RIGHT (ODT)
Jorge Ramos has been accused of blurring the distinction between journalism and activism; so have I.
If there was one thing our former PM Julia Gillard was passionate about it was education, but like so many other great reforms of the previous 6 years, the Abbott government seems determined to vandalise our education system as well. As if its well publicised attacks on higher education weren’t enough, the coalition has just published a report recommending greater emphasis on ‘morals, values and spirituality’ and ‘the contribution of western civilisation’ in the national curriculum. As a student of history this fills me with dread. The word ‘fascist’ is often used loosely, but the early indoctrination of children is quite literally straight out of Mussolini’s playbook
Not only Mussolini’s but akin to the Islamic Madrasas of today that simply teach a heaven based ideology that requires little more than rules to achieve Nirvana.
Of course moral crusaders of the calibre of Bernardi and Abetz probably see themselves as having a mission to uphold the moral standards of our society, even as they go about trying to degrade our real values. Tolerance, understanding, generosity, and egalitarianism are things of which we all should be proud, both as a nation and as individuals. These are the true moral standards we should be teaching our young. Instead we have a government which encourages bigotry, divisiveness, racial hatred and fear. Pathetic, ignorant and cruel are but a few adjectives which come to mind.
If we could rid ourselves of war within a generation by giving children everywhere a sound, publically funded, secular, science-based education which promotes humanist values. While social engineering on this scale is well out of the ambit of this (or any) government’s short sighted vision, it’s wholly unsurprising that Abbott, Pyne and co should want to shift the emphasis in education away from critical thinking and back to the ‘three r’s’, anyway from human geography and back to physical geography, away from multiculturalism and back to Judeo-Christian orthodoxy.
Some will argue that wars are always waged by the rich and fought by the poor, and certainly there is evidence that the military industrial complex exists to serve its own ends anyway (or that of the bankers). But what happens when soldiers refuse to fight? Notwithstanding the horrors of a war which claimed 10 million lives and left 20 million casualties, it’s worth remembering that WWI might have been fought to the last man had the Kaiser’s troops not mutinied. Imagine if they’d all refused to go to war in the first place? There is no greater threat to tyranny than a well informed and educated populus.