posted on Jan, 25 2012 @ 03:16 PM
There is an irony so rich in nuance, and so riddled with emergent behavior that it is as if the irony itself is ironic. There has been, for any truly
educated person paying attention, a clear and present strategy by federal, state, and local governments to create a public educational system that is
tantamount to indoctrination centers. This indoctrination is so blatant and inexplicably resolute that the emergent behavior would be laughable if it
were not so tragic.
As just one example of the indoctrination I speak of, I tutor students on a college level for extra cash. About a year ago, I was tutoring a student
seeking his masters degree. He was taking a class in critical thinking. It was not so evident to either one of us why he felt the need to seek out a
tutor for this class because he is a very sharp individual and not stupid by any stretch of the imagination. I suspected that the reason he needed a
tutor was not because he was lacking any skills necessary to grasp the principles of critical thought, but because his professor probably lacked
skills in either communication, or worse, critical thought.
Shortly after I began working with him he was assigned a paper. The assignment was to take two infamous cases of tort law largely considered to be
frivolous law suits, analyze them and determine whether they were frivolous law suits or not. The two cases were Liebeck v. McDonald's (the infamous
coffee law suit) and Pearson v. Chung which is the lesser known of the two involving an administrative law judge who sued his dry cleaners demanding
$67 million for an alleged lost pair of pants.
As we discussed how he should approach writing this paper I recommended he use the Hegelian dialectic because that form seemed to be germane to legal
arguments. The Hegelian dialectics form is Thesis, Antithesis, and Resolution. My client had no idea what the Hegelian dialectic was. I was a bit
annoyed that a graduate student had no idea what the Hegelian dialectic was, but we both agreed that perhaps this was the class he would learn of
Hegel's form, so we looked first in the indexes of his two text book, and because we could not find what we were looking for, we searched through, he
on one, I in the other, for any sign that the Hegelian dialectic was even discussed in either of the text books. We were unable to find any sign.
I taught him this form and explained how Thesis, Antithesis, and Resolution somewhat duplicated two attorneys making their closing arguments to a
judge who ultimately renders a decision. He wrote a paper where the Thesis argued that both Liebeck and Pearson were frivolous law suits. The
Antithesis argued that one probably qualified as frivolous (Pearson) but the other (McDonald's coffee suit) was not frivolous and based upon sound
legal principles. The Resolution was that both had elements of a frivolous law suit, but one more so than other. I thought it was a well written
paper and that my client was truly grasping critical thought, understood the Hegelian dialectic, and had learned valuable lessons in law.
He received a 79 for the paper. Worse, his professor wrote a vitriolic attack on the paper insisting he had ignored the syllabus, in essence ignored
the assignment, and created his own assignment that had nothing to do with what she assigned. I asked my client to show me his syllabus. I had
looked at it when he first came to me but couldn't remember anything in it that somehow countered or contradicted the idea of using the Hegelian
dialectic as a form of debate over the issues of frivolous law suits. We both looked at the syllabus looking for some indication, any sign of
language that would support his professors accusation. The syllabus did not support his professors contention that my client ignored the syllabus in
It was clear that his professor had no idea what the syllabus actually stated, but worse, far worse than this, that professor quite clearly had no
idea that my client had even used the Hegelian dialectic. I urged my client to take her to arbitration. He did. In arbitration it became undeniable
she had no idea who Hegel was let alone what the Hegelian dialectic was. My client argued in arbitration that he was in a critical thinking class
with a professor hell bent on suppressing critical thought. He won and got his A.
The good news is that through arbitration there were signs that his academic institution cared about actual education. The bad news is he had no idea
what arbitration was (a graduate student!) and I had to explain it to him. Most students in college have no idea an arbitration system is there for
them to challenge grossly incompetent or bad faith teachers. How many of that incompetent professors student in my clients class alone walked out of
that class with her understanding of critical thought?
Even, in the end, simple dumbed down language is useless without fundamental thinking skills.