Columbia and the Future of Education

Does the Columbia University fiasco portend a crisis in the future of American education? And if the traditional universities lose their credibility in teaching critical thinking - as the establishment media are losing their credibility in news reporting - how will that void be filled?

For readers who have been spending the last two weeks in a cave, let me recap the Columbia University debacle (with help from the indispensable Kesher Talk). Earlier this month, Columbia announced that two ex-terrorists and an ex-Nazi would be speaking on October 11; the ex-terrorist was none other than Walid Shoebat. But on the night of October 4, Jim Gilchrist, founder of the anti-illegal-immigration posse Minutemen, was mobbed by thugs while attempting to speak at Columbia (video at Little Green Footballs). Following that incident, the craven officials at Columbia un-invited many guests who had signed up to attend the Shoebat event. Needless to say, a lot of people were not pleased. Follow the links, or go to the KT homepage, for updates on that sorry tale.

How is it that our universities, which are supposed to encourage creative thinking and free debate, have turned into madrassas where students are to be indoctrinated rather than having their views intelligently challenged?

Here's the funny thing. I think the real center for meaningful discussion has shifted to the internet and the blogosphere. I know I've sharpened my critical thinking skills by reading the blogs and following the comment sections; it wouldn't surprise me if this is true of many other people as well. Just as internet journals have taken over much of the function of the MSM in news reporting and analysis, so too, perhaps, have they stepped in to fill the role that the universities have abdicated. If the universities want to remain relevant, they must pay attention to what is happening in the wired world.