Last week on a visit to a public school, First Lady Michele Obama said, “We can affect who they (children) will be forever if they (educators) can shape their habits and preferences.” It is true and it got me to thinking about why is it so hard to convince people of a point of view, even with the most logical explanation and overwhelming supporting evidence?
Perhaps you have seen a video going around the internet with a mask of a face revolving on a spindle. You see the front of the mask as three dimensional with a protruding nose. That is how we have seen faces all our lives.
What was surprising to me was that I, and virtually all others, saw a protruding nose when the mask had turned 180 degrees and I was facing the back of the mask. It appeared also to be a three dimensional face with a protruding nose, even though I knew that it was concave, not convex. It was obvious my perception was wrong when the mask continued to rotate sideways and I saw that there was no protrusion on the back of the mask. Yet each time I faced the back of the mask I saw a protrusion that was not there.
All of us have been conditioned to see a face as having a protruding nose and that is what we see even if it is not so. When children and adults are conditioned to see things in a certain way, many will continue to see things that way no matter how much evidence is given to show that their perception is inaccurate.
Perhaps that is why the majority of liberals are more likely swayed by emotional arguments regardless of the facts versus the typical conservative, who is more likely to base his views on fact-based analysis. Most performers, who rely on emotional triggers to involve their audience, are liberals. Most engineers, who rely on finite facts, are conservatives.
Our public education system has been largely liberal/socialist oriented since unions became powerful since unions by definition are a socialist construct. Compensation of teachers is based overwhelmingly on seniority and degrees, not on performance.
Not surprisingly, most of the leaders of our public institutions have a liberal/socialist point of view because it works for them. They hire people with similar views. Teaching socialist viewpoints dominates our educational institutions, especially in the universities.
University professors need not be performance-oriented once they have gained tenure. Their jobs are secure until retirement as long as they do not do anything that goes against the liberal dogma of university leadership.
Virtually the only limitation that educators have is the amount of money they are able to extract from taxpayers and donors. Since we have had federal and state Departments of Education, taxpayers are unaware of how many of their tax dollars go to an educational bureaucracy that does not have to show a profit or a quality competitive graduate product. Thus is the main reason that our country has gone from providing one of the best educations in the Western world to one of the poorest.
Many university graduates have no marketable skills that the productive sector of our economy needs. Nor are the institutions that graduate these ‘not ready for the real world’ graduates penalized for their deficient educational product. They are still in business, no matter how bad the product.
He who defines the terms of a debate and what will be debated or taught usually wins, at least in the short run. For example, it is almost impossible to graduate from a university journalism school if a student demonstrates conservative political views.
Not surprisingly, journalists in our print and television media are overwhelmingly of a liberal/socialist mindset. Not surprisingly, almost all the journalists asking questions during the current COP campaign try to get the candidates to criticize their competitors. The rationale is that this will provide a lot of useful video footage for Democratic campaign ads showing other Republicans criticizing the GOP candidate for president. Not surprisingly, people who have been indoctrinated with liberal/socialist viewpoints will not see any bias in the questions or reporting.
James F. Davis is the president of Accuracy in Academia.