MLK Day Reflection on College Elites

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Academics who complain that activists have been complaining about them since time immemorial have a point. Here is a passage from a column in a college newspaper from 71 years ago:

“Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking,” the young man wrote. “To think incisively and to think for one’s self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half truths, prejudices, and propaganda.”

“At this point, I often wonder whether or not education is fulfilling its purpose. A great majority of the so-called educated people do not think logically and scientifically. Even the press, the classroom, the platform, and the pulpit in many instances do not give us objective and unbiased truths. To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.

“The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.”

It may not surprise skeptical, secular scholars that the young man who wrote this went on to become a minister. He was, of course, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.