‘Defactualization’: Losing the Information War in the Schools

William Jeynes’s article over at Public Discourse is titled, “‘Defactualization’ Is Causing American Schools to Become Bastions of Anti-Intellectualism.” Here is the introductory sentence: “Truth has been relegated to a secondary position in the nation’s public schools, universities, political forums, and public squares.”

Talk about the serious consequences of failing to effectively fight in the information war.

Here are a few lines from Jeynes’ piece:

In a public school system that emphasizes the subjective over the objective and opinion over fact, it is no wonder that so many American students lack basic knowledge and yet have opinions galore.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the nation’s chief test of student achievement, American students score lower in history than any other subject, and their test scores have been declining.

Past American leaders were not alone in their belief in the importance of truth, nor are they the only ones to argue that, for the health of society, virtuous people should be the most learned. Nearly 2,000 years apart, Cicero and Martin Luther King Jr. came to the same conclusion: The most dangerous people on earth are those who are educated or intelligent, but are not virtuous.

In contemporary American society, however, truth is regarded as a four-letter word. Truth has been relegated to a secondary position in the nation’s public schools, universities, political forums, and public squares. Instead, diversity and subjective opinion have been elevated to a higher place of prominence. Diversity of views is often a valuable thing, but it should not be elevated so highly that facts are denied. A more balanced and intelligent view of diversity is needed.

If one esteems diversity too highly, at the expense of creating consensus and pursuing truth, then many of the essential building blocks of a functioning society will be undermined, which may lead to chronic social division. Consensus is attainable consistently only in a nation that actively pursues truth. Diverse viewpoints can help us to see truths that we may have otherwise overlooked, yet truth-based consensus is a far more reliable and worthy goal than the simple existence of diversity.

Here are the subheadings that follow:

Truth and Facts

The Danger of Education without Facts

I can’t recommend this article highly enough. You can read it here.

Image credit: www.nowtheendbegins.com.