In this election season it’s almost impossible to find pro-Trump bumper stickers or signs anywhere in my town. The reason is not lack of support but fear of vandalism, or worse: People nationwide have been physically assaulted and even threatened with loss of their livelihoods for no other reason than that they plan to vote as one half of the country does, and political goals are now commonly pursued by violent means. With this our civilization seems to be regressing to a more primitive stage of its development—a time when disputes were settled by force instead of rules, and before the First Amendment guaranteed the right to speak freely on the social and political issues of the day.
That’s bad enough in itself, but worse yet is that this social regression began on college campuses, of all places, before spreading to the national culture. On one-party campuses, radical-left faculty have established a political orthodoxy that student mobs enforce, and the political culture of the nation is poisoned as those students take home with them their professors’ habit of seeing opinions that differ from theirs as an evil not to be tolerated.
The left-wing political orthodoxy is also taking the place of traditional civics. Recent graduates know much less about U.S. government than older Americans do. In 2018 the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation gave a sample of Americans a test based on the exam for U.S. citizenship. Only 19% of people under 45 passed, while 74% of those over 65 did, meaning even elderly people who learned the material more than 40 years ago can summon it from memory better than recent grads. Similar studies have found a regression in knowledge of U.S. history. Today’s universities are presiding over a nationwide reversion to civic illiteracy.
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