Flat White

Australian unis: no thinking allowed

6 August 2018

7:46 AM

6 August 2018

7:46 AM

If you’re still in any doubt as to the insidious influence of the Left’s long march through nearly all of Western civilisations key institutions, then just consider the following shocking Orwellian example of Groupthink. Below is a screenshot of a real assignment, outlining the assessment parameters for the subject ‘Contemporary Society’ currently being offered to those doing a first-year teaching degree at Western Sydney University (WSU).

Note that students are explicitly being told to:

Not use any internet sources, except direct quotations from the TED Talks specifically mentioned for each question, if needed, to support your argument and when correctly referenced. Do not use any other scholarly texts or other texts of any kind. Marks will be deducted if you do.

What? Since when have tertiary institutions in this country become so afraid of alternative points of view that research is not only restricted but expressly forbidden? In fact, students are now being told that they will be academically penalised if they access any secondary literature outside of the prescribed syllabus!

How does this in any way aid the learning process, except to give a prescribed answer to the question that has been given? And it’s all the more serious when one considers the precise type of the question that is being asked. For example, the first question is as follows:

Ah, there’s nothing quite like impressionable young first-year students to indoctrinate you’re your most controversial and speculative ideas relating to gender or sexuality, is there? And it’s especially strategic to target those who are enrolled in education degrees because they will, in turn, be responsible for teaching the next generation of young minds.

However, WSU is not alone in championing the latest form of cultural Marxism. Below are screenshots of the actual course notes from a subject ominously titled, ‘Beyond Culture’ which is currently being offered at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). And whilst UTS haven’t yet reached the Orwellian tipping point of prohibiting all other dissenting views, it’s pretty obvious what conclusions they expect students studying at UTS to come to.

Why is it that many of our nation’s institutions for ‘higher learning’ are failing to teach young people how to think, but are instead merely telling them what to think? Even those who have graduated from university and are experts in their various fields are scared to speak out publicly against the current status quo due because they’re afraid of what the potential impact might be on their present employment or professional advancement. In short, anything that challenges Groupthink is now forbidden.

A few years ago, there was an excellent article in The Australian by Margaret Kelly, It’s way past 1984 but Orwell’s Newspeak is clearly trending, which explored how all of Orwell’s prescient predictions were coming true, especially via the growing popularity of social media. While it’s still worth reading even she didn’t foresee the involvement of our universities. But just note the most popular comment on the article by someone named ‘Stuart’ who wrote:

Groupthink is driven in large part by an atavistic imperative to belong to, and be accepted by, a collective whose numbers appear to give it a form of strength and influence within the broader society. The price of joining this collective is to abandon independent thought and, instead, recite the slogans and catchphrases of the group. An interesting corollary to this abdication is that members of the collective are not equipped to engage in reasoned debate with those holding different views, so the preferred strategy is to label any alternative views as so misguided and offensive that they should be shouted down, keeping one’s fingers in one’s ears.

Couldn’t have said it better myself – actually I wish I had! And the current anti-academic practices of places such as WSU and UTS are proof positive that Groupthink is alive and well. In fact, it’s sadly flourishing.

Mark Powell is the Associate Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Strathfield. 

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