Thomas Sowell, reliably insightful, has this:
A woman with a petition went among the crowds attending a state fair, asking people to sign her petition demanding the banning of dihydroxymonoxide. She said it was in our lakes and streams, and now it was in our sweat and urine and tears.
She collected hundreds of signatures to ban dihydroxymonoxide — a fancy chemical name for water. A couple of comedians were behind this ploy. But there is nothing funny about its implications. It is one of the grim and dangerous signs of our times.
This little episode revealed how conditioned we have become, responding like Pavlov’s dog when we hear a certain sound — in this case, the sound of some politically correct crusade.
People are all born ignorant but they are not born stupid. Much of the stupidity we see today is induced by our educational system, from the elementary schools to the universities. In a high-tech age that has seen the creation of artificial intelligence by computers, we are also seeing the creation of artificial stupidity by people who call themselves educators.
Educational institutions created to pass on to the next generation the knowledge, experience, and culture of the generations that went before them have instead been turned into indoctrination centers to promote whatever notions, fashions, or ideologies happen to be in vogue among today’s intelligentsia. . . .
Many of today’s “educators” not only supply students with conclusions, but promote the idea that students should spring into action because of these prepackaged conclusions — in other words, vent their feelings and go galloping off on crusades, with neither a knowledge of what is said by those on the other side nor the intellectual discipline to know how to analyze opposing arguments.
When we see children in elementary schools out carrying signs in demonstrations, we are seeing the kind of mindless groupthink that causes adults to sign petitions they don’t understand or, worse yet, follow leaders they don’t understand, whether to the White House, the Kremlin, or Jonestown.
A philosopher once said that the most important knowledge is knowledge of one’s own ignorance. That is the knowledge that too many of our schools and colleges are failing to teach our young people.
Sowell's whole piece is here.