Challenging the monolith of liberal thinking

We often complain here about the futility of arguing with someone who gets information and opinion only from the liberal media.  Thomas Sowell attacks the same problem from the perspective of a parent trying to get through to a child whose entire education has been spent in the liberal school system.  Rather than trying to attack one issue at a time, only to have propaganda spouted at you, Sowell offers this practical advice:

Another approach might be to respond to the dogmatic certainty of some young person, perhaps your own offspring, by asking: “Have you ever read a single book on the other side of that issue?”

Chances are, after years of being “educated,” even at some of the highest-priced schools and colleges, they have not.

When the inevitable answer to your question is “No,” you can simply point out how illogical it is to be so certain about anything when you have heard only one side of the story—no matter how often you have heard that one side repeated.

Would it make sense for a jury to reach a verdict after having heard only the prosecution’s case, or only the defense attorney’s case, but not both?

There is no need to argue the specifics of the particular issue that has come up. You can tell your overconfident young student that you will be happy to discuss that particular issue after he or she has taken the elementary step of reading something by somebody on the other side.

Elementary as it may seem that we should hear both sides of an issue before making up our minds, that is seldom what happens on politically correct issues today in our schools and colleges. The biggest argument of the Left is that there is no argument—whether the issue is global warming, “open space” laws, or whatever.

Some students may even imagine that they have already heard the other side because their teachers may have given them their version of other people’s arguments or motives.

But a jury would never be impressed by having the prosecution tell them what the defendant’s defense is. They would want to hear the defense attorney present that case.

Yet most students who have read and heard repeatedly about the catastrophes awaiting us unless we try to stop “global warming” have never read a book, an article, or even a single word by any of the hundreds of climate scientists, in countries around the world, who have expressed opposition to that view.

These students may have been shown Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth in school, but are very unlikely to have been shown the British Channel 4 television special, The Great Global Warming Swindle.

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  • Tonestaple

    I remember hearing a talk radio program, maybe it was Medved, where he was interviewing a total-lefty teacher – I think the topic was propagandizing students using, in this case, global warming. He asked if the teacher explained the other side of the global warming debate, and the teacher said he told the kids where they could read about it. The teacher naturally thought that was completely adequate when anyone with any sense at all knew that it was absurd to think that the kids would take the time to do this extra work when it would profit them not at all.

  • ayrdale1

    Thank you for that item, and thank God for the technology of the blogosphere.

    The AGW sceptical worldwide community, is I think a force to be reckoned with regarding this green/left wing assault on technology and freedom.

    The left have successfully completed their “long march through the institutions” and that includes the schools and the MSM. It is up to indignant and concerned individuals to keep on enquiring, resisting, questioning and blogging.

    I’m a Kiwi, blogging at, and I know that we have at our disposal some of the most principled and smartest scientists in the world. We are obliged to publicise their message and continue to resist the left wing Hollywood/Al Gore propaganda.

    Truth will win out as it always must…

  • Charles Martel

    ayrdale1, nice to see you here. Yours is a welcome voice. Please keep coming back.

  • USMaleSF

    Mr Sowell, a man of undoubted intellect and accomplishment, fails to see the social context here.

    We all like to feel that we belong and at that age, the need is very strong. Even if a young person could see the virtues in the opposing side, it could be social suicide to challenge the mantras of the group.

    Liberalism is as much, or more, a secular religion as it is a set of ideas. And leaving the Ummah has consequences.

  • suek

    >>We all like to feel that we belong and at that age, the need is very strong.>>

    Which is why the constant cry of the young that they want to be “different” is so peculiar – both in concept and in manifestation. Somehow, that need to belong only applies to certain things – belonging to one’s family and family traditions not being among them. Nooooo. They prefer to belong to _other_ families – or _no_ families, and make up their own traditions – which is an oxymoron.

    Having observed the time when Haight-Ashbury was the mold and every young person wanted to be totally unique and different so that they went out and bought clothing that was absolutely indistinguishable from that of their fellow groupies, I think “belonging” is sorely overrated. If they _really_ wanted to be “different”, they would have worn suits and ties. _That_ would have been different.

    What you’re talking about, Mr. SF, is the propensity of youth to follow the crowd because of a lack of what is commonly called “guts”. Our mothers warned us not to jump off the cliff just because everybody else did – or at least my mother did! It’s tough standing up for one’s principles. In fact, it’s tough to _establish_ one’s principles – but that’s what a parent’s job is – teaching children principles and then helping them to learn to live by and stand up for those principles. I think that parents today may be failing in that job.

  • Ymarsakar

    Parents are an authority figure, much like teachers and other adults.

    This is the same dynamic that keep people in gangs from informing on gangwarfare to the police. They may want to, but they have to worry about the fact that they live with those gangs, they don’t live with the police.

    The same is true for children and parents. Parents have one world, children have another. The parents can say a lot of things, but once the children are at school, a complete new set of rules apply.

    The rebellion stage for teenagers don’t start until they start feeilng a need to form their own identity. These are natural leaders or risk takers. Most others will simply comform and follow the “leader” in this case. They may justify it on the principle of freedom of expression and independence, but it really is about associations and social rewards. People feel more in touch with their peers, than the parents of an older generation. Given technology and social upheavals, that is even more true.

    The instinctual need behind rebellion was really useful for getting the young people out and exploring in order to bring back new blood or stuff to the tribe. However, now a days adulthood is delayed and we have what I call the “Elf Syndrome”. Elves live for a long time, and hence, delay the adulthood of their children until the something 90s and 100s. We just delay it into the 20s. Which means that physical maturity and rebellion starts happening Wayyy before someone is accepted as an adult in our society. That means all the energy meant to go into exploring, take risks, and what not, now is a bothersome annoyance to the tribe itself (the family).