The Age of Stupid and Student Anti-Intellectualism

Before I delve into the topic, I would like to provide relevant personal information. First, I am a member of Generation X, i.e., people who were born in the 1960s – 1980s. Secondly, I am a university lecturer and my andragogical style is socratodigital (a word I coined – it is a combination of the Socratic method and digital engagement). Socratodigital is the process of guiding learners toward mastery of specific domains through a digitally interactive and actionable process of focused inquiry and active problem solving.

As a university lecturer, there are three, maybe four pet peeves that lead me to conclude that some students are destined for a life of mediocrity, despair, and regret. The behaviors I frown upon are: habitual tardiness and absenteeism, excuses, and academic indifference.

While those pet peeves fall into the category of near unpardonable offenses, there is another group of students whose presence is to academic scholarship and morale what Roundup is to weed or insect repellent is to insects. These students literally believe that their unfathomable ignorance is just as good as the professor’s knowledge, and the professor should learn to live with and adjust to their anti-intellectual mindset.

For example, these students’ understanding of the modern era (16th century – present) is so deficient that it is nearly impossible to remedy. They do not know the difference between a state, country, and continent. They cannot articulate the US branches of government or the federal executive departments, much less the names of the appointed officers of those departments. They do not know the difference between credit and debit. When I use terms like GDP or ROI, they think I am talking about a boy band. They begin sentences with “Being that… ,” and the list goes on.

For many students, the primary purpose of colleges/universities revolves around partying, drugs and alcohol, and hooking-up. There are others who have a particular disdain for anything relating to critical thinking, analytic reasoning, and other higher level problem-solving skills. And there are those who drift through college without a clear sense of purpose.

BUT… I am not referring to those students. The group in focus consists of students who are clueless about the fact and reality that they are clueless. They have no original thoughts or anything resembling intellectual life. Hard work and effort are totally optional and the moral reason to excel simply does not exist.

So, what is the problem? And where have all these idiots come from?

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