Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness
Where did Antifa youth rioting in the streets receive their intellectual and ethical bearings? Why are the First and Second Amendments no longer fully operative? How did the general population become nearly ignorant of their Constitution, history, and the hallmarks of their culture? Why do employers no longer equate a bachelor’s degree with competency in oral and written communications, basic computation, and reasoning? How in the 21st century did race and ethnicity come to define who we are rather than become incidental to our individual personas? In answering all these questions, we always seem to return to higher education—the font of much of our contemporary malaise.
The Perfect Storm
A perfect storm of events—many of them reforms with unintended consequences—have conspired to end disinterested education as we once knew it.
The passage of the 26th Amendment in 1971, lowering the voting age to 18—in response to widespread resistance to the draft and the Vietnam War—turned rhetorical campus activism into real progressive block voting. The campuses were no longer just free-speech zones, but woke reservoirs of millions of young voters, a new political and mostly subsidized constituency with clout, to which universities catered.