Critical thinking is at the center of education, and critical thinking is a complicated, often uncomfortable process. It’s often very emotional, for one thing, but it can’t just be emotional, it also has to involve careful reasoning. And you have to get used to the idea that it’s open-ended. You can be certain you understand one thing today and then tomorrow a bit of new information, or an event that you can’t help but respond to emotionally, changes your ideas.
The recent surge of reactionary thinking- reflected in the O’Donnell primary win in Delaware–has roots in social networking and in anti-intellectualism. Karl Rove may not like what’s happening in his party, but it’s clearly a descendant of his long campaign to remove all critical thinking from the political process. He and his ilk have successfully convinced a certain segment of the population that anything that contradicts the party line is by definition wrong.
Rove’s the establishment now and as resented as the rest of the bums. If everything that contradicts your feelings is wrong, as he taught so well, the only thing you can rely on to help you make decisions is other people who feel the same way. That’s the reactionary echo chamber of fascist thinking. Twitter and Ning and other social networking software allow these random resentments and angers to find a whole new resonance and amplification.