The rise of false equivalency as been matched by the decent of intellectual honesty. You note that debate is fine, just bring the evidence, but “evidence” has become a meaningless mass of fact-free, ideological, emotional assertions that don’t begin to meet the basic functions of facts, data, information. Free speech is now a source for pathetic whining about feeling unsafe that simply undermines any credible discussion about reality.
Students seem unattached to the real world, with ludicrous expectations and little resilience to life as it actually happens in society…with other people. The terms liberal and conservative are trashcans of overstated idealistic assertions that cannot seriously be how intelligent people are going to get things done. Governance and democracy are centrist functions that become ineffective when extremism replaces cooperation and compromise.
I wrote a few months ago about how intolerance that used to be characteristic of those on the political right has been adopted by those on the political left. Put simply, the political left has adopted censorship and conformity that used to be the exclusive identity of the political right. So, political correctness is now as debilitating to society as intolerance and discrimination. Moderation remains the only viable mode of functioning successfully for the greater good and personal cooperation, but too many people are now simply divisive and arbitrary…a road literally to nowhere.
So, my message is that while everyone has a right to their own opinions, they don’t have a right to their own facts, or absence of facts. Without evidence, it’s not an actual debate, discussion or exchange of viewpoints. Making up facts, leaving out facts, falsifying news, fabricating information (disinformation, misinformation) all represent intellectual dishonesty. If higher education doesn’t make this directly obvious, then education it isn’t.