Apparently not the US military.
“Critical thinking” has long been a buzz phrase of US higher education. There was a time when I could not hear a speech by a higher administrative person at my or other higher ed institutions that did not tout critical thinking as a really important goal of higher ed. We were all supposed to be teaching it all the time. I got a bit tired of these incessant speeches, but in fact I agreed with that and continue to. I have not heard these speeches for some time, but critical thinking remains officially a goal in widespread statements in writing throughout higher ed.
However this may be changing in a disturbing part of higher ed. I was at a dinner in Washington last evening. Attending this was someone who teaches at the National Defense University who reported on what I consider a disturbing development there. Apparently this commonplace of having critical thinking being a goal of higher ed was in place officially at the NDU. However, after “Mad Dog” Mattis resigned, the Chair of the Joint Chiefs replaced the Commandant of the NDU. The new Commandant has made a big deal of getting rid of this goal and replacing it with an emphasis on training for “war execution.”
Apparently the push on this from the new Commandant has been so intense that it led to a large pushback from the faculty at the NDU. Aside from stated dissenting views, apparently 15 members of the NDu faculty have resigned over this in protest (not including my interlocuter, who nevertheless sides with those resigning over this). So our military is now to be trained just to fight wars, but without doing any thinking about it.
Something making this more important is that there have been large cuts in the budget of the State Department, with a large reduction in diplomatic personnel. This means that the military increasingly will be performing diplomatic functions. But rather than being trained for that or any sort of peacemaking or, well, thinking, the military is being pushed towards mindless war fighting.
“Theirs not to reason why
theirs but to do and die…” (Charge of the light brigade)
No one wants an army that thinks. If they thought about what they were told to do they wouldn’t do it.
And get shot. which is why people raise their kids not to think (talk back) even as they are telling them to “think critically’ (but don’t criticize me).