At West Point yesterday & today, where I'm giving talks & today co-teaching a criminal law class.
The military, it seems to me, is an institution that is ruthlessly self-evaluative & remarkably unambivalent -- to point of lacking any self-consciousness of the attitude it has adopted -- about use of empirical methods of self-assessment.
The questions & discussions are great & there are tons of really smart people here thinking about how to teach critical thinking & cultivate professional judgment.
The educational enviornment here is, I think, a token of how successfully the US military has adapted its practices and outlooks to the political culture of the Liberal Republic of Science.
I'm not an historian, of course, but it does seem to me that unpardonable damage has been done to our military by a civilian leadership that lacked these very commitments to empirical self-evaluation & liberal principles of self-government.
Some lecture slides:
If above photo is nature of "before," here is "after" -- a picture on 2d day of me & some of the cadets & also Frank Wattenberg, a faculty member in the math dept, which sponsored my visit. Obviously I'm now fully assimilated.
Plus an audience member shook my hand, after which I found this in mine:
After trying unsuccessfully to use it at the commisary to buy a gatoraid, I learned that in fact it isn't currency but a "challenge coin," different versions of which are awarded by one or another unit to recognize special achieve by an individual service member or, as in my case, presented by one or another division of the military to a visitor as a token of gratitude or honor. I couldn't have received a more valueable "tip"!