These current difficult times very much emphasise that we need critical thinking more and more in order to make well-considered judgements and decisions. Unfortunately, we have so many examples of the opposite of critical thinking in political decision-making, such that judgements are often made based on a failure to think in any rigorous way. Given this disturbing situation, we can apply what Martin Luther-King said many years ago to our current political decision-makers: ‘Rarely do we find people who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.’ Since he also said that ‘the function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically’, we should look to developing critical thinking not as an optional add-on in education, but as a central feature of it. If we could do this, then perhaps future generations will require political decision-makers to be willing to ‘engage in hard, solid thinking’.
In a recent publication by the Brookings Institute, ‘Competencies for the 21st century’, the importance of these competencies has been stressed. As it explains, ‘The