Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Are You Being Told Your Point of View is Illogical? Blacklist Your Teachers!

Check out this story about college Republicans at the University of Colorado. They, with the help of the "fair and balanced" Fox News Network and David Horowitz, have started a website where students can report "liberal bias and indoctrination" by "liberal" professors. This plays to the Reagan-era myth that universities are somehow controlled by this cadre of liberal professors with an evil agenda for world domination, who want to teach their students evil acts like tolerating homosexuals and giving health care to children before building landmines to blow them up. You know, the usual evil liberal stuff.

I'm frankly really fucking tired of hearing this. Conservatives trot it out every now and then, especially during election years, and even moreso during election years when Osama Bin Laden hasn't been caught and the economy looks equal to a three-day-old turd floating in a public restroom toilet. I heard this at Drury, a school run by a very conservative President, whose main source of income was the enormous Business School. In fact, the Board of Trustees asked for my resignation from the position of Opinions Editor from the school paper because I wrote a liberal column - twice. Hardly the kind of school where conservative voices are being stifled in favor of liberal ones.

I have no doubt that, in the arts, the majority of professors lean to the left. People say this is because of a liberal bias. Is it? Naturally, these people are some of the most intelligent individuals in American society. You typically don't find one of these professors defending, say, the theory of creationism. Why? Because it's fucking moronic bullshit that anyone with an ounce of logical thought can see right through. And yet, this is used in pulpits across conservative America as evidence that schools are liberal in nature.

Wrong. I say they are intelligent. I say they use reason. I say they employ logic. I say they are educated. I say they use facts as evidence to make reasoned and informed arguments. That isn't a liberal bias, that's a smart-person bias.

If you dig deep enough in the news story, you find this quote:

Conservative lawmakers introduced a resolution last week calling for the defense of students' First Amendment rights, including expression "based solely on viewpoint."

Note the part in italics at the end, in quotes. Based solely on viewpoint. In other words, these students should be able to say anything they want in class, based solely on their viewpoint, and professors have no right to say, "um, wait a minute, that's completely illogical." Nope. If they want to stand up and preach that God hates fags, they should totally be allowed to do so, supporting arguments or not, logic or not.

When I did my paper on Holocaust denial, one of the conclusions at which I arrived was that some factless opinions have no place in a venue dedicated to learning. Holocaust denial has no facts to back it up. In fact, the very notion that there was no organized plan by Nazi Germany to extinguish Jewish people flies in the face of many facts - not unlike the notion that Earth was created in six days, or that God has a special vendetta against homosexuals, or that building bombs is better than feeding children. But these things should all be tolerated, right? No, they should not. If someone makes a statement like "the Nazis never had a plan to exterminate the Jews," or "God will stike down all you queers with AIDS," then the professor has the right - the duty - to stand up and say, "if you cannot prove that logically, then I'm gonna call it what it is - fucking bullshit - and ask you not to share such uneducated opinions with the class again without backing it up with reason."

And hey, if conservative points of view can't hold up to the scrutiny of logic - which the College Republicans at CU seem to imply - maybe they should consider finding some points of view that can.

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