Running Scared: Observations of a Former Republican
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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Conservative Students Sue University: Don't Be Teaching Us Your Commie Crap, Pinko.

posted by Jazz at 12/29/2004 07:01:00 AM


Of all the depressing side effects of the great "Red - Blue Divide" debate, seeing it infiltrate the nation's colleges is one of the worst. Apparently young conservatives are now trying to dictate what can and can't be taught on campus to avoid having the "godless commie liberal professors" brainwash the youth of America. This sad story is brought up again today in CNN.

"I feel like (faculty) are so disconnected from students that they do these things and they can just get away with them," said Kris Wampler, who recently publicly identified himself as one of the students who sued the University of North Carolina. Now a junior, he objected when all incoming students were assigned to read a book about the Quran before they got to campus. "A lot of students feel like they're being discriminated against," he said.

Katie bar the door! Holy Mother of Rumsfeld... can you believe the nerve of these professors? They might actually want students to (gasp!) read a book about a different religion! What is this world coming to? How can we tolerate having our children attending schools where they are exposed to information about different cultures? Mind you, they aren't even telling the students to read the actual Quran. Just a book about the Quran.

A couple of observations on this follow. First of all, (and perhaps I'm just crazy here) I was under the impression that one of the main reasons we set out as young people to go to college is for the opportunity to be exposed to new ways of thinking - to explore progressive (which does NOT immediately translate to "liberal" or the Democratic party) thought processes and gain an opportunity to see the world in a new way. College is supposed to ensure that everyone doesn't get 100% of their news and world views by "sitting around the cracker fuck barrel", to quote Lewis Black. Call me a radical, but I honestly thought that the purpose of an institute of higher education was to get an education, not just be indoctrinated into the political dogma of one party or the other.

My second point is simply a bit of shock at people questioning the obvious. Is there a liberal slant among college professors? Well... DUH. Obviously there is. Perhaps if more conservatives decided to go into the lower paying role of teaching instead of rushing off to Wall Street to see how fast they could get their third Jaguar that might change. But I really don't see professors as endorsing one particular political party over another. It's more a matter of breaking young people out of the boundaries of narrow thinking which might have grown in their home towns and challenging them to see the world in a different way and judge for themselves.

The last issue I have with this controversy is a bit tougher to get into. While there are certainly a few points of curriculum being discussed, the majority of it seems to be centered on the Zionist vs. Anti-Zionist schism. The article linked above goes on at length about "pro-Palestinian" professors intimidating or discriminating against Jewish or Israel supporting students.

At Columbia, anguished debate followed the screening of a film by an advocacy group called The David Project that alleges some faculty violate students' rights by using the classroom as a platform for anti-Israeli political propaganda (one Israeli student claims a professor taunted him by asking, "How many Palestinians did you kill?"). Administrators responded this month by setting up a new committee to investigate students complaints.

Is that how we are supposed to be pigeonholed these days... the conservatives support Israel and the liberals back the Palestinians? I'm generally loathe to touch on this subject because it is so sensitive to so many people and I don't have a personal stake in it. But, with all due respect to the Jewish bloggers here, other bloggers, our readers, and any of my friends, what about those of us who refuse to take sides and are sick of the conflict? I'm an unabashed isolationist, and I'm damned proud of it. I'm perfectly willing to send humanitarian aid and supplies to people anywhere in the world who need it, but I prefer to take care of Americans first and I do not want my country to be the world's policeman. I don't personally feel it is our job to be Israel's meaner big brother until the end of eternity.

I completely understand how the Jews want to hang on to their homeland which they waited so long for. I also fully sympathize with the fact that the Palestinians want a homeland of their own and feel that they hold historic title to some of those lands. And, of course, a lot of it boils down to a battle of religions and who controls the "Holy Land." Christ on a crutch, people... armies have been invading that tiny piece of real estate for over a thousand years now, and it doesn't show any signs of stopping soon. Do we really need to battle this out in our nation's classrooms and universities?

Rather than pushing for colleges to be "more conservative" or "more liberal" or pro or anti Israel, what say we just push for them to get back to educating America's youth and pushing them to broaden their minds? Is that really so hard?