8.04.2006

Just a warning

Biffle and I saw the Al Gore movie, An Inconvenient Truth, tonight, and we both liked it, so it's Katie bar the door here on Baxter Sez.

Before Biffle gets a good head of steam going about the state of the environment, though, I want to slip in here that I read an op-ed piece today about how biased colleges are because, in many cases, the liberal faculty far outnumber the conservative ones. Here's what I have to say about that: this is because if you're ethical and intelligent, you are more likely to be liberal. Not to mention that these terms have been so skewed these days that just being educated means being liberal. Recognize continuing gender inequity and believe it ought to stop? Liberal. Acknowledge the existence of evolution? Liberal. Think that some of the valid literary works of human history were written by folks who weren't Western European? Liberal.

On a related but not identical note, Christian schools know that education is likely to sway people's minds away from fundamentalism; Biffle has often related to me the lecture all the seniors at Goodpasture Christian School got about how, when they went to college, they were going to hear things that might sway them away from fundamentalist Christianity, but that they must resist these heathen teachings with all their might. Ah, yes--shut your mind to everything you might learn in college in order to protect your religious beliefs--that's the way to get a full, meaningful education.

11 comments:

biffle1 said...

alison far understates the number or severity of the "lectures" i recieved at goodpasture christian school concerning the dangers of those college professors.

it was not during my "senior year" as she states, but for all 12 years i attended there. and they usually started with something like "when you go to college, there are gonna be some professors there that are gonna try to tell you a bunch of junk like you were "descended from a bunch of monkeys..." sorta like a re-in-actment of inherit the wind.

(on a different note, but also telling of my formative schooling, notice that i include the word "when," not ""if" you go to college.")

Matthew said...

I can't even get started on this. I will remind everyone that the new strategy being taught to graduating seniors is to make sure and record any and all lectures. Any comments by liberal pig academic corruptors that suggest open-mindedness or anything other than complete loyalty to the king are to be reported to the proper authorities at once.

It does make us feel good to separate 'liberals' and 'conservatives' via levels of education and, for all I know, existing data may certainly support that assertion. It's a bold suggestion, and I certainly subscribe to it. I wonder, though... is it responsible to support such claims? I spend a small amount of time each week listening to conservative talk radio (you know... 'keep your enemies close' and all that...), and all I hear are claims that 'liberals' are eggheads and they think 'conservatives' are stupid. It empowers them. Are kids closing their minds at a young age because they are being called dumb? I'll spare you the long story, but a man once told me never to be guilty of believing my own bullshit. I'm still guilty. Just food for thought.

One more comment... I enclose 'liberal' and 'conservative' in quotes because I fully believe those terms to be meaningless in modern lexicon. The US political continuum became irrelevant with the introduction of 'cultural conservative' in the early 80's. 'Compassionate Conservative'? What the hell is that? Middle TN just nominated a 'Conservative Democrat' for a House seat. Expansion of the death penalty, conservative christian, 'tough' on crime, anti gay-marriage. Hmmmm.

Maig said...

Yes... umm I'm still thinking.
But I am acknowledging that I read this and find it interesting...

Anonymous said...

i have no educated comment at the moment, because my movie of choice today was "talladega nights" and i am still climbing out of the dark nascar hole in my head.

however, i will say THANK YOU because you took the daily thoughts right out of my head and, well, blogspotted them. i agree with the "ethical and intelligent" remark, that is my pov, but of course, i am one of those toxic liberals as well. and we're ethical, intelligent aaand fabulous.

-margaret

Daniel said...

Do you make a distinction between acknowledging that certain issues may be problems and conservative ideas about how to solve them? Because there are likely quite a few conservatives who would agree that gender inequity exists and should be stopped... but when the conversation turns to how to stop it, would disagree with most solutions that involve government action.

The conservative critique of academia is that there's a self-enforcing conformity and that liberal intellectuals are scared of conservative ideas backed up with "hard facts."

I read that op-ed and thought it was partisan, culture war crap. My question is, how would your department deal with a collegue whose grasp of the facts was up to par, but who came to different conclusions about what the facts meant?

Pam said...

I truly don't know where to start here - I could get going on the whole liberal bias thing, and, well, the gender inequity will require a good glass (bottle) of wine first. I truly despise that my opinion is often discounted because I'm dismissed as "an academic" - we can ramble on about our individual areas of expertise - but we also, as human beings on the planet, have the inalienable right to ramble on about anything else we want to - just like everybody else, but it seems unacceptable....which has just generated this whole education backlash (who needs to read anyway?) and...well, I won't even get started on the gender inequity thing. There isn't enough wine in Charleston!

Alison said...

Daniel has some good questions, and because I'm procrastinating, I'll answer them. Honestly, my post was inflammatory and not fully defensible. Part of me certainly believes it, but it's not necessarily the most spiritually attuned, compassionate, balanced part of me.

If someone in the humanities or social sciences is an old-school conservative--not believing in big government--I don't know that they would encounter a lot of opposition. But if someone is "conservative" meaning "fundamentalist Christian," then yeah, they'd probably hit some resistance to their ideas.

Biffle often accuses me of being intolerant of intolerance, and I think he's right. If someone is using what they consider to be valid evidence to back up the contention that LGBT folks don't deserve civil rights, or that rape is just an evolutionary inevitability, then I have a hard time being open to those ideas.

Anonymous said...

Impeccable logic indeed! All intelligent people are liberal. If you're intelligent, then therefore it follows from necessity that you must be liberal.

The logic is air-tight!

i got kids said...

"or that rape is just an evolutionary inevitability"

Hey, I'm just curious what that term means. I don't think I've ever heard it before.

Walter said...

dear i got kids:

It means that some people (such as conservative editorialist Cal Thomas) believe the old adage "that boys will be boys."

i got kids said...

Cal Thomas certainly is crazy. But won't rape always exsist, along with murder, war, child molestation, and discrimination based on race or religion?