A Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone of Democracy

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A FORUM FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND VIGOROUS DEBATE, CORNERSTONES OF DEMOCRACY
[For the journal (guidelines, focus, etc.), go to www.theamericandissident.org ].
Encouraged censorship and self-censorship seem to have become popular in America today. Those who censor others, not just self, tend to favor the term "moderate," as opposed to "censor" and "moderation" to "censorship." But that doesn't change what they do. They still act as Little Caesars or Big Brother protectors of the thin-skinned. Democracy, however, demands a tough populace, not so easily offended. On this blog, and to buck the trend of censorship, banning, and ostracizing, comments are NEVER "moderated." Rarely (almost NEVER) do the targets of these blog entries respond in an effort to defend themselves with cogent counter-argumentation. This blog is testimony to how little academics, poets, critics, newspaper editors, cartoonists, political hacks, cultural council apparatchiks, librarians et al appreciate VIGOROUS DEBATE, cornerstone of democracy. Clearly, far too many of them could likely prosper just fine in places like communist China and Cuba or Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Russia.

More P. Maudit cartoons (and essays) at Global Free Press: http://www.globalfreepress.org

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Experiment in Democracy: Goucher College

Notice of this blog was sent to the president, provost, members of the English and Cultural Sustainability faculty, and to student newspaper staff of Goucher College in the hope of inciting vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy. One student eventually responded... anonymously. She (?) did not however respond to my critique of her response.

Why criticize Goucher College in Maryland? I don’t know anyone there or who even went there. Nevertheless, while hunting through the job lists I came across a want-ad for an English professor with the following stipulation, as accurately noted in the cartoon above: “Goucher College is committed to increasing the diversity of the campus community and seeks applications from those who will contribute to this effort.”

What that statement clearly implies is that job candidates are expected to espouse and foster and even somehow prove their adherence to a particular politically-correct viewpoint, one that evidently does not favor a diversity of opinions at all. Although Goucher is a private institution, its policy is still a slap in the face of democracy. Likely, the policy is legal. However, if the college states that it adheres to the principle of freedom of expression, it might not be legal. The cartoon, of course, is meant to satirize yet another instance of the PC-plague wreaking havoc in academe and stir up debate, though likely that won’t happen at all… unless of course Goucher’s faculty and student body are somewhat unique.

Diversity and multiculturalism have proven to be wonderful diversions away from truth and the courage to speak truth. Often, they serve as last refuge for sellout Sixties scoundrels. Today, universities in America are shamefully more likely to affix “diversity” in their academic mottos, web pages, and job ads, than “truth” and the “courage to speak unadulterated truth even and especially if doing so might prove offensive and otherwise harmful to ones career.” Sadly, academe seems to have become a refuge for careerists, not for truth tellers.

The problem with the multicultural ideology pushed in academe is, of course, the faulty reasoning (all ideologies tend to contain faulty reasoning) that, for example, would argue that I as a white man would bring, more than anything else, the perspective of a privileged European American, member of the ruling class, to the arena of ideas. Nothing of course could be more stereotypically false! The faulty reasoning of multiculturalists would also have us believe that a black man or Latino, who has played the game and sucked up to the system all of his or her life, would bring the perspective of an oppressed Afro-American or Hispanic. Instead, what he or she would bring is the perspective of a faithful careerist bureaucrat, nothing more and nothing less. Instead, I as a dissident would bring the perspective of a man who has actively questioned and challenged academe, the ruling class, and its diverse established-order apparatchiks—black, white, and Latino. Sadly, that is precisely the perspective that academe will not tolerate, though from which it could evidently most benefit.

Administrators and faculty generally will not respond to criticism, unless forced. Vigorous debate is rarely if ever something they hold dear, which is why, in the context of these experiments in democracy, I also make it a point to contact the students at the helm of the college newspaper, in this case, The Q, whose motto is “Reliable, Trustworthy, Comprehensive.” Nevertheless, chances are slim that even one student contacted will prove sufficiently curious, courageous, and un-indoctrinated to actually respond. Comprehensive? We’ll see about that!

By the way, Goucher’s MA Program in Cultural Sustainability really exists (see http://www.goucher.edu/x33261.xml). Personally, I thought it odd, if not absurd, to devote an entire Master’s degree program to the topic, an evident specialty in the area of sociology. But such programs tend to proliferate in academe today because they reflect PC ideology and more importantly attract money for the professors and respective institutions. Will we ever see an MA Program in TRUTH and the COURAGE TO SPEAK TRUTH? Likely not! Would Goucher College ever hire a professor like me? Certainly not! Welcome to the brave new world of America.

13 comments:

Bob said...

As someone who always looks for historical precedents when considering our messed up world, I have been reading recently about the Dissenting Academies in England in the 1600s.

The Church of England had a lock on all university employment at the time (there being only two universities, Oxford and Cambridge), and so people who weren't willing to take an oath of allegiance to the CoE and its articles of faith were either fired or couldn't get teaching jobs in the first place. Quite a few of them decided instead to establish "Dissenting Academies" -- more or less illegal and operating underground, but some of them tolerated with a wink-and-nod by local authorities.

The culture of American higher ed is really a religious orthodoxy, and you have to publicly take an oath to uphold this religion or you won't get hired in the first place. Reading about the Dissenting Academies of the 1600s gives one a sense of our time not being unique in history, and perhaps suggests some directions for us to move in the future.

SaveTheNarwhals said...

Okay, I know this is just baiting, but I'll bite. I'm a student at Goucher College, so I hope this makes me "sufficiently curious and courageous" although I doubt you will consider me "un-indoctrinated."
You are right about certain things here. Yes, Goucher College is not immune to the PC bug which you at least admit is not specific to Goucher College but to every University. But then again, if this is really a universal phenomenon, should Goucher College really be singled out?
I think you undermine your argument, and the humor of the cartoon, by trying to claim that this is some kind of affront to democracy.
You are incorrectly assuming that because Goucher has an ad, possibly ill-worded, that requests minority/underepresented applicants, that somehow contrarian viewpoints are not accepted.
If you look around both Goucher's student body and faculty/staff, you'll realize that minorities are still overwhelmingly underrepresented and that even an ad like the one who mention will probably barely make an impact in such a situation.
As for viewpoints, yes, almost all professors are liberal. But this is true almost everywhere. And 90% of the faculty will not share their political views or let them impact discussion. Most of them who do are confined to specific subjects like Communications or Poli-Sci.
And because (some) students are here to learn, most professors are liked or disliked based on their ability to teach, not their ability to agree with the students. I have had many teachers who share my political views who I absolutely despise because they are either ass-clowns or just bad teachers.
Goucher College does go out of its way to promote "PC" initiatives like environmental sustainability and study-abroad programs. And their website front page is a little over the top (even the african-american kids on campus make fun of it).
But what does this have to do with discouraging democracy or the truth? Most schools aim for a more diverse student body BECAUSE they aim to seek the truth, and promote all "truths" and viewpoints for a more objective, broad, view of society.
As said above, my experience at Goucher has been that the campus environment, and especially the academic environment, does not force students to adopt a particular ideology in order to succeed, except in rare circumstances. Such an atmosphere would be boring for teachers as well as students. In order to prove your thesis that Goucher stifles dissenting opinions, you would have to investigate the faculty and staff, but you admit that you are not familiar with the school, so your accusations against Goucher are specious.
Yes, the pendulum sometimes swings too far, and some school are ridiculous in their efforts to promote some misplaced idea of "diversity." But in terms of stupid PC garbage, Goucher College is well below the worst offenders.
I transferred from Wesleyan University. If you want to see a college with an oppressively PC/"diverse" program, look there, not here.
The year I left, Wesleyan was offering a class called "feet to the fire" which taught students how to react to global warming/climate change with interpretive dance. There's all sorts of nonsense there like "17th centural lesbian literature" or "Indonesian puppet theatre", classes so esoteric and ridiculous that it's obnoxious. In that case, loading a catalog with that stuff DOES demand a certain viewpoint and comes at the expense of those with different opinions.
So in summary, yes Goucher has a stupid ad and like many liberal arts colleges is guilty of sometimes silly initiatives which appear to be promoting diversity and political correctness for its own sake.
But Goucher has a long way to go, and you have a lot more research to go, before you can accuse Goucher of stifling democracy or grinding out an army of mindless, cowardly students.

G. Tod Slone said...

Well, Bob, you must be a different sort… and in a positive sense. You’ve actually responded… though anonymously. Professor? Student? Someone else? We’ll never know for sure.

Fascinating account of long-ago England and academe. I will definitely check out that link! Thank you. BTW, I challenged North Shore Community College (MA) which had posted a job ad requiring viable applicants to adhere to its multiculturalism doctrine. It actually removed the written stipulation (thanks to a letter from FIRE). However, the problem, of course, remains in that those who enacted it are still firmly entrenched in power and will likely enforce it behind the scenes.

G. Tod

G. Tod Slone said...

This is in two parts because of the message size limitation.

Well, SaveTheNarwhals (but not the Professors and Students!), thank you for responding. As a professor, when employed, I’ve always enjoyed debating with students. Thus, I shall respond to each and every point you make—sadly again, however, under the cloak of anonymity! It is so sad to me to observe students following their professors in that safe course of behavior! It is sad for democracy that students learn to hide behind anonymity. Both you and Bob prove the point regarding the shunning of free expression in academe… at Goucher. Now, if only we could get students to realize how widespread that problem has become (evidently you’re aware of it). Maybe they’d stand up and react. Or will the lure and necessity of three letters of professorial recommendation prevent them from doing so?

Questioning and challenging can, of course, always be dismissed derogatorily as “baiting”… and in a sense it certainly is a form of “baiting,” though I prefer to call it testing the waters of democracy.

I know very little about Goucher. However, just one quick look at the Goucher website is evidence enough of the “PC bug,” as you call it. The word “TRUTH” is not on the website, but the word “DIVERSITY” is spread all over it like UNORIGINAL peanut butter.

Scroll down to look at my other blogs and you’ll note that Goucher was definitely not “singled out,” as you state. Other institutions have been criticized, including Univ. of Mass. and Tufts Univ.

The affront to democracy is clear when adherence to a particular ideology is not only encouraged but essentially mandated. Hopefully, you will reconsider my assertion that the affront at Goucher and, in general, academe is REAL.

You make a good point that minorities are a minority at Goucher. I certainly wouldn’t disagree with you. My disagreement with you is that in academe it would be far better for democracy if the emphasis were removed from increasing minorities to increasing courage and truth telling on the part of professors and students. Affirmative Action does not seek equality, but rather unequal opportunity in favor of minorities. That’s clear and clearly stipulated. In other words, we’ll hire a black professor or enroll a black student with lesser qualities and accomplishments than a white professor or white student. That is not what the Civil Rights activists of the Sixties had in mind. Enrolling and graduating minorities has become a mechanical process, one that has become indifferent to enrolling and graduating QUALIFIED minorities. Why should minorities work harder, if Affirmative Action will permit them to enroll with a D average, for example?

Because I have been openly critical as a proponent of democracy, I now find myself unemployed if not unemployable… as a college professor. Rather hire a black prof who doesn’t open his mouth, than a white one who does. Well, that serves the capitalist system, not democracy.

The question of good teaching and bad teaching is an interesting one. Often, however, it really becomes a question of good entertaining and bad entertaining. Teaching and entertaining have become confused as one and the same. Good teaching is a nebulous concept, one that administrators can use to their advantage.

G. Tod Slone said...

This is in two parts because of the message size limitation.

Well, SaveTheNarwhals (but not the Professors and Students!), thank you for responding. As a professor, when employed, I’ve always enjoyed debating with students. Thus, I shall respond to each and every point you make—sadly again, however, under the cloak of anonymity! It is so sad to me to observe students following their professors in that safe course of behavior! It is sad for democracy that students learn to hide behind anonymity. Both you and Bob prove the point regarding the shunning of free expression in academe… at Goucher. Now, if only we could get students to realize how widespread that problem has become (evidently you’re aware of it). Maybe they’d stand up and react. Or will the lure and necessity of three letters of professorial recommendation prevent them from doing so?

Questioning and challenging can, of course, always be dismissed derogatorily as “baiting”… and in a sense it certainly is a form of “baiting,” though I prefer to call it testing the waters of democracy.

I know very little about Goucher. However, just one quick look at the Goucher website is evidence enough of the “PC bug,” as you call it. The word “TRUTH” is not on the website, but the word “DIVERSITY” is spread all over it like UNORIGINAL peanut butter.

Scroll down to look at my other blogs and you’ll note that Goucher was definitely not “singled out,” as you state. Other institutions have been criticized, including Univ. of Mass. and Tufts Univ.

The affront to democracy is clear when adherence to a particular ideology is not only encouraged but essentially mandated. Hopefully, you will reconsider my assertion that the affront at Goucher and, in general, academe is REAL.

You make a good point that minorities are a minority at Goucher. I certainly wouldn’t disagree with you. My disagreement with you is that in academe it would be far better for democracy if the emphasis were removed from increasing minorities to increasing courage and truth telling on the part of professors and students. Affirmative Action does not seek equality, but rather unequal opportunity in favor of minorities. That’s clear and clearly stipulated. In other words, we’ll hire a black professor or enroll a black student with lesser qualities and accomplishments than a white professor or white student. That is not what the Civil Rights activists of the Sixties had in mind. Enrolling and graduating minorities has become a mechanical process, one that has become indifferent to enrolling and graduating QUALIFIED minorities. Why should minorities work harder, if Affirmative Action will permit them to enroll with a D average, for example?

Because I have been openly critical as a proponent of democracy, I now find myself unemployed if not unemployable… as a college professor. Rather hire a black prof who doesn’t open his mouth, than a white one who does. Well, that serves the capitalist system, not democracy.

The question of good teaching and bad teaching is an interesting one. Often, however, it really becomes a question of good entertaining and bad entertaining. Teaching and entertaining have become confused as one and the same. Good teaching is a nebulous concept, one that administrators can use to their advantage.

G. Tod Slone said...

Part II:

As clearly stated in my little essay, having equal representation of minorities does not automatically result in more truth at all. Re-read that part if you will. I’ve since embellished it. What greater truth will an Afro-American kowtow present, than a European-American dissident? Clearly, none at all!

“But what does this have to do with discouraging democracy or the truth?” you ask. Well, “diversity” serves as a diversion. It diverts attention away from real hardcore criticism. Indeed, let us focus on minority representation, as opposed to faculty and institutional corruption. Think about that.

My “thesis that Goucher stifles dissenting opinions,” as you term it, is based on the single assertion noted in the cartoon that “Goucher College is committed to increasing the diversity of the campus community and seeks applications from those who will contribute to this effort.”

Clearly, that assertion implies that those not committed to the effort need not apply. In other words, those who believe in equality and truth, as opposed to the diversity mantra, need not apply. Their opinions are thus automatically stifled. My opinion is stifled. Will my opinion appear in your student newspaper? Of course not! My argument is not “specious,” as you state.

It’s interesting what you state about Wesleyan. And I’m not in the least surprised. Sure there’s always worse and sure there’s always better… than Goucher. But that’s not an excuse to leave Goucher alone. Wesleyan did not have an ad out for an English prof at the time I saw the one at Goucher, which discouraged me, a white professor, from applying. The Goucher ad inspired me, not Wesleyan.

Now, since you are a student newspaper staff member, are you going to publish the cartoon and an account of my criticism and that infamous job-ad statement? After all, “Comprehensive” forms part of your motto… or is that hot air?

It seems you’re far more interested in supporting the status quo at Goucher, than improving it and having that job-ad statement eliminated in the name of democracy. By stating “yes Goucher has a stupid ad and like many liberal arts colleges is guilty of sometimes silly initiatives which appear to be promoting diversity and political correctness for its own sake,” you clearly seek to excuse the “stupid” and “silly.” And that is sad.

It is Goucher’s own ad that points to its “stifling democracy or grinding out an army of mindless, cowardly students.” My “accusation,” as you derogatorily label it, is rather an observation of a reality: the ad. By the way, I did not imply, nor did I wish to imply that all Goucher students were PC-indoctrinated and mindless. My fear is that the college seeks to indoctrinate them… via such ads and its website. There’s a difference.

Thanks again for the comments. “Comprehensive”? We’ll see…
G. Tod

Vegas Quixote said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mather said...

You're white and you're not even smiling! I laughed at that...

G. Tod Slone said...

Glad I was able to draw a laugh out of you Mather... and hope you're recovering from your hell of a couple of weeks ago. The morning is gloomy, even though the sun is bright.

Well, Dahn, we've been through this many times. As I mentioned, yes, Mather is working class. But so what? As a sociology professor, you seem bent on categorizing people into little compartments: black, white, working class, oppressed, non oppressed, Obama critics as automatic racists, etc. But so what? Blacks can be and are multimillionaires while simultaneously oppressing. But that doesn't work for you or PC sociology. Anyhow, glad to have you back commenting. What I'll do is post the dialogue I sent you yesterday in the next blog. Then you can respond to it, point by point.

G. Tod Slone said...

PS: Dahn, never did I state that I was closed to publishing essays or poems by adjunct on adjuncting. Why, btw, are you against offshoring and outsourcing, while apparently for inshoring and insourcing RE illegal aliens living in the US? Also, why do you hide behind the cloak of anonymity?

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