JABbering Stooge

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Why am I not surprised?

David Horowitz has created a monster with his whining that the nation's schools haven't made it their job to indoctrinate students in pro-right-wing prolefeed. Adherents to his philosophy seem to keep popping up in editorial sections across the country with uncanny regularity. Case in point, a recent guest editorial in the campus newspaper. In the interest of providing a public service, I will provide a running commentary on the article.

You say you want a revolution
Rachel Anne Fletcher, Guest Columnist

It is said that real revolution and change begins on college campuses and among students. Usually peaceful, these student-led demonstrations are the pulse for seemingly apathetic youths. However, these protests can lead to violent confrontations — such as the recent anti-government demonstrations at the University of Tehran in Iran to the historic 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre where hundreds were killed.


Is the author suggesting that protestors started the violence in both cases? I should hope not, since it is objectively clear that law enforcement instigated the violence in Tiananmen Square. As for the University of Tehran demonstrations, it is unclear whether the author means the one that took place on the 20th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, or something more recent. However, this ambiguity doesn't help the author because, again, in both cases, law enforcement initiated the violence.

Sometimes protests, like the anti-Vietnam War protests, can even change the entire political landscape of a country and shape the way wars are viewed for years to come. This right to protest and free speech is an American landmark outlined in the first amendment.


Why do I sense a "but..." coming on here?

Yet I am fearful of current students as the advancers of change and the future leaders of tomorrow. On a majority of college campuses students are presented with only one side of the story. With the emphasis now on certain individual rights, what about the other established rights that are being pushed aside to accommodate for this new era of understanding?


Aha. Now we see the author's biases exposed. Any time you see something similar to the bolded and italicized statement above, you know a person is going to launch into one of those "The evil libruls are stifling academic freedom!" screeds that make David Horowitz proud.

Lately there has been a backward movement where the “politically correct” left has the right to free speech on college campuses. Take a recent incident at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. Jihad Daniel received a mass e-mail (think about the VPSA e-mails we constantly get) inviting him to attend a movie and informational session about lesbians. The 68-year-old student was grotesquely offended and sent a heated e-mail back requesting that he receive no further e-mails about “Connie and Sally” or “Adam and Steve.”


You know, usually when I get e-mails from the various vice-provosts, I just treat it like spam and delete on contact. Obviously, Mr. Daniel felt differently. However, I think that all involved would've been better off if he had chosen to re-read his missive before hitting the "Send" button. Unfortunately, he didn't, and here we are discussing some complete stranger's personal life. Go figure.

Daniel received a reprimand from the school for his “derogatory” comments. Daniel took his case to The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a group that lobbies for student rights. FIRE filed a complaint with the university stating that Daniel’s first amendment rights were being denied; but the New Jersey attorney general sided with the university.


The thing is, the concept of "Your rights end at the other person's nose" doesn't apply only to Democrats. You can't go around threatening people because you don't like what they have to say.

Don't get me wrong. I think the professor overreacted by treating the e-mail as a threat - though entirely understandable given the overheated rhetoric that has been eminating from the right wing lately (go here and here for examples). (BTW, Mr. Daniel's e-mail and the professor's response are available for your perusal here). But we can't have the facts get in the way of Jihad's little jihad against all things liberal, now can we?

If the senders have the right to send a controversial and potentially offensive message campuswide, why can’t Daniel send comments in a private e-mail?


See above.

Have we become so obsessed with political correctness and the emotional well-being of others that we have lost our right to be offended? An e-mail such as the one Daniel received might have offended me, but with the current atmosphere on campuses I would not have an outlet to express my opinion for fear of being discriminatory.


And now we've reached the most ridiculous part of the editorial. This semester opened with two op-ed pieces from Texas State University finance professor Rick Borghesi - one defended Bush's irresponsible deficits, and the other derided as mythology the phenomenon of global warming. The University Star has at least two conservatives in its editorial stable. Finally, and most damning, evil "backward" liberals like myself wouldn't even be commenting on this screed if the paper hadn't bothered to publish it. So don't go crying to me about the lack of an outlet for conservatives.

Case in point two: Professor Timothy Shortell of Brooklyn College in New York City posted online antireligious and anti-Christian comments; likening Christians to “rabid animals” and “retards.” This created a firestorm after the online essay was discovered because Shortell is the leader of the sociology department.


Never mind that Shortell decided against taking chairmanship of the sociology department when all was said and done. No, anyone committing the thoughtcrime of believing that Christianity, especially as practiced by the right wing, is not the end-all, be-all religion ought to be demonized as vitriolically as possible and blacklisted from any future job in academia - much like what is almost certain to happen with a certain Colorado University professor.

Professors continually use their position of leadership to exert influence over students whether morally or politically. While it is their right too, I believe that anti-Christian comments, online or not, is still a form of discrimination.


Fair enough. But I would remind you that fair and valid criticism of certain aspects of Christian theology, or fair and valid criticism of the actions of those who claim to follow Christ should not be dismissed out-of-hand as verbally feeding Christians to the lions, much as you might like to believe it so.

In addition, if Shortell can post these comments online without reprimand then why is Daniel scolded for a private e-mail? Have we gone so far in our pursuit of religious equality that Christianity is now oppressed?


And the persecution complex crops up again. I mean, really. If Christianity is so oppressed, how come conservative Christian groups get to dictate what books high school kids get to read in English class in their annual book burning banning crusades? If conservatives are so downtrodden, why do we see them blacklisting professors on college campuses across the country? If conservatives are so oppressed, why do they feel empowered to fire employees for putting the "wrong" bumper stickers on their cars? If Christianity is so oppressed, why do conservative Christians, rather than actual scientists, get to harangue students on what is and isn't science?

Probably the most poignant example of campus hypocrisy is from the mecca of liberal absurdity — San Francisco.


Ah, I see. Making even the mildest criticism of Christianity is verboten, but liberal politics and non-Christian religions are fair game? Must be wonderful to believe in double standards.

Last March. a group of Air Force and Army recruiters were forced to leave a San Francisco State University campus career fair early because of excessive demonstrations by Students Against War. SAW surrounded the table and began hostilely protesting the recruiter’s presence forcing them to leave.


As usual, the author's description of what happened is either woefully inadequate, or deliberately misleading. Here's the local newspaper's account of the incident:

One recent battle in the war over recruitment was waged March 9 and 10 at San Francisco State University, when the military rented a booth at the university's two-day spring career fair. Students Against War showed up the first day with more than 150 protesters to picket air force and army recruiting tables. According to SAW member David Carr, protesters staged a peaceful teach-in around recruiters' tables until they left.

When two activists returned to the student center to pass out flyers the following day, police forcibly removed them from the building. In a letter to activists, university officials wrote that the protesters – who face possible suspension from school, while SAW and other groups face unspecified sanctions – were removed because their activities disrupted a university-sponsored event.


That's right, the ISO and SAW were trying to exercise their First Amendment rights, and the university comes down on them like a ton of bricks. The treatment was so harsh that it effectively derailed any further activities on the part of any organization that so much as dared to express an opinion even slightly to the left of Sean Hannity.

The author also fails to note, or simply doesn't care, that the International Socialist Organizaiton and Students Against War have offered a solution to the whole situation:

1 - No disciplinary action should be taken against individual students or student groups for involvement in, or endorsement of, the March 9th 2005 protest in Jack Adams Hall.

2 - The University should seek to uphold its own nondiscrimination policy and pursue a legal challenge to the Solomon Amendment.

3 - The University should provide a forum for debating the issue of military recruitment on campus. This debate should include military recruiters, SFSU President Robert Corrigan and speakers chosen by Students Against War.

4 - Furthermore, the administration will uphold the right to free speech on the SFSU campus and not limit First Amendment activity to unconstitutional "free speech zones."


Let's continue:

SAW, along with The International Socialist Organization at SFSU, later hosted Lynne Stewart to speak at the university. Stewart is a convicted aide to terrorist Abdel Rahman who is responsible for the first World Trade Center bombing. Along with honoring a known terrorist, SAW passed out pamphlets advocating the support of the Iraqi insurgents against America, while the International Socialist Organization openly advocates the overthrow of the United States government.


Ah, yes. The old abusive ad hominem fallacy.

If this alarming trend of biased liberal education and favoritism continues, I believe we will reach a stage in our quest not to offend others where we are so politically correct and have so many alleged rights that we will end up with no liberty at all.


Actually, if current trends remain unchanged, we will be in an ultra-right-wing fantasy land, especially in academia - we've already seen the beginnings of it with the blacklists against "liberal" professors.

I am not arguing these students’ right to protest the military — or even their right to advocate the overthrow of the American government and suggest treason.


Funny thing, that. The Founding Fathers were considered traitors by the British back in the day. Didn't Thomas Paine once say "Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing?" And was it not Thomas Jefferson who said that a revolution was necessary every 20 years? [begin sarcasm]But what do a bunch of dead white guys know?[end sarcasm]

These students can honor terrorists as much as they like. However, I believe it absurd that the same people who are dying overseas to protect the protesters right to hold their ludicrous views are the people they will not allow on their campus. I am advocating that not only the left-wing nuts have the right to free speech but the right-wing nutjobs as well. I think every nut should have their say if we are to embrace the true American spirit.


All that verbiage, and only now do you even mention "right-wing nutjobs" - without naming names? That kinda undermines your credibility - as though you only mention right wing nuts in order to seem "fair and balanced."

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