Friday, February 29, 2008

"Sheer intellectual laziness of dismissing opponents as hate-mongering, totalitarian buffoons"

This is yet another example how "student" unions do not represent the students, but instead their own one-sided agenda:

I will not go into this history today (though I may at some future point) except to say that this is nothing short of an attack on the university as a place for the free exchange of ideas. Even Heather Kere, a Ryerson Students’ Union executive who hasn’t exactly distinguished herself as a moderate, tried to amend the CFS motion so that it would only apply to anti-abortion groups that harassed students. An even-handed and grounded amendment that was promptly rejected.

And why did they reject it? Well, Shelley Melanson, CFS national women’s representative, told the Eyeopener, “You wouldn’t take public money to put in an organization that moves to take away people’s rights; you wouldn’t fund the KKK.”

Similarly, Sandy Hudson, CFS-Ontario women’s rep, also thinks anti-abortion groups are comparable to fascists. As the University of Western Ontario Gazette reported: “When asked whether Ryerson students should be exposed to both sides of the abortion issue, Hudson said allowing an anti-choice group would be like allowing a white supremacist group on campus.”

There you have it: if you do not agree with the CFS position on abortion you are no better than a member of the Klu Klux Klan or a white supremacist.

Apart from the sheer intellectual laziness of dismissing opponents as hate-mongering, totalitarian buffoons, the CFS just might be revealing its own intolerant tendencies. Let’s see who else might qualify as a white supremacist because of their position on abortion? Well Catholics come to mind. So do Hindus. And religious Jews and Muslims. (Full disclosure: I am a lapsed Catholic.)

Another example: My alma mater, Trent University and the uproar over f*ck Harper buttons. The "non-partisan" Trent Central STudent Association continues to sell these buttons as a "fundraiser" (As if the $43.32 per student these two student unions (TCSA and CFS) receive in levy fees is not enough...)



Let me be clear, this isn't a conservative-minded person whining about all the lefties around me. It is just a demonstration that it is not "conservative" voices that are not only not heard, but rather it is opposing viewpoints that are not allowed to be heard. Yup, the university institution, where open-mindedness is as hard to come by as chasity and straight-edge culture.

I get really irritated when the word "anti" is used. Anti-war, anti-choice, anti-gay, etc... Let's consider this "anti-choice" for a moment. Could someone from the other side of the spectrum please explain to me how banning pro-life groups from being allowed to form on university campuses contributes to offering more choice to women? Because apparently pro-life groups are "anti-choice", but I really am not seeing it. Could also a pro-choice person explain how a person can be against abortion because the fetus does not have a right to life or is not a 'person' but when a drunk driver or crazed lover kills a pregnant woman, they want two counts of murder/manslaughter instead of one. You can't have it both ways!

Full disclose for myself, I do not generally support abortion; however, being a woman who has never been in the situation, I cannot say that I would never consider it.

Do some pro-life groups do wacky things like burn abortion places, or humiliate woman who face such an awful choice? Of course! But certainly, the anti-war or anti-globalizations haven't been golden peaceful protesters either! The difference is, when you're anti-war or anti-globalization, it's hip, trendy, and cool. At least that's how is portrayed on university campuses. But isn't banning military recruiters, or banning pro-life groups more anti-choice than anything else? (Both UVic and Carleton have overturned their decisions, but Lakehead has not.

Both sides are claiming "discrimination" and dare to use "human rights tribunals" to resolve the matter. It is really sad how 'discrimination' or 'offending' has gone waaaay past the point of common sense.

That's the problem in today's universities. There is only one way of allowed thinking. Not only in the classroom with professors, but the student groups as well. The hypocracy of profs and student representatives who claim to want to challenge status-quo but then limit discussion on topics with which they do not agree is (dare I say) "anti"-democratic.

Certainly this isn't the case in all university classrooms, but from my experience, especially in Sociology, there is only one way of acceptable approaches to social problems. Of course this is the Jack Layton way.

6 Comments:

Blogger Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said...

Children

Fri Feb 29, 06:48:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Know how to get these buffoons to shut up? Yell to them...'North Korea needs you, Cuba needs you, Zimbabwe needs you... and a whole host of other basket cases around the world. (real conservative)

Fri Feb 29, 08:40:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Carson Jerema said...

Thanks for linking to my post. Just a couple points: I am skeptical of the extent we can conflate the politics of the university, and especially the politics of student government, with teaching, meaning I am skeptical that professors are pushing a similar agenda as student associations who want student controlled space or university space in general, to be limited to "acceptable" opinions.

No doubt, there are profs who use the classroom as a personal soapbox, and even punish students academically for not having the "right" views, but I don't believe it is as wide spread as is sometimes suggested. For example, if in a principle of economics class, the prof eshews teaching the traditional supply and demand charts because they are capitalist trash, and instead teaches the politics of labour, that is quite obviously problematic. But if a prof teaches the traditional stuff from a critical perspective that is academia.

Certainly there are students who buy wholeheartedly the argument that educated people must work for social change, otherwise they are part of the "problem," and in doing so they do overzealous things like trying to boot out political student groups they disagree with. But, students in general are a politically diverse group which is why their is always such resistance to the paternal instincts of your local student government. That said, because the student government can often control or regulate (or at least they try to) what is discussed in student space is obviously problematic if for no other reason it reveals how unsure they are of their own opinions.

Fri Feb 29, 10:00:00 PM EST  
Blogger Spitfire said...

Carson,

Thank you for your comment.

"I don't believe it is as wide spread as is sometimes suggested.... if a prof teaches the traditional stuff from a critical perspective that is academia"

Most people know that universities are generally left-leaning. My issue, is that no one (prof or student) is standing up and asking, 'what a minute, what's the other side of this argument?

Universities and profs loooove to say the word "critical." Ever class claims to be 'critical'. The problem is, the 'critical' is anything the Conservatives or Liberals do, and that the acceptable way of approaching public policy programs is socialist. Being "critical" of unions, socialized health care, socialized day care was not acceptable.

Thankfully, my experience at Carleton is a lot better, than my experience at Trent. The School of Public Policy and Administration is a lot less partisan (being as most of us will be public servants, it's understandable). While most of my students are left-leaning, they generally are more open to hearing 'the other side' (except for global warming).

Sat Mar 01, 08:56:00 AM EST  
Blogger Carson said...

Maybe Trent is just a bad school...

But yeah I see your point, when I used the word "critical" up there I probably should have used the word "left" or "marxist" or something like that.

And I agree, it is frustrating to no end when people think they are being critical because they are critizing capitalism (for example) when they are just accepting a different perspective "uncritically."

Sun Mar 02, 09:09:00 PM EST  
Blogger HammertimeGP said...

http://www.hammertimegp.blogspot.com

Sun Mar 23, 10:02:00 PM EDT  

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