January 30, 2003

This is important…

Do professors try to indoctrinate students? Do professors impose their biases in class?


But not in the way this student believes. Sure, there are rotten teachers out there. Lots of them. With a little digging you can come up with all kinds of horror stories about students who have been abused for their beliefs by professors (by rotten professors of the left and the right…so much of this kind of criticism ignores that little fact). I condemn these teachers.

A warning to students attending, or thinking of attending, Park University: If you take my rhetoric class, prepare to be challenged. I don’t care what your beliefs are. You go right, I go left. You go left, I go right. You go some other direction, and I’ll find its opposite and go that way. I will do all that I can to shake up your world view, to get you to question your values, your knowledge–everything you’ve been taught so far. That, dear student, is one huge part of what education is all about. That’s also a big clue about why there are so many liberals in the humanities and social sciences. Shaking up world views, questioning authority and received wisdom, is not a (classically) conservative endeavor.

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  1. Ah yes, but who are the liberals these days? It’s an argument that ought to be had more often I think.

  2. Rachel Cohen 

    As if! Liberal believe in a a whole bunch of hidebound dogmas: women are oppressed all over America (and beat up in vast numbers during the Super Bowl), abortion is nothing more than a flushing away of tissue, Islam is the religion of peace, raising the minimum wage is good, a nationalized health care system would work really, really, well and folks who disagree with them are homophobic racists. I’d be very surprised if you challenge these “thoughts” in class.

    Actually it’s not your job to challenge a student’s values–it’s your job to teach them to examine those values themselves. Not quite the same thing. Jamming your platitudes down their throats isn’t educating–it’s low-rent performance “art”.

  3. janpeterson@thedoghousemail.com 

    Pretending that academia is somehow leftist is a bit strange, anyway. There is no more comfortable life than that on a campus, and the “prestige” jobs in academia are on very wealth campuses that cater to (mostly) well-to-do students.

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