Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Eminently practical, and yet appropriate as always

Another member of the class, reading my comments on inappropriate Bush-bashing in a lecture on intellectual movements of the Soviet Union circa 1975, also responds to that fit of pique: Professor! I believe that my reading of comments mentioning the president of Canada's closest neighbour was a great waste of time. I already regret the time spent on writing this, but I feel I should respond. What I read was almost totally irrelevant in the context of this course. Perhaps, but only because the original reflexive cheap shot in class was almost totally irrelevant? The abundance of rhetoric discussing the current crusade of USA against terror (at different times also know as evil, sin, unholy, among others) in general and actions of current administration in particular made me well acquainted with arguments brought forward by advocates of both its supporters and opponents. While reading, I was surprised how persistent some people can be in trying to make their viewpoints known both in and out of place. I'm persistent because I have to be. Mentally assaulted every day with a hundred varying degrees of people telling me I'm wrong, stupid, evil, or mentally ill for my politics, resistance is never out of place. I seized on a badly reasoned, pandering jibe, and got a partial, tenuous mea culpa from the speaker out of it. I call that perfectly appropriate. By the third paragraph of this well-structured and overly-elaborate discourse it struck me that this was no more than another argument in Bush's defense (and/or actions he currently embodies), inspired not with the subject of our last lecture, but merely by one harmless comment. He thinks it's harmless - but, then, I suspect he probably agrees with it. I think it needs to be addressed, because it's indicative of an endemic culture of paranoia and hatemongering directed by leftist academics at any conservative, Conservative, Republican, or even classically liberal bogeyman. I doubt the writer (nor myself) would let an offhanded ethnic or religious slur during a lecture pass by as "harmless." Challenging similarly sloppy thinking from those who ought to know better is no vice. I will not get detailed on answering these arguments, I will simply point out that some of them are rather short-sighted (the talk on "free" elections in Iraq, recent developments in Ukraine, or wishes of German population regarding the political structure in their country), and others are nothing more than rephrased excerpts from speeches pronounced by most distinguished fighters for adoption of their value set by the whole wide multifaceted world. He seems surprised that, having a priori internalized the values and ideals (such as, say, that free, open and democratic societies are in fact best for every people and nation in "the whole wide multifaceted world") embodied in most of Bush's speeches, I argue in favour of them. Go figure. (Do I also detect a whiff of condescension coming my way for daring to oh-so-simplistically believe that not all governments nor societies are equally valid?) I would also want to ask you to forward this to the author of the text in question in an attempt to persuade this person to refrain from such feedback in the future. If the professor is kind enough to refrain from gratuitous political commentary not directly relating to the period or topic, that seems chiefly designed to confirm his expectations of pre-existing biases for a cheap laugh...well, I won't need to, will I?


Blogger Dr_Funk said...

Paul, keep up the fight. I know how you feel: I'm in an American history course at Carleton. I knew I was going to have trouble when the first lecture included a short film on US history. The film was a cartoon taken from Michael Moore's 'Bowling for Columbine'.

2/06/2005 12:10:00 AM  

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