April 22, 2014

Yet another "teacher" mouths off (Updated)

In 1915, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) set forth principles for university teachers with regard to controversial matters:
The university teacher, in giving instruction upon controversial matters, while he is under no obligation to hide his own opinion under a mountain of equivocal verbiage, should, if he is fit for his position, be a person of a fair and judicial mind; he should, in dealing with such subjects, set forth justly, without suppression or innuendo, the divergent opinions of other investigators; he should cause his students to become familiar with the best published expressions of the great historic types of doctrine upon the questions at issue; and he should, above all, remember that his business is not to provide his students with ready-made conclusions, but to train them to think for themselves, and to provide them access to those materials which they need if they are to think intelligently….The teacher ought also to be especially on his guard against taking unfair advantage of the student’s immaturity by indoctrinating him with the teacher’s own opinions before the student has had an opportunity fairly to examine other opinions upon the matters in question, and before he has sufficient knowledge and ripeness of judgment to be entitled to form any definitive opinion of his own. It is not the least service which a college or university may render to those under its instruction, to habituate them to looking not only patiently but methodically on both sides, before adopting any conclusion upon controverted issues.
Thankfully, even in political science classes, it is hard to recall any professor that used the teaching platform for crass political indoctrination and disparagement such as what is heard in the following audio, in an Introduction to Creative Writing class, no less!

"--Racist, misogynist, money-grubbing people that have so much power over the rest of us. And want things to go back -- not to 1955 or 1855. There a re a lot of people out there that do not want black people to vote, do not want Latinos to vote. Do not want old people to vote, or young people to vote. Because generally, people like you are liberal. You want equality. You want racial equality, you want financial equality. You want to be able to use your education and go out in the world and make it better, but you'd also like to be able to get a job. All these things point toward being a liberal. Because this election, it's absolutely possible that Republicans will take over the Senate as well as the House. And we will live in a very, very, very different kind of country if that happens. I mean, colleges will start closing up if they, if these people have their way. They don't think money should go to giving you people dangerous ideas about how the world should be run."
Of course, he is not the only one, as can be seen here and here and here.

An academic pursues knowledge and lives by competing ideas and explanations. An activist pursues political and social goals that involve specific actions based on a pre-determined ideological truth. As such, one might say that activism is fundamentally un-academic.
A genuinely academic thinker must be able to believe for a moment that his own preferred explanation is wrong, so that he can look very hard at the case for other explanations, but that is almost a psychological impossibility for the political or social activist.
The above quote from a 2012 report A Crisis in Competence: The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California, authored by the conservative California Association of Scholars. Some activists will dismiss the report, rather than give it any consideration, as if it has no place in the marketplace of ideas, even as similar effects become commonplace, as here and here, only two more recent examples of the fruits of activist education run amok.

It is downright scary to think that people taught by these type of activists will be making decisions for us all based on the truth of their knowledge, or should I say their cause.

UPDATE: Connecticut Prof Apologizes for Anti-GOP Bashfest