Sunday, February 06, 2005

Revisiting Students and Free Speech (Again, As Pulled From Comments) 

Is there a term for "a piece written in or as a comment to a blog entry which is then formalized and posted top-tier, as a new blog-entry revisiting the original topic?" Well, there should be. Until then, today's title will have to do.

Matt responds to my own thoughts on BoingBoing's response to an AP story addressing recent data on the changing perception of First Amendment issues among high school students. Says Matt:

And yet 83% of kids polled think people should be able to express unpopular views, as opposed to nearly a hundred percent of their teachers and principals. This is really horrifying to me. What the hell is going on with my generation?

As a conservative, I have an answer to this, but it's not one people like to hear. Especially teachers.

What I believe is changing is that schools, and the culture at large, are actually educating kids to believe that there are indeed some kinds of views which are not at all acceptable to express -- regardless of whether students happen to hold those views or not. I think we're not making a clear distinction between school-based acceptability and generall, legally-protected allowance of expression for these ideas. Further, I believe that most, if not all, of this change springs from the way we handle the diversity/multicultural curriculum, whether we're talking about an explicit curriculum or merely just the standards for acceptability held by the culture and passed along to the rising generation through its primary socializing tools a) the mass media, and b) schools.

For example, students in most schools I know of are being told through curriculum and socialization activities that it is no longer acceptable to believe that homosexuality is "wrong," or that there are some genuine differences in how people of different cultures and races are, or that words from "queer" to "nigger" to "chick" can occasionally be used deliberately within group contexts in powerful and positive ways. I am reasonably confident that at least some of the 17% of students who seem to be saying that it is not acceptable to hold unpopular views may be thinking of such "unpolitically correct" views, and the fact that many of their own schools even go so far as to discipline or censure students for expression of such views, when answering the question.

And we're the ones who taught them that such views were not okay to hold in general, because we told them that they themselves could not hold those views merely by showing them that those views were, according to the school and the culture, "wrong" -- and then acting to change the way they thought via a kind of forced moral education.

What we're looking at in these statistics, then, is the sad result of the commodification and institutionalization of the new liberal agenda. The fact that academia is generally liberal in their beliefs about how the world should work -- by definition, most academics believe in freedom of ideas -- is ironic here, as the very commodification of even the most liberal agenda is still, ultimately, a move towards conservation of those ideas (i.e. it is conservative).

Unfortunately, as the statistics show, teachers and principals are entirely unaware that their diversity curriculum has shifted to an underlying position that it is not at all allowable or "legal" to believe in, let alone express, some unpopular ideas. Not surprising, I suppose: most liberals are not actually ACLU "fight to the death for your right to express it" liberals, but position-liberals, in my own experience. Even though many of them claim to be both.

That's the true trade-off of trying to teach in a world which supports both diversity and true freedom of speech and thought, it turns out. Tolerance never had these problems -- it is perfectly consistent to believe one thing immoral but also believe that it is socially inacceptable (i.e. not tolerated) to push an agenda which makes such subjective "immorality" wrong to practice in social and/or private spaces. But one cannot transcend tolerance, supplanting it with mandatory celebration, without pushing an agenda which contains a clear implication that it is not acceptable to believe in, and thus absolutely vital to hide personal belief of, the traditional tenets of the neoconservative.

At heart, I think, we can see the recent split in the country at large as related to this particular issue. All schools have moved beyond tolerance, and dangerously so...but different local school systems and cultures use different lists of what is inacceptable, making it impossible to have true dialogue between factions in the US.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:58 PM |

Me again. Just wanted to point out that, if I'm right, that 17% is going to include mostly those students who see themselves as MOST liberal -- the kids who most buy in to and defend the academic status quo of multiculturalism, neo-acceptance, and political correctness.

It's why I refuse to identify as liberal, and why I continue to rail against the politically correct agenda. Because I see the liberal agenda as having been corrupted by commodification, to the point of Big Brotherism. Through the students I interact with on a daily basis, among other folks.
Good post, and nicely put. Thank the gods I was raised listening to george Carlin from an early age. I was taught that words are only words, that intentions and undelying meaning are what makes language "good" or "bad". I was taught that freedom means not only do I get to tell the guy I don't like to cram it, but he gets to tell me to go fuck myself. I learned to loathe people whose practice of "tolerance" means the numbing and butchering of the english language and the control of other's thinking. I learned that those two are one in the same, that language can in fact BE mind control. (This is why phrases like "person kind" "people of color" and "patriot act" make me want to get out a knife and start stabbing people at random.

As an artist, I encounter more liberals than conservatives giving me shit about what I say and think, although I'll admit this is because I really don't interact with many conservatives, and the ones I do interact with aren't morons.

I've been taking an ethical argument class, and lately I've been thinking on these issues alot. (Actually, I think about this alot anyway. I just have a fancy new set of words for it now.)

To put it simply, here are the cancers in modern dumbass liberalism that I would like to see exterminated:

PC language

Moral relativism (the "who are we to judge" bullshit.) in regards to multiculturalism, while at the same time being absolutist moralists to people of their own culture

In fact, that would make another good topic, Josh, if you wanna make a habit of recycling my comments into articles. How is it that liberals so often hold these two conflicting views:

1: every opinion is as valid as any other (I HATE this one)


2: except when we disagree.

This is, of course, in comparison to the dumbass conservative model, which goes

1: our opinion is the only valid one, and our beliefs should apply to everyone.


2: except of course to us and any politician who claims belief in god

The main difference I see in bad liberal and bad conservative philosophy is liberals want to control you in the ways they control themselves, with different bad liberal sects differing on whether that control should remain in country ( the who-are-we-to-judge-their-way? crowd) or over everyone (the UN-is-god , muslim chicks should wear bikinis crowd)

Bad conservatives think their values should apply to evryone else as hard, no-second-chance law, except to themselves. If a conservative does something bad, like, say stealing millons of dollars from poor people and using the money to buy a house with gold-siding,or cheating on his wife with a fourteen year old prostitute, he can simply reaffirm his belief in jesus, and he's back on track to being elected governor, or something.

But here's the thing of it for me: I like it when conservatives tell me not to do something, because I like a good fight. Conservatives never tell me not to say "nigger." And it isn't just because they traditionally really hate black people. (although that is sadly still part of it.) It's because the kinds of control they want are the kinds I'm opposed to. Forced prayer in school? Fuck you! Anti sodomy laws? (guess what my vulgar reply to that one is!)

But liberals want to stop me from doing things I don't do anyway, mostly because they wouldn't recognice irony if it walked up and bit their nose off. I'm not the kind of guy who ever says "nigger" or "cunt" in an un-ironic manner. When I use words like that (and even in irony, words that awful are rare for me), I am mocking people who use those words and mean them, or I diffusing thier power in some other manner. so when you tell me I can't use them because using them makes me racist,or makes me a "hurtful, insensitive person", well, what am I left with but to tell these people to please eat their own shit and die? The argument isn't fun because I can't taunt them and I can't get good and outraged. They're not stupid people who I'm also morally ouytraged by, they're just stupid people. And that's no fun.

Plus, I'm one of those curious people who likes diversity. I mean I really like it- I like it that there are lots and lots of people who are really different from me. and those peopld do come in groups. But dumbass liberals don't want you to know that. They want you to think everyone is the same. Jews don't have, overall, large noses. Indian people don't sound comically high-pitched when they speak english. Black people don't have their own version(s) of english. In fact, they aren't black. Races don't exist. Cripples aren't impaired. we're all the same. ALL. EXACTLY. THE. SAME.

I see this kind of thinking, this fear of aknowledging differences, as a sort of concealed racism. Races make you uncomfortable. The crippled, er, handicapped, er, handyCAPABLE make you uneasy, so you blind yourself to the differences and react with shock whenever someone brings them up, accusing them of racism. For fuck's sake, I'm not saying black people have small brains and ten inch members, I'm just saying "Hey, ain't it cool Jamel has kinky hair and big huge lips?"

Well, it's getting late here. I guess I'll end there. Toodles!
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