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previous: Michael Tousek Mark,Liberals may not "own"... -- 6/12/2004 6:43 PM View Thread

Re: It's not my imagination!

6/14/2004 4:31 AM
Mark Hammer
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Re: It's not my imagination!
You present a good reasoned argument Mike. Were it not for the fact that I don't see anything particularly wrong with either "liberalism" or socialism, I might buy it.  
 
You know, the reason why universities might be inundated with such ideas just MIGHT be because they are, in principle, correct and more in the public interest, rather than the outcome of some sort of conspiracy, such as you paint it. It is easy to imagine a few nutbars, but hard to imagine that so many keenly honed minds would be completely off the mark.  
 
Much more importantly, your argument almost seems to suggest that whatever ideologies exist in the humanities and social sciences are almost held in spite of the content of those disciplines, when indeed it may well be the case that it is precisely the content which fosters and sustains those ideologies presenting themselves to the learner and practitioner as the only logical conclusion a knowledgable person could come to. It may also be the case that a selection effect occurs; those disciplines simply don't attract individuals that are non-liberal.  
 
Naturally, ANY political slant is only as useful and compassionate as it is pragmatic, and I generally find much that is not especially pragmatic on every side of the political coin. If one *could* charge academics with anything, it might be not that they are of this political stripe or that one, but that they can become cut off from the real world. I, for one, would just ONCE like to hear an economist of any orientation use the word "estimate" instead of implying that everything that falls out of their mouth is the way the world is and ever more shall be. This frustrates me as much as the rantings of placard-wielding "tree huggers" or "Bush-haters" on campus.  
 
Your observation that the different faculties have an asymmetrical relationship with each other in terms of "visiting" is an extremely astute and interesting one. Of course the chief barrier is the "quantophobia" of a large segment of the population. "Verbophobes" and "ideophobes" don't mind visiting an English or history class (though will often contribute little), but quantophobes will take great pains to avoid anything with numbers. Pity. On the other hand, my sense is that whatever "conservative" views might exist in the halls of the physical disciplines may well reflect a lack of sustained or critical thought or consideration about policy, rather than an abundance of it.  
 
Personally, I find much of the rhetoric from liberal or conservative sources on campus mere polemics, and little of it constituting real articulate debate that fixes anything. Once again, a pity.  
 
Certainly one of the reasons why many liberals tend to express themselves quite vocally stems from the perception of a power imbalance. And when you consider the ease with which Republicans can raise substantial campaign funds in a finger snap, that perception may not be far off the mark. Of course, that perception may well be inaccurate, but whatever the source, the perception exists and energizes that faction in the manner that it does.  
 
I have to say, though, that I am totally mystified at your contempt for what you describe as "liberalism". Every bit as mystified by the contempt many express for "conservatism". I keep looking but all I see is stupid government and stupid politicians, rather than any tendency for that stupidity to be on any side of the coin. I have little patience for any political agenda which is unrealistic, which is ethnocentric and narcissistic, which does not place a premium or priority on achieving justice and compassion, and which is narrow-minded in its vision. At the same time, a viable solution to a problem IS a viable solution, no matter what direction it comes from. Indeed, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a suggestion the other day from the Conservative candidate for Canadian PM which I had been promoting for several years now. I have to confess to being a litle disappointed that it came from him andnot the individual I would have preferred it come from, but like I say, a good idea is a good idea.

 
Replies:
Michael Tousek Oh man, we're getting into some rea... -- 6/14/2004 7:06 PM