Finally a reason to be proud you're a an atheist lefty.
November 26, 2001 10:35 PM   Subscribe

Finally a reason to be proud you're a an atheist lefty. There perhaps, isn't a publication more vapid than Focus on the Family's hip christian, college age marketed offshoot "Boundless". In this treasure, the author trashes the intellectual individualism his conservative ideology doesn't afford him. Don't miss the wonderful blurb on the left sidebar which reads: ROTC recruiters never tire of citing the army's desperate need for the kinds of bright minds and "independent thinkers" needed in today's mobile, high-tech military; and yet many of the most promising candidates remain all but off limits to them. I'm glad I'm from another planet. Obviously.
posted by crasspastor (79 comments total)

 
"A lot of people at Columbia probably think the U.S. deserved the World Trade Center attacks."

I know everyone is entitled to their opinions, butt...

well, maybe not everyone.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:45 PM on November 26, 2001


Why do you think one needs to be an "atheist lefty" to think Focus on the Family is a slimy organization? Or that it's best to be one when reading about the organization or whatever. What does atheism have to do with the posted article at all? Jerks are jerks, whether they wear religious masks or not.
posted by raysmj at 10:59 PM on November 26, 2001


Vapid, indeed.
posted by verdezza at 11:03 PM on November 26, 2001


Jerks are jerks, whether they wear religious masks or not. But whether it's a jerk saying so or, ... um, me, campuses that accept federal funding ought to allow ROTC programs to operate. If they're unpopular with students then nobody will join.
posted by coelecanth at 11:27 PM on November 26, 2001


Why do you think one needs to be an "atheist lefty" to think Focus on the Family is a slimy organization?

I'll run it through raysmj's professional editorial service next time. Apologies for the faux pas.

I'm an atheist and equally, politically progressive. I posted this link from my personal perspective and colored it so.

Focus on the Family is a leading Christian thought maker. Therefore, it is to be expected that the viewpoints expressed are that of serious Christian Americans. I'm an atheist.

Most Christians are conservative. I'm progressive. After reading this article I thought about creating a snarky MeFi headline.

I did.
posted by crasspastor at 11:38 PM on November 26, 2001


Focus on the Family is a leading Christian thought maker. Therefore, it is to be expected that the viewpoints expressed are that of serious Christian Americans.

There are a lotta lotta liberal Christian churches. Of course, the conservative Christian churches often don't consider them Christian.
posted by kindall at 11:40 PM on November 26, 2001


I don't see what the big deal is. It's not like students at Ivy League schools aren't aware of the possibility of a military career. But if they wanted one, they would probably have gone to a military academy instead, or will join when they're done.

Then again, I guess it's yet another source of money for those impoverished students who have grades just good enough to get them into a great school, but not good enough to get financial aid...?
posted by bingo at 11:48 PM on November 26, 2001


someone needs to make a fresh and in-your-face lefty e-zine. anyone know of any?
posted by manero at 11:49 PM on November 26, 2001


Based upon a couple of events I've attended in the past 3 months, I can say that there are certainly many people at Columbia who believe that the US deserved the World Trade Center attacks ... the "chickens come home to roost" theory is a commonplace on the hard left. Which is not to say that they don't regret the deaths or denounce the violence ... but they still regard the violence as earned by US policy in the Middle East, and the deliberate targetting of civilians not more than symetrical with the alleged outrages of Israel in the West Bank and Gaza and the US in embargoing Iraq since 1991.

And I think that it shouldn't be hard for thoughtful people of any persuasion to worry that the officer corps of our military has essentially barely any Ivy Leaguers and hardly more from the other 30 or 40 elite colleges and universities in the country. It can't be good for the country for the leadership class of business and politics to be so detached from the leadership class of warfare, and vice versa.

Aside from the arts business, pretty much every trade or business that one could find in the US heavily discriminates against out gays and lesbians ... I am not persuaded that the military is a substantially worse offender, particularly taking into account the manner in which the military provides significant advancement opportunities for people of color and for people lacking the advantage of growing up in stable communities and good schools.

What will ultimately make gays welcome in the military is the reintroduction to the military of soldiers drawn from the educational and economic elite, who are likely to inculcate their fellow troopers with their more liberal views and their greater familiarity with the innocuous impact of gays and lesbians in the community.
posted by MattD at 11:52 PM on November 26, 2001


coelecanth: Religion has nothing to do with that issue, though, unless you want to get into the whole render-unto-Caesar thing. This has otherwise been a favorite topic of the Wall Street Journal editorial page. In any case, given the bitter tone of the article and other magazine contents, I have a hard time believing that the reporting is anywhere close to fair and accurate. How much funding, and for what, does Columbia receive from the federal government anyway, and for what? Methinks MattD's response to the matter made a whole lot more sense. Only one caveat there: Y'know, two of the last three presidents were Ivy League grads, and another earned his law degree at an Ivy League school (after graduating from Georgetown, another elite college). What did these three do about gays in the military, exactly?
posted by raysmj at 12:04 AM on November 27, 2001


We have become so accustomed to hearing about the loony political views common at America’s elite universities...

I've seen this kind of rabid anti-intellectualism crop up a lot, even here on MeFi, which is pretty clearly an intellectual playground, especially in the Chomsky threads.

There are plenty of right-wing intellectuals, but for some reason many (not all) conservatives equate intellectuals with liberals and everything they hate. Does anybody have a good theory or essay on why this is? What is it about intellectuals that brings out such bitter bile in conservatives?
posted by signal at 12:11 AM on November 27, 2001


Yes, actually, I was trying to agree that religion didn't seem to have much to do with the issue of ROTC. And I've been seeing the ROTC thing crop up in conservative publications a lot lately; it's definitely one of the current Talking Points.

But the question of ROTC is a serious one for more than just campus activists and conservative mouthpieces. In the past, in really big situations like WWII, pre-existing ROTC programs have contributed large numbers of officers quickly. In today's environment the "cultural exchange" aspects may be even more important; people are still figuring out the effects of an all-volunteer professional military.
posted by coelecanth at 12:27 AM on November 27, 2001


I'm reminded too much of English class. The article, the link, the discussion. Pain.

There is no answer.

Consider. What if one said, "Live and let live?"

What is the use of "independent" thinking?

What would your ideal society be? What is happiness?
posted by firestorm at 12:30 AM on November 27, 2001


hrm...

If feminists, gay-rights activists and the ACLU take their "anti-discrimination" campaign to its absurd conclusion, pretty soon the Selective Service would be registering even man-hating, war-opposing lesbians.

women-hating, war-opposing gays make great solderers, though, right?

Yeah, sure... The reason to end sexism in the SS is because it's unfair to men.
posted by delmoi at 12:37 AM on November 27, 2001


Anyway, it's better then their "I got my heathen girlfriend pregnant, what should I do?" artical.
Is it a mefi faux paus (sp?) to post two messages in series?
posted by delmoi at 12:54 AM on November 27, 2001


Crasspastor, I'm not following you. The article is a lament that the military is denied an avenue of access to bright independent thinkers. That is pretty far from a universal put down on the student body of those schools.

Also, why do you think non-religious, progressive thinkers don't value the military? The military is a tool, a necessary and powerful one. Ignore it, disengage yourself from it, and you allow others to define it's nature and use, to everyone's peril. Which part of that makes you proud?
posted by NortonDC at 3:05 AM on November 27, 2001


Why do you think one needs to be an "atheist lefty" to think Focus on the Family is a slimy organization?

Have you read any of crasspastors comments before? One hot button: religion.
posted by skallas at 3:10 AM on November 27, 2001


From the article posted by delmoi:
"You and your wife will probably find yourselves making your closest friends among other young married couples."

This is exactly why, as young parents four years ago (heck, as young parents now), my wife and I had no luck befriending "other young married couples."

I apologize for going so off topic, but why is it that conservative Christians have the market cornered on teenage marriage? Aren't wild hipsters supposed to dive into life-altering situations without considering the consequences?

Hey, just to get back to topic, couldn't the same be said for joining the military?
posted by Eamon at 4:02 AM on November 27, 2001


Also, why do you think non-religious, progressive thinkers don't value the military?
Is that a rhetorical question?
posted by asok at 4:23 AM on November 27, 2001


It can't be good for the country for the leadership class of business and politics to be so detached from the leadership class of warfare, and vice versa.

On the other hand, when they're so attached, you have a junta. More seriously, though, the British armed forces have always recruited from a similar pool as the political hierarchy, but in a manner that enforces such a detachment: instead of Eton and Oxford, it's Eton and Sandhurst, or sometimes Eton, Oxford, then Sandhurst. It remains a vocation more than a career choice, in spite of the considerable carrots dangled in front of students, and I can't see that changing any time soon. (Oxford has its OTC, of course, with little hassle from student politics.)


posted by holgate at 4:48 AM on November 27, 2001


asok--Absolutely not.
posted by NortonDC at 5:04 AM on November 27, 2001


Most Christians are conservative.

In the Focus on the Family sense? I think not. What are you basing this assumption on, crasspastor?
posted by MrBaliHai at 5:17 AM on November 27, 2001


Well, as someone who went to an Ivy League school with ROTC, served as an infantry officer with the 82nd Airborne, and is currently attending grad school at Columbia, I feel uniquely qualified to post here.

I have always maintained the need for an enlightened and non-career oriented officer corps on the front lines. That is where you can directly affect the application of military power, and prevent unnecessary abuses. The US military has a strong tradition ethical leadership, and that is only reinforced by civilian soldiers who have no fear of not being promoted. I was all to willing to tell my CO the truth, and I certainly would never have obeyed an unlawful order.

The ultra-lefties (I don't label these people progressives, certainly not in the Teddy Roosevelt sense) don't see that they can best affect organizations from the inside, by disciplined and thoughtful moral leadership. Their knee-jerk protestations dumb down the debate. My fellow soldiers lived to serve their country. They were willing to sacrifice their life for the rest of us, no matter what their personal politics. Universities and student bodies who reject this dedication because of politics are morally weak. In my opinion, if you really care about something, take a personal risk and put your life where your mouth is.
posted by mtstover at 5:57 AM on November 27, 2001


Also, why do you think non-religious, progressive thinkers don't value the military?

Because non-religious progressives are less likely to lay down their lives for silly abstractions like God and Country. They are also less likely to be inclined to relieve others of their lives, just because the government says it's the right thing to do at a given moment. In other words, at the risk of sounding biased, progressives tend toward pacifism, because they are smart enough to know that all governments lie, God isn't on anyone's side, and no single group of people holds a monopoly on the truth.
posted by Optamystic at 6:01 AM on November 27, 2001


Are progressives, in your vision of them Optamystic, smart enough to know that military defense is one of the few duties explicitly assigned to governments?
posted by NortonDC at 6:07 AM on November 27, 2001


aren't the military and business (and the government) connected quite intimately, i.e. in terms of contracts with defense companies and such? sure, there's a huge class gulf between the people on the front lines and those making the decisions to send those people there, but i don't understand why that's surprising—if anything, the current power structure, which sends those who were marketed into thinking that the army would be a really cool way to pay for college (did you know that the us military is mtv's #1 advertiser?), is designed so that gulfs like that exist. it's absolutely the most vile form of classism, the type that's perpetuated by gentleman's cs, outrageous tuitions for college board prep classes, and connections through daddy. merely working hard—and if you're ROTC, you're definitely going to work hard—doesn't necessarily mean you'll get out alive to reap the benefits of your military-financed education.
posted by maura at 6:12 AM on November 27, 2001


Wait, let me make sure I'm tracking with you, maura: are you saying the military causes colleges and universities to charge high prices for tuition? And are you claiming that officers (Reserve Officer Training Corps, ROTC) are the losers in a class struggle?
posted by NortonDC at 6:20 AM on November 27, 2001


No one's disputing that the citizenry relies on the military for defense. I'm just saying that the type of individual who is likely to blindly follow orders to kill and/or die is more likely to be someone who posesses a "My country, right or wrong" mindset. This pretty much rules out most progressives.

Look on the bright side. There is very little chance that we will ever run out of young people willing to kill and die for the above-mentioned abstractions. It's just doubtful that many of them voted for Nader.
posted by Optamystic at 6:24 AM on November 27, 2001


Optamystic: I find it hard to label your moral relativism as progressive. Do you really think nothing is worth fighting for?

People "kill and/or die" for many reasons. One of them is a sense of duty and sacrifice, which you apparently find abhorrent. And when it gets down to the thick of it where the action happens, they do it for their friends.

(Oh, and I did vote for Nader.)
posted by mtstover at 6:32 AM on November 27, 2001


NortonDC: I don't want to answer for maura, but I think she's pointing out the distinction between the ROTC route to a commission and the more traditional methods of patronage and family ties that still permeate the officer corps.
posted by holgate at 6:35 AM on November 27, 2001


I have two friends who are both Lieutenants in the Navy. One went ROTC (at Harvard, no less) while the other attended the Naval Academy. Rather than be slaves to student loans for decades, they chose to serve their country for five-odd years.

The two now both owe and additional three years after having received their masters degrees at the Naval Post Graduate School. Evidence would show that they are both very bright individuals, but speaking on a personal level, they are also open-minded and free thinking.

Still, they follow orders. Future orders could command them to launch deadly weapons and/or send people to die. The reason they concede their will to this military machine is the simple fact that if they do not, the machine breaks down. Without discipline, our military is ineffectual at best, a danger to our personal safety at worst.

And FWIW, I don't know how Harvard voted, but the Academy guy went Libertarian. Thus, my husband's third party vote cancelled out my own for Nader.
posted by brigita at 6:44 AM on November 27, 2001


There are plenty of right-wing intellectuals, but for some reason many (not all) conservatives equate intellectuals with liberals and everything they hate. Does anybody have a good theory or essay on why this is? What is it about intellectuals that brings out such bitter bile in conservatives?

Having grown up in and around conservative Missouri, I can probably provide some sort of answer to that.

You've got it backwards, though. To a conservative, the average liberal on the street is the "anti-intellectual". Driven more by feelings than rational thought, the college protestor becomes our perceived icon of liberalism: young, naive, emotional, and capable of forming strong opinions without bothering to really understand the issues or the world generally.

What you're picking up, then, is not a bias against intellectualism but a bias against academia. Liberal college professors, especially ivy league college professors, are portrayed as college protestors who were never forced to grow up. Sheltered by their universities from the real world and driven by over-inflated ego's, these professors use their positions of authority to indoctrinate impressionable youths with their extreme worldview and with a social message that rejects traditional family values. Couple that with the natural conservative tendency to eschew academic theory for practical experience, and is it any wonder that the average conservative family dislikes college professors, especially ivy league professors?

I'm not saying that any of that is actually true. Like most stereotypes, there's a small element of truth and a very large element of falsity. No doubt liberals have many similarly ill-informed stereotypes about conservatives. My point is simply to answer your question about why conservatives dislike academia, and why they tend to come across to liberals as anti-intellectual.
posted by gd779 at 6:47 AM on November 27, 2001


someone needs to make a fresh and in-your-face lefty e-zine. anyone know of any?

LOL
posted by glenwood at 7:15 AM on November 27, 2001


skallas: Sure, living up (or down) to one's expectations automatically disallows anyone from engaging in debate with or questioning the comments of that person. Does he have a special Metafilter armband, a pass? I don't think so, (nor am I attacking him personally here).
posted by raysmj at 7:17 AM on November 27, 2001


Optamystic: ... non-religious progressives are less likely to lay down their lives for silly abstractions like God and Country. They are also less likely to be inclined to relieve others of their lives, just because the government says it's the right thing to do at a given moment. ...

Dangerous, ahistorical nonsense.

The biggest, "silliest," most lethal abstraction of the previous century -- Communism -- was explicitly 100% atheistic. Billions of people were caught up in it, millions died, and in retrospect, it was all for nothing. A total waste.

Granted that comfortable, middle-class Western progressives might be less likely to kill/die for silly abstractions, but make no mistake about it, their intellectual bellwethers launched the greatest meat grinder in history, all in service of that wonderful abstraction, The Revolution.
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 7:49 AM on November 27, 2001


(thanks, nick, for clarifying.)
posted by maura at 8:07 AM on November 27, 2001


By the way, Optamystic, not all abstractions are "silly." Progressive hero Voltaire proclaimed worth dying for, not just his own right to speak freely, but yours, as well. Was he wrong? Was he silly? Are only concretes worth fighting for?
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 8:14 AM on November 27, 2001


raysmj: I see my comment as constructive criticism, you may see it as you like. I think the poster has an especially bad case of "seeing what he wants" to promote his ideology. I also think its important to point that out especially when everyone is boggled by the non-existant religious connotations in the article.

Showing someone's bias or prejudice is not a personal attack.
posted by skallas at 8:28 AM on November 27, 2001


The reason they concede their will to this military machine is the simple fact that if they do not, the machine breaks down. Without discipline, our military is ineffectual at best, a danger to our personal safety at worst.


You opened that post with suggesting that loans, money, etc were the main reasons your friends went on to join the military, but somehow its suddenly about duty and responsibility? Would they have gone if there wasn't financial assistance? Would they command if treason was not illegal? Something tells me no on both counts.
posted by skallas at 8:35 AM on November 27, 2001


Hieronymous Coward: I disapprove of what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to misattribute this quote to Voltaire.
posted by raysmj at 8:37 AM on November 27, 2001


Optamystic--Good to know that you're perfectly comfortable with the morality of depending on others fighting and dying for your protection when you're unwilling to do the same for them. Good show.
posted by NortonDC at 8:39 AM on November 27, 2001


(jumping into a conversation had some comments back:)

MattD:

Based upon a couple of events I've attended in the past 3 months, I can say that there are certainly many people at Columbia who believe that the US deserved the World Trade Center attacks ... the "chickens come home to roost" theory is a commonplace on the hard left. Which is not to say that they don't regret the deaths or denounce the violence ... but they still regard the violence as earned by US policy in the Middle East,

i consider myself a liberal, but i am repulsed by arguments that the US in any way deserved or otherwise "had coming" the attacks on the WTC. US foreign policy may have opened ourselves to risks such as the possibility of something like the WTC tragedy -- certainly we can't deny that our foreign policy does irk many in the world, and in particular our nemesis bin laden -- but we "deserved" nothing.

this attitude purportedly held by some on the "hard left" is rather disgusting, frankly (i know you don't necessarily buy it MattD); it reminds me of people who argue that women ask for rape when they wear tight pants.
posted by moz at 8:48 AM on November 27, 2001


Would they have gone if there wasn't financial assistance? Would they command if treason was not illegal? Something tells me no on both counts.

Financial incentives do not automatically negate a person's integrity. If that were the case, you'd have a lot more officer candidates trying to move to Canada after graduation. One could argue that these people don't jump ship since they could be thrown in jail, but then I think someone got into Harvard (UMass, whatever) is cognizant of the terms of their scholarship.

You may know people who have or are serving time in the military who regret their decision to trade years of their young lives for an education, but the men I know do not. While life in the Navy is not easy by any stretch—especially now—these guys excel at and are rightfully proud of what they do.

Yes, they got into the military for the $$, but they stay because of their respect for the institution. Contrary to popular belief, ROTC and the like do not brainwash college students into goose-stepping automatons. Speaking only for one Naval officer, my husband's world-view was broadened and his political leanings nudged left as a result of his Academy experience. But then of course you can take me with a grain of salt as I'm more than a little biased.
posted by brigita at 9:06 AM on November 27, 2001


There was a really good segment on NPR's Marketplace about the ROTC/College Campuses issue a few weeks back, one that made me reconsider my position. The segment was entitled "Best and Brightest", and you can listen to it via the RealAudio link over here.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 9:09 AM on November 27, 2001


I always thought attacking fundies was a good hobby for "atheist lefties" and libertarians alike.
posted by dagnyscott at 9:22 AM on November 27, 2001


Two things:

What is it about intellectuals that brings out such bitter bile in conservatives
Provoking the thought process does that. They prefer the already digested bullshit pablum of Rush Limbaugh. My observation only.

On the ROTC and the Ivy League:
Wisconsin Sen. Robert La Follette during World War I said, "wealth has never yet sacrificed itself on the altar of patriotism." Especially when your daddy can get you in the Texas Air Guard...
posted by nofundy at 9:28 AM on November 27, 2001


Just to cite the original post -- I find the idea of being "proud" to be an atheist just terrible. It may describe my beliefs, but so what? People who are "proud" of their self-descriptions are ... well ... likely to waste a lot of time savoring the excesses of their "enemies."

If you're a leftist, get to work. Do something. Go teach English to an immigrant; go lick stamps for your local ACLU office. By contrast, posting snarky diatribes about caricatures of your enemies is not doing something.
posted by argybarg at 9:44 AM on November 27, 2001


The ultra-lefties (I don't label these people progressives, certainly not in the Teddy Roosevelt sense) don't see that they can best affect organizations from the inside, by disciplined and thoughtful moral leadership. Their knee-jerk protestations dumb down the debate.

so if we want to demilitarize our schools, we should join the military? please explain further as to why I shouldn't "protest."
posted by mcsweetie at 9:47 AM on November 27, 2001


mcsweetie--I'm not exactly clear on what you mean by "demilitarize our schools," but the path to having that freedom, whatever it is, seems pretty clear: follow the trail blazed by Bob Jones University of total financial independence. All government influence over colleges stems from the schools' inability to wean themselves from the government teat. Bob Jones University, for all it's, uh, unique charm (gag), is completely free of governmental influence.

There's the way to total academic freedom. Run along. Though I still don't understand what you mean by "demilitarize our schools."
posted by NortonDC at 10:15 AM on November 27, 2001


Adding to the discussion about why conservatives seemingly hate intellectuals: it may stem from the conservative dislike and skepticism towards Secular Humanism, the Enlightenment, and everything that follows from those, including liberal intellectualism and academia. Some conservatives claim that Enlightenment rationalism elevates Man over God, diminishing the place of the divine in our thinking and feeling. Enlightenment rationalism has long been one of the toughest foes of religion, and so anything associated with it probably pisses them off.
posted by mariko at 10:44 AM on November 27, 2001


Go teach English to an immigrant

Interesting. I do.

go lick stamps for your local ACLU office

Born without a tongue Clark.


And who or what was so caricaturized about my snarky "diatribe"? The article was linked to. I didn't rewrite it.

This overall inability for some to get their head around what I meant by invoking a "proud atheist lefty" spin on the link is very much my fault. I suppose I can attribute that to spending too much time reading the zine before I posted, conflating every article I read, subconsciously into the same. Still, it is a zine with a Christian readership. Were this an editorial in the Seattle Times I probably wouldn't have phrased it such.
posted by crasspastor at 10:52 AM on November 27, 2001


crasspastor:

It wasn't your diatribe, necessarily, that I objected to. The bit where we intelligent atheists assure each other that our "opponents" hate us because they have tiny brains and, let's see here, "prefer the already digested bullshit pablum" etc. -- it's all too god-damned comfortable.

Sure I understand something like a sense of pride for being able to get over some seemingly low cognitive hurdles. More often, though, I've sometimes found myself feeling a sense of relief. When I read any of the publishings of the far, far Christian right I feel great relief that I don't have to live within that scary locked box.

But why bother? There are all kinds of areas of overlap between left and right where some potentially rich debates can be found -- where the substantial issues of public policy are being worked out. Why bother anywhere else?
posted by argybarg at 11:09 AM on November 27, 2001


mariko: "Secular humanism" is a term that Christian conservatives undoubtedly made up (search for the term). The highly peculiar and disturbing Francis Schaeffer, a man who once courted trouble for talking about existentialist philosophy at a religious college, is believed to have coined it, but I cannot find any specific citation.
posted by raysmj at 11:09 AM on November 27, 2001


The American Humanist Association defines it as "an outgrowth of 18th century enlightenment rationalism and 19th century freethought. Many secular groups, such as the Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism and the American Rationalist Federation, and many otherwise unaffiliated academic philosophers and scientists, advocate this philosophy." There are various off shoots of humanism and I have always understood secular humanism to be humanism of a non-religious kind.
posted by mariko at 11:29 AM on November 27, 2001


and yes, Francis Schaeffer is a bit disturbing.
posted by mariko at 11:30 AM on November 27, 2001


Regarding overlap between left and right: from The Metaverse, an amusing essay asks Christian right, progressive left: Birds of a feather?
posted by Carol Anne at 11:37 AM on November 27, 2001


mtstover -- class of '88 :)

It amazes me that people who have never been in the military have such strong opinions about the people who have been; that we're all neo-Nazi, conservative, Republican, narrow-minded blah, blah, blah.. Everyone knows the list. Such the close-minded attitude.

Here I am, a veteran and a then atheist-liberal (now Buddhist) who has never voted Republican, and I have no conflict with my choices. Just because I'm not eager to re-enter the military after serving my time does not mean I think I was misguided. The time I served, what I saw and how it impacted me, has helped my beliefs gain perspective and depth. I am no parrot; I would counter that some of the knee-jerk liberals who characterize people so broadly are.

In the 80's, ROTC enabled one to be middle class and attend an Ivy League school. All of us were on full-tuition scholarships. The scholarship rules have changed considerably and the interest in ROTC at the schools has waned. It's a natural trade-off and very pragmatic. One can only make so many obligations during school and still manage to graduate.

I bristle at the religious connection with military duty from these kinds of groups (Focus on Family, etc.) because that wasn't a motivator for me, or really for any of my friends. There are Christian conservatives in the military like everywhere else. They come out of the woodwork when there's a war on. But there are plenty of atheist liberals in the military too. They're just a lot quieter. But I bristle MORE at the judgemental souls that can impute others intelligence from their beliefs, stands on issues, or career choices. That goes for the far-Righties or far-Lefties.

Both sides of supercilious give me very bad Buddhist thoughts.
posted by dness2 at 12:02 PM on November 27, 2001


Raysmj: Hah hah! Thank you. I learned something today. Actually, I'm glad Voltaire didn't say that: personally, I always found that remark rather histrionic. From now on I will quote instead, "What a fuss over an omelet."
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 12:39 PM on November 27, 2001


All government influence over colleges stems from the schools' inability to wean themselves from the government teat.

the reason why colleges are so reliant on government funding is because they have to provide affordable services so that anyone who wishes to be educated at the college level has a reasonable chance of doing so. To say the blame for this lies solely on the schools themselves is to ignore the many many issues remaining to be resolved first.

as far as demilitarizing schools, in the context of this article think Columbia vs. Princeton. but the specific issue itself is pretty irrelevant now.
posted by mcsweetie at 12:56 PM on November 27, 2001


the reason why colleges are so reliant on government funding is because they have to provide affordable services so that anyone who wishes to be educated at the college level has a reasonable chance of doing so.

No, they don't have to. They choose that path and then, if your comments are representative, bitch about the fact the financial help they avail themselves of carries conditions. I really can't work up any sympathy for that combination.

To say the blame for this lies solely on the schools themselves is to ignore the many many issues remaining to be resolved first.

Did Bob Jones (spit!) have to resolve the other issues first? No.

1) as far as demilitarizing schools, in the context of this article think Columbia vs. Princeton. but the specific issue itself is pretty irrelevant now.

2) so if we want to demilitarize our schools, we should join the military? please explain further as to why I shouldn't "protest."

Is 1 a recognition that 2 was pointless?

As for my own experiences, for two years I attended one of only two schools in the nation with both a uniformed corps of cadets and a civilian population, but I earned my degree from a small liberal arts college named for a woman and attended by a population that was about three quarters female with zero ROTC visibility. At each school their level of "militarization" had exactly the same effect on my academic education, dorm experience, and personal life, namely none.

I still don't know what changes in a random student's life you would expect eliminating an ROTC program would precipitate.
posted by NortonDC at 1:30 PM on November 27, 2001


No, they don't have to. They choose that path and then, if your comments are representative, bitch about the fact the financial help they avail themselves of carries conditions. I really can't work up any sympathy for that combination.

thats right, they choose to in order to make for a more educated and skilled populace. also, where do you pull "bitching" from my comments? I'm not complaining at all, and I don't Columbia was either. they were simply trying to protect their high academic standards, which is the reason why someone would want to go to a school such as that in the first place.

if anyone was bitching, it was colonel dooley. I can guarantee there isn't a court in america that wouldn't have backed him up, and if he chose not to take advantage of that then he really has no room to complain.

Did Bob Jones (spit!) have to resolve the other issues first? No.

and does Bob Jones provide a curriculum for the common person wanting to better themself or their career? no, it is (very much so) a christian college geard towards ministers, and I would step out and speculate that it's faculty no doubt recieves generous sponsorship from various churchs and organizations and that the students do as well.

Is 1 a recognition that 2 was pointless?

with #2, I was trying to point out the fallacy of your changing-from-the-inside argument. and #1 was a recognition that the point itself is not what I wanted to discuss, but rather the fallacy presented in #2.
posted by mcsweetie at 1:57 PM on November 27, 2001


raysmj and mariko, you both describe Francis Schaeffer as "disturbing," but you don't say why you think so. I think he's a really interesting figure, and a much-needed breath of fresh air among fundamentalist Christians, challenging them to think deeply about matters outside of their own familiar, all-too-comfortable sphere, and to seriously question what they believe. Could you please elaborate on your statement? I'm just curious.

This is a great thread, by the way, everybody -- thoughtful, penetrating, etc. Kudos!
posted by verdezza at 2:54 PM on November 27, 2001


they choose to in order to make for a more educated and skilled populace.

A laudable goal for an institution to pursue, but not one of the enumerated government responsibilities laid out in the US's defining documents. One responsibility that is explicitly named is "providing for the common defense," and I don't find it improper for the government to make accomodations for that responsibility a condition of accepting it's help in areas that are beyond the basics it is required to perform.

where do you pull "bitching" from my comments?

From the tone of your second post. It read as snippy, defensive, and it seemed to rely on emotion ahead of reason, such as when it treated complaints against knee-jerk protests as a command to to stop any protest.

with #2, I was trying to point out the fallacy of your changing-from-the-inside argument.

No, you weren't. You were not replying to anything I wrote there.
posted by NortonDC at 5:19 PM on November 27, 2001


Crasspastor--These two questions were addressed to you:
Also, why do you think non-religious, progressive thinkers don't value the military? The military is a tool, a necessary and powerful one. Ignore it, disengage yourself from it, and you allow others to define it's nature and use, to everyone's peril. Which part of that makes you proud?
posted by NortonDC at 5:28 PM on November 27, 2001


A laudable goal for an institution to pursue, but not one of the enumerated government responsibilities laid out in the US's defining documents.

I didn't know the US's defining documents set the guidelines for which a college must act. what documents are you referring to, anyhow? and if enriching the populace is indeed a laudable goal, shouldn't it be pursued regardless of the founding father's thumbs-up?

From the tone of your second post. It read as snippy, defensive, and it seemed to rely on emotion ahead of reason, such as when it treated complaints against knee-jerk protests as a command to to stop any protest.

fair enough, I guess.

No, you weren't. You were not replying to anything I wrote there.

now who's being snippy and defensive!
posted by mcsweetie at 5:51 PM on November 27, 2001


I didn't know the US's defining documents set the guidelines for which a college must act. what documents are you referring to, anyhow?

They don't. That's the point. In establishing government priorities, mandated responsibilities come ahead of the "merely" laudable. So making government assistance in an area not mandated contingent upon advancing a mandated responsibility is sound.

and if enriching the populace is indeed a laudable goal, shouldn't it be pursued regardless of the founding father's thumbs-up?

Yup, but that doesn't make it a higher federal government priority than those mandated responsibilities.

now who's being snippy and defensive!

I encourage you to restrict your characterizations and challenges to what is written instead of the writer. I try to, and other MeFi'ers have voiced support of the concept. (And yes, "Run along" is in dangerous territory by that standard.)
posted by NortonDC at 6:44 PM on November 27, 2001


So making government assistance in an area not mandated contingent upon advancing a mandated responsibility is sound.

I never said it wasn't. I suspect you think I'm arguing in favor of demilitarizing our schools, which I'm not.

Yup, but that doesn't make it a higher federal government priority than those mandated responsibilities.

I never said it did!

I encourage you to restrict your characterizations and challenges to what is written instead of the writer. I try to, and other MeFi'ers have voiced support of the concept.

I will if you will. maybe!

this little diatribe has spiralled far away from my original query and off into nothing land. I hereby bow out. adieu!
posted by mcsweetie at 9:18 PM on November 27, 2001


You posited that 1) it is not possible for colleges to educate without government help and 2) colleges should be able to "demilitarize." Taken together, these mean that you're saying the government has an obligation to fund schools that is on par with it's other explicitly assigned responsibilities, i.e. it's wrong to make to make school funding contingent upon military acces to schools.

So yes, what you said does mean that "making government assistance in an area not mandated contingent upon advancing a mandated responsibility" is wrong. I reject that. I say that the responsibilities explicilty assigned to government are higher responsibility
posted by NortonDC at 4:00 AM on November 28, 2001


all I was saying is that it doesn't make sense to tell people to try to change the way the military acts from the inside. I dunno how you got so side-tracked. I was just using the demilitarization issue from the article to make the point, I wasn't say if I was or was not in favor of it. but since you seem so eager to address those two issues I'll go ahead and share my thoughts on them.

1.) no, I don't really believe it is possible for colleges to provide education to everyone without government help, be it directly or indirectly via legislation and actions that would improve our economy. but as it stands a college cannot stay in business catering only to those that can afford it.

2.) I never said colleges should be able to "demilitarize." but I do think it's unfair to obligate people who can't afford to go to college with military service. I know that if I had to serve in the military to go to college, I most definitely would not have gone. but unless someone signs up for ROTC or something similar that has a service requirement, this isn't the case. if you are a reasonably intelligent young peson who genuinely can't afford to go to college, odds are you can get some financial aid. people than enroll in programs like the ROTC to get through college probably do so because they want to persue a military career, and thats fine. it's a legitamite career and a college should cater to it.

so if the ROTC wants to operate on a campus, I don't really care and I don't think it's wrong so long as it doesn't disrupt everyone else's curriculum, but I do think Columbia should be able to turn the ROTC away, either to protect their high academic standards or to not be associated with an organization that practices discrimination.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:09 AM on November 28, 2001


verdezza: I find Schaeffer disturbing because I find his readings of certain philosophers such as Kierkegaard and Aquinas rather questionable. Also, he has a tendency to make broad generalizations without backing them up and his take on existentialism is very superficial. It's unfortunate that he is considered such a "fresh" and innovative Christian thinker because so many of his ideas seem to be the recylced and diluted ideas of others. The positive side is that he makes complex ideas more palatable (especially for Christians), but I still think people would be better off reading the primary sources themselves.
posted by mariko at 10:40 AM on November 28, 2001


all I was saying is that it doesn't make sense to tell people to try to change the way the military acts from the inside.

Okay, and all I said was that I never wrote anything on that topic.

1.) no, I don't really believe it is possible for colleges to provide education to everyone without government help, be it directly or indirectly via legislation and actions that would improve our economy.

Colleges don't provide education to everyone. Nor should they. Nor can they, with or without government help.

but as it stands a college cannot stay in business catering only to those that can afford it.

That statement is nonsense.

2.) I never said colleges should be able to "demilitarize." but I do think it's unfair to obligate people who can't afford to go to college with military service.

Nobody does.

I know that if I had to serve in the military to go to college, I most definitely would not have gone.

Wow, this quote and the one above are back to back in your post. Astounding.
posted by NortonDC at 5:55 PM on November 28, 2001


Okay, and all I said was that I never wrote anything on that topic.

yeah you did. remember?

doodeleedoo! doodeleedoo! doodeleedo!

"The ultra-lefties (I don't label these people progressives, certainly not in the Teddy Roosevelt sense) don't see that they can best affect organizations from the inside"

Colleges don't provide education to everyone. Nor should they. Nor can they, with or without government help.

no, but the should cater to those that want it.

That statement is nonsense.

it's simple supply-and-demand economics. ample supply + limited demand = colleges out of business. I don't know what else to tell you.

Nobody does.

I know, and I said that in my post before this one.

Wow, this quote and the one above are back to back in your post. Astounding.

uh...thanks?
posted by mcsweetie at 6:50 PM on November 28, 2001


Okay, and all I said was that I never wrote anything on that topic.

yeah you did. remember?

doodeleedoo! doodeleedoo! doodeleedo!

"The ultra-lefties (I don't label these people progressives, certainly not in the Teddy Roosevelt sense) don't see that they can best affect organizations from the inside"



I'll be over here, waiting for you to get back from checking who wrote the comment you're quoting.

I eagerly await your return.
posted by NortonDC at 7:23 PM on November 28, 2001


oops
posted by mcsweetie at 5:17 PM on November 29, 2001


well, an easy mistake I'd suppose. I wasn't anticipating someone busting in on my query, and when you did I just assumed you were the original poster. I doubt anyone makes it a point to back check their responders. at any rate, now I know that rude people are unavoidable.
posted by mcsweetie at 5:46 PM on November 29, 2001


Hows that goal of judging people's writings instead of the people coming?
posted by NortonDC at 6:19 PM on November 29, 2001


what on earth is wrong with you, and what on earth do you have against me? I'm not the one making snide little remarks about your intelligence between the lines or sending crass little e-mails.

if you don't want to debate, then don't post. if you just want to bully me, use e-mail. if you just want the last word, earn it, or make your point without getting personal.

but whichever option you decide on, please at least try to use some tact. if not for my sake, then yours.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:05 PM on November 29, 2001


I have nothing against you. I have plenty against irrational posts.

As for "crass" e-mails, this is the entire contents of the sole message I e-mailed (apart from the link back to this thread): "We're all still breathlessly awaiting your latest enlightening revelation in the ROTC thread." Insincere? You bet. Crass? Hardly.

And I only e-mailed after you made a confrontational invitation explicitly requesting emails in another thread. So give the wounded act a rest. Lying is antithetical to tact, much like personal attacks.
posted by NortonDC at 6:00 PM on November 30, 2001


uh huh.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:25 PM on November 30, 2001


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