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The Academic Freedom Bill of Rights
March 24, 2005 11:00 AM   Subscribe

The Academic Freedom Bill of Rights is slowly making its way through the Florida Senate. This bill would give students the right to sue professors if they feel their beliefs are not being respected during a class.
posted by hex1848 (60 comments total)

 
Dude. That is messed up. What ever happened to the idea that you go to school to learn?
posted by josh at 11:07 AM on March 24, 2005


Students who believe their professor is singling them out for “public ridicule” – for instance, when professors use the Socratic method to force students to explain their theories in class – would also be given the right to sue.

“Some professors say, ‘Evolution is a fact. I don’t want to hear about Intelligent Design (a creationist theory), and if you don’t like it, there’s the door,’” Baxley said, citing one example when he thought a student should sue.

Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, warned of lawsuits from students enrolled in Holocaust history courses who believe the Holocaust never happened.


As a graduate of a Florida University this just utterly disgusts me
posted by hex1848 at 11:11 AM on March 24, 2005


The site I work for, CampusProgress.org, has more information on the "father" of the "academic freedom" movement, David Horowitz, as well as information about the general problems behind this legislation.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:12 AM on March 24, 2005


Just to quote an example of what this bill could legitimize, based on previous examples of Horowitz's "oppressed" students:
The Academic Freedom Abuse Center, housed on the Students for Academic Freedom website, invites students to report having their "rights abused" in class. But it only looks impressive until you start reading the actual claims. Some highlights: One student complains because her professor suggested men and women might see colors differently. Another is offended she was asked to watch an "immoral Seinfeld episode." A recent entry in the database was from an Ohio State student who claims he got a bad grade on an essay because his English professor "hates families and thinks it’s okay to be gay." (Another complaint comes from an Augustana College senior who is upset her school used "funds from Student activity fees to bring in the one-sided speaker David Horowitz.")
This bill could easily make any of these whiners capable of launching a lawsuit.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:15 AM on March 24, 2005


It's the new "feeling based" reality.

Doesn't Newt Gingrich teach somewhere ? Florida ? What a neat fantasy, but if not Newt then somebody equally vile : I'd love to find some especially noxious far right ideologue to take an extension class from so that I could sue some pretentious and hypocritical right wing ass for dissing my earnest religious belief that all of reality as we know it can be understood via the theory of the Time Cube and that - furthermore - the Gnostics really were right on the money, because the bad vibe creatures from the nth dimension rule via the GOP and toil 24/7 to make our earthly experience akin to, as Hieronymous Bosch likened it, a passage through an enormous, vile intestinal tract.

Argue with that Newtie baby. Or whomever. Argue with that. Just try. Make my day.
posted by troutfishing at 11:15 AM on March 24, 2005


I can't wait for the day when somebody at BYU uses something like this to sue a professor who refuses to respect the atheist tradition.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:16 AM on March 24, 2005


Somebody throw the GOP another anvil.
posted by troutfishing at 11:17 AM on March 24, 2005


Lysenko approves...we will legislate and adjudicate reality on our own ideological whims.
posted by MillMan at 11:17 AM on March 24, 2005


"Academic Freedom Bill of Rights"? The irony of the name is enough to make me sue.
posted by Tin Man at 11:19 AM on March 24, 2005


God damn, Americans are stupid and undereducated already, I don't think we need to be letting sheltered students decide what they're exposed to.
posted by borkingchikapa at 11:21 AM on March 24, 2005


Knowing the way things work, all we need are a few students to sue professors when the professor is promoting a standard "conservative" viewpoint (i.e. a gay student suing because the teacher is anti-gay, an non-Christian suing because of teaching Christianity), and we'll see a big-time backpedal from these same people.

I say this because I have seen examples of other things that have worked the same way.
posted by evilangela at 11:21 AM on March 24, 2005


I have never understood anti-intellectualism (perhaps because I consider myself an intellectual person) - shouldn't we be placing MORE trust in the smartest members of our society, rather than LESS? How on earth can someone claim that a student in a professor's class has as much authority to make claims based on that professor's area of expertise? Who decided that Intelligent Design was a good idea? Why are we ignoring SCIENCE?

This country is headed bass-ackwards. I am starting to think it's time to look into repatriating to Ireland or something.
posted by salad spork at 11:28 AM on March 24, 2005


I'd say this bill is one of the most ridiculous pieces of hand-hammered bullshit I've ever heard of, but I'm afraid of what someone might dredge up to top it.
posted by Cyrano at 11:28 AM on March 24, 2005


all we need are a few students to sue professors when the professor is promoting a standard "conservative" viewpoint

Here's hoping the likes of Glenn Reynolds is among the first to be hauled into court...
posted by kgasmart at 11:29 AM on March 24, 2005


shouldn't we be placing MORE trust in the smartest members of our society, rather than LESS?
Not really. They aren't any smarter than you, you just haven't read all the same books. That's not to say that we shouldn't place more trust in a known authority on some subject than we would in, say, me speaking on that same subject.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:31 AM on March 24, 2005


Here's what I want to know, as someone who's currently a graduate student and who will eventually become a professor: has America always been like this? Or is this a new development?

Is there a real rising tide of anti-intellectualism, or have things always been this way? Were they this way under Clinton? Bush? Reagan? Carter? Nixon? Johnson? Kennedy? Is this an abnormal situation that's getting worse, or is there a constant, low hum of anti-intellectual craziness? I'm suspecting the latter, bur worried it's the former. Is there any hard data, as it were, on this?

Are there any clearing-houses of information about anti-intellectualism? Are there professors out there who are fighting it actively, or in some way on the offensive? Has anyone here on MeFi seen any professors on the offensive during their own college years? What are intellectuals and professors--or just plain old thinking people--doing about stuff like this? (Writing articles for The New Yorker, for example, probably doesn't count.)

I'm genuinely curious. I can get horrified about this stuff with my fellow graduate students, but obviously that doesn't help it go away.
posted by josh at 11:31 AM on March 24, 2005


I miss the Constitution more and more every day
posted by ElvisJesus at 11:36 AM on March 24, 2005


We're supposed to "teach the controversies"--did somebody steal that one from Gerald Graff?--but, apparently, we're not supposed to indicate that a student's beliefs might be controversial? I don't mean "controversial" in a PC vs. anti-PC sort of way, but "controversial" in a "do you understand that there's a long tradition of legitimate challenges to your position" sort of way. For example, one of my Catholic colleagues had a student who argued that the protagonist of Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country wasn't Christian (he's an Anglican priest, as I recall) because he believed in justification by works instead of by faith alone. While it's nice that the student at least had some nodding acquaintance with theology--I'm ecstatic when my students have a nodding acquaintance with the Bible--her argument was, to say the least, "controversial" by the lights of my sense #2. (Never mind that it's a totally implausible interpretation of the text...) If I demand that my students actually know what they're talking about when they cite religious authority for their positions, do I get in trouble?
posted by thomas j wise at 11:37 AM on March 24, 2005


Clearly, thomas j wise. It might hurt their widdle feelings!

I wonder what the people at the New Criterion think of this.
posted by kenko at 11:42 AM on March 24, 2005


I thought the G.O.P. was all about being up in arms over frivolous lawsuits?

It hopefully will die a horrible, firey and well deserved death but if it doesn't I can't wait to see it used in ways they didn't anticipate. I would look forward to the following:
  1. A lawsuit against a religious studies professor for disrespecting views of evolution, the big bang theory and cosmology in general.
  2. A lawsuit against an economics professor for disparaging communism and socialism.
  3. A lawsuit against a law professor for not taking anarchy seriously.
  4. A lawsuit against a professor teaching medical students about the reproductive system and not even mentioning storks and cabbage patches.
posted by substrate at 11:43 AM on March 24, 2005


Good question, spork. But it's wrong! At least according to Dennis Baxley:

But Baxley compared the state’s universities to children, saying the legislature should not give them money without providing “guidance” to their behavior.


You see, academics are not competent to make important decisions affecting society. Far from it. Their intellectual yearnings are to be indulged to a point, but they must be kept in line by those who know better.

Dropping the snark for a moment, though, I don't think that we should necessarily trust the judgement of academics in matters extending beyond their specialties. We all, I am sure, have known professors who were a bit too detached to make effective contributions.

Incidentally, while I will admit that academia is left-leaning, I have never witnessed a student ridiculed for his or her beliefs in a class setting.
posted by Tullius at 11:46 AM on March 24, 2005


From sponsoring pro-terrorist symposia, to funding and defending pro-terrorist campus organizations, to teaching students that America is an imperialistic oppressor and the terrorists are no threat, America’s universities are playing a sinister and dangerous role in the War on the Terror.

David Horowitz and Ben Johnson
Campus Support for Terrorism
February 7, 2005

They have stood facts on their head and juggled black and white, encircled
and suppressed revolutionaries, stifled opinions differing from their own,
imposed a white terror, and felt very pleased with themselves. They have
puffed up the arrogance of the bourgeoisie and deflated the morale of the
proletariat. How poisonous!

Mao Tse Tung
Bombard the Headquarters
August 5,1966

more at:

http://billmon.org/archives/001752.html
posted by Relay at 11:59 AM on March 24, 2005


Tullius: I believe that's because the left traditionally espouses this crazy "respect" idea. But, you know, with talking, instead of suing.

Generally: This is happening in Ohio, also. But, I mean, god clearly hates Ohio anyway (see: terrible climate, unpleasant inhabitants, no attractions of any note), so why not undereducate its already flailing populace? Florida at least has nice beaches.
posted by scrim at 12:05 PM on March 24, 2005


IMHO, sacrificing the few instances where a student might be subjected to an overzealous professor smothering his or her semi-legitimate point of view is a small price to pay for blocking the fundamentalist tsunami from entering the last bastion of liberal intellectualism left in this great country.

PS
liberal =/= to someone who wants to remove Terri Schaivo's feeding tube.
posted by gagglezoomer at 12:06 PM on March 24, 2005


Yeah, as another grad student/future prof, this is kind of sickening. It's another indication of the 'consumer' slant on education, with teachers expected to market themselves and make their clients happy, rather than students entering the process expecting to learn from the teachers - not to blindly follow, but still to defer to the expert for a while. eventually the student will (or may) overtake the master, but any true master begins as a true student, soaking it up. It's a petty kind of individuality which can't acquiesce temporarily for the sake of deepening their own knowledge.

I am absolutely all for students disagreeing and arguing opposing viewpoints (I'm currently teaching a critical thinking class called "Question Authority") but the whole point is that differing viewpoints need to be intelligently represented, and students need to be capable of listening to, considering, and engaging with opinions contrary to their own.

It's possible that in certain areas, the field gets too sheltered, and some POVs are not well represented, but then the solution is to go into the field and represent your side (if you still stand by it after spending years getting to know the material), not to try to force experts to bend to your uneducated assumptions.

If you are respectful, honest (ie, not hiding certain data and misrepresenting things to 'win', but really trying to get at the truth) and rational in your arguments, you can be part of the academic community whether your opinion is in the majority or not. Unfortunately, some people are taken seriously when their arguments are weak and/or manipulative just because people like the conclusions, but the best response to these cases is to reveal the weaknesses in the arguments themselves, not to launch lawsuits. Reason stands up to reason, and poor arguments are defeated by intellectual examination, not financial threat.
posted by mdn at 12:15 PM on March 24, 2005


Not really. They aren't any smarter than you, you just haven't read all the same books.

agreed. all that fancy book learnin' isn't gonna help you in the ring!
posted by mcsweetie at 12:19 PM on March 24, 2005


And here i was, thinking that conservatives were against that whole political correctness stuff.
posted by Freen at 12:21 PM on March 24, 2005


Interesting point, Relay. I thought Horowitz had abandoned Maoism. I guess not....
posted by mr_roboto at 12:25 PM on March 24, 2005


I can't wait for the day when somebody at BYU uses something like this to sue a professor who refuses to respect the atheist tradition.

As entertaining as that would be, it'll never happen. This bill only applies to state universities (the bill can be found here, and pay close attention to lines 11-15), and since BYU is a private college a comparable bill would have no effect on them. Ditto for Bob Jones, Liberty University and other religiously-oriented institutions of Higher Power learning.

Um, if I weren't already planning to move out of Florida this summer this news would have clinched it. I was offered graduate assistantships to UF and USF last year, and had to decline due to circumstances beyond my control. I was bummed at the time, but now I'm thinking, "Sweet. Another bullet dodged."
posted by the_bone at 12:27 PM on March 24, 2005


If I don't believe in discrete objects, can I sue my math teacher?

This probably won't get much further than this one committee, but it is good to point this issue out. The controlling instincts of the "conservative" ruling party need to be highlighted at every turn. This bill is about enforcing a particular religious view and squelching opposition. This sort of attack would, however, have to be a two pronged strategy. First, get this bill through, second, appoint judges sympathetic to the "conservative" ideology.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:30 PM on March 24, 2005


josh wrote: Here's what I want to know, as someone who's currently a graduate student and who will eventually become a professor: has America always been like this? Or is this a new development?

Is there a real rising tide of anti-intellectualism, or have things always been this way? Were they this way under Clinton? Bush? Reagan? Carter? Nixon? Johnson? Kennedy? Is this an abnormal situation that's getting worse, or is there a constant, low hum of anti-intellectual craziness? I'm suspecting the latter, bur worried it's the former. Is there any hard data, as it were, on this?


Suggested reading material.
posted by gigawhat? at 12:38 PM on March 24, 2005


Those Floridians, they're so behind the times. This bill has been making the rounds in Ohio for weeks...
posted by googly at 12:38 PM on March 24, 2005


agreeing with the_bone
I'm in year one of PhD studies. If I hadn't already scratched Florida off my list, I would now. Damn shame, I have some beloved colleagues at UCF.

I sure as hell wish that these nimrods would have to base their prejudices on actual observable instances of oppression rather than the BS they come up with. Frivolous legislation indeed.

I've already mentioned this, but as one of those apparently much-feared leftists, I often get papers whose premises I disagree with. Instead of browbeating or forcing as this law contends that I do, rather, I show the student how to make much more cogent and arguable theses.
from thomas j wise: apparently, we're not supposed to indicate that a student's beliefs might be controversial? I don't mean "controversial" in a PC vs. anti-PC sort of way, but "controversial" in a "do you understand that there's a long tradition of legitimate challenges to your position" sort of way.

Exactly. the.kind.of.enlightenment.I.seek.to.convey.
posted by beelzbubba at 12:44 PM on March 24, 2005


Get me out of this state.
posted by casarkos at 12:53 PM on March 24, 2005


Freedom is the freedom to say two plus two makes five?

It's like a retarded 1984.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:04 PM on March 24, 2005


Heh, BLF.

It's nice that we're moving to a point in American history at which you can believe anything you want as long as you have nothing to back it up. Awesome! Because I believe that the world was created 4 days ago, thus vastly limiting the amount of stuff I have to learn.

True story: a couple of members of my medical school class complained very vocally because they were told that people with STDs needed to be advised to wear condoms. Said it offended their religious beliefs. Yes, these are people who are authorized to prescribe drugs.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 1:31 PM on March 24, 2005


Why not be truly Socratic? Make the bad teacher take poison. Newt tells us that tenure is not a right and is no longer needed so that the awful guy from U of Colorado can be fired for what he said. This is a perfect example of why tenure has to be kept in place.

I would suggest that faculty people ought to then insist upon a form which a student must sign to the effect that anything said in class can not be used in a lawsuit against the teacher. Students unwilling to sign can not take the course. Just this past week C-Span was to do a show on the Holocaust and wanted a Holocaust denier to counterbalence(!) the speaker talking about the holocaust. The speaker said she would not appear on a show that did such nonsense. Alas, political correctness is wrecking us...
posted by Postroad at 1:44 PM on March 24, 2005


josh-

While there has been a long tradition of anti-intellectualism in American life, I do think that it is worse right now. What I think we see in things like this bill is a disrespect for expertise and certainly for academia, which I think is new and different. The Right has also learned how to use the openness of US democracy against itself, which I am not sure it ever did before in quite the same way. The rules of the game have been changed by the current crop of rightists in the GOP. It isn't that the game was pure before, or untainted by self-interest and corruption, but that the current GOP has decided to attack anything that does not admit to unbridled GOP power. The courts (and the separation of powers) are one part of that, academia is another. Science etc have been completely abandoned in favor of ideology. I'm not trying to make an argument about the rampant Right that is heard around here all too often (all too often because it is true all too often); but to answer your question with a "Yes, this is bad, and not just bad, worse."
posted by OmieWise at 2:02 PM on March 24, 2005


Dear god, look at that name. Are they going to call the Legalized Murder of Democrats Bill the Extreme Freedom and Liberty Act?

Oh, and good summation OmieWise!
posted by JHarris at 2:53 PM on March 24, 2005


Dropping the snark for a moment, though, I don't think that we should necessarily trust the judgement of academics in matters extending beyond their specialties.

Other academics usually take care of that nicely.
posted by fshgrl at 4:23 PM on March 24, 2005


It's like a retarded 1984.

BlackLeotardFront wins.
posted by the_bone at 4:49 PM on March 24, 2005


As a journalist, I take sincere regret in the article you had to read. No wonder you're all upset. Just look at the lead:

"Republicans on the House Choice and Innovation Committee voted along party lines Tuesday to pass a bill that aims to stamp out 'leftist totalitarianism' by 'dictator professors' in the classrooms of Florida’s universities." [emphasis mine].

Notice there's no attribution for those partial quotes. Who said it? The article doesn't even bother to explain what the Academic Bill of Rights is. For those too lazy to click this link, the bill is a proposal written by David Horowitz, the convervative, not the consumer rights advocate. It's not an official legislative document, but several states like Florida, Tennessee, and California, just to name a few, have considered or passed the bill as a law.

I wrote an article for my school paper, "The Advocate," on this subject. I put the article up on my blog here.

Much of the blowback in response to the Bill is uninformed partisanry, if that's even a word. All the Bill is calling for is, as an example, for math teachers not to present word problems like if x + 3 = y , and x = 2, then y is George Bush the greatest president ever?

Most states already have some guidelines in place protecting students from political indoctrination of any sort. The American Association of University Professors, for example, said in 1915 teachers should not take "unfair advantage" of a student's "immaturity" by indoctrinating him or her. It's a long read, but check it out here.
posted by Tlahtolli at 5:21 PM on March 24, 2005


Freen writes " And here i was, thinking that conservatives were against that whole political correctness stuff."

Almost everyone is for political correctness when they get to define political correctness.

One of my favorite examples is the public shaming of EO Wilson by the academic Left, for his "crime" of theorizing that human social behaviors can the expression of genes, which culminated in a bunch of self-righteous Marxists chanting "Wilson Wilson, you can't hide/ we charge you with genocide" and dowsing Wilson with water at a 1976 academic conference.

As has previously been noted here, the Chinese "Cultural Revolution" and its similarities to what's going on in Florida and Colorado today. Noted up-thread (and I flagged it great comment) Lysenkoism. But also Nazi book-burnings and suppression of "degenerate" art.

But also attempted suppression of American Nazis in Skokie.

The recent arrest and indictment and possible 47-year jail terms for (mean-spirited, nasty, but law-abiding) Christians protesting at Gay Pride Day. Or the Swedish prosecution of Ake Green, a preacher who said that homosexuality was a sin (Green was found not guilty on appeal).

Left or Right, many (most?) people truly, truly believe certain things, and become uncomfortable and angry when those opinions are opposed, and they seek to suppress contrary opinions. It's the rare person who is willing to give up his ideological comfort to allow others -- others he believes to be completely in error -the right to speak freely.
posted by orthogonality at 5:58 PM on March 24, 2005


Harry Morgan: Much of the blowback in response to the Bill is uninformed partisanry, if that's even a word.

A quote from Baxley, the sponsor of the bill:

"Some professors say, 'Evolution is a fact. I don't want to hear about Intelligent Design (a creationist theory), and if you don't like it, there's the door,'" Baxley said, citing one example when he thought a student should sue.

I humbly submit that some of the blowback is because the representative sponsoring the legislation is flat-out encouraging fundamentalist students to sue professors who, with the lion's share of scientific evidence on their side, refuse to give credence to Intelligent Design/creationism.

Let's consider this for a second. We're not talking about "soft sciences" like sociology here... we're talking about biology. Under this bill, bio professors need to avoid offending students who believe in a bizarre explanation for the origin of life that is unsupported by the archaeological record. This is a lot less innocuous than the reductio ad absurdam "word problem" example you suggested.

As a side note, my partisanry is very well-informed, thankyouverymuch.
posted by the_bone at 6:16 PM on March 24, 2005


My god. As the USA stumbles into the dark ages, it seems that Florida and Kansas are in a neck-to-neck madcap dash to be first.

It's a sad thing, watching a country hurt itself so badly.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:46 PM on March 24, 2005


the_bone: In the Florida bill (lines 119-123), the hard sciences are exempt from the "fostering of plurality." But personally, I don't see anything wrong with a student or a professor bringing creationism or intelligent design up for discussion in class.
posted by Tlahtolli at 8:00 PM on March 24, 2005


more stupidity from the far right.
posted by nola at 8:22 PM on March 24, 2005


Harry:

I've got nothing better to do at the moment than be insensitive about this sort of thing, so what if I were to point out that neither creationism nor intelligent design is more valid than the "Great Green Arkleseizure" hypothesis from the Hitchhiker's Guide? Should we discuss whatever students want, just because they feel like making a joke of the lecture?
posted by scrim at 8:38 PM on March 24, 2005


I don't believe in having homework on weekends. Man, this law should have been in place when I was in school. I could have been rich! ; )
posted by SisterHavana at 8:39 PM on March 24, 2005


"Curricula and reading lists in the humanities and social sciences shall respect the uncertainty and unsettled character of all human knowledge in these areas, and provide students with dissenting sources and viewpoints" (Bill, SB 5, California).

There are plenty of facts and theories in the humanities (which includes history) and social sciences which are just as attested to by evidence as major natual science theories. As a historian, I would never give my students material which claimed that seventeenth English women often married as young teenagers and peasants lived in large extended families. It's just not true. I would also feel intellectually dishonest teaching them older historic theories which have been largely discredited (though many still have popular credance, because these things take time), without showing them how these theories have been discredited.

It's just funny how much this bill seems to promote a very postmodern theory of knowledge. Knowledge can always be uncertain, but the goal of most non postmodern scholars is to try to make it that little less uncertain. Being required to take on board all theories, including those which are not substantiated by the evidence, forces us away from that goal.
posted by jb at 8:58 PM on March 24, 2005


Postroad wrote: Just this past week C-Span was to do a show on the Holocaust and wanted a Holocaust denier to counterbalence(!) the speaker talking about the holocaust. The speaker said she would not appear on a show that did such nonsense. Alas, political correctness is wrecking us...

It's a little thicker than that. An Emory prof and Holocaust researcher wrote that a denier was full of it. He sued her for libel in England, where it's way easier, and she won at trial. Guess who the denier C-Span wanted to "balance" her with might have been. I'd say that's not the kind of PC you're talking about. But it's wrecking us all the same.
posted by gwyon at 10:43 PM on March 24, 2005


Scrim, don't belittle my beliefs. Some of us do live in fear of the coming of the great handkerchief.

Too bad you're not one of my professors, or I could sue you.

In seriousness, I think the thing to do is start a legal fund for a liberal student to sue a conservative professor the moment the bill passes.
posted by Hactar at 11:13 PM on March 24, 2005


You know, Ive always wondered what it felt to live like in the Dark Ages. Be careful what you wish for I suppose
posted by ElvisJesus at 2:16 AM on March 25, 2005


ElvisJesus writes " You know, Ive always wondered what it felt to live like in the Dark Ages. Be careful what you wish for I suppose"

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!
posted by orthogonality at 2:29 AM on March 25, 2005


I wish the US was the size of, say, France or the UK. So the rest of the world could laugh at it without having to worry.
posted by rhymer at 2:33 AM on March 25, 2005


I live in China, where there is no debate, and the effect on people's ability to think critically is noticable. And if you don't believe me, I kinda have proof. I recently assigned my ESL class at the university I teach at this semester to refute 5 general claims against China's position on Taiwan.

1) Historical circumstances are usually as important as present circumstances when deciding the fate of a people/place/nation.
2) Taiwan is a country.
3) China doesn't obey the "Golden Doctrine" (only wanting peace and not provoking wars) and in fact is rather aggressive and bully-ish.
4) The US, despite recent idiocy, is generally concerned with defending democracy, peace, prosperity, self-determination, and fairness in the world.
5) China is an aggressive dictatorship and needs to be contained.

The assignment was simply use historical evidence to refute these points. Even the most flag-waving gun rack NASCAR Miller Time gung-ho Bushie would have a problem supporting all of them. They're big red targets. China might be a dictatorship but it's not horrible, the US has a century of interference in other countries' business, Taiwanese culture is basically mainland culture without the dictatorship, and China's started some aggressive wars but Maoism faded has kept its army out of everyone but Taiwan's face. But here's some choice quotes:

As everyone knows, Taiwan is only a province of China. From the ancient times to now, the truth has never been changed. The people of Taiwan are eager to come back China, because only China can give them safe, peace, happiness and many sweet things. In their hearts, China is their mother forever. On Chinese New Years Eve, many businesspersons come from Taiwan rented a flight which belongs to CAAC to go home. It is not only a journey, but also a bridge between the Mainland and Taiwan. Taiwan covers small areas, the people there need mother’s helps, for instance, the food, the clothes, the services and so on. So they can’t live without China, their motherland. We’re looking forward to Taiwan’s return. The prospect is bright.

China is a large peaceful country. It always makes me proud. I think you choose China to study or live, it is a clever choice. I believe you and many foreign friends will have the same happy life in China as ours. Hey, guy, after knowing China very well, you’ll find many nice aspects here and there. Come on!


Here's another:


As for USA, although its history is very short, it’s also very important. If there was no Amerigo Vespucci, America is still a wild land waiting for exploitation. If there was no George Washington, some states of America are still the colonies of Britain and Spain. If there was no Abraham Lincoln, many American people are still slaves. All these outstanding persons, can you forget them? Can you say that they are not important? If the history isn’t important, after Japan attacked the American naval base of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Dec. 7th, 1941, why did the US drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in 1945? Maybe you should forgive Japan and have not attacked it because history is not important. If history is not important, why does USA take all-round measures to counter terrorism after the 9/11event? Can you teach your child to forget the 9/11 because history isn’t important?

In history, Taiwanwas part of the sacred territory of China. This is also the case whether now or in the future. Taiwan is just temporarily away from the mainland China like a lost child away from his mother. It’s reasonable and compulsory for a mother to find her lost child. Although the process is difficult and it’s a question left over from history, it is the inviolable duty of all Chinese people to accomplish the great task of reunifying the motherland. It is the universal truth that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of China. Taiwan question is the Chinese business. It’s the internal affair of China. Why does USA often not mind its own businesses like anti-terrorism, but just like to interfere with the internal affairs of other countries.


And of course, one of them got pissed:

When a child grows up and can support himself, does it mean he's no longer his mother's son? Someone regards the child as an orphan by mistake.
Furthermore, she's eager to become the stepmother. It's outrageous. The child's own mother still exists and takes care of her child. If you consider TW as a country because it seems as if it's independent, I would doubt that US is a country. I have never seen a country that interferes in so many other nation's own issues. Maybe it should change its name for mini UN or international cop.
Dogs never try to fly cause they have no wing. When a nation had limited history it's easy to ignore it. Milllions of people from all around the world were attracted by American movies about historial stories. Howevere, none of these stories happened in US. That's reasonable, cause the voyager hadn't discoveried that continent at that time.
If China hasn't democracy, what so many foreigners come to here for? And why don't you study in your democratic nation? Let me give you an example. Jack's door and asked the money back. Therefore,Jack told others that Nick was selfish.
Now, US knocks TW's door and hd mother, mainland China answer,"No!'
As for the golden doctrine, it's an ideal. I can't imagine what the world will become if everything obey "golden doctrine.'
By the way, are you obey this doctrine?
Owing to my kindness,I'd like to remind you that you're in China now. Be awre of that and don't go too far.



These are typical. I haven't chosen them to sound dull or nasty. They're verbatim, with only some formatting changes to make the cut & paste readable. I asked for supporting evidence, I got hyperbole. Cultural relativism and ducking the argument ain't cool, whether it's theirs or ours. The people who want this bill are the same ones who get offended by condoms. The similarities are uncanny, if you ask me.

This whole affair makes me physically sick. I want the fundamentalist philistines out of my country. It's a democracy and they get their say, but that doesn't mean they get to smother me and my kind with it. They, like the censors here, know exactly what they're doing when they quash debate, marginalize other positions, and villianize. This is war, bitch.
posted by saysthis at 5:32 AM on March 25, 2005


the hard sciences are exempt from the "fostering of plurality."

They aren't mentioned in that paragraph, but they're not specifically excluded.

Evolution is usually discussed in hard science classes. If the actual sponsor of the bill believes that it is possible and advisable for creationist students to have the right to sue professors under this legislation, then the hard sciences are not as exempt as you say.

But personally, I don't see anything wrong with a student or a professor bringing creationism or intelligent design up for discussion in class.

Nor do I, truthfully. But the fact that using the goddamned Socratic method to get a student to further articulate his views is lawsuit-worthy, or that simply saying to a student "Your theory has no scientific evidence to support it and is outside the scope of this class" can initiate a lawsuit that will ruin someone's career, is something I do have a problem with.
posted by the_bone at 8:15 AM on March 25, 2005


I don't really like Ayn Rand, but anyone remember that passage in Atlas Shrugged where the guy completely refuses to take part in his trial?

That has to start happening now.
posted by jon_kill at 11:32 AM on March 25, 2005


No, you don't refuse to take part in the trial. You have faith that the federal courts will kick such a law to the moon, given many First Amendment issues -- potential conflicts with the suppression of political speech (and these are state universities that would be affected, remember), and church and state issues surrounding the requirement for teaching creationism, court precedent regarding academic freedom at state institutions of higher learning, etc.
posted by raysmj at 2:12 PM on March 25, 2005


you know as an unexpected bonus, once silly conservative students can just sue and not have to be forced to defend their ideas, they wont turn to groups like the college republicans, to learn to think and defend their ideas. Goodbye conservative social capital, of course it won't matter will it now?
posted by stratastar at 10:05 PM on March 25, 2005


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