Thursday, October 06, 2005

It's only McCarthyism when a Republican does it

The American Federation of Teachers, which I either belong to, or just got on their mailing list somehow, has an unusually pathetic magazine with stories about educators and how wonderful their unions is.

This month there is a story about Terry Mulcaire (whose name they couln't even spell right) who was one of the ten professors "targeted" to get a note taped on to his door by the Santa Rosa Junior College Republicans, of Petaluma, CA. The story came complete with a picture of another professor looking like he is imprisoned behind a door with a paper with a big red star attached to it. This was the Jr. College Republicans' Operation Red Scare. The note contained a reminder of an obscure California law outlawing the communist indoctrination of students.

The college's response was swift and sympathetic to the besieged teachers. There was a note of sympathy from the president, and there was a general lambasting of the Jr. Republicans by the faculty senate. (I wish there were transcriptions of the lambasting.) There was a clear mentality that the goal, as the article put it was to "excise liberal thinking from the university".

Yes folks, you read that right. The goal of these people, and something that has academics the world over quivering was, the real threat that liberal thinking might be excised from the campuses partly as a result of ten Jr. College kids who put notes with shiny red stars of some offices. Talk about hysterical.

The president was worried that there is a "right-wing effort to ensure that conservative voices are heard - and many feel, liberal ones squelched - on campus". The horror! Right-wing voices heard on college campuses! Fortunately we have the union sponsored lecture by, Ellen Schrecker, an expert on McCarthyism reminding us that we must combat "this inappropriate speech with free speech." Because clearly the republicans should not have had such freedom.

What lunatics I have to deal with in academia. When a Republican says something right-winged it is innappropriate. When it is liberal rants and raves against the government, it is clear thinking freedom. Moreover, teachers seem to find it natural and reasonable that some of the leaders be suspended and the Junior College Republicans be put on probation. No McCarthysim there. After all, What gives Republicans the right to express themselves?

Mulcaire claims that he was targeted because he made clear his passionate opposition to the war in Iraq. Of course if he did this in his classroom it is sad, as he is not a teacher of ethics, reasoning, foreign poilicy, military theory, military history, political science, or anything that might lend itself to a discussion about the rightness or wrongness of war. He teaches English, which might make him eminiently qualified to teach about protest poetry from the 60's or something, if that.

What gives him the right to exploit the fact that he has a podium and students who have to listen to him to "express his opinions" on any subject he wants? I have no idea. That is just wrong, and I assume that he did violate his students rights to a good education. They came in to class rightfully expecting to learn about English, instead he turned it in to a sharing his feelings about the war. That is almost criminal. He now claims that he is no longer teaching "war issues in his English Classes". Maybe they'll move war issues to the mathematics department where it really belongs!?! This has really changed the way he thinks about teaching, he claims.

Maybe this should change the way he thinks about thinking.


Anonymous said...

aaaaay-men brother.
not to gush or anything, but this is one of the finest posts i think you've ever written.
liberals for some reason insist on constantly lambasting conseratives and in the end, they end up looking like a vitriolic, nonsensical fellini movie on speed. they make no sense, them and their crazy code pink.

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