Liberal Arts

Okay, we have had many a conversation about the left-leaning nature of the mainstream media and even more left-leanings of college professors. I don't want to get into a whole debate about the issue again. I merely want to show you an example that even I consider to be extreme.

An English professor at California State - Long Beach assigns his students to write an argument paper and a research paper as part of his class. I don't know if it is possible to be more anti-Republican. Some of my favorite topics:

Energy (nuclear, solar, fossil, synthetic fuels, etc.). A related topic is Dick Cheney's secret conference on energy policy. Why hasn't the administration revealed who participated and should it reveal this information? Also important is the fact that, as Kevin Phillips writes, "four generations of the [Bush] dynasty have chased [oil] profits through cozy ties with Mideast leaders, spinning webs of conflicts of interest" (Los Angeles Times, 11 January 2004: M1+).
Should Justice Sandra Day O'Connor have been impeached for her partisan, political actions in the Bush v. Gore case of December 2000 (she is reported to have expressed a desire to retire but would do so only if a Republican were president? What about Justice Scalia, whose son worked for the law firm of the lawyer who argued for Bush before the Supreme Court, or Justice Thomas, whose wife was part of an organization selecting people to work in a potential Bush administration?
George W. Bush's time in the National Guard presents important questions about the character of a man who has sent hundreds of Americans to their deaths in war and killed and maimed untold thousands of others.
Breaking a campaign promise, Bush has reversed rules to limit industrial carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere Do you agree or disagree with this decision?
Is it right for the Bush Administration to use the War on Terrorism for political or commercial purposes?
It is no secret that the Bush administration and many Republicans have taken steps to undo the progress in environmental protection made before they took office. Now that they control the presidency and the Congress, they have better opportunities to carry out their agenda. Narrow this topic to a particular issue that you can argue in your paper (e.g. oil drilling in Alaska, building roads on formerly protected Federal lands, and logging).

But don't write a paper on same-sex marriage, because:

McNally correctly concludes that those who oppose same-sex marriage do so for one reason: homophobia. "Homophobia," as Robert Goss points out, "is the socialized state of fear, threat, aversion, prejudice, and irrational hatred of the feelings of same-sex attraction" (Jesus Acted Up: A Gay and Lesbian Manifesto, New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993: 1). In other words, homophobia is to gays and lesbians what racism is to people of color. Neither homophobia nor racism can be tolerated in civilized, rational debate; therefore, I will not accept either as arguments, however disguised, in your papers.

And, of course, there is a list of approved books to do your book report on. The non-fiction part of the list includes:

Dershowitz, Alan M., Supreme Injustice: How the High Court Hijacked Election 2000 (an excellent account of the lawless, partisan, unprincipled, unprecedented, corrupt, and immoral decision that handed George W. Bush the 2000 election; meticulously well-reasoned, with suggestions for better ways to nominate future justices)
Miller, Mark Crispin, The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder (examines the arrogance and dishonesty of George W. Bush, a man of "sublime and complacent ignorance," not to mention illiteracy, but not as "stupid" as many think, whose rise to power was not only assured by the illegal decision of the Supreme Court but also assisted by the corporate-run, right-wing media, particularly TV, which failed in its moral responsibility to take the Court and the Republican Party to task for its anti-democratic hypocrisy in the election of 2000)

and

Moore, Michael, Stupid White Men . . . and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation! (starting with the Republican theft of the 2000 election, Moore informally and searingly examines the "sorry" "state of the nation," pre-September 11, calling "Bill Clinton . . . one of the best Republican Presidents we've ever had")

Perhaps he isn't typical in his viewpoints. but I get the feeling that the only thing atypical about his views is the willingness he has to be public about them. If my child were in a class run by a guy like this, I can tell you that that teacher would hate me.

JMJ, why are you so closed minded? How dare you attack this profs patriotism?

I wonder what a similar list would look like at Bob Rogers University? I suspect it would be every bit as repellent. With 300 million people in the country, you can find nutbars and unfair biases in any profession you look at. This is not reflective of the vast majority of professors, liberal or not. That should be obvious.

I wonder what a similar list would look like at Bob Rogers University? I suspect it would be every bit as repellent. With 300 million people in the country, you can find nutbars and unfair biases in any profession you look at. This is not reflective of the vast majority of professors, liberal or not. That should be obvious.

Never said it was. I am quite certain that there are some conservative professors out there. I pointed this one out because of the extremist position. I think most professers are liberal, I make no secret of that. But this guy is a nutjob.

"JohnnyMoJo" wrote:

Perhaps he isn''t typical in his viewpoints. but I get the feeling that the only thing atypical about his views is the willingness he has to be public about them. If my child were in a class run by a guy like this, I can tell you that that teacher would hate me.

College students aren''t children, they''re adults who can decide for themselves what type of political discourse they want to engage in.

College students aren''t children, they''re adults who can decide for themselves what type of political discourse they want to engage in.

On what planet is this? I''m a college student and quite childish and I believe I''m on the ""smart"" end of the scale.

I would probably fail that class, and I would definitely fail that paper.

"scoli" wrote:

I would probably fail that class, and I would definitely fail that paper.

I''d write some conservative piece and then when I fail it, I would take it to the AAC.

Perhaps another look at the links is in order, as this is just another pile of twisted misrepresentations of the truth. Right wing propaganda to appear like their the ones under constant attack by a vast left wing consiracy to program the population against them.

Notice to my students: someone has published illegally in what purports to be an ""article"" material from my web site, that is, portions of my assignments. The article, among many misrepresentations, implies I require that you write about certain topics. As you know, you have always had a wide choice of topics to write about in your papers. The same is true for the Research Paper. I believe in and practice academic freedom.

You are not limited in any way to the topics below. The reason the material from my web site in the ""article"" is illegal is that the author never obtained, didn''t even ask for, my permission to publish copyrighted material. The ""article"" uses vindictive, rude language, language that is entirely unprofessional and inappropriate in a scholarly article. This person''s site is an excellent example of an unauthorized web site that has no place in logical discourse.
14 October 2004.

...
As you know, you have always had a wide choice of topics to write about in your papers. The same is true for the Research Paper. I believe in and practice academic freedom.

You are not limited in any way to the topics below.
....

Wha? Did the prof read the instructions for his/her assignment?

My favorite section:

Subjects to Avoid

1. Religion (we have freedom of religion in this country and everyone is entitled to his or her own beliefs but cannot force others to accept those beliefs; just as no one can prevent you from following your religious beliefs, so you cannot prevent others from not following your beliefs. This does not mean you can not argue issues such as that in number 50 above. What it means is that you can''t use your own religious beliefs to support an argument. At a secular university such an argument is not convincing to those you might wish to reach. Hence, if you oppose Newdow (#50), you would have do so on the grounds that the establishment clause permits phrases such as ""under God"" to be required recitations by students in public schools.)

2. Aesthetics (anything to do with personal taste)

3. Anything you''re already convinced of before you start your research, especially subjects you''re emotionally involved in. My reasoning is that with such a topic you would not be able to see that there is another side and this would destroy your argument.

4. Topics on which there is, in my opinion, no other side apart from chauvinistic, religious, or bigoted opinions and pseudo-science (for example, female circumcision, prayer in public schools, same-sex marriage, the so-called faith-based initiative, abortion, hate crime laws, the existence of the Holocaust, and so-called creationism). For example, see Terrence McNally''s ""Just a Love Story,"" Los Angeles Times, 13 February 2004: B15. McNally correctly concludes that those who oppose same-sex marriage do so for one reason: homophobia. ""Homophobia,"" as Robert Goss points out, ""is the socialized state of fear, threat, aversion, prejudice, and irrational hatred of the feelings of same-sex attraction"" (Jesus Acted Up: A Gay and Lesbian Manifesto, New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993: 1). In other words, homophobia is to gays and lesbians what racism is to people of color. Neither homophobia nor racism can be tolerated in civilized, rational debate; therefore, I will not accept either as arguments, however disguised, in your papers.

Of course many, if not most, of the topics that I do allow are too broad as stated. You need to limit whichever one you choose, and you''re not limited to these topics, but you should clear your topic with me before you proceed with it. Always, you must narrow your topic, which must be defined, to a specific proposition (thesis) that can be handled in the limits (about 600-700 words) of your paper. Be sure to address the other side. Assume the reader won''t believe anything you say unless it is supported by logic and/or evidence.

(emphasis mine)

no other side of the argument for the abortion debate, hate crime laws, same-sex marriage? What planet does this proffessor live on?

Ha! Wait till I scan in the math questions about bush (logic) that my math Math IT professor used. You''re going to have a field day with those.

[quote=""Ulairi""]

College students aren''t children, they''re adults who can decide for themselves what type of political discourse they want to engage in.

On what planet is this? quote]

Do you vote? Can you be drafted? Are you legally and morally responsible for your own actions? You''re an adult, so are other students.

no other side of the argument for the abortion debate, hate crime laws, same-sex marriage? What planet does this proffessor live on?

He didn''t say there was no other side. Just that they are religious or bigoted arguments.

Assume the reader won''t believe anything you say unless it is supported by logic and/or evidence.
I. Purpose: to persuade or at least to create tolerance for your point of view on a controversial issue; also to acknowledge the opposing side of the issue.
3. Anything you''re already convinced of before you start your research, especially subjects you''re emotionally involved in. My reasoning is that with such a topic you would not be able to see that there is another side and this would destroy your argument.

All perfectly reasonable for an argument paper. There are plenty of topics that be argued from a conservative or liberal view. Of course most of the articles he quotes in his examples are anti-Bush, but isn''t everyone.

edit: spelling

I wouldn''t have an issue if he told his class that political topics were fair game and left it at that. My issue is that he is so obviously biased in his topic suggestions. In many ways, he is stifling discussion because he is the one in a position of power and he is obviously incapable of having a reasonable discussion. I am entrenched in my views, but I can acknowledge the other sides points on occasion. I get the feeling that this guy would fail you it you wrote a paper that argued in favor of Bush''s tax cuts.

Do you think he would give an ""A"" to a student that did a book review of ""Unfit for Command""?

I am entrenched in my views, but I can acknowledge the other sides points on occasion.

3. Anything you''re already convinced of before you start your research, especially subjects you''re emotionally involved in. My reasoning is that with such a topic you would not be able to see that there is another side and this would destroy your argument.
All perfectly reasonable for an argument paper.

This is not reasonable. Anyone that has intelligence should be able to argue either side of an issue, especially if they have a strong opinion one way or another on that issue. It can generally be assumed that if someone has a strong opinion one way, they probably know some of the arguments to the contrary and should thus be able to enumerate said arguments.

*Speeling =-)

Scoli,

I agree with that, and it seems the prof does to. Hence my inclusion of the quote from the assignments statement of purpose.

I. Purpose: to persuade or at least to create tolerance for your point of view on a controversial issue; also to acknowledge the opposing side of the issue.

JMJ,

I have no doubt about the guys liberal bias. Most of the profs I had were blatantly liberal as well. Conservative guys in my class got the same grades I did(or better). I can only think of one that seemed to base the grades on if they agreed with your point of view. She was a psychology prof. I would just fake agreeing with her opinion to get through the class. Anyone that can be converted from one class can probably be converted by a commercial to.

I can see where some topics would just get people foaming at the mouth over the emotions that are involved on both sides. Talk about stifled discussion. I like to try and see both sides of an argument, but sometimes I just have to stick my fingers in my ears.(nahnahnahnahnah I can''t hear you)

It would be interesting to be able to test if the guy grades papers based on his feelings toward the side the student chose to defend.