I don’t generally comment on conservative sites, not because they get it wrong but because there is little room for discourse between us. That being said, I thought I would raise a few issues contained in the Townhall.com diatribe regarding higher education.
Townhall.com::The Shame of Higher Education::By Walter E. Williams
Williams writes, in part, An ethnic studies
professor, at Cal State Northridge and Pasadena City College, teaches
that “the role of students and teachers in ethnic studies is to comfort
the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”
So my question is simply this. In the Tanach, what Christians refer to as the Old Testament, the admonition to care for the widow, orphan, and stranger occurs numerous times. Does Williams suggest that this bit of ethical wisdom is useless, that one has no obligation to take care of the afflicted. When one afflicts the comfortable does that not simply mean that one should make others aware of their ethical obligation deeply embedded in the monotheistic traditions of the West? Maybe I am missing something here.
He goes on to report: UC Santa Barbara’s
School of Education e-mailed its faculty asking them to consider
classroom options concerning the Iraq War, suggesting they excuse
students from class to attend anti-war events and give them extra
credit to write about it.
When Williams references the “School of Education” what or who exactly is he referencing? The school does not send out e-mails. That is sort of like receiving a memo From the Desk Of… I don’t know about you, but I never knew of a desk that could write a memo. By not revealing the author of the memo, Williams is committing the cardinal sin of concealment of factual information that is important to his point. Furthermore, it is important for students to attend events, anti-war or otherwise, and to think critically about those events. Apparently Williams could benefit from that kind of critical thinking himself.
Further, Williams reports: An English professor at
Montclair State University in New Jersey tells his students,
“Conservatism champions racism, exploitation and imperialist war.”
Here the quote is taken out of context. The context is important here. For example, I can envision the quote in the following context: Given the above quote, critically respond to the charge made by the author in light of…and so on. By not revealing the context of the quote Williams fails to give his reader adequate information from which to form a reasoned judgment.
But, isn’t this the tactic of the radical right? To shout out charges without substantiation with the intent of persuading an audience that there is no other approach, no other way of thinking. No need to go into depth when a sound bite will suffice. No need to pursue the facts when charges are what stick in the reader’s mind.
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