Monday, February 23, 2009

Only RINOs welcome at college campuses to balance communist speakers

Only nominally Rethuglikkkans who have been duly awarded The Order of Republican Moderation are suggested to offer balance to out & out Communists, such as Angela Davis, at my college campus:

Byron Duvall wrote:

David Brooks or George Will would be fine choices.

I agree, both are very smart people and anyone, liberal or conservative, could learn a lot from either[...]However, maybe those that think conservatives are underrepresented as speakers on campus should collaborate with a department/group on campus to bring someone like David Brooks or George Will in. As left-learning moderate, I would love to hear from one of them. Damien Chaffin

In response to the tongue-in-cheek welcome message:

Welcome to Wright State, Angela Davis!

Having said this, I should add that I am no fan of Ms. Davis’s politics. The political theories she espouses, I realize, made her the apple of the eye of Leonid Brezhnev (who awarded her the Lenin Peace Prize ), Fidel Castro (who took her in after she was acquitted of charges relating to an unfortunate incident in which a judge got his head blown off by a sawed-off shotgun registered to her), and Jim Jones (of Peoples Temple fame). I know this will sound perverse, but I would take the endorsement of these noteworthy humanitarians to be a kind of political-enlightenment anti-barometer: the more highly they think of someone, the less enlightened he or she is likely to be.

Indeed, couple these endorsements with her (now abandoned?) Marxism and her involvement with the Black Panthers and the Communist Party (USA)--she twice ran for vice president on the Communist ticket--and it paints a picture of someone who has spent her adult life on the wrong side of history.

I realize that some of my fellow faculty members regard Ms. Davis as a kind of saint, but I am really at a loss to understand what, exactly, she has said, written, or done to merit sainthood. Indeed, I would go so far as to suggest that if only she had been more careful, back in 1970, to keep her firearms collection securely locked up, we and the rest of the world would today have zero interest in her.

Why, then, do I welcome Ms. Davis to our campus? Because her appearance here is evidence that Wright State’s administrators are intellectually open-minded enough to explore even the outer fringes of the political spectrum. It therefore makes one hopeful that they will, in the name of intellectual diversity, invite to campus--oh, I don’t know, maybe one of those wild and wooly conservative speakers you hear about, someone as prominent in right-wing politics as Ms. Davis is in left-wing politics. Indeed, the administration might discover that because there is virtually no demand for such speakers on America’s college campuses, they come cheap. Gosh, for what we are paying Angela Davis, I’ll bet we could bring in a dozen of these conservative speakers. (In saying this, by the way, I am NOT suggesting that we bring in a dozen--just one such speaker, maybe sometime in the next five to ten years.)

Of course, doing this could potentially undermine our efforts to provide our students with a (politically) liberal education, but for the sake of intellectual diversity, it is a chance worth taking. Otherwise, some people will suggest that we don’t have conservative speakers come to campus because we are afraid of alternative viewpoints. And this suggestion is simply absurd. Isn’t it?

Bill Irvine,


Dr. Bill's classically liberal/conservative response:

Hi, Carol,
I would actually be in favor of our university having an "Other Voices"-type series of lectures. We would invite speakers who would tell us, calmly and rationally, things that challenge our beliefs. It is something that any university that favors intellectual diversity not only will be willing to do but will go out of its way to do.

As an example of the kind of speaker we could invite in such a program, I would offer Thomas Sowell, who is simultaneously brilliant, outspoken, and provocative. (He wouldn't, to be sure, challenge my beliefs, since he has convinced me about most of the things he has written about, but he would challenge the beliefs, I am confident, of a large portion of the University community.)

Bill I.

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