Universities, Politicians, Us, And The Great American Mind Closure

I am becoming a fan of criticizing my local county government. The cronyism is of our commissioners is amazing at times, but I have to ask myself if I have fallen in step with the great American mind closure. You may be thinking what does he mean, is he suffering from Cat scratch fever? Or maybe he is just an angry young man? Or maybe he is just trying to be a bridge over troubled daughters?

If you have not caught the significance of the previous sentences, they are all titles to songs performed by Ted Nugent, that crazy conservative rocker. Don’t get me wrong I don’t like many of things Nugent has said in recent days, such as calling President Obama a mongrel. But, I do not agree with the Clark County Fair leaders when they canceled his show that was to occur this summer during the fair. They cited some ambiguous reason, but they, I believe, were responding to the great mind closing of the American people.

It turns out that our congressional representatives are more representative of our nation than we thought. Debate for the purpose of creating common ground is gone. Now we demonize our opposition, standing upon our righteous pedestal demonstrating how the other is wrong.

This is not a conservative versus liberal rant, it is a recognition of a huge problem in our country, and one that is becoming more of an issue in our colleges and universities. Ruth Wisse states, “There was a time when people looking for intellectual debate turned away from politics to the university.” Wisse says that in universities today, muggers prevail in reducing debate. Us-them has become a reality, and those who disagree with us are the devil and have no rights to speak their minds.

Saturday my wife and I went to see the movie God Is Not Dead. I admit I am a Christian, and I stand for Jesus Christ and recognize that God is not dead, but I usually stay away from Christian movies because in my opinion they are shallow and not well acted. However, I really enjoyed this one, especially Kevin Sorbo, Hercules.

They are several reasons for this. First, there was a debate and the class made up their mind on whether God was dead or not. Highly improbable that something like this would happen in a class, but very entertaining and thought provoking. I did have tears in my eyes at the end when the students voted. Second, there were happy endings for some and for others not so happy. I liked this because it was real. Not everyone is healed, nor are all marriages put back together, yet for some good things do happen.

In Economics we discuss the concept of central tendency. I tend to think that the truth usually is somewhere in between extremes. However, I think there is a danger when ideological conformity becomes the norm; when one particular group can influence the whole to make a bad decision I think we are in trouble. Ruth Wisse gives a couple of very good examples.

Pressure from faculty egged on by Muslim groups induced Brandeis University last month not to grant Ayann Hirsi Ali, the proponent of women’s rights under Islam, an intended honorary degree at is convocation.” Seems to me that women should have freedom no matter what religious system they are a part of.

This is not a first for Brandeis. Previous, Brandeis University was pressured by faculty groups to rescind its decision to award an honorary degree to Jeannie Kirkpatrick, former U.N. Ambassador to the United Nations, for her connection with the Reagan administration. Kirkpatrick actually declined the offer due to the faculty protests.

What concerns me is the repression of difference. Liberals and conservatives alike complain that the other is an opponent to free speech. The fact is both sides are nuts. I think all of us should be concerned about the repression of the “values of America’s liberal democracy.”

Wisse gives other examples of limits on free speech, such as New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly prevented from speaking at Brown University, Charles Murray canceled from speaking at Azusa-Pacific, Condoleeza Rice harassed until she declined the invitation to speak at Rutgers convocation. I also agree with Wisses when she states, “Universities have not only failed to stand up to those who limit debate, they have played a part in encouraging them.” However, it is my opinion that is is not just universities, it is our culture in general. We claim to support the other, it just depends on who the other is. I think Animal Farm should be required reading for everyone. Especially the famous comment at the end, “Some are just more equal than others.”

And that is my thought for the day!


One thought on “Universities, Politicians, Us, And The Great American Mind Closure

  1. This is one more reason that everybody has to take a physical science class. When extremists use fire to fight fire, the extreme left and extreme right use the same techniques of stopping free speech. One should know that you don’t fight fire with fire but with a fire-repellent/suppressor!

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