Category Archives: academia

Liberty is better than slavery: Andrew Klavan and YAF Student Videos

Late in April, Andrew Klavan wrote a wonderfully erudite piece about culture and the media entitled Toward a New American Culture. Klavan begins his analysis by noting:

For many years, conservatives have been complaining about the left-wing bias of both the mainstream media and popular culture. The two are intimately connected because, over and above commercial success, the culture and the artists who create it are empowered by reviews, prestige and awards that the mainstream media bestow, facilitate and publicize.

But it’s now become clear that conservatives are wrong. The media are not biased against the right. They are openly hostile towards us. They are openly attempting to crush one point of view and elevate another. This is not a conspiracy. It is simply the result of a poisonous conformity, a climate of opinion which the MSM, populated almost exclusively by liberals, barely even realize they inhabit.

But in allowing themselves to become immersed in this climate, the bulk of the American media have now become the toadies of the state and the enemies of the people.

Although I am not an artist, I work in a profession (academia) where, if made known, my political and social beliefs could sink my career. The people that I work with are not evil–in fact, I personally like a great many of them–but once their innate assumptions about social justice, environmental justice, the prerogative of the educated elite to determine the course of the nation, and their horror at the folly of letting the less-educated “People” determine their own will are challenged, they go on the offensive. The result is either (1) an attempt to “re-educate” the person who poses a thread, the outcome of which has you publicly renouncing your beliefs and denouncing everything that you know to be true in order to be accepted back into the fold, or (2) marginalization, isolation and demotion.

Klavan provides a vision of what the New American Culture might entail:

Individualism [emphasis mine] is the very essence of both conservatism and art. But I think we can say that such a culture would reflect and uplift the values and perspectives that made the west and America the greatest and freest places on the globe; it would put forward an image of man as our founders knew him to be, flawed and sinful yet capable of striving toward dignity and salvation through self-reliance and sacrifice… In truth, there is only one essential principle our new culture needs to remember and embody and it’s this: liberty is better than slavery. This principle alone implies a moral order and a human purpose. It makes a small state better than a big one. It makes America better than, say, Saudi Arabia. It makes a religion based on “love thy neighbor,” better than one based on submission. This principle alone will guide us away from mealy-mouthed self-abasement to balanced self-criticism and praise amidst our search for the dignity, strength and morality befitting free men and women…. If artists guided by this principle begin to create, if reviewers guided by it write reviews, if foundations give us grants and awards, if investors give us the funding we need, then the cultural infra-structure of the left will collapse of the rot and corruption of its bad ideas. We will take back the culture and if we take back the culture, we will take back the country too.

In this spirit, I link to two student videos created for the Young America’s Foundation. These young people were willing to step forward and challenge a liberal canard: that redistribution of wealth is a positive good.  The aroma of hypocrisy among the student interviewees does not go unnoticed. I encourage you to support this worthy organization.

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Filed under academia, Andrew Klavan, Assault on Individual Freedom, conservatives, Education, MSM, Politics, Redistribution, Student Videos, Uncategorized, Young America's Foundation

“Think What We Think…Or Else: Thought Control on the American Campus”

This is an outstanding video summarizing The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education‘s (FIRE) fight against a freshman sociopolitical indoctrination program at the University of Delaware. While classroom indoctrination by Professors is routinely scrutinized, this particular case is an example of the damage done that can be done by rogue administrators.

FIRE is an excellent organization whose mission is

… to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience—the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity. FIRE’s core mission is to protect the unprotected and to educate the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to these rights on our campuses and about the means to preserve them.

Want to know more about the college you’re thinking of attending?  Visit FIRE.

Hat tip: Hotair.com

Extra Reading:

Victory at University of Delaware: University President Ends Mandatory Ideological Reeducation Program
, FIRE
Residence life program encourages free speech, UDaily
A National Trend: Speech Restrictions in Higher Education, American Association of University Professors
University of Delaware Could Reinstate Residence Life Indoctrination Program
, National Association of Scholars
It’s 1984 at the University of Delaware, Frontpage Magazine
Delaware Indoctrination: You Haven’t Heard It All, Students For Academic Freedom

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Filed under academia, Assault on Individual Freedom, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Indoctrination, Political Correctness, University of Delaware

Lies, Damn Lies and English 1B at SJSU

On April 16th, Frank Lindh, the father of John Walker Lindh, spoke via teleconference to an English 1B class at San Jose State University in California.  John Walker Lindh (aka: The American Taliban and Johnny Jihad) was charged with and pleaded guilty to

(1) engaging in a conspiracy, while outside the United States, to kill nationals of the United States outside of the United States, namely, United States nationals engaged in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2332(b); (2) providing, attempting to provide, and conspiring to provide material support and resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations, namely, al-Qaeda and Harakat ul-Mujahideen (“HUM”), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2339B and 2; and (3) engaging in prohibited transactions with the Taliban, in violation of Title 31, Code of Federal Regulations, Sections 545.201 and 545.204, Executive Order # 13129, Title 50, United States Code, Sections 1702 and 1705, and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2.

Affidavit in Support of a Criminal Complaint and an Arrest Warrent, United States of America v. John Walker Lindh

Here is a video of the class presentation by Frank Lindh.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Frank Lindh Speaks at SJSU“, posted with vodpod

[hat tip:  The Jawa Report]

When I took English 1B, I remember a writing exercise that involved analyzing propaganda.  We selected a political advertisement and were required to describe what ideas the ad intended to convey and how the ad used images and language to spin the topic for a specific purpose.  Did SJSU Lecturer Richard Flynn have the same intention with this exercise, or is this just a hideous example of political indoctrination in Lower Division classes?

Frank Lindh claims that his son is presumed to have been involved with the events of 9/11.  Rubbish.  The charges in the affadavit above are quite specific.  Walker Lindh was convicted of being an enemy combatant and providing material support to a terrorist organization for his actions in Afganistan (The Case of the Taliban American, and The Taliban Next Door).

Here is the SJSU English Department’s description of English 1B:

Assignments shall emphasize those skills and activities in writing and thinking that produce 1) the persuasive argument, and 2) the critical essay, each of which demands analysis, interpretation, and evaluation.

It would be nice to see some of the analysis, interpretation and evaluation that will comprise Flynn’s students’ critiques. If Flynn’s class assignment was to analyze Frank Lindh’s propaganda and revisionist history involving his son (The Real Story of John Walker Lindh), then kudos to Richard Flynn. But, after listening to some of the student comments in the video, it does not appear that critical thinking was a part of the exercise. Lindh’s revisionism includes describing his son as “scholarly” even though he was a student in an alternative high school (i.e., couldn’t cut it in traditional high school) and eventually dropped out.   Lindh describes his son’s life as a “spiritual quest” even though that quest landed him in the middle of a prison uprising in Afganistan. The Crusades could be described as similar “spiritual quests,” except they involved White Christians fighting Islamists not White Islamic converts fighting against their own country.

The course description also says that English 1B addresses:

Diversity: Assignments (both reading and writing) shall address issues of race, class, and gender when appropriate, and the perspectives of women and diverse cultural groups shall be incorporated into course instruction and materials in an inclusive and comprehensive manner whenever possible.

Lindh’s English 1B teleconference may be one of the rare instances in American academia in which a privileged White male is the topic of sympathetic discussion. Oh, but I forget: (1) John Walker Lindh converted to Islam, (2) that now qualifies him as a member of a “diverse cultural group,” and thereby (3) he has achieved victim status and, in the minds of some, justification for his misguided acts.

Additional Reading:

US v. John Walker Lindh Grand Jury Indictment

Statement of John Walker Lindh to the Court

UPDATE: Additional Information

This has been added as a point of contrast to John Walker Lindh and actions that JWL freely chose to take.

Honor Mike Spann

mike_colorized

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Filed under academia, Academic Indoctrination, John Walker Lindh, Mike Spann, Political Correctness, Politics, San Jose State University

One Republican’s View of the Election Defeat: The Fighter Still Remains

Early this morning, me and a colleague were sorting through all the paper in the communal printer’s output tray. She tentatively asked, ” So what did you think of the election yesterday?”

“My husband and I watched the hockey game and a video. Neither of us wanted to watch wall-to-wall pundits bleating over everything and nothing for eight hours.”

Near the bottom of the unclaimed papers, we found a printed email from our Director to one of the senior managers. It was an invite to a cocktail party to celebrate the end of the “W” era. The obviously personal email was filled with invectives against the President.

“You know, Bush has done some things that I don’t like, but this nastiness just isn’t right,” my colleague said furtively and glanced at me sideways.

“Don’t worry. I’m a Republican. I won’t turn you in to the Political Correctness Police.”

Her eyes widened. “Thank God. So am I. I never see you laughing when the others joke about Palin and McCain and other Republicans. My husband and I were both sooo upset last night.”

Welcome, once again, to my surreal job in Academia. After ten years of constant liberal braying and insults, I always assume that I’m the only conservative and that I am all alone. This little story illustrates the depth of fear that non-liberals enjoy while working for liberal universities.

That two people can share an office for a year, sit four feet away from each other during one of the most heated and high-profile political campaigns of recent history, and not know that they share the same political views because we’re both afraid to reveal ourselves and be ridiculed is poignant. Suddenly, the lone wolves are running parallel tracks. Defeat has brought strangers together. One multiplied is two, two multiplied is four, four becomes sixteen… reach out, organize and grow strong.

Useful Reading:

To Conservative Who Are Thinking About Tomorrow, Tony Blankley

A Way Out of the Wilderness, Jeff Flake

How the GOP Got Here, NRO Symposium

Congratulations, Sen. Obama: An Open Letter to the President-Elect, Matt Moon, The NextRight

Not the end of the world
, Chizumatic

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Filed under 2008 Election, academia, conservatives, Republicans

Portrait of a blinking idiot: New litmus test for right-wingers and conservatives

A research team, based at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has published results from a study (“Political Attitudes Vary with Physiological Traits,” Science, 19 September 2008, Vol. 321, no. 5896, pp. 1667-1670) that claims to show that physiological traits such as blinking and flinching correlate to political beliefs. Of course, those folks in the study who were strongly identified with conservative political beliefs are said to respond more strongly to stimuli by blinking harder and flinching.

If the claims are true that conservatives blink harder and more frequently, how do the study’s authors explain this?

Where do I begin? The sample size that led to this sweeping generalization? 46 people. So, the research team is saying that the reactions of 46 people can predict the behavior 6.7 billion people? Right…. Then, using that line of reasoning, one could hypothesize that 19 Muslim highjackers predict the behavior of all Muslims. I can hearing the howling about stereotyping and profiling and racism as I type these words.

According to the article, the team used

“physiological equipment, making it possible to measure skin conductance and orbicularis oculi startle blink electromyogram (EMG) response”

to conclude that

“Our data reveal a correlation between physiological responses to threat and political attitudes…. political attitudes and varying physiological responses to threat may both derive from neural activity patterns, perhaps those surrounding the amygdala.”

Of the eight researchers whose names appear on the article, only one – Mario Scalora – is a psychologist. The remainder are political scientists. There’s not a biologist, a neurologist, or a clinical physician in the lot. Not even a physiologist. You might think that adding a physiologist to a team that’s trying to draw conclusions about physiological reactions would be useful, if not obvious. If anyone has info on the specific equipment and tests used, please pass it along.

The article also states:

“political and social attitudes are heritable”

The proof they use for that conclusion: two articles published in the American Political Science Review. Since when are political scientists qualified to draw conclusions about genetics? Wouldn’t you want a geneticist to weigh in on that one?

While the Science article is careful not to draw conclusions about “liberals” and “conservatives,” the inference is obvious. And, the media is running with it. From the Toronto Star

“a new study in the prestigious journal Science says that people with right wing views blink and flinch far harder than liberals”

to Newsweek

“on the level of physiological reactions in the conservative mind, illegal immigrants may = spiders = gay marriages = maggot-filled wounds = abortion rights = bloodied faces.”

Lead author Doug Oxley told The Star

“What we’re introducing to the field of political science is this notion that there is a physical basis to these beliefs…”

If you want to introduce science to political science, why don’t you consult some actual scientists? All the team is doing is introducing and propogating another false meme.

So what’s next? Will folks be staring at faces, counting blinks, so that they can ferret out the evil conservatives from the nice liberals? I know! Bill O’Reilly can add a new segment to The O’Reilly Factor to complement his body language expert and media coach.

Ace of Spades has a nice retort to nitwit social scientists, Wherein I Do My Part to Aid the Social Sciences

More reading:

Are you born conservative (or liberal)? L.A. Times

Laws of Nature: How to Spot a Conservative Telegraph

Left, Right; Obama, McCain: It might not be what you think University of Nebraska-Lincoln Press Release

Updated Links from Slate.com
Republicans are from Mars, Democrats from Venus: Why is Every Neuropundit Such a Raging Liberal?
Liberal Interpretation: Rigging a Study to Make Conservatives Look Stupid

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Filed under academia, Bill O'Reilly, conservatives, Dick Cheney, liberals, Nancy Pelosi, political science, Politics, right-wing