Monday, January 23, 2006

You See (L)ame (A)ctions

Mr. Edroso schools us:

I see an UCLA alumni group is posting a hit list of leftist professors, and offering students money to monitor said professors' activities....I have said it before, and before that, and before that even, but I will repeat it here: what prevents these aggrieved students from transferring to Liberty University, where Jerry Falwell will see to it that they never hear another leftwing prof again?
If these people loved education as much as they loved to bitch and moan, this country would be in great shape.

Well said, if a little snippy.

What's that? You don't want to go to Liberty University? It isn't as prestigious? That's the trade-off, living in a free-market society. Vote on the "liberality" of these institutions by funding the ones you agree with. Paying students to rat out their "leftist" Professors? Creepy, underhanded, and un-American, says I.


At 3:39 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

Alright, so donning my devil's advocate hat, why can't they generate said list and go to a liberal university? What happens to the professors on this list? Do they get fired or something?

There were certainly biased prefessors at my university. If I were politically minded (i'm not now nor was I then, not particularly anyway) what would be the problem of at least wanting to know beforehand the leaning of my teacher? And who better to generate said list than students. A sort of Zagat survey.

At 3:58 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

I welcome you, D.A.

If it were the students' idea, and not a group of people offering to pay them for information? I might agree with you.

But what's to stop students from abusing this? To "report" Professors who's "liberality" is subjective? If a Professor teaches that the United States has participated in setting up puppet governments, is he "too liberal?" Even if that's empirical fact?

The cash reward only makes this more dubious. If I were an enterprising student who wanted a little extra dosh, I'd just select a Professor who'd pissed me off and report him. After all, who's to say I'm wrong if I think he's too liberal?

And isn't the point of a higher education to be exposed to viewpoints which you are not only unfamiliar with, but perhaps actively disagree with? Isn't the selection of coursework based upon someone else's classification of a Professor (someone you probably don't know, and who's reasoning is probably unavailable) ultimately detrimental to the whole idea of learning?

If students want to flag their Professors as "too liberal," there are outlets for that. The internet being a simple, effective example.

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

The site doens't appear to be up so I don't know all of the details, but I'll try and answer.

Of course you'll get some students who just do it for the money. That's certainly a hole in the idea. But knowing students in general, the only way to get most of them to do anything is to offer them something in return.

Does the Alumni association supply the criteria for what makes a prof a liberal? Do the profiles on the professors include details or just "ratings"? "Professor Daniels is a Gore, whereas I find Dr. Jenkins more of a Moore."

You and I might say that that's the point of a higher education, but some are just there to learn "facts" to get a McJob. And regarding other outlets, there's no one stop shoping. They want a list darn it. ;-)

At 5:56 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Return of the return of the D.A.:

In college, I attended a music theory class run by a man who's politics and general personal philosophy I despised. That's not an exaggeration. I think I actually hated him.

But did I learn from him? And does being forced to work with, and alongside, ideologies and philosophies you don't agree with teach you important lessons about success and the future of our increasingly-fractitious, globalized village?

I believe I did, and that it does.

..."knowing students in general, the only way to get most of them to do anything is to offer them something in return."

Doesn't this imply that the issue is only an issue to people who aren't substantively affected by all of this? If the students don't care enough/at all about this, then why should some guy without a vested educational interest in the place?

If it's a McJob they're looking for, there are technical schools aplenty to learn a good, well-paying wage doing work where thinking about philosophy or ideology is not required.

What's the value of recieving an education if you only learn what you already know?

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

I agree and don't think I can really argue this any further. The whole list thing is pretty dumb.

At 9:08 AM, Blogger roy said...

Good discussion. All things being equal, the UCLA incidents wouldn't be a big deal. But their connection to a movement seeking to use the power of government to compel schools to hire conservative professors makes them rather sinister.

At 1:06 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Thanks for the comment and the link, Roy. That's a fascinating article.

I make a point of coming by Roy's site,, on a near-daily basis. He's a whip-smart, funny mofo.


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