Tuesday, May 23, 2006

To Be Young (and Dumb)

Rich Lowry cites the disrespect showed Condi Rice and Senator McCain at the Commencement ceremonies of Boston College and the New School respectively:

McCain’s speech was largely a self-effacing account of his own folly as an arrogant, know-it-all youth. Students who heckled and turned their backs on the senator as he delivered this message must recognize irony only when it appears on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. The point of turning your back on someone is to demonstrate a fundamental disrespect. Students at BC were far and away better behaved than the New School mob, but some of them did the same to Rice. It is a gesture appropriate in response to a member of the Klan, but when applied to McCain or Rice, it says more about the protester than the speaker.

It’s not surprising that students are sophomoric, even if, as graduates, they are supposed to be beyond that. But faculty at both schools joined in the agitation. The opposition to Rice at BC was jump-started by a faculty letter, and some New School faculty turned their backs on McCain. It is these sort of professors who set the tone at top colleges. They act like a medieval guild protecting a monopoly on thought. Dissenting points of view send them into an angry, defensive crouch.

What is it about hearing a viewpoint different from your own that is so difficult to bear? What I liked about liberals and Democrats (back in the day) was that they appeared so openminded.

What I find most irksome about the New School "protests" is that some of them were not merely content to disagree with him. They had to show the man open contempt and disrespect. This is the man who spent years tortured for putting himself in danger while fighting for this country. That behavior is simply disgraceful. And I hope more people call them out on it.

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." -Albert Einstein


At 3:13 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

The inherent irony in protesting lack of open-mindedness in liberals, when the past six years have been an unending string of instances wherein conservatives have attempted to quash dissenting opinion, is nothing short of glaring.

Lowry's article neglects to mention that McCain's speech was a xeroxed address designed to be delivered at three separate universities. It neglects to mention the content of commencement speaker Jean Rohe's speech and what she was actually attempting to convey, and it indulges in the sort of eye-rolling denigration (yes, Rich, the entire campus of the New School is pierced and tattooed. Just like every conservative is an arrogant separatist).

While there can be no arguing that turning your back on a speaker, or heckling them out loud during their time is in poor taste, writers like Lowry stoop to verbally vomiting all over the very idea of dissent even as they argue for the necessity of it.

So, competing ideas are necessary, but not the ideas of the students? The petition Lowry cites, while unnecessary to me, seems like a mature way to express discontent with the choice in college speaker. And pretending that the views of said-speaker don't matter, and shouldn't be objected to, ignores the multiple instances where Lowry and his compatriots have chastised liberals for having an opinion different than their own.

In short - Pot? This is the kettle. You're jet-black with a side of inky blackness.

At 3:18 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

And that should read:

Indulges in the sort of eye rolling denigration (blahblahblahliberal crap) that instantly kills the persuasiveness of an argument for me.

At 11:44 AM, Anonymous portia said...

Personally, I think it's pretty disgraceful to attempt to piggyback your "unannounced" campaign for the Presidency on a commencement ceremony, as evidenced by your repetition of the same speech at all 3 totally disparate schools.

As far as "tolerating" dissenting opinions goes, I credit the "tolerance" of kids who can make it living for four years amongst 6 million wildly diverse people. Particularly when compared to the "tolerance" exercised and demonstrated by someone who went to Liberty, after signing the statement of beliefs.

Protest is protest. Whether you're waving purple band-aids or putting little crosses on a churchyard or marching in the streets, you're demonstrating an inherent lack of respect for someone or their idea. The minute we say that's out of bounds in specific situations, some people are off-limits, it's unseemly; well, that's the tough part of the First Amendment.

At 1:32 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Well said, Portia.

Please, come back and comment again. We need more people with thoughtful, clear opinions.

At 6:26 PM, Anonymous portia said...

Thanks! Here via a mutual friend, and so glad to read all this great stuff.


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