Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Dirty Dozen

The Young America's Foundation has come out with its annual hit list of classes that it wants banned from higher education.

Young America’s Foundation Spokesman Jason Mattera remarks, “The Dirty Dozen demonstrates that professors still have an obsession with dividing people on the basis of their skin color, sexuality, and gender. They also can’t seem to shake off a strong admiration for Karl Marx and his murderous ideology—apparently the 100-plus million totalitarian regimes have murdered over the years is not enough?!” Actually, it's hard to see how a dozen classes, out of the millions taught annually on college campuses, prove anything at all. It mostly reveals that conservatives have an obsession with stopping academic study of race, gender, and sexuality.

As for Marx, the sole proof of this "strong admiration for Karl Marx" is one class at Amherst College in Massachusetts called, "Taking Marx Seriously: 'Should Marx be given another chance?'” According to YAF, "Students in this class are asked to question if Marxism still has 'credibility.'” Gasp! No, not asking questions! What kind of horrors are possible if we start having students read an important political philosopher and ask if he has credibility? Presumably, Mattera thinks that Karl Marx should be permanently banned from all college classes.

All of the classes cited by YAF are electives voluntarily taken by the students, and YAF seems to know nothing about the classes beyond a one-paragraph description. Is it possible that some of them are stupid classes? Sure, it's possible. But YAF's attempt to claim that any class about race, gender, sexuality, or Marx is absurd and should be banish must be recognized for what it is, an attack on academic freedom.

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