|Montréal, 14 octobre 2000 / No 69||
by Ralph Maddocks
Recently, an item in one of the daily news digests caught my attention. It had to do with university courses on Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, the Enlightenment and the Romantic poets being withdrawn in favour of some politically correct nonsense. We have all read or heard about courses being offered which seek to teach students how Shakespeare's work discriminates against women or how racism
The author, a lady, wondered why, especially at a university where places may cost $30,000 or more each year, any sane parent would pay such amounts on behalf of their offspring. According to the author of the piece they don't any more, and enrolment in English courses is declining. Could this be a sign that the public is waking up at last?
Looking at a few examples from US college courses on offer one finds such nuggets as Oberlin College's Feminist Criticism of Shakespeare. A course which aims to
The University of Northern Arizona is offering a course on Women, Gender Identity and Ethnicity, which will discuss
If you are enrolled at the University of California at Santa Barbara, you can take part in a black studies course which teaches that Black Marxism is different from the plain old Marxism we all thought we knew and loved. While I do not recall Marx saying very much about sociology, anthropology or black literature and studies, he did use the
With a course on Star Trek and Religion at Indiana promising to discuss how religion is portrayed on Star Trek, one may have touched the bottom of this particular pit. The course promises to delve into the writings of
While I found many other examples, the above will have to suffice.
Careful what you say
Political correctness seems to have become so deeply embedded in the minds of people that they no longer find it abhorrent. Few seem to be bothered by it any more, simply accepting it as
The PC movement over the last two decades or so has provided many with an endless source of amusement. No more can one be an orphan, one is
So pervasive has this movement become that even my e-mail programme objects if I receive messages containing words it considers to be politically incorrect. The first intimation of this was a warning attached to a message that I received from a niece of mine in England. She was relating how successful she had been in her attempt to give up smoking. She told me that she had now stopped smoking completely, having
The criminalization of academic content
Concomitant with the rise of the doctrine of political correctness has been an increase in the number of cases of alleged sexual harassment in the United States. Each centre of learning seems to have its own code of behaviour. Tongue twisting job titles such as the
Hearings are not adversarial courtroom-type proceedings; the defendant does not necessarily have the right to be present or to hear other witnesses, and does not have the right to cross-examine witnesses or prevent relevant evidence being considered. Defendants may not be allowed to confront their accuser, or even to hear the testimony of the accuser. The accused may be free to consult with an attorney, but they are not permitted to have one present during the hearing or at any resulting appeal. The defendant has no right to discuss his or her case, being in effect under a gag order. As the Legal Director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Nicholas Hentoff, said of Columbia University's policy,
His organisation, FIRE, sent a letter to the trustees of Columbia University that read in part;
A fairly damning criticism which so far doesn't seem to have changed things very much because an early victim of Columbia's policy was its distinguished Cardozo Professor of Jurisprudence, George Fletcher. Professor Fletcher was told that a question in his 1999 law class exam was possibly
To quote from the letter sent by FIRE to the Dean of Law at Columbia University Law School,
The case has brought forth an outpouring of righteous indignation against what is seen as the outright criminalization of academic content and an assault against academic freedom. The lady president of the American Civil Liberties Union, Nadine Strossen, observed that:
At the time of writing no account of the affair's resolution has appeared in the press, and no reply to their letter to the Dean of Law has been received by FIRE.
As a mere male, I have never understood why the feminists seem to think that so many of their sisters are so very weak and unable deal with such issues. History has shown women to be the equal of men, in most if not all respects, and it seems to me that such claims as are being advanced on their behalf do not do women justice. The issues raised by Professor Fletcher's exam are unpleasant, but no more so than the kinds of cases and issues a criminal law practitioner faces every day. To see them as a violation of women's civil rights is profoundly repugnant and demonstrates the need to rid us of this blight on our society before it completely destroys our little remaining freedom.
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