April 23, 2005

Only The Left Knows What Is Right

Why is it that the Left always presumes to know what is best for the rest of us? I recently posted on an incident at Santa Rosa Junior College. After some time, one Blair Zarubick left the following comment:

I am a student at SRJC, the teapot where this tempest swirls. Ms. McPherson is not so much a facist or McCarthyite as She is an opportunist. Although she claims her campaign is in defense of students, there are in fact no formal complaints against any of the instructors she attacked with such cowardice.Molly abjured anonymity only when Ms. Flyswithhawks had called a press conference, which Molly then attempted to highjack.A true conservative would at the very least attempt to defend thir rights through the formal process. Molly is now running for President of the Associated Students against a middle aged activist who has been charged with theft twice but escaped prosecution by claiming to be Bipolar.I suspect that Molly is going to be a source of amusement and anxiety here on campus for while longer.

I emailed Mr. Zarubick and asked point-blank if he had actually ever spoken to Molly McPherson, as I have. I received no reply, so I pressed him again, using an e-mail addy I discovered for him via a Hotbot search. His response, finally was this:

No I've not spoken to Molly, I've not actually seen her in person, I am responding to her public comments.

That was predictable.

But Mr. Zarubick thinks that the rest of us are incorrect in deducing that Ms. McPherson has a valid point because we do not see eye-to-eye with him. His stance appears to be that the rest of us are intellectually inferior to him because we agree on this issue with a Republican.

In a related item, an anonymous tip turned up an interesting website, Operation Red Scare, devoted to the issue at hand. I am listed under "Blog Responses to Operation Red Scare". An e-mail to the owner of the site was bounced back as undeliverable. People seem to be gunshy about being associated with this issue. Could it be because they know that there is truly a problem with free speech in American academia?

Mark's brain blurted out at 12:45 PM
Consciousness (6)
Calblog synapses with: Take A Second Look

Mark, I do not undertand your agitation and desire to blame all that is wrong with this situation on some vague and unidentified "Left." I went back and read the exchanges you had with several commenters. I couldn't disagree with you more. The young women who posted the stars are using fascist techniques to brand people with whom they disagree. Red stars appearing anonymously on someone's door is very similar to painting stars of David on shop doors in central Europe. Who appointed these two women arbiters of political truth? If they disagree with the teachers, don't take their classes and be sure to tell all their friends, but the technique they chose is offensive to me. I'm surprised it isn't offensive to you.

Posted by: Houston at April 24, 2005 06:17 PM

Houston: I'm glad you disagree. If we agreed on everything, this would be a boring world, wouldn't it? As far as your comment goes, the issue has been polarized at the SRJC campus by the faction that disagrees with Ms. McPherson, who happens to belong to the SRJC Republican club. If you had read all the newspaper articles about it, as I have, talked to some of the faculty members of both SRJC and a neighboring college, Sonoma State University, as I have, you would most definitely see that the opposite factions in this issue are Left and Right. I did not choose the factions in this disagreement. As to your assertion that this is the same as painting Magen Davids on shop windows, I will tell you what I have told others in the past: Comparisons of the Republican Party and members of the right in this country, up to and including George W. Bush, to the Nazi Party and their tactics, is anathema to me as a Democrat and a Jew. It denigrates the memory of victims of the Shoa, and such comparisons are the most absurd example of rhetoric I have come across.
The professors targeted with the fliers were not threatened with bodily harm or injury (I have personally seen the flier as well). At the very most, I have an issue with the initial anonymity of the flier. Ms. McPherson owned up to that in my conversation with her, and expressed regret about that as well. However, she came out quickly and forcefully to defend the posting of the flier and the reasons behind it. She then organized an open debate on whether there was in fact, student indoctrination and if so, what could be done to remedy the situation. This debate had the backing of every student club at SRJC.

I've done my homework on this issue, Houston; others, like Zarubick, have not. And it is an issue that I have felt is a long time past due. There is a very real and growing problem with left-wing indoctrination and anti-Semitism in academia. This issue is just the tip of a monumental iceberg.

As to who appointed these women arbiters of political truth, they are paying for their education. If they feel there is a problem, they damn well have the right to speak up about it. Further, they took it to the next level and organized an OPEN proceeding to get to the bottom of it. I suspect that the professors are all crying foul in order to keep their fat, lazy tenured asses in place without any controversy. But that's MY opinion. In America, I am entitled to say it out loud.

Hope that clarifies my position a little and no hard feelings, eh?

Posted by: Mark at April 24, 2005 08:24 PM

Hey! M Donovan is actually a philosophy instructor who was starred. I have since had coffee / pizza / played pool wiht him a few times. He has definitely taken advantage of making changes because he sees the need for them -- introducing new sections into Professional development days, etc. I respect him. I am not sure why his e-mail bounced back...he is very open to discussion with people on this issue; in fact, he seeks it. I appreciate his compilation of a simple history of the events... of course, now, he is including practically everything that is said, because the issue is a dead one.

Yeah, I do wish more people would come ask me for the straight story... I appreciate YOU putting it out there for me, Mark!

Posted by: Molly McPherson at April 29, 2005 03:59 PM

Hello! I'm the instructor who created the Operation Red Scare web site. I'm not sure why you weren't able to email me. I've checked the site's email links, and they all seem to work. If there is a dead email link, would you let me know and I'll fix it?

What Molly wrote is true. While I still don't approve of the way she originally raised her issues -- in fact, I see them as grossly undemocratic -- I also believe Molly means well. And while I'm not convinced there's some systematic problem needing systematic changes (e.g., new laws) to correct them, neither do I naively think academia is free of academic bias, nor do I think academia's methods of addressing such problems are perfect. While, all in all, I have been very impressed by the openmindedness I see on my campus, and I know the people involved in the grievance process take the process serisouly, I see room for improvement -- and suspect there always will be room for improvement. The key is to address our problems accurately and sincerely, without demonizing either teachers or students. While I think Molly has failed to do this at times, I also think it's important to recognize that she is a student, and my responsibility as a teacher is to respond in ways that encourage learning. That's why I attempt to be open to discussion. That's why I am posting this message. And this is why I welcome any questions anyone has.


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