Wednesday, February 28, 2007

'INTELLECTUAL DIVERSITY'

Emily Brooker's 15 minutes of infamy are surely up by now, but the former Missouri State University student refuses to give up the spotlight.

Brooker testified this week at a hearing in Jefferson City for something called the Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act, a piece of legislation that bastardizes the meaning of "intellectual" and makes a mockery of "diversity."

Brooker, as you probably remember, sued MSU after claiming her "Christian beliefs" were being trampled (she refused to write a letter to state lawmakers, voicing support for gay marriage). The university quickly settled the claim and cleared Brooker's academic record. The head of the social work graduate program stepped down from that post but continues to teach at MSU.

Republican lawmakers pushing the Brooker Act swallowed a load during the hearing. A News-Leader account of the meeting included this claim from witness Mindy Ellis, an Ozarks social worker:
"(Another professor) made several statements leading several students to believe that a good social worker must engage in a homosexual act at some point."
Where are the "several students," when was the statement made, where's the proof that this is anything more than an outrageous lie?

But that's the way the radical right operates in Missouri and across the nation. Throw out a spectacular claim, rely on the media to report it without skepticism, and then point to the ensuing media frenzy as proof that there's more to the story than smoke. This, by the way, is the only time they like the media -- when it does their bidding. The rest of the time it's the liberal media and you can't trust anything they say.

(The radical right likes to shout a lot about discrimination against Christians, a major point of Brooker's beef. Last we checked, Christians accounted for 85 percent of the U.S. population. That's more than 224 million people, and they much rule the national roost.)

The radical right's other specialty is wordnapping -- stealing perfectly decent words and twisting them into something contrary to truth. Take "intellectual diversity." Under the Brooker Act, it's defined as "the foundation of a learning environment that exposes students to a variety of political, ideological, religious, and other perspectives."

C'mon. Do you really believe they mean it? A "variety" would include perspectives from across a broad spectrum. Brooker and her supporters in the Missouri General Assembly want to squelch perspectives that differ from their point of view. They're pushing for less diversity, not more. That's anything but intellectual.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looks like a backdoor method to get Intelligent Design into science classrooms.

Anonymous said...

You know. You could insert the word left for right and it would be the same.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no intellectual diversity at universities. An exception rule (meaning everything but Christian and conservative).

I remember my teach in ethics class (I think thats what it was.. been a long time ago) who spent two or three weeks trying to convince us that abortion really was okay because an infant couldnt live outside of the womb anyways.

I played the game and went along and got my A.

My wife can attest to similiar happenings when she took a class on African American History.

I actually lost points on a project during a multicultural class when I made the mistake of putting an American flag in it.

Talk all you want, but reality is a bit different than what you entertain.

I am not sure how I feel about what is being debated in Jefferson City right now, but I would not be opposed to some sort of shield for individuals who do not wish to play the game like I did in college.

John Stone said...

It was announced at 3 AM, in the midst of the tornados that the Greene County Professor/politician/puppet(eer) will hold a 3 hour public news conference to fully explain her original thoughts and views on this legislation.

The announcement was made in the Stone County PennyPower.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:19, you're playing the right's game when you say the word "left" could be replaced for "right" and all would be the same.

I don't hear the left complaining about attacks against Christianity, even though a majority of liberals are self-proclaimed Christians. Nor do most liberals want to squelch diversity. That's the miserable domain of the radical right.

Dan said...

Anon coward 8:03, I think anon coward 1:19 probably meant something more like it could have read this way:

But that's the way the radical [left] operates in [probably not]Missouri and across the nation. Throw out a spectacular claim, rely on the media to report it without skepticism, and then point to the ensuing media frenzy as proof that there's more to the story than smoke. This, by the way, is the only time they like the media -- when it does their bidding. The rest of the time it's the [conservative] media and you can't trust anything they say.

All sides play the media blame game. Sure it sucks, but good luck escaping it.

Larry Litle said...

.. Bastardizes the meaning of "intellectual" and makes a mockery of "diversity."

This is a thought provoking post. I understand why it appears that the Republicans are just doing this to protect their own interests. That may be their agenda here. Politicians are both sides are notorious for this. I have not seen enough of this law to know how I feel about it yet.

Here is my problem with the term “diversity” and how it is often used. Diversity should mean that all sides are represented and opinions on all sides are allowed to be expressed. It has appeared to me that this is only desired when there are too many conservatives involved in a field or area and we can add more liberals by diversifying. When a field is dominated with liberals such as Social Work, there is not the desire to diversify by bringing in a conservative professor to universities to give their perspectives. In my view, this has lead to the right being a bit bitter about this term. With the term "Intellectual Diversity", the right can now feel that they are a part of diversity by adding in their thoughts without ridicule.

I can testify that I was harassed for being a conservative in the Counseling and Social Work fields. I was told by numerous co-workers and fellow students that only liberals should be in this field. Now, I never had a professor act this way. I never had a boss discriminate against me because of it. But I was given the idea that true diversity is only meant to include more liberals in things. I had no need to be protected from these individuals. I can stand up for myself and I did. I proved myself as a good counselor and case manager over and over again. The conservative haters at these institutions could not figure out how I could do a good job and be a conservative. That was total retribution for their disdain of me because of my right leaning views.

Anonymous said...

I think the main issue here is that what conservatives like to pidgeon-hole as colleges' "liberal bias" is really a bias toward intellectual inquiry, which, studies have shown, makes most social conservatives or religious fundamentalists uncomfortable on a basic, psychological level.

A nice discussion of the psychology of liberal vs. conservative politics can be found here: http://psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-20061222-000001.xml

In a nutshell, intellectual curiosity and breadth of knowledge and experience are directly associated with liberal political leanings -- once you get out of the holler and take a look around, meet a few people with different skin color or backgrounds, it's hard to rationalize core conservative principles. It's one reason that the more degrees one has, the more likely one is to be a liberal (with the exception of greedy MBAs, doctors and lawyers, who start to trend conservative as their paychecks climb).

Studies have shown that test groups told to act on their "gut instinct" tend to react with a conservative bent, while those instructed to think a problem through rationally and analytically trend to the left As cheerleaders of rationality, rather than blind faith, it's NO SURPRISE that universities appear liberal.

Which isn't to say that rational conservatism is impossible -- I've met one or two. But most conservatives have such a basic aversion to self-examination (soul-searching that involves the brain) that it's all too rare.

Anonymous said...

As an addendum to the above: Anon 1:19's contention that "intellectual diversity" at universities doesn't include Christian or conservative viewpoints is true, to a point. "Intellectual diversity" means any and all viewpoints -that can be rationally discussed, evaluated and validated-. "Cuz Jesus said," (and I'm a big fan of Jesus, btw, just not his alleged followers) or "My pastor told me ..." don't cut the mustard.

thinkingthings said...

As a currently practicing licensed social worker, and someone who regularly provides licensure as well as graduate and undergraduate practicum supervision, I can tell you with no hesitation that, in this part of the country anyway, conservativism is alive and well in Social Work.

That doesn't preclude these people being good caseworkers or social workers, just as Larry said above, but frankly it is surprising to me that conservatives would even want to go into social work. They could just as easily, especially here in Springfield, go into Christian Counseling. Heck, they wouldn't even need a license to do that, and no one would question their philosophy.

But, this is starting to read like a real blog post, so I think I will just click on over to blogger and yak a bit more on this topic.

Larry Litle said...

Thinking Things,

Just curious, why would being a conservative change my desire to help people? We may disagree on methodology and what is the best way to help people but it does not change the over all goal. So should I not expect liberals to want to go into business? Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Ron, are you tolerant at all of people who disagree with your views? I know you have the right to free speech but all I see in your posts is hatred for conservatives and Christians.