Saturday, March 11, 2006

Higher education = higher hypocrisy

Every so often I read the lefty blogs and listen NPR or if I am sitting directly under the broadcast tower, I can even tune into Air America's 1,000 watt flamethowing station. Why? I want to know what the left thinks. I want to know what their talking points are so I can pick them out in the MSM and know where they came from.

It would be easy to get upset at the emotional reactions and outbursts of rage and hatred that make up a good portion of the left's media products. I choose to laugh at their rage.

One of the left's most sacred cows is diversity. They hold up diversity as a paramount virtue, unequaled, with the possible exception of personal freedom. Taken at their word, it would seem that our colleges and universities would be a place where all points of view are given the same amount of attention and scrutiny. One would reach that conclusion by listening to the academic elites drone on about how they seek to understand all points of view and celebrate our diverse cultures and values. One would be wrong.

The most current example of the failure in the quest to achieve diversity is found at Yale University in the form of the Taliban spokesman Ramatullah Hashemi, he was given a 40% reduction in tuition fees to attend this prestigious school. Of the thousands of bright and highly achieved students that applied for admission to Yale, it is astonishing that a man with a fourth grade education and admitted ties to a brutal terrorists regime was granted admission. As one alumni of Yale wrote to the university president;
I am a proud alumnae of Yale, and a committed donor and volunteer to the University. It pains me to say that I think, this time, my beloved alma mater screwed up.

Yale admitted Sayeed Rahmatullah Hashemi to Yale, first through its special students program for one semester, and then as a full time student. Was it his 4th grade education that impressed the admissions office the most? Or his high school equivalency degree? Nope--he was admitted because Yalies could apparently "learn" from his experiences as the Taliban's ambassador-at-large.

Yup--the Taliban. You know that group that forced/forces women to wear the burqua? That would publicly execute women in the soccer stadium of Kabul for "sins" like going to the doctor, or walking down
the street, or, god forbid, for wearing nail polish? One of the most violent and intolerant regimes the world has known?

Yeah, that Taliban. And Hashemi should be familiar to you too. If you didn't catch him live on his Taliban World Tour, an excerpt of one of his speeches was in Fahrenheit 9-11. He's the guy who, when a woman in the audience said he should be ashamed for making women wear the burqua, said that "I'm really sorry for your husband. He must have a very difficult time with you." And Hashemi, to this day, is largely unrepentant of the Taliban's policies.

I give Yale and the rest of academia credit for half the battle, they will give a microphone to anyone and set a lectern in front of them to state the most offensive opinions they can find, but only if those opinions run contrary to conservative and dare I say it, traditional American values.

Where are the conservative professors in those Ivy covered halls? Where are the Christian faculty members debating the secular faculty? How can you talk about diversity when your offices are filled from one side of the national and international culture? Where are the Eastern European professors who suffered religious persecution from the Communists? Those who know what a failure communism is because they lived through the brutal reality of it? Do you know where they are? They are kept in the shadows. They are kept in check by the radicals in the student body and more alarmingly, the faculty. If they get too loud, or challenge the liberal status quo, they pay a heavy price of public ridicule and being ostracized by the their peers.

Ask Harvard President Lawrence Summers, who had to resign because he dared to ask a question. Is there a genetic reason why women are do not go into the math and sciences field. Just a question, one that came from an absolute fact, women do not do as well in these fields statistically, is there a reason in how our brains are wired? In stead of refuting the question with substance and research, the radical feminists did what they do best, the went nuts. Don't get too close to our sacred cow, don't even look at it, it may be paper mache, but its a fine looking paper mache cow, don't mess with it. Very mature ladies.

When the academic left attacks Christianity, they say they are looking at the facts and we need to be open to scrutiny or they call us religious zealots. These same people drip with venom when their liberal views are confronted and challenged. Their ideals can only exist in the world of academia, protected from reality, protected from open an honest debate and protected by the diversity police who will attack and slay any foe who dares to point out that you cannot have diversity when you exclude one side from the discussion.


yalechk said...

Thank you for posting my letter to President Levin. I would like to point out the rest:

"This is learning that Yale doesn't need. Diversity involves getting a wide mix of legitimate viewpoints into the classroom, but the Taliban's viewpoint simply isn't legitimate. There are some behaviors which are simply, objectively, morally wrong. A massive campaign of brutally oppressing women and homosexuals is wrong. It's true that we should learn about the Taliban, just as we learn about all sorts of evil in this world--Hitler, Milosevic, the KKK--but learning about something is not the same thing as learning side by side with the ambassador to that regime.

By giving special treatment to the ambassador of the Taliban regime, an individual with subpar qualifications who was admitted because of, rather than in spite of, his involvement with that regime, Yale is sending a pretty mixed message. Aren't there other foreign individuals with diverse viewpoints that they could have admitted? Ones who weren't the spokesmen for violent, intolerant regimes? Maybe even ones who were academically qualified?

And this is an issue that the right wing does not--and should not--own. The right wing doesn't own the market on common sense. There are lots of Democrats out there who can agree that it's pretty upsetting that Yale is giving the Taliban spokesman the opportunity to earn a Yale education. And I daresay that there are a lot of Liberals (gasp!) and Feminists (oooh!) who think the same way.

I have been an alumni interviewer for Yale for five years. I am involved in my graduation class, and I am a class fundraising agent for the Developments Office. Unlike the individuals profiled below, I don't advocate stopping your donations to Yale. There's no reason to punish the students of the University for the administration's mistake. I do think, however, that this was a poor call on the administration's part, and that it sends a bad message to all the well-qualified students out there who didn't get admitted to Yale. This is not diversity--this is a lapse in judgment. Diversity doesn't mean abandoning your sense of right and wrong."

So, as a liberal Democrat from Yale, I agree with you that this is a poor application of diversity. But I don't think that academia, as a whole, is wrong is its pursuit of traditional liberal values, and I don't think it's as intolerant of right wing viewpoints as you, or other members of the right, suggest.

Just in the interest of representing both sides...

Christina Bost Seaton YC '01

Yolo Cowboy said...

Thanks for your first person view on this subject. While I did not, or more to the point, could not attend such a prestigious university, I do live and work in a college town. I speak to many students and staff who share stories of professors who do more than just offer liberal opinions, they will not tolerate discussion from a conservative viewpoint. If those who hold conservative views challenge the professors, they are rewarded with a tongue lashing and an adjustment in their grade.
You seem to hold liberal views, that is fine. I was once a Democrat and if I looked back on my views from my twenties, we would no doubt have shared many of the same beliefs. I was not born and raised a conservative Republican, I know a few and they just can't see both sides of an issue. I am not criticizing them, I am just saying I know how I used to think, or to be honest, how I felt about an issue. If you read my blog, I do not always side with the GOP or the Administration, politicians are people, and people have flaws and make mistakes.

There are those on the right who it would be fair to say are intolerant, but I must say that taken as a whole, the left, and especially the academic left, hold the most intolerant views of anyone I know. You may not see the bias for what it is simply because, as I did when I was at college, I agreed with the ideology.

Thanks again for the comments.

yalechk said...

and thank you for your thoughtful response!

Justin Cox said...

The debate regarding Hashemi is far more nuanced and complex than you - or yalechk - is letting on. For a fairer treatment of the issue, check out this blog. Specific links include:

Debate within the Yale Law School:

A reaction:


On whether Hashemi is a "terrorist":

Background on Hashemi:

Yolo Cowboy said...

Or you could go here to read a good piece or here to get a good book on the subject.