Shake the Dust off Your Feet

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Those of us who are conservative struggle to know what to do in the face of a militant, hostile, and oftentimes violent version of social “democratic” liberalism. Cutting ties with family, friends, and professional associations is difficult, and most of us want to avoid doing that if possible. However, family and friends who are leftist ideologues make harsh, personal comments that make it difficult if not impossible to sustain meaningful relationships with those people. Professional associations in academia are condemning traditionalist positions; even the Society of Christian Philosophers leadership condemned the great Oxford philosopher Richard Swinburne for his opposition to homosexual practice. These are times of cutting ties on both sides of our sharply divided political spectrum. Mostly it has been the Left who are cutting ties, unfriending people on Facebook, refusing to invite family members home at holidays, and in the case of celebrities, publicly condemning family members for their “offense” of voting for Mr. Trump (as Ashley Judd did). While conservatives tend not to break ties, there are times in which doing such is unavoidable. Below are some of the ties I have cut.

I rarely unfriend people on Facebook, but I have unfriended a few. Some were personally obnoxious and insulting to me; others were indirectly insulting by labeling all conservatives and Trump supporters as racists, sexists, etc. I can even let that go, but some liberals have posted the most obnoxious, mean, hateful posts that I felt I had no choice but to unfriend them. That has only happened three or four times (0ut of 700 FB friends), and I hated having to do it. I am not going to renew my membership in the Society of Christian Philosophers due to its treatment of Professor Swinburne. I decided not to renew my membership in the North Carolina Poetry Society due to a ridiculous sexual harassment policy that would forbid a single man from asking a woman who is a member of that organization out on a date–even if such asking takes place outside the context of a meeting. It is not merely the silliness that merely asking someone out is sexual harassment; it is the evil and arrogant intrusion into people’s private lives.

I am also not renewing my membership in the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Their meetings have become libfests on the unholy trinity of race, class, and gender. Life is too short for me to waste time on such ignorance and stupidity. I have joined online organizations–a conservative, pro-Trump group of academics and writers, and a group for conservatives of all varieties who are creative writers. Long ago I joined the National Association of Scholars rather than the American Association of University Professors. I am hoping for an organization for philosophers to be founded that is similar to the group for traditionalist scholars in English.

At school I do my job quietly (and hopefully well–I try my best) and work on my research project on ghosts, philosophy, and theology. I continue to do creative writing and have kept up my membership in the Horror Writers Association, which has thus far avoided falling wholly into the politically correct cesspool.  I gladly argue with open-minded liberals and try to avoid those who are not. I stay at home when not required by teaching or office hours or meetings, but if there’s an interesting lecture, film, play, or music concert on campus, I enjoy attending those. But in all of life there seems more bitter division and fewer lasting friendships between people who are ideologically different.

To me, this division is sad. But world views are at stake, and human beings are naturally defensive about the fundamental values by which they live their lives. Since our real battles in society today are world view battles, I see the trend of division continuing indefinitely into the future.

 

 

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A Victory for Freedom of Speech in Academia

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Julea Ward, a graduate student in the counseling program at Eastern Michigan University, was expelled from the program. She had referred a homosexual client to another counselor since she would have been in the position of affirming the client’s sexual orientation as being morally acceptable, something that Ms. Ward did not accept due to her religious beliefs. Although the counseling program has a non-discriminatory policy on “sexual orientation,” there were procedures in place for a student to refer a client in case of values conflicts. Instead the university’s counseling program showed its intolerance for traditional Christian belief on the moral unacceptability of practicing homosexuality.

Ms. Ward sued, and the initial court ruling was in favor of the university. However, today a ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the lower court’s ruling. In his opinion, Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton made it clear that tolerance is not a one-way street, and that the university was punishing Ms. Ward for her religious beliefs.

This marks a significant victory for freedom of speech and freedom of religion in academia. Many academics are products of the mindset of the 1960s, with its transvaluation of values and its support of positions inimical to those of traditional Christianity. It is far to say that many academics hate traditional Christianity and traditional morality concerning sexual ethics. Such vitriolic hated expresses itself in intimidation and sometimes dismissal of students and faculty who disagree with the “New Puritanism” (as my late friend Marion Montgomery called it) in academia. Often, when people like Ms. Ward fight back, they win in court (though with the radicalism of Mr. Obama’s appointees this may change in the future). Traditionalists in academia, both among faculty and students, should, of course, pick their battles, but when it becomes time to fight, they should fight aggressively. There are organizations such as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and the National Association of Scholars (NAS) who lend support for academics unfairly treated due to dogmatic ideology in academia. These organizations give hope to faculty and students who face discrimination, and the Sixth Circuit Court ruling today is a breath of fresh air.

http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/12a0024p-06.pdf?utm_source=January+27%2C+2012+-+Press+Release%3A+Ward+v.+Polite+Decision&utm_campaign=NAS+E-Newsletter&utm_medium=email

 

College to Student: Conform…. Or Else

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This article (http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=236913) is a sad commentary on American higher education. What happened to Jen Keeton will happen to more students (and faculty) who do not tow the line of “politically correct” moral positions, positions opposed to those held by traditional Christians and Jews. Besides English Departments, the social sciences are cesspools of radicalism in many American universities. Counseling programs, which lack the rigorous scientific protocols of experimental or neuropsychology, often move from one radical idea to another–whatever is trendy at the time. Any view that there is a stable human nature that is violated when people deviate from the sexual norm is held to ridicule at best, to use of force at worst. Thankfully, the National Association of Scholars (of which I am a member) stands up for academic freedom and true openness to different points of view in higher education. While they are often labeled by the radical left as a “far right-wing organization,” the NAS has both conservatives, moderates, and (true) liberals as members. Hopefully with their help, and with the  help of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, freedom of thought in academia will win out.

I once had a friend (who passed away, unfortunately, in his early 60s), a liberal democrat, who always told me that many of the so-called liberals in academia were not liberals, but “radicals.” He probably despised the radicals more than he despised the political right–at least the right, for the most part, affirms academic freedom; the 1960s-style academic radicals do not.

Unfortunately, students who want a way out of radical indoctrination and “sensitivity training” do no better in “Christian” schools. It is easy for someone to hide his real views until he gets tenure, and then the administration gives in under the threat of a lawsuit. One person like that does little harm, but when a group of them form a coalition, they are as dangerous to the careers of non-radical faculty or to the education of non-radical students as the KGB was to the lives of people in the Stalinist Soviet Union. The totalitarianism is not even subtle, as anyone who has been through “sensitivity training” realizes. These exercises are attempts to indoctrinate against the “threats” the radicals see in a “racist, sexist, and heterosexist society.” These “New Puritans” mean to excommunicate all who do not follow the unholy trinity of “race, class, and gender.” I suppose I could add “sexual orientation” to that list. No attempt to reason with such radicals will work; they are not interesting in reasoning, but in power. In the past, I had hoped the poison of the 1960s would seep out of academia; now I am pessimistic, and radicals train more radicals. Eventually human nature will win out over attempts to subvert it–and for the traditional Christian, Christ will triumph over all in the Eschaton. Until then, those of us in academia who believe in traditional values and in a traditional higher education without political indoctrination will do our best.