May We Take The High Road

Despite the hope implied in the masthead of this blog–“The rebel of the 21st century will be old fashioned”–I don’t know if there’s really a resurgence of conservative culture on the rise, especially since so little of what is coming into power now is actually conservative.

However, if the Right is about to enjoy a cultural moment of influence, some seem keen to abuse it…or at least are enamored of the fear that it might be abused:

Back in 2009 when Nancy Pelosi and the proggies were ramming ObamaCare down our throats someone opined that they were acting like they’d never lose another election. Since then they’ve spent eight years weaponizing the federal government. Now they’ve handed all that power over to The Donald and the Republicans and they’re terrified that we’ll do to them what they wanted Hillary to do to us. They’re looking under their beds and in their closets, terrified they might find the monsters of their own creation. The monsters they thought they’d control.

But monsters, once created, are notoriously difficult to control. You’d think all those English Lit majors would have remembered that, and we should remember it too…

This will be a chance to prove ourselves to posterity. Now we will see if we truly live by values, or if we will succumb to the growing temptation to be populist fascists. For example, I agree entirely with this:

Conservatives have understandably felt for decades that the higher education establishment is indifferent or hostile to their interests. The number of right-of-center faculty has dwindled to the point of disappearance; Republican speakers are regularly shouted down; campus speech codes and harassment policies seem designed to disfavor conservative points of view. Now that the cultural wind is at their backs as never before, some on the Right may be tempted to be vindictive, and to do to college liberals what college liberals have done to them. Ben Carson, currently being considered for a Trump Administration cabinet position, suggested during the primaries that the government should police colleges for liberal bias.

Needless to say, such efforts would be deeply destructive. If Orwellian left-wing speech codes are wrong, then McCarthyist speech codes are wrong as well. If the principle of academic freedom requires the protection of conservative scholarship, it requires the protection of liberal scholarship, too. The aim of genuine defenders of the liberal tradition must be to promote tolerance and open-mindedness, not to replace left-wing academic hegemony with a right-wing version.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, and two wrongs don’t make the Right.


Worst. Cheater. Ever.

Here’s one to add to my collection of cheating stories.  Yesterday, I passed some papers out that had been turned in for homework to another class.  We would review it as we went over the answers and they graded the papers.  As I started going over it, one girl, sitting right in the front of the room–right in front of me, in fact–pulled out her blank paper and started writing down the answers as I gave them out.  I stood there–right there–looking at this and wondering if she’d really have the gall to try to turn this in.

Sure enough, after I finished the review and the papers had been graded and were getting passed back up, she hurriedly stuck her paper in the stack.  I pulled it out and showed it to her, trying not to laugh, and said, “Kid, I have to be honest.  In ten years of teaching, this is the single worst attempt at cheating that I’ve ever seen.”  I pointed out that, for one thing, the papers that had been graded weren’t even those of the current class, but from a period earlier in the day, so that her one paper from this last class of the day would kind of stick out.  She didn’t even try to fake the “graded by” signature that teachers expect.   

At first she didn’t have anything to say, then tried to play it off by laughing and saying, “I didn’t know that was cheating.”  Of course, if she didn’t know it was cheating, then she wouldn’t have tried shoving her paper into the stack when she thought I wasn’t looking (even though, again, I was standing right by her desk), and she wouldn’t have marked two of her answers wrong just to make it look more authentic.  (Actually, I have to give her some credit for that.  Most cheaters just turn in perfect papers and think it doesn’t look suspicious.) 

Well, we’ll see if the dean can get some sense into her.  For my part, this is just another sign of a post-ethical generation sleazing its way into the world.  *sigh*