Students Against Rude Bloviation
9 September 2004

FrontPage :: Profane Professor by Bradley Alexander.

If Morrow really cared about speaking against the war, and not just puffing himself up, he could have spent the class time talking about the subject (the world wars) and then, at the end, said something like "Tonight at 7:30 in room 777B, Ashley Wilkes Hall, I'll be talking about the current war in Iraq. It's not part of this class and it's open to the public. So come if you're interested and bring your friends. Following the talk, there will be a rally in Buttler Plaza."

He would also take some time to learn about the war. If he really thinks we are only in Iraq to "steal oil," then he hasn't been doing his homework. He seems to possess a degenerate intellect, thinking that he already knows everything and has no need to learn anything new.

And if Morrow really wanted to persuade anyone, he would offer intelligent responses when challenged. Saddam did indeed "gas his own people" in the '80s. He also had stockpiles of chemical weapons, which were presumably destroyed after Gulf War I. (Or which he FedEx-ed to Syria before the onset of GWII.... Sure... ;) ) In Morrow's response of irrelevant emotionalism, he is setting a terrible example.

America needs citizens who can intelligently study, discuss and argue issues of war and peace. If I were a teacher, especially of important topics like World Wars I and II, I would try cultivate that intelligence in all of my students, left, right and center. If Bradley Alexander's account is correct, then Professor John Morrow has betrayed his profession and should be severly punished.

Given the way things work in academia these days, he probably won't be. The only ones in a position to address Morrow's improprieties are student activists. I have a suggestion for them. My idea involves effort and risk, but keep in mind, there really is a war going on. People are getting shot at and blown up. Signing up for a course not directly related to one's career track and risking a bad grade are small prices to pay for a chance to address the academic corruption that has been stupefying the American mind for the last 20 or 30 years.

Organize five or six students to sign up for Morrow's class. On the first day, one of them will visibly begin to record the lecture. If the teacher says, "No recording!" continue it anyway. Be prepared to counter rudeness with rudeness. "We're going to record, and if you don't like it, go teach some other class!!" If the teacher gives a rude answer to a polite question, then one or two of the organized five or six can challenge the teacher: "Why can't you just answer his question?" (said loudly and abrasively.)

The "organized six" would have to spend a lot of time planning and would probably come up with something other than my above suggestion, but that's fine -- always good to have an element of surprise.

I hope every college student subjected to academic improprieties follows the example of Bradley Alexander by writing up his or her experiences and getting them published somewhere, if only on a personal web site.

Addendum, 16 September 2004

Professor Morrow has put a reply to the Alexander article: I Don't Punish Students Who Disagree with Me, which includes a reply by David Horowitz along with some interesting further comments from readers. Horowitz has devoted several blog entries to this issue: here and here.

In some sense, Horowitz is doing on a macro scale what Morrow was doing in the classroom: Creating controversy in order to generate discussion and get people thinking about an issue.

I still think Morrow was out of line. At some point the issue of relating WWI and WW2 to Iraq would come up, but I don't think tirades against Bush on the first day of class would contribute much to that topic. I also agree with many commentators that Alexander should have stayed in the class and honed his disputation skills. Serious conservatives should treasure opportunities to argue with smart lefties. These are more important than opportunities to bait stupid lefties.

I think my tape recorder idea would not work in this context. (Maybe not in any.) It would just make the perpetrators look stupid. But that just illustrates the importance of planning and getting all the facts right and listening to diverse opinions from comrades before pulling any public stunts. ;)

Finally, Horowitz mentions in a blog entry that "the first priority of a good teacher is to show his students and his subject respect." I disagree. One of the best professors I had was a real Hector in the classroom. But his hectoring served to keep me awake and mentally focused. I doubt that he "respected" me any more than I deserved, which wasn't much. I guess he did respect my potential to be a real Trojan some day and for that I am grateful.

Copyright © 2004

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