Re: [SLUG-POL] Censorship

From: Paul M Foster (
Date: Thu Oct 31 2002 - 22:49:34 EST

> Subject: Discussion Point: Forbidden subjects in higher education
> This list does not get used often enough. So, I pass along this article in
> the hopes that it may spark some interest. What are your opinions on
> "censorship" in higher education when it is done for "political correctness"
> in "times such as these"?

1. I think if anywhere should be a 1st Amendment Zone, it ought to be
universities. Regardless. However, you'll find that universities are
actually hotbeds of liberal thought more than anywhere else. University
professors are overwhelmingly registered democrats, and their thinking
is amongst the most liberal around. This would be okay, except that they
are fanatical about keeping out opposing views. Which tells you that
they are incapable of refuting opposing ideas effectively. Send a
conservative to a college campus, and watch what happens. It isn't
pretty. Students are just as bad about this.

2. If you're going to attend a talk by someone, and you find you don't
like what they're saying, there are various ways to express your
disagreement. Unfortunately, university students haven't quite become
adults yet, so they resort to things like shouting and other rudeness.
Best to simply leave, if it's unbearable to you. Write a letter to the
student newspaper if you're incensed; that's what it's there for. The
speakers have been invited, and have a right to speak. You also have a
right not to listen. You don't also necessarily have a right to
interfere with their free speech rights.

3. The reaction of the Jewish and Christian groups is curious. On the
one hand, they appeared to know what was going to be said. Then they
said they weren't fully apprised. Then they said they disagreed with the
content. Then they agreed with the content, but thought the presentation
itself was rude. They were certainly given a heads up before the
speakers arrived. Given the inconsistency, I'm guessing they were trying
to cover their asses after the fact because, a) despite plenty of
advance information, they really failed to fully apprise themselves of
the content, and b) they didn't realize the reaction would be so strong,
so now they want to act blameless. Politics and a little dishonesty on
the part of both groups.

4. I'm getting a lot tired of the offense that Muslims take to anything
said about their religion by outsiders. Remember Salman Rushdie? And he
was a muslim himself, as I recall.

Dhimmitude is built into the Koran, and stems from the earliest days of
Islam. Mohammed got pretty cranky at the Jews and Christians in his area
arguing with him and saying he was full of sh*t. So when he finally
conquered, he set dhimmitude down as the policy of Islam. Now, I haven't
read all there is to this practice, but I do know it lessens some of the
rights of "infidels" and levies a tax upon them. I'd guess that this is
taken a lot further these days, in many muslim regimes. It probably does
add up to "human rights abuse" in a lot of cases.

5. But there's a more important point. Islam was born in a tribal,
warring region, and the Koran reflects those conditions. Just as the
Torah reflects ancient Jewish prohibitions and customs. In the
intervening centuries, not much has changed in the Arab region. They
still would just as soon fight as eat, and they don't much mind with
whom. A strict interpretation of the Koran would make muslims the
enemies of every other religion and people on this earth. A more
"moderate" interpretation would allow muslims to live at peace with
everyone else. You might contrast this with the God of the Old Testament
versus the God of the New Testament. The Old Testament God was jealous,
vengeful, and a host of other unpleasant things. The New Testament God
was forgiving, loving, and much more moderated. Same god, so what's the
difference? It depended on the conditions of the society at the time,
and the people who wrote about him. The conditions prevalent at the time
of Mohammed dictated a warlike, vengeful god.

(I'm sorry, all you folks who think that the various scriptures of the
various faiths represent the direct word of God. I disagree with you.
Their style, tone and content indicate that they borrow heavily from the
frame of mind of the people at the time.)

The point here is that if the Muslims want to live on this earth, they
need to learn to get along. Because if they can't, there are people on
this planet more than capable and willing to dispatch them forthwith to
the heaven of their choice, and open up the stock market again the next
day like nothing ever happened. I understand prickly people, but if
you're going to purposely go around and pick fights (particularly with
enemies much bigger than you), you're just plain dumb. And those of us
who don't like you picking fights will be more than happy to stomp you
flat until you learn to behave. You don't tug on Superman's cape, so to

6. What's making this worse is that the Middle East is a collection of
tyrants who are using Islam to prop up their absolute control of their
populations. There _are_ countries doing fairly well in the Middle
East-- Egypt, Jordan, Turkey. They are secular and to some extent
democratic. Israel is the best success story in that region, and it's
not because "the Jews control the whole world."

But there are certain set things that tyrants can be counted upon to do.
They will reserve the vast majority of the wealth for themselves, and
forsake their own people. Witness most of the countries in the Middle
East. They will work to keep their populations uneducated. Uneducated
people are much more easily led than people who are well-educated. Funny
how that is. As for religion, they will generally do one of two things.
They will outlaw or suppress religion, because religion is a separate
point of control of populations, a point which they believe cannot be
brought under their control. Or they will ally themselves to religion
and co-opt it. This generally means a rather severe interpretation of
whatever scriptures exist. It's also worthwhile to note that tyrants
themselves are exempt from the proscriptions of the religion; they may
do as they like, while the "peasants" must bow, scrape and do whatever
else the religion deems necessary. The Soviet Union is an interesting
case of this. They both outlawed and embraced religion. But the
"religion" they embraced was communism. And everything I've said above
was true of the tyrants who ran it as well. (It could be said that the
Soviets and the Communist Chinese rather favored an educated population.
Maybe. But a great part of the "education" was in the socialist
philosophy, etc. Same is true of the ecclesiastical schools prevalent in
the Middle East now.)

Anyway, the point is that the tyrants who run the countries of the
Middle East are forcing a poor and uneducated population, via religion
and oppressive living conditions, to assume this viewpoint that the West
and Jews and Christians are bad. Add a liberal sprinkling of the
combative Koran, and you have a recipe for terrorists, worldwide. The
tyrants pretend to have no truck with this, yet they finance and condone
every terrorist activity that occurs. And this sort of indoctrination of
their populations keeps them from pondering the squalor they live in, or
allows them to blame it on someone other than the tyrants actually
causing it.

The truth is that most people all over the world simply want to get on
with their lives. They don't really care about politics or governments.
They just want to be left alone and given an opportunity to prosper. As
for religion, it becomes most important to them in the face of loss or
disaster. Otherwise, they will believe but not be devout. They don't
natively hate other people or groups, except insofar as they've been
taught to do so. Witness the Soviet Union. By all rights, after fifty
years of quiet propaganda on both sides, the Russians et al should hate
all Americans. But the truth is that when the Wall came down, they
wanted to talk to us. The "education" of the Soviet state didn't take in
their case. It appears to be working a bit better on the Muslims. But in
general, I don't think the average Muslim is much different than the
average American in what he wants and what he works for. Unfortunately,
he's being betrayed by his leaders and he brethren. And in the end, it
may result in the destruction of whatever shreds of civilization still
exist in that region.

(BTW, the Koran is nearly incomprehensible, even to Arabs. The original
text was transcribed from the utterances of Mohammed, and was devoid of
diacritical marks. Diacritical marks in Arabic are essential to divine
the meaning of written work. Without them, the same word can mean
something entirely different. The Koran also omits parts of sentences,
contains glaring grammatical errors, and a great many words that no one
understands; they weren't even understood by Mohammed's contemporaries.
There are passages which are completely incomprehensible. It is only
through the work of Muslim scholars that much of the Koran can be
understood. And of course, there is debate among them as well. So you
can imagine what it must be like to teach Muslims what's in the Koran,
particularly since a great many of them can't even read _normal_ Arabic.
But this also opens the door to verbal "interpretations" of the Koran,
which may be well off the mark, and suited more to the prejudices of the
priests and tyrants than what God or Mohammed actually intended.)

Referring back to the original post, political correctness is a gimmick
designed to allow anyone to be as unhappy as they make themselves, and
blame it one someone else. People go to court to sue other people
because they are "offended" at what someone else did. In other words,
the definition of "offended" has become completely subjective, and
undebatable. If someone says they're offended, we can't argue about it.
We must simple accept it on faith, and compensate them for it. It's a
scam to get money and sympathy. And it's working quite well. There are a
great many people in society who have a basic objection to other people
and groups/companies being wealthy and prosperous. And if they don't
themselves claim offense, they will instead readily agree with those who
claim to be offended. Particularly if such offense accrues more wealth
and sympathy to them, or lessens the sympathy and wealth of the
"offending" party. That's why a judge can side with a lady who spills
hot coffee in her own lap and blames it on a rich fast food chain. And
litigators are like the priests of the Middle East, pulling the strings
and raking in money by encouraging offendedness and feeding off of it in
court. No one appears to have the spine to stand up and say that Joe
Blow simply isn't entitled to be offended by such a minor occurrence. We
need to make the criteria for "offendedness" objective.

Also, there are no "times such as these". Now is simply now. It's
utterly useless whining about what's been done to you. People need to
put all this emotional baggage back on the shelf and get on with it.
We've got an economy to revitalize and terrorists to rout. Islam isn't
the problem; it's the people who psychotically carry out terrorism. It's
governments which sponsor and finance them. Yes, there should be a
dialog about Islam. The West is pretty ignorant about it, and we really
should know more, if only to broaden our understanding of the world.
Unfortunately, much of the Islamic world cannot tolerate rational
discourse about Islam. Like those professors who can't tolerate opposing
views. But that doesn't matter. This is America, the home of and nearly
the sole defender of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. If
someone wants to make the point that Muslims routinely suppress
Christians and Jews in Muslim territories, let them. They're entitled to
their opinion. You're entitled to disagree if you like, and say so.
You're also entitled to not listen. But no matter what you do, standing
around being hurt or offended doesn't do anything for anyone.

Have a nice day. ;-}


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