Saturday, April 12, 2003

Intolerable Behavior
The smattering of anti-war protests at some colleges and universities has brought about an unpleasant response of threats and violence. As always, Erin O'Connor has the details. She highlights some of the incidents at Yale and Berkeley. It is unfortunate that students at what are elite universities have resorted to violence and threats rather than reasoned argument to solve their problems. And, while I agree with Erin almost all of the time, I have to take issue with part of her argument here. She states that, "what we see on both coasts is the sad and frightening spectacle of students putting theory into practice, of young adults applying the ideological lessons of the politicized classroom to their daily lives." Though I do think that students have taken some of their lessons from their classrooms, I feel that Erin almost lets students off the hook. Their presence at such elite institutions allows for a certain assumption about their intellectual ability and that such bright people must have the faculty of free will. They should be intelligent enough to know that threats and violence are nothing more than street brawls and not the way to solve disagreements. It does not matter what political theater occurs in the classroom. We should expect educated individuals to be able to discriminate between egghead theory as practiced in the classroom and real life conflict resolution.
I may be reading Erin wrong, and I hope that I am, but if not then she is almost excusing the actions of politicized students and victimologists because their techniques were learned at the knee of their professors.


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