The Great Connections Seminar

The Great Connections Seminar
Discussing ethics

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Tolerance fails T-shirt test"

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass ran a story about a fledgling social scientist at Oak Park's Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School, "Tolerance fails T-shirt test." Fourteen-year-old Catherine Vogt conducted an experiment, wearing a "McCain Girl" t-shirt one day and an "Obama girl" t-shirt another, recording the reactions she got from fellow students.

For the McCain t-shirt, these ranged from "very stupid" to death threats.

She suddenly became brainy when she wore the Obama shirt, according to the other students.

The reactions put me in mind of Herbert Marcuse, pre-eminent political philosopher of the New Left. In an April 29, 2005 Wall Street Journal article "How Conservative Came To Be More Than A Word" Daniel Henniger related how the demise of the Fairness Doctrine led to the rise of conservative talk radio and TV.

He recounted that in the '60's, pre-eminent New Left political philosopher Herbert Marcuse (who taught at Columbia, Harvard and Brandeis) urged "liberals to practice active 'intolerance against movements from the Right' in the name of 'liberating tolerance.' Thus, for example, liberal academics would vote to deny tenure for conservative colleagues -- and still do -- believing that this is a morally mandated act."

Any wonder that we have intolerance of seriously dissenting opinion at our colleges and universities? Now, at Brooks Middle School, we see the long arm of this policy, reaching all the way down to the grade schools.

It's no surprise, since violent, unrepentant New Leftists like Bill Ayers decided to change tactics from bombings to brain-washing. Apparently, he and his ilk realized that a more effective strategy to achieve cultural revolution was to be in charge of teaching and certifying student teachers. He is a professor of education with the titles "Distinguished Professor" and "Senior University Scholar" at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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