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Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Second Response to Slander of Hatemongers Quarterly

In an article Hatemongers Quarterly wrote for WizBang.com, the author saw fit to make disparaging remarks about my school, to which, understandably, I objected, and I cross-posted my comments here at Right Wing Testimonial.

In a retort to my “longwinded” response (incidentally, his post is longer than mine), Hatemongers Quarterly again criticized my school’s supposed lack of intellectual diversity, and claimed that my arguments could be used to justify the predominance of liberal thought at public universities.

They were wrong.

Now, unlike the “crack staff” at Hatemongers, I’ll skip the childish attempts at condescension and actually “get to the nitty-gritty” here.

Their criticisms fail to support their argument, and instead only demonstrate a false understanding of the purpose of intellectual discussion and the meaning of Truth.

Intellectual diversity is beneficial only insofar as it strengthens true belief. Hillsdale has enough conflict to do this, and, as I said previously and say again whether the Hatemongers Quarterly agrees or not, American culture is dominated by views antithetical to our own. Every conservative growing up in this country has to defend his beliefs daily. If anyone takes issue with this point, I challenge him to simply turn on the television or open his local newspaper. So when Hatemongers cry out against Hillsdale’s lack of an out-and-out Marxist professor, I have to respond, why should we have one? I know I certainly have been exposed to enough leftist economic “thought” to become comfortable refuting it, and enrolling in an economics class where the truth is taught has made that even easier.

The Hatemongers attempted to attack this point from my first response, writing:
After all, this is all a matter of perspective. To a neo-Marxist, American culture is so dominated by right-wing ideas and pro-capitalist ideology that it is fine and dandy to offer students four years of Marxoid indoctrination. As far as a dedicated Leftist is concerned, efforts at limiting the curriculum to left-wing pieties can be defended as merely attempts to expose students to different thinking.
The Hatemongers are mistaken. Not everything is a matter of perspective. It is true that liberals may claim that their students are not exposed to far-left arguments, but those liberals would be wrong. They may disagree, but all this would mean is that their opinions are not in line with reality.

And again, the only reason students ought to be exposed to incorrect ideas in the first place is so that they can more strongly believe in and understand the truth. Yes, a liberal prof could say his beliefs are true, and I would expect him to believe that, but as conservatives, we don’t.

The Hatemongers seem to place a value on intellectual diversity for diversity’s sake alone, but this is insensible. Why is disagreement in itself good? It’s not! It is only good for something, namely, the promotion of truth. Would it be beneficial to have two math professors, where one teaches that 2+2=4, and the other that 2+2=5? Again, of course not. The only reason it is important to have intellectual diversity is so that students will be prepared when they encounter differing ideas later. And the only reason that is important is so that True belief is preserved.

If you were to believe in the importance of intellectual diversity for diversity’s sake, then you would have to accept that every viewpoint should be represented in every instance. You would have to hire equally those professors who teach the truth about the horrors of the holocaust, those who believe the holocaust was a good thing, and those who deny the holocaust happened at all. The Hatemongers' author himself demonstrates the indefensibility of this position when he mentions the many varieties of belief among the American Left alone (“Marxists and neo-Marxists; Trotskyists and Maoists; radical feminists and third-wave feminists; liberal internationalists and pacifists; etc.”).

If not all viewpoints deserve equal presentation, then you fast arrive at the position where intellectual diversity is used to strengthen the true viewpoint—my position.

Furthermore, conservatives complain about the lack of intellectual diversity at public universities because their taxes are being used thereby to attack their principles. No one can say that about Hillsdale. Our school accepts taxpayer support from neither the federal government nor the state, so equality is not an issue.

I have several other issues with Hatemongers’ article. For instance, the author blithely writes that “As someone sheltered from leftist thought, Mr. Christianson does not understand the Left, he merely offers a caricature of it.” Obviously, however, he has no idea what I and my fellow students have or have not faced and for him to assume he does demonstrates the very arrogance and prejudice the left are often so quick to censure. Most of these issues, however, are not worth discussing here.

I understand that, for an outsider looking in, it may seem easy to criticize a school that doesn’t toe-the-line of modern academia.

But I do ask, in the future, for Hatemongers Quarterly or any others who condemn my school to consider this truth: that there comes a time when the falsehood-- the filth-- the lies that have been purported as truth ever since the first lie-- have been said, heard, and believed enough. There comes a time when we don’t need to expose ourselves and our children to it anymore than they already have been.

There comes a time for evil to be made silent, and for Truth to speak.

Everyone should be exposed to wrong ideas so the correct ones may be strengthened in contrast. We have been. But what good could any of that amount to if the truth wasn’t heard at all?

Hillsdale gives Truth a voice. I, for one, am proud to attend this college and lend my voice in its defense. I would encourage any bright student who cares about truth to come here and I would be glad to welcome you as a brother or sister.

Hillsdale College. “Because Ideas Matter.”


Anonymous Wonder Woman said...

Without exposure to contrary ideas -- even abhorrent ones -- it is impossible to gain a proper perspective on your own ideas. A compass wouldn't work if you cut it in half. All the directions must be present, in order to know which way is up.

May 25, 2007 10:10 AM  
Blogger Daniel Christianson said...

I agree:

"Everyone should be exposed to wrong ideas so the correct ones may be strengthened in contrast. We have been. But what good could any of that amount to if the truth wasn’t heard at all?"

My point was simply that in this culture, it is acceptable to go to a conservative school. The Hatemonger Quarterly don't believe that.

May 25, 2007 7:18 PM  

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