New laws will not cure indoctrination

    “”To say college campuses are liberal is like saying water is wet,”” said Colorado State Sen. John Andrews (R-Colo.) this past week. His statement is so true that even this justification of that sentence is redundant. However, it is in his proposed response to this bias that he goes far astray.

    In reaction to growing resentment of political indoctrination in Colorado’s public universities, the senator threatened to enact legislation to protect conservative students from professors that bully those of other ideological standpoints. The exact form of these proposed laws is largely undefined and is, for the moment, more of a threat than the beginnings of a bill.

    While a great many university professors are indeed shameless in their attempts to forcibly influence the decisions of their students, executing laws to punish them is extremely unwise for many reasons.

    The most obvious one, and the reason the Colorado Democrats quickly denounced Andrew’s threat, is that any legislature prohibiting teaching styles will quickly degenerate into a witch hunt. They are right. Any hypersensitive conservative student might cry foul at the mere implications of an anti-government comment. Professors would be reduced to walking on egg shells, which helps no one. The same complaints from conservatives ‹ being mindlessly name-called simply because of a difference in opinion ‹ would quickly become the weapons of those who first deplored it.

    One watchdog group, Accuracy in Academia, has already fallen into such an ill-repute, being called a “”McCarthyist”” organization trying to suppress every viewpoint but their own. Since the vast majority of teaching at universities is slanted left, any action AIA takes is against liberal professors. The amount of time AIA spends persecuting liberal ideology clearly causes its categorization as a partisan group, effectively eliminating its credibility.

    Even more disquieting, if such legislature fell into the proverbial “”wrong hands”” ‹ in this case, the already intimidating college left ‹ conservative students would be in an even grimmer situation than they already are.

    Aside from witch hunts, the wording of the bill and the logistics of its execution would be a nightmare. To even try and separate definitions for indoctrination, propaganda or bullying would be ludicrous. Then, to decide whether or not these definitions warrant a punishment ‹ and subsequently, how severe a punishment ‹ would be impossible.

    In this case, the legislation would require the government to determine the intent of the professor. This is the kind of governmental intrusiveness that conservatives rightly abhor in other liberal policy, such as hate crime legislation. Conservative policy-makers, or at least conservative ideologues, should actually be the first to condemn the idea.

    College conservatives themselves should be against this idea, since it acts as an obstacle toward the goal of recruiting more like-minded students. At the moment, students are beginning to turn against the slants and propaganda of the lecture halls. Nationwide, college conservative groups have tripled in numbers in as many years. Last year, another 22,000 students joined conservative organizations. Outside help is actually a crutch, as is help from mommy and daddy when the bigger kids push them on the playground.

    Many students joining these clubs are similar to the revolutionaries of the 1960s. They are reactionaries against an iron-fisted status quo. If the movement is given a sympathy vote by the government, their reactionary status will be crippled.

    Furthermore, conservative students are still generally far more liberal than both the mainstream conservative public and, more poignantly, the previous generation of conservatives. Assistance from Ivy League Republicans and stuffy pipe-smoking millionaires thoroughly damages the image of the conservative purist that most students are gunning for.

    The professors, it seems, are largely unaware of the present reactions and damage their own reputations can cause, more than legislation ever could. As people stop listening to the rants, the professors just resort to yelling louder. Such an example is Professor Rosalyn Kahn of Citrus College, who recently offered extra credit to students in a required course for writing letters to President Bush, but denied students credit if the letter wasn’t both anti-war and actually sent to Washington.

    This sort of lunacy damages the liberal ideology enough on its own. To enact laws to crucify this woman would not only appear to be outright censorship, but would also grant her a martyr’s status.

    While it is beneficial to everyone that Sen. Andrews is publicizing the indoctrination on campus, trying to pass laws to curb it is both dangerous and hypocritical. As the past several years have shown, when a professor goes too far, the students and the public respond. Thus, it is better for the students to see for themselves what the agenda of the professors is, rather than to attempt to force feed it to them with a legislative spoon. With minimal outside help, students will be thinking for themselves. That is what we are supposed to be learning in college anyway.

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