Skip to comments.Students Share Mixed Responses to George/West Collection (“condoning homophobia?” at Swarthmore)
Posted on 02/15/2014 2:03:34 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
Robert George 77 and Cornel Wests collection on Monday, hosted by the Institute for the Liberal Arts, culminated a campus-wide discussion on the meaning of discourse at Swarthmore. The Princeton professors, known for their friendship despite of their strongly opposing viewpoints, intended to build community and discuss questions like What does it mean to communicate across differences regarding what is right or wrong?
The event was expected by many to be controversial, with rumors of student-led protest in the form of a boycott of the event or a rally after the collection, but no such protest occurred during the collection. Prior to the event, many students voiced concerns with the Colleges choice of speaker in George, who is known for his strong opposition to abortion, stem cell research, and gay marriage. Some queer students attended the event wearing shirts that read Beneath Human Dignity, a reference to a George quote in National Review magazine about the New York gay marriage decision in June 2011. Students also created a zine which opposed tolerance of Georges viewpoints, stating that by doing so, we would be condoning homophobia.
After the talk, many students expressed dissatisfaction with the event, saying it did not accomplish any meaningful community-building or address substantive issues.
What really bothered me is, the whole idea is that at a liberal arts college, we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion. I dont think we should be tolerating [Georges] conservative views because that dominant culture embeds these deep inequalities in our society. We should not be conceding to the dominant culture by saying that the so-called progressive left is marginalizing the conservative, Erin Ching 16 said.
On the other hand, some students acknowledged the lack of large-scale protest as progress for the campus.
The atmosphere in that room was definitely tense but though there were many who didnt like Robert George, they all had respect for the space and the event and the norms weve developed here. This is frankly a big step forward, Andrew Early 16 said.
Despite widespread disagreement with Georges views, students mostly agreed with Cornel Wests remarks, saying he was wonderfully engaging, lovingly intelligent, and simply the best ever.
The collection began with History Professor Tim Burke introducing the two speakers and emphasizing the values of collection. Both George and West focused on a commitment to self-criticism, and not holding on too firmly to ones beliefs. George and Wests lengthy opening remarks left enough time for only a few questions. The first was posed by Jacob Adenbaum 14, who honed in on Georges stance on same-sex marriage.
You talk a lot about recognizing that youre wrong. So on issues such as gay marriage, the way we treat people in our society, what would it take for you to realize that youre wrong and admit it? And my question for you, professor West, is you talk a lot about the humanities as a project thats dedicated to the self. So I have to ask, isnt it selfish of you to go on tour with and provide a platform for a man who has dedicated so much of his professional career dedicated to denying the rights of others? Adenbaum asked.
George responded, Who is your friend? The people backing you up, or the person who is saying Youve got an awful lot of certainty about your conviction. Maybe you should stop and think about the possibility that youre wrong.
He followed with an explanation of the process by which he came to his views. According to George, he would be compromising his integrity if he were to cater his beliefs to the majority. To him, following popular opinion would mean contradicting the conclusions he came to through rigorous intellectual discourse.
West responded, I dont think Im providing a platform for this brother at all! Ive got a number of persons throughout my whole life that I [have disagreed with]. Im engaging in dialogue so that many people who would come to see him and come to see me can be exposed to a variety of perspectives on the issue.
The collection followed a small group meeting in the morning, with about 12 student participants. Renan Meira 17, a participant in the small group meeting, had a more favorable view of the small meetings than most students did of the collection.
We had a philosophical discussion about what it means to engage with people who dont share the same views as we do, and about the role of truth and how to find it and whether or not there is a truth and the students agreed that there is no capital T truth, because a lot of things just come down to faith and what you believe in. But Robert George believed that there is a capital T truth, which is why you have to keep discussing and keep engaging, Meira said.
Sounds like a group of overprivileged, elitist kids indoctrinated by their leftist professors. BTW, it looks like one of the student reporters is the son of famous former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.
“You can’t say that here! This is a liberal-arts college!”
The big liberal umbrella of diversity and inclusion has plenty of room for everyone.
Except for those who don’t think and believe exactly the same as the liberals
“Gentlemen, no fighting in the war room!”
Liberal Arts Students: Their minds are so open that their brains fall out!
What an idiot. These kids deserve mommy’s basement.
Over $50K a year to become/continue to be a liberal ass.
Heh. Exactly the scene I had in mind.
What I gather from this is these kids are on the same dope their parents were at that age. Gosh! The country doesn’t stand a chance with this many generations so fouled up.
George should have just come back, "So what about polygamy since we've already had a ruling on it in Utah; what are your views there?" The brave little fella would have been tongue-tied as the indoctrination on the point hasn't been sufficient as yet.
So a conservative opinion doesn’t count in this “diversity of opinion”?
Ms. Ching, be careful about ever entering a library. You don’t want to be so badly frightened.
Most intelligent thing I ever heard from Cornel West say.
Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left. Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and if they are blocked by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc
The liberal view is now:
You think you are right and I am wrong, therefore your judgmental views are wrong. Because I hold no solid opinion, I am thereby right all the time regardless of the topic.
But because nothing can be wrong except absolutes, everything immoral becomes acceptable as long as not done to excess.
Erin Ching has a mind like a steel trap... That’s been sprung
But excess is a moral judgment so excess done not exist
No he has a mind like a steel crap...
The reality is our school just feed these kids minds the equivalent of a steady junk food diet..its McEducation complete with Ronald McDonald clown professor’s and happy meal degrees..no wonder these kids graduate and end up living in mommy and daddy basement
"...the students agreed that there is no capital T truth, because a lot of things just come down to faith and what you believe in. But Robert George believed that there is a capital T truth, which is why you have to keep discussing and keep engaging, Meira said.
For libs the only absolute in life is What's Happenin' Now. Which has probably always been true for a large portion of young adults such as this girl, in an insular academic setting. But now the larger society not only encourages such thinking, but reinforces, applauds and even demands it. One wonders how long "discussing and engaging" with hold-outs will be "allowed."