Saturday, December 22, 2007

The University of Minnesota and the Never-Ending Battle for Tolerance, Sensitivity, and the Academic Way

Christmas is two days away.

For those who are offended by that statement, I suggest enrolling at the University of Minnesota as a student, or applying for a job on the faculty or support staff.

The War on Terror is, to a great extent, a conflict between at least one set of Muslims and the powerful, secular, western civilization they believe is the cause of their problems.

It's reasonable to argue that Muslims on this particular jihad don't really understand western civilization.

I think the same could be said of the self-appointed 'best minds' of western civilization, the people who run America's colleges and Universities. And that concerns me.

One of this season's examples of America's brightest and best (?) at work is discussed in "Reader, beware: 'Seasonal creep' threatening to break out at U," a Katherine Kersten piece in Thursday's Minneapolis, Minnesota, "StarTribune." I've got a few comments of my own.

Now that the University of Minnesota's Office of System Academic Administration has made the U of M safe from "Joy to the Word" and other disturbing songs and ideas, they're moving on to office parties.

The problem with office parties in December, as Ms. Kersten quotes from a U of M official memo, "is that 'celebrations held in December tend to make people think of Christmas, whatever the theme.' And who knows where that could lead?" Even throwing Hannukah and Kwanzaa into the mix isn't good enough. The result is still to Christmasy.

As the memo put it, "an event that is meant to be a seasonal celebration [with no allusion to Christmas] suddenly looks very Christmasy when decorated with green and red." That would be "insensitive."

There's a great deal more in Kersten's column.

I see this U of M memo as another example of academia's curious notion that Christianity is dangerous, or at least insensitive and intolerant (the closest that political correct philosophies can come to the idea of "evil," it seems).

  • America's colleges and universities, to a disturbing degree, are trying to keep our students safe from Christianity
  • Islamic fanatics are trying to kill Americans and other infidels - and insufficiently Islamic* Muslims
  • America relies on graduates from American colleges and universities to analyze and understand the likes of Al Qaeda and the Taliban
It does not fill me with confidence, to know that many of those experts have been taught to fear Santa Claus.

It could be worse. The University of Minnesota could be offering a major - and post-graduate degrees in - Scroogianics.

"Scroogianics" is the study of how Christmas hurts people, together with methods of protecting people from Santa Claus, mistletoe, red and green lights, and other perilous phenomena. This academic discipline, and the name "Scroogianics," is something I made up tonight, as a sort of darkly humorous joke.

It may not be all that funny, though. We could have something like it next year, given the flexible standards academia tends to give people and ideas that they like. Remember how professor Ward Churchill was taken seriously, until public pressure forced the University of Colorado to look up some of his citations?

* 'Insufficiently Islamic' by their standards.

Related posts, on censorship, propaganda, and freedom of speech.
Related posts, on tolerance, bigotry, racism, and hatred.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.