Friday, October 22, 2004

Imagine If This Guy Were A Christian...

And his guidelines for writing a paper included:
Subjects to Avoid

Topics on which there is, in my opinion, no other side apart from left-wing delusions and pseudo-science (for example, God's Creation, homosexuality and other perversions, so-called "separation of church and state").
Do you suppose that California State University Long Beach wouldn't fire him, immediately?

So explain why Dr. Clifton Snider gets away with this? He explains that there are certain topics that are not acceptable:
4. Topics on which there is, in my opinion, no other side apart from chauvinistic, religious, or bigoted opinions and pseudo-science (for example, female circumcision, prayer in public schools, same-sex marriage, the so-called faith-based initiative, abortion, hate crime laws, the existence of the Holocaust, and so-called creationism). For example, see Terrence McNally's "Just a Love Story," Los Angeles Times, 13 February 2004: B15. McNally correctly concludes that those who oppose same-sex marriage do so for one reason: homophobia. "Homophobia," as Robert Goss points out, "is the socialized state of fear, threat, aversion, prejudice, and irrational hatred of the feelings of same-sex attraction" (Jesus Acted Up: A Gay and Lesbian Manifesto, New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993: 1). In other words, homophobia is to gays and lesbians what racism is to people of color. Neither homophobia nor racism can be tolerated in civilized, rational debate; therefore, I will not accept either as arguments, however disguised, in your papers.
His guidelines for a research paper just take my breath away, because in each and every case, when there is a political nature to a suggested topic, he presents one and only one possible perspective as the basis for a paper:
2. "Recreational" Drugs (legalization of, medicinal use of; you must know the current legal status of these issues at both the state and federal levels). For marijuana, probably the best approach is to narrow your topic to medicinal use. See Eric Bailey's "Key Court Victories Boost Medical Marijuana Movement," Los Angeles Times, 23 December 2003: B1+. Even the usually conservative Press-Telegram is calling for a "carefully regulated system of legalization and high taxation" of drugs (editorial, "Gangs and Prohibitions," 3 October 2004: A20).

3. Energy (nuclear, solar, fossil, synthetic fuels, etc.). A related topic is Dick Cheney's secret conference on energy policy. Why hasn't the administration revealed who participated and should it reveal this information? Also important is the fact that, as Kevin Phillips writes, "four generations of the [Bush] dynasty have chased [oil] profits through cozy ties with Mideast leaders, spinning webs of conflicts of interest" (Los Angeles Times, 11 January 2004: M1+).


8. The Economy (tax cuts, the military budget, education, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment, etc.). Under President Clinton, the Federal Government had a handle on the national debt. Now the Bush administration is passing that debt on to the post-baby-boom generation. See Ronald Brownstein's column, "Our Children Will Pay the Bill for Bush's Budget," Los Angeles Times, 10 February 2003: A10.


12. Capital Punishment (pro or con; one way to limit the topic would be to argue whether or not there should be a moratorium on executions until they can be proved to be fair to all concerned, if that's possible). See the bipartisan web site: The Constitution Project on this issue. See also Henry Weinstein's article, "Death Penalty Study Suggests Errors," in the Los Angeles Times (11 February 2002: A13, and Eric Slater's "Illinois Governor Commutes All Death Row Cases," in the Los Angeles Times (12 January 2003: A1+; in the same edition of the Times, see Henry Weinstein's "Move Will Intensify Debate on Executions": A1+ and Eric Slater's "Unlikely Candidate for Death Penalty Reformer": A28). According to Amnesty International, in 2002 the United States had the third highest rate of executions after China and Iran ("China Tops World List of Executions," Los Angeles Times, 13 April 2003: A33).


17. The Environment (insecticides, off-shore drilling, protecting the forests, clean-air laws, protecting pristine land in Alaska from oil drilling). See Elizabeth Shogren's, "States, White House at Odds on Environment," Los Angeles Times, 29 December 2002, A23. And see Kenneth R. Weiss's "Seas Being Stripped of Big Fish, Study Finds," Los Angeles Times, 15 May 2003: A1+. This would be a good research paper topic as well.


21. Affirmative Action. Be sure to define the term and be aware of its current status in California. See the cover stories for Newsweek, 27 January 2003, the Los Angeles Times, "State Finds Itself Hemmed In," 24 June 2003 (A1+), by Stuart Silverstein, Peter Hong, and Rebecca Trounson, and "Court Affirms Use of Race in University Admissions," by David G. Savage, in the same issue of the Times.


27. Gun control (should a license, including a card with a picture similar to a driver's license, be required of gun owners? should handguns be banned? These are only two narrowed gun control topics; "gun control" itself is far too broad as a topic). See Aparna Kumar's "More Guns in Citizens' Hands Can Worsen Crime, Study Says" (Los Angeles Times, 23 January 2003: A15). Also, for an especially good opinion column (backed by facts), read Jennifer Price's "Gun Lobby's Perfect Aim," Los Angeles Times (9 February 2003: M1+). A third topic is ballistic fingerprinting: see Jonathan Alter's "Pull the Trigger On Fingerprints," Newsweek (28 October 2002: 41).


34. Birth Control: Should the so-called "morning-after" contraceptive pills (pills that prevent fertilized eggs from implantation) be more readily available to all, whether they can afford them or not and regardless of age? Of course, in your paper you would need to state your position and support it while acknowledging the opposing position. (You cannot argue that such pills amount to an abortion; I do not accept abortion as a topic. See below.)


52. What evidence do we have that Mr. Bush and his cronies lied to the American people and the world in promoting the war with Iraq? Do you agree that America has lost its "moral authority" in the world because of this immoral war? See "Another Casualty of War: American Moral Authority," by Rami G. Khouri, in the Los Angeles Times, 9 October 2003: B17. See also, "Iraq War Questions Gain Momentum," by Janet Hook, Los Angeles Times, 30 January 2004: A1+, and John Barry and Mark Hosenball's "What Went Wrong," the cover story for Newsweek, 9 February 2004: 24-31. Another article from the Los Angeles Times, Bob Drogin and Greg Miller's "CIA Chief Saw No Imminent Threat in Iraq" (6 February 2004: A6+), might be useful. Other articles worth reading are Peter Singer's "Bush's Meandering Moral Compass," Los Angeles Times, 26 March 2004: B13 and Bob Drogin and Greg Miller's "Iraq's Illicit Weapons Gone Since Early '90s, CIA Says," Los Angeles Times, 7 October 2004: A1+.
In a very few cases, Dr. Snider presents politically charged questions in a form that is neutral (often because it is so brief):
23. Hiroshima: Was Dropping the Bomb Immoral?

24. Term Limits for Public Office (do they work?)
But it is just astonishing that so many of his topics are so obviously biased to the left, both in how the question is asked, and how the sources he suggests are biased in that direction. As an example, the gun control topic could have suggested a couple of articles by Dr. John Lott as well--but that would involve admitting that there is more than one side.

Just to add to the fascist tendencies of Dr. Snider, when Mike Adams took Dr. Snider to task for this narrow-mindededness, Dr. Snider insisted that Adams was violating his copyright by reproducing parts of it. You can see the nasty letter from Dr. Snider here, and Mike Adams' response:
Being exposed as an ideological bigot isn’t much fun, is it? It is especially disheartening when you have been bullying helpless college students and finally encounter an opponent that you cannot control. That would be me.
What's really funny is how Dr. Snider has updated his guidelines:
Notice to my students: someone has published illegally in what purports to be an "article" material from my web site, that is, portions of my assignments. The article, among many misrepresentations, implies I require that you write about certain topics.
Gee, Dr. Snider tells his students that certain topics are unacceptable, because if you disagree with Dr. Snider, you are expressing "chauvinistic, religious, or bigoted opinions and pseudo-science...." Dr. Snider certainly has the right to assign topics for a class. The question is: should tax dollars be used to pay for political indoctrination?

UPDATE: I see that one of Dr. Snider's students has filed a complaint:
A Long Beach student has filed a complaint against Snider for using an hour and a half of his English class instructional time to talk about his disapproval of George W. Bush and the war in Iraq.
I can't claim to be surprised, really. My wife and I both had professors who believed that the primary purpose of a university classroom was to engage in political indoctrination, often without even a pretense of relevance to the subject in question. Examples: a "Music of the World" class in which the professor ranted about how whites trashed the environment, unlike the Indians, who lived in harmony with nature. (If you don't recognize that as factually challenged polemic, you have some reading to do.) A "Critical Thinking" class where the professor used most of the lecture time to attack President Bush Sr. for the Gulf War. A "Womens Studies" class where the professor became incensed because my wife actually did what she was supposed to do: critically evaluate a paper about White Privilege and Male Privilege. Thereafter, for the remainder of the semester, when my wife would raise her hand, the professor would say, "No questions? Okay."

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