A student we know was in a philosophy class (“Theory of Ethics”), and the instructor (one Cheryl Abbate) was attempting to apply a philosophical text to modern political controversies. So far so good.She listed some issues on the board, and came to “gay rights.” She then airily said that “everybody agrees on this, and there is no need to discuss it.”The student, a conservative who disagrees with some of the gay lobby’s notions of “gay rights” (such as gay marriage) approached her after class and told her he thought the issue deserved to be discussed. Indeed, he told Abbate that if she dismisses an entire argument because of her personal views, that sets a terrible precedent for the class.The student argued against gay marriage and gay adoption, and for a while, Abbate made some plausible arguments to the student — pointing out that single people can adopt a child, so why not a gay couple? She even asked the student for research showing that children of gay parents do worse than children of straight, married parents. The student said he would provide it.
So far, this is the sort of argument that ought to happen in academia.
But then things deteriorated.
Certain Opinions Banned
Abbate explained that “some opinions are not appropriate, such as racist opinions, sexist opinions” and then went on to ask “do you know if anyone in your class is homosexual?” And further “don’t you think it would be offensive to them” if some student raised his hand and challenged gay marriage? The point being, apparently that any gay classmates should not be subjected to hearing any disagreement with their presumed policy views.
Then things deteriorated further as the student said that it was his right as an American citizen to make arguments against gay marriage. Abbate replied that “you don’t have a right in this class to make homophobic comments.”
She further said she would “take offense” if the student said that women can’t serve in particular roles. And she added that somebody who is homosexual would experience similar offense if somebody opposed gay marriage in class.
She went on “In this class, homophobic comments, racist comments, will not be tolerated.” She then invited the student to drop the class.
Which the student is doing.
Shutting People Up
Abbate, of course, was just using a tactic typical among liberals now. Opinions with which they disagree are not merely wrong, and are not to be argued against on their merits, but are deemed “offensive” and need to be shut up.
The proper word for that attitude is totalitarian. It declares certain controversies over and visits serious consequences — from social ostracism to vocational defenestration — upon those who refuse to be silenced.
The newest closing of the leftist mind is on gay marriage. Just as the science of global warming is settled, so, it seems, are the moral and philosophical merits of gay marriage.
To oppose it is nothing but bigotry, akin to racism. Opponents are to be similarly marginalized and shunned, destroyed personally and professionally.
Of course, only certain groups have the privilege of shutting up debate. Things thought to be “offensive” to gays, blacks, women and so on must be stifled. Further, it’s not considered necessary to actually find out what the group really thinks. “Women” are supposed to feel warred upon when somebody opposes abortion, but in he real world men and women are equally likely to oppose abortion.
The same is true of Obama’s contraception mandate.
But in the politically correct world of academia, one is supposed to assume that all victim groups think the same way as leftist professors.
The “Offended” Card
Groups not favored by leftist professors, of course, can be freely attacked, and their views (or supposed views) ridiculed. Christians and Muslims are not allowed to be “offended” by pro-gay comments.
(Muslims are a protected victim group in lots of other ways, but not this one.)
And it is a free fire zone where straight white males are concerned.
Student Seeks Redress
The student first complained to the office of the Dean of Arts & Sciences, and talked to an Associate Dean, one Suzanne Foster. Foster sent the student to the Chair of the Philosophy Department, saying that department chairs usually handle such cases. The chair, Nancy Show, pretty much blew off the issue.
Interestingly, both Snow and Foster have been involved in cases of politically correct attacks on free expression at Marquette.
Foster took offense when one of her colleagues referred to a dinner which happened to involve only female faculty as a “girls night out.” He was reprimanded by then department chair James South for “sexism,” but the reprimand was overturned by Marquette.
Snow, in a class on the “Philosophy of Crime and Punishment” tried to shut up a student who offered a response, from the perspective of police, to Snow’s comments about supposed “racial profiling.” The student said talk about racial profiling makes life hard for cops, since it may make minorities hostile and uncooperative.
Show tried to silence him, claiming “this is a diverse class.” This was an apparent reference to two black students in the class, who were, Snow assumed, likely offended on hearing that.
The majority of the class, contacted by The Marquette Warrior, felt the comments were reasonable and relevant, but Snow insisted that the student write an apology to the black students.
So how is a student to get vindication from University officials who hold the same intolerant views as Abbate?
Thus the student is dropping the class, and will have to take another Philosophy class in the future.
But this student is rather outspoken and assertive about his beliefs. That puts him among a small minority of Marquette students. How many students, especially in politically correct departments like Philosophy, simply stifle their disagreement, or worse yet get indoctrinated into the views of the instructor, since those are the only ideas allowed, and no alternative views are aired?
Like the rest of academia, Marquette is less and less a real university. And when gay marriage cannot be discussed, certainly not a Catholic university.
Campus censorship: read the ‘gay marriage’ blog post that got Professor John McAdams sacked at Marquette University
More on how university is all about being compliant and comfortable. Marquette University are censoring the speakers:
Professor John McAdams is being stripped of tenure by Marquette University for writing a blog post that administrators characterize as inaccurate and irresponsible.
Inaccuaray is bad form. But irresponsible? How? Says who?
McAdams is 69-year-old, a Harvard Ph.D. who taught courses on American politics and public policy.
Marquette University Dean Richard C. Holtz, explains:
The incident that McAdams blogged about happened on October 28, 2014. Cheryl Abbate, a graduate student in philosophy who was leading a class called Theory of Ethics, was teaching undergraduates about John Rawls. She asked for examples of current events to which Rawlsian philosophy could be applied.
“One student offered the example of gay marriage as something that Rawls’ Equal Liberty Principle would allow because it would not restrict the liberty of others and therefore should not be illegal. Ms. Abbate noted that this was a correct way to apply Rawls’ Principle and is said to have asked ‘does anyone not agree with this?’ Ms. Abbate later added that if anyone did not agree that gay marriage was an example of something that fits the Rawls’ Equal Liberty Principle, they should see her after class.”
A student accepted. And she recorded the chat – which is sneaky. But modern technology will out:
Conor Friesderdof looks at the recorded exchange:
Student: I have to be completely honest with you, I don’t agree with gay marriage. There have been studies that show that children that are brought up in gay households do a lot worse in life such as test scores, in school, and in the real world. So, when you completely dismiss an entire argument based off of your personal views, it sets a precedent for the classroom that “oh my God, this is so wrong; you can’t agree with this, you’re a horrible person if you agree with this.” And that’s what came off. And I have to say I am very personally offended by that.
Student: And I would stress for you in your professional career going forward, you’re going to be teaching for many more years, that you watch how you approach those issues because when you set a precedent like that because you are the authority figure in the classroom, people truly do listen to you.
Abbate: Ok, I’m going to stop you right there. The question was about gay marriage. So, if you’re going to bring statistics up about … you know single people can adopt children, right? You don’t have to be married.
Abbate: So gay marriage has nothing to do with the adoption of children.
Student: I know and one of the reasons why I’m against gay marriage is because that gay couples are allowed to adopt.
Abbate: Ok. Do you realize as an individual you can adopt a child on your own and then have a relationship with someone? Even if it’s not legal.
Student: Absolutely, and I’m not in agreement with that.
Abbate: I don’t think gay marriage has … First of all, I would really question those statistics.
Student: I’ll send them to you.
Abbate: So, any research that you’re going to have I’m really going to question it because there is a significant amount of pure research that says otherwise, but even setting that aside, the question is about gay marriage itself. It’s not about adoption of children …
Student: Absolutely, but there are different reasons why you can disagree with gay marriage.
Abbate: So, gay marriage isn’t banned—granting people license to have children, it has nothing to do with that? Do people have people a right to marry someone of the same sex …
Student: Regardless of why I’m against gay marriage, it’s still wrong for the teacher of a class to completely discredit one person’s opinion when they may have different opinions.
Abbate: Ok, there are some opinions that are not appropriate that are harmful, such as racist opinions, sexist opinions, and quite honestly, do you know if anyone in the class is homosexual?
Student: No, I don’t.
Abbate: And don’t you think that that would be offensive to them if you were to raise your hand and challenge this?
Student: If I choose to challenge this, it’s my right as an American citizen.
Abbate: Ok, well, actually you don’t have a right in this class, as … especially as an ethics professor, to make homophobic comments, racist comments, sexist comments …
Student: Homophobic comments? They’re not. I’m not saying that gays, that one guy can’t like another girl or something like that. Or, one guy can’t like another guy.
Abbate: This is about restricting rights and liberties of individuals … and just as I would take offense if women can’t serve in XYZ positions because that is a sexist comment.
Student: I don’t have any problem with women saying that. I don’t have any problem with women joining anything like that.
Abbate: No, I’m saying that if you are going to make a comment like that, it would be similar to making a …
Abbate: How I would experience would be similar to how someone who is in this room and who is homosexual who would experience someone criticizing this.
Student: Ok, so because they are homosexual I can’t have my opinions? And it’s not being offensive towards them because I am just having my opinions on a very broad subject.
Abbate: You can have whatever opinions you want but I can tell you right now, in this class homophobic comments, racist comments, and sexist comments will not be tolerated. If you don’t like that you are more than free to drop this class.
Student: So, are you saying that not agreeing with gay marriage is homophobic?
Abbate: To argue that individuals should not have rights is going to be
offensive to someone in this class.
Student: I’m not saying rights, I’m saying one single right. Ok? So is that what you’re saying? Are you saying that if I don’t agree with gays not being allowed to get married, that I am homophobic?
Abbate: I’m saying that it would come off as a homophobic comment in this class.
Student: That’s not what you said two minutes ago. Two seconds ago, you just said that is a homophobic comment to disagree with gay marriage.
Abbate: No, the example that I gave was in this class, if you were going to make a comment about the restriction of the rights of women, such as saying that women can’t serve … Are you videotaping or taping this conversation?
Abbate: Can I see your phone?
Student: Oh, I am. I’m going to be showing it to your superiors.
Abbate: Ok, go ahead.
Abbate thinks talking through ideas can be good. For instance:
Cheryl Abbate is a self-described feminist, philosopher and military officer. She is currently a Philosophy PhD student at Marquette University and obtained her MA in Philosophy with Bernard Rollin at Colorado State University.
She was one of the animal rights activists who asked me questions during the discussion of my talk at UW Madison. Ms. Abbate challenged my views on the topic, and we had a subsequent exchange in the comments here, but she has not been very clear where she stands. So I thought some insight into her philosophy could be gained by looking up her Master’s thesis.
Here is the abstract:
Research on Prisoners: An alternative to animal testing
The student spoke with McAdams, who blogged it. And now that’s got him the sack.
The full text is below:
Sunday, November 09, 2014
Marquette Philosophy Instructor: “Gay Rights” Can’t Be Discussed in Class Since Any Disagreement Would Offend Gay Students
It censorship. Simple. No ifs. No buts…