Should We Burn Wayne Sawyer?

Or, RWDB Political Correctness Run Wild

Observa asked on Ken’s comment thread below with respect to Associate Professor Wayne Sawyer, whose ill-chosen comments about school English and voting for the Coalition have provoked vigorous debate (at least here at Troppo) and sundry political interventions and culture warriors’ op/ed pieces:

“why is it I have this overpowering feeling that Mr Sawyer is about to suffer the same fate as Mr Hollingworth. As well I suspect the community is about to extract gilt-edged promises to clean up certain professional, organisational acts.”

Aside from the substantive issues, it’s worth discussing how A/Prof Sawyer has been treated. I certainly wouldn’t support any censure against him professionally based on the views of pollies. The appropriate way to engage with A/Prof. Sawyer surely would be for AATE members to debate with him in his journal, and/or – if they’re of a mind that they need a new editor – contest the position at the AGM.

However, this is one area where observa is correctly reading the signs of the times. The cultural warriors are obviously gearing up for a critique of the institutions.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Please discuss the substantive issues raised with regard to the teaching of English in schools on the appropriate threads below, and confine your comments on this one to the issue addressed in this post.

The cultural warriors seem to be following on from the lead of the Integralist Catholics who sit at Mass taking notes (how devotional and spiritual!) and then write to the Vatican saying:

“Dear Holy Father,

At the vigil mass on the Feast of the Assumption at Saint Sulpicia’s in Campbelltown, I observed Father O’Leary not making a profound bow at the name of Christ”.

Similarly, in the US, there’s an organised network of students and conservative academics who attend “leftist” academics’ lectures so they can denounce any instances of evil po/mo thought or whatever. At QUT last year, we had a Baptist pastor attend a lecture in Sociology of Crime and Deviance, stand in the aisle, and take notes. We had security kick him out. It’s unsurprising that in a course on deviance, we might talk about deviant stuff and I don’t accept that at a university, we should have to trim our sails so that the local happy-clappies are satisfied with our absence of moral turpitude. If Pastors want to know what goes on in Sociology lectures, they can enrol and pay the HECS like everyone else.

The point about Sawyer that arises in this context is that he wrote for a limited, specialised audience. Just as Miranda Devine pounced (ludicrously) on the Sydney Uni Arts Faculty graduate outcomes document for a beatup about po/mo evil leftism in her column, someone took something he wrote and turned it into a political issue. What right of reply does Sawyer have? I think his remarks were pretty dumb but does he deserve to be vilified? Is the Oz going to give him space on the op/ed pages to reply?

Dare I suggest that all this is in part RWDB political correctness running wild? Does everyone writing or speaking in a professional context have to adjust their thoughts in case the Prime Minister denounces them?

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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blank
blank
2021 years ago

Are Muslims who take notes at Fundies functions RWDBs too?

Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

No idea, blank. The context is different. I’m not arguing for unrestrained free speech, but for professional activity (ie giving a lecture, writing a journal article) to be at least in part considered in its professional context. I accept that Sawyer’s arguments raise issues which are worth discussing publicly but the vilification of him, and as a number of commenters have noted, taking his article out of context, are troubling.

Whether or not you’d agree with Muslims taking notes at Fundie functions is probably related to whether or not you support anti-religious vilification laws.

Antonio
Antonio
2021 years ago

Hmmm.

This one has really made me think. Of course A/Prof Sawyer must be free to be able to publish his private musings on the 2004 election result. I agree with Mark that if he is going to have his professionalism criticised and be publicly remonstrated, more proof will need to be forthcoming that he has indeed tried to forcibly “indoctrinate” students in so-called Left theories.

(Hah, just as an aside, I’m just noting how very “Inquisition-ish” this whole debate is becoming! Must be a slow news week!)

BUT… That said, as a right of centre (economic & social liberal and a branch chairman of the Liberal party) student, I have noticed numerous cases of lecturers inserting personal political commentaries into their lectures that I have enrolled in. When this happens, most of the time I simply view it as a rather immature self-indulgence and ignore it. However, there have been occasions (eg. an introductory Law subject in 2004 that I took) where the class was been told to vote Labor – to which I made an official complaint. I believe that a self-indulgence of this kind is unprofessional. Similarly, in a philosophy lecture a number of years ago, the lecturer described Liberals as sub-human. Again I objected in an official capacity. Another situation was an essay on Middle East politics when I wrote that Israel was the only democratic country in the middle east where Arabs could vote. My punishment for this realist statement was an almost anti-semitic red pen diatribe from the tutor and a marked down essay which I later successfully appealed.

The point of all these rambling anecdotal examples is to portray the very real feeling of disempowerment that many right of centre (conservatives and liberals) often feel in both secondary and tertiary education

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

Nothing’s going to happen to Wayne Sawyer. This is another example, just like abortion, of RWDB constipated indignation. Not that the RWDBs can touch him, but they wouldn’t even if they could.

If all the Sawyers of this world were purged, RWDBs would have nothing to complain about, and they couldn’t go on and on and on and on and on about how our institutions are stacked with the Good Society’s enemies, who are poisoning our children’s minds, blah, blah, blah.

But if the Sawyers are allowed to stay right where they are then the RWDBs can carry on carrying on and the punters will be convinced that their kiddies, right here right now in Cherrybrook High School, are having their minds manipulated by a bunch of antipodean Enver Hoxha’s, even though (a) the Sawyers are in no position to actually influence anything and (b) the kiddies are being actually taught, mostly, by John Smith, who is hardworking and apolitical – or if he is political, he leaves his politics outside the classroom.

This is the modus operandi of the Howard Government: stir up a storm to get the prejudices flowing, and then do nothing, or the opposite.

Howard and immigration: early on, we get the nod and a wink to Pauline Hanson on darkie immigrants, and later we get the lock em up
policy, all giving the vague impression that not one non Anglo, and certainly no Muslim, will be allowed to enter our fair land. Meanwhile, the reality is that immigration is at near record levels, including a helluva lot of Sudanese and Somalis.

Howard and abortion: kick up a lot of dust by having a debate, give the dog whistle that you are anti-abortion, and do nothing. Blame the Labor states because nothing gets done. The punters get on side because you have reaffirmed their social conservatism, your own affluent supporters stay on board because they can still get an abortion as and when required.

Howard and The ABC: complain a lot about Phillip Adams and Kerry O’Brien (either directly or by proxy via people like Tim Blair), but do nothing. The ABC – in reality an impotent media organisation – remains in place to kick whenever the need arises to complain about left wing politcal bias in the media.

It’s been a masterful political strategy, so far, helped in no small measure by the Labor Party’s inability to see what is going on, and/or inability to do anything about it and/or desire to push off into dead ends. (Reading to children, anyone?)

Down and Out in Sai Gon
2021 years ago

Mark: that’s the first time that I’ve heard of someone ejected from a lecture for note-taking. :) Was it that the man was making a spectacle of himself doing it?

Observa: comparisons with Hollingworth seem overwrought, considering that Hollingworth “had given testimony that was found to be inaccurate, and also had allowed a known sexual abuser to continue acting as a priest.” From:

http://gc2003.episcopalchurch.org/ens/3577_18282_ENG_HTM.htm

C.L.
C.L.
2021 years ago

If a comparably professorial figure advocated the teaching of creative design in some journal or other the Australian left would go into one of its righteousness frenzies and almost certainly demand he be sacked.

The only mass political correctness I see “going wild” lately is the weekly ‘nothing to blog about – what’ve Bolty and Hendo written today? Let’s ged-im!’

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

As opposed to the fair minded commentary about Margot Kingston on the RWDB sites, eh C.L.?

C.L.
C.L.
2021 years ago

Both as bad as each other Dave.

That’s why I’ve more or less quit the daily columnist beat-up-athon. It’s now officially boring. Whether it’s Adams or Margo or Hendo and Bolty, at least those writers are composing their own views and publishing them. Bloggers are always criticising the MSM and then relying on them for derivative copy. The columnists and journalists must just laugh off the unoriginality of it all.

Neither Adams or Bolt write every week about what Balmy Blair and Crazy Ken have had to say today. Why should we bloggers? Have we got something to say or haven’t we?

What I always liked about Sheil was that he composed his own take on things almost every day. There were critiques of the media sometimes, or the occasional riff on one of them, but mostly he put his own marvellous (and politically wrong) views out there.

Chris is my role model. Don’t tell anyone.

observa
observa
2021 years ago

“Dare I suggest that all this is in part RWDB political correctness running wild? Does everyone writing or speaking in a professional context have to adjust their thoughts in case the Prime Minister denounces them?”

There is no conspiracy here by either the left or right, although the smell of the community after political blood may well bring them out at the head of a mob. The right to publicly express personal views and political opinions is the right of every little man, but for the head of an organisation, that right is fundamentally restrained by the group. The larger the group, the greater the restraint imposed via two mechanisms: Firstly the views expressed need to be ameliorated to reflect the increasingly broad church of the group itself and secondly, the more important/larger the group(or their impact), the more a leader must be conscious of the concerns of the broader community, when he speaks for the group. Notice also that these rules of thumb, can become retrospective for any public utterances by a prospective or current leader.

So when the observa comments here he is free to express views as his fancy takes him. However, should he decide to express a public view in front of his his humble company’s hoarding, or on a company letter-head, he is much more circumspect about his utterances. He understands implicitly what awaits the deviance from acceptable community sensibilities if he does not. Welcome to the world of the James Hardie executive, archbishops and GGs, and heads of professional and industry bodies. As well he understands how an ‘in-house’ expression or view, may turn to bite him, should it escape to suddenly focus the broader community radar upon the activities of his little group. If you are comfortable with your statements and the broad activities of the group and are prepared to vigorously defend them, against all-comers, you have nothing to fear. Oh and you’re free to hoe into PMs on the national stage at any time too. How say you JH execs, Hollingworth and Prof Sawyer?

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

“What I always liked about Sheil was that he composed his own take on things almost every day.”

It was Sheil who started the weekly critique of Gerard Henderson, but never mind.

“Neither Adams or Bolt write every week about what Balmy Blair and Crazy Ken have had to say today. Why should we bloggers? Have we got something to say or haven’t we?”

Adams and Bolt and the rest of them are paid to be original, or at least not completely derivative. Bloggers do it for nix, so they can’t afford to sit around thinking original thoughts for long. Sheil gave up blogging because he had to earn a living.

The problem isn’t the fact that columnists get criticised by bloggers, it’s the form of the criticism. The standard RWDB attack on Kingston is entirely ad hominem.

Rob
Rob
2021 years ago

I don’t think so, Dave. I was over ar Margolia the other day reading her stuff (and her supporters’) on the Rau case and a lot of it struck me as verging on the pathological. Troppo played host to a divergence of views courteously expressed; but some of Margot’s fellow-travellers strike one as not far short of deranged. And she will set herself up so. She just hands Tim Blair free kick after free kick.

Tim Lambert
2021 years ago

So CL, any criticism of Creationist nonsense is just leftists being politically correct? So are you a Creationist?

Francis Xavier Holden
2021 years ago

antonio – enrol in a Business School and be subjected to diatribes about every politician and party and policy not to the right of Corrigan of Patricks. Have papers marked down for bringing up the fact that in looking at Asian Tigers (now theres an old fashioned term)bringing up the fact that Singapore and Hong Kong didn’t exactly have robust universal suffurage, independent courts, unbridled Oposition Politics etc

David Tiley
2021 years ago

It is one thing to play weekly biffs with Hendo in the brainy equivalent of the Friday cat blog, but another to watch the op-ed warriors like Donnelly providing the pretext for the Prime Minister himself to insinuate that his own school system is indoctrinating students.

It is important. We are not taking it up out of some kind of ennui, but because the meme is nasty and dangerous. Indeed, we have taken up the case even though Sawyer expressed himself so badly.

A few months ago I thought the RWDB’s were running a line that the blogosphere was important because it scrutinised and kept public figures honest.

Isn’t that true here? We are in the business of contributing to a national debate. It can seem trivial only because the paid proponents of that debate are so pitiful.

Replace Adams with CS and Devine with C.L. and we would all be better off.

I wonder if this is intended on some level to intimidate the professional associations. Someone in the English Teachers Assocation could easily argue now that Sawyer is not the right person to lead them in an era when they have to talk to Nelson..

..you know the sort of thing.

Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Some interesting comments.

As was noted in the various conspicuous indignation threads, attempts to shut down debate and vilification of people with whom you disagree are very very common everywhere in society at the moment – left or right, whatever. This phenomenon – the decline of civility generally and irrationalism in public debate – warrants some dispassionate analysis (not that I’m pretending my spray in the post was dispassionate!).

Antonio, I always try to avoid bringing my politics into lectures – though it’s fairly clear where I stand. But I try to be even handed and non-partisan and present both sides of the argument. (No doubt to Rafe’s joy, I’ve pointed out the strengths of Hayek’s arguments in political economy seminars, for instance.) I try to inculcate critical thought rather than indoctrinate. I suspect your experience demonstrates that attempts to do so fail anyway. I had a colleague or two at one of the universities I’ve lectured at whose “lectures” were basically political rants – and who attracted complaints because aside from anything else, they weren’t teaching anything to do with the ostensible subject matter. I regard this as pedagogically useless and ethically bankrupt, although my politics are similar to those two academics’. Needless to say, neither ever published anything. Two more disillusioned time-servers taking up space while younger or more committed academics can’t get permanent jobs! Not that I’m bitter – but show me a 70s academic pseudo-Marxist in a tattered leather jacket who’s often an alco and thinks that they’re doing something meaningful by being lazy as shit and pushing their pet theoretical, personal or political obsessions without ever thinking a new thought or troubling themselves to do any research and I get really annoyed and wish that performance appraisal in Universities had more meaning!

But FXH is right too – I’ve personally found that putting a non-orthodox perspective when studying business and Commerce at postgrad level is not appreciated by right-wing lecturers. It’s just as bad whatever side of politics it comes from.

As to the whole bloggers being parasitic on op/ed thing, I do think that pointing out the illogic and crap that masquerades for analysis in the papers is doing a service.

Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

“Replace Adams with CS and Devine with C.L. and we would all be better off.”

Hear, hear!

C.L.
C.L.
2021 years ago

Yes I was aware of Sheil and the Shorter Hendo Dave. Thanks for that newsflash. Point is he didn’t do it every day and you never got the impression he relied on it.

Your thesis about originality being dependent on payment is very right-wing and philistine-ish and would have wiped out a large part of the Western literary and musical canon. But never mind…

Hi Tim. Your notoriety for muddled mathematics precedes you. You’ve added 2 and 2 and reached five. I wasn’t defending creationism – anymore than Ken and Mark are defending illiteracy. But you already knew that.

I was talking about the burning of heretics we don’t agree with as part of an hysterical exercise in PC. Troppo argues that’s what ‘RWDBs’ are doing with Sawyer. Demonstrably, it’s what the left has done and periodically DOES do as well – vis-a-vis a variety of causes.

Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

“I was talking about the burning of heretics we don’t agree with as part of an hysterical exercise in PC. Troppo argues that’s what ‘RWDBs’ are doing with Sawyer. Demonstrably, it’s what the left has done and periodically DOES do as well – vis-a-vis a variety of causes.”

See the first para of my penultimate comment, C.L.

Rob
Rob
2021 years ago

I think the only heretic is Australia who’s being tied to the stake at the moment is Keith Windschuttle – and he obstinately refuses to catch fire.

Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

“Mark: that’s the first time that I’ve heard of someone ejected from a lecture for note-taking. :) Was it that the man was making a spectacle of himself doing it?”

It was a team taught course and I wasn’t there when it occurred. Apparently he was dressed in a black suit, white shirt and tie, and stood directly in front of the podium where the female PhD student was giving her first lecture in the subject. I was told about it by the subject co-ordinator the next week. Apparently the lecturer felt quite intimidated. I half hoped he’d reappear as I’d have enjoyed taking him on.

We’d previously had complaints from self-identified Christian students about discussing things like sex. I wrote a little blurb for the unit’s internet site about the subject matter of the sociology of deviance, about the purpose of intellectual interchange at university etc etc. The students concerned understood after we’d discussed the whole thing.

The one subject I lectured in where I had to think more carefully about people’s sensitivities than any other had nothing to do with politics as such – it was Sociology of Religion.

C.L.
C.L.
2021 years ago

And I agree with Mark and F.X.

Formal economics study was as close to a business school philosophy I ever encountered but the lecturers’ interest in and knowledge of the human and the gloriously IRRATIONAL in their grand algebraic and econometric models was, sad to relate, minimal.

yobbo
2021 years ago

“As was noted in the various conspicuous indignation threads, attempts to shut down debate and vilification of people with whom you disagree are very very common everywhere in society at the moment – left or right, whatever.”

Jesus Mark, you just don’t get it. People don’t give a flying fuck what people do or say in their own lives. What people are upset about is the FACT that teachers are indoctrinating kids all the way through their school lives.

Sawyers comments aren’t notable for what he believes, but rather that he feels so comfortable in his tenure that he doesn’t even CARE who knows he supports the political indoctrination of students.

The way that yourself and David Tiley have tried to whitewash what he said is simply pathetic. If you think left-wing indoctrination is fine and dandy in schools, by all means come out and say so. Don’t pretend it doesn’t exist, that’s just ridiculous.

Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Yobbo, have a read of what I actually said on the other threads.

Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

To summarise, Yobbo:

1. We don’t know that High School English is a hotbed of leftist indoctrination on the basis of Sawyer’s article;

2. It would be helpful if there were some rigorous research into what exactly goes on in English classrooms all over Australia;

3. I think some of the curriculum stuff on various state education websites is a bit dodgey (in an academic sense) but would like to know more about how it influences (or doesn’t) teachers’ actual practice;

4. I don’t support education being a forum for political indoctrination;

5. I do support education teaching people to be critical thinkers.

Fair enough?

It being Friday night, I am now off to have a beer.

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2021 years ago

I was bemused at the placement of the Sawyer item on the frontpage of the Australia a few days ago. Even as a RWDB and enthusiastic cultural warrior I was repelled by the clear message, “Let’s get this clown”.

I might wonder why we bother to try and approach this issue objectively because the results of the process seem to be the same as if we went with the knee jerk reaction based on our politics – but discussion is not all about the outcome.

“Does everyone writing or speaking in a professional context have to adjust their thoughts in case the Prime Minister denounces them?”

I don’t know what you mean here, Mark. I think everybody writing or speaking in a professional context – in public – should be willing to be accept the fallout. Is the PM obliged, as PM, not to take part in public debate? As for the Minister for Education I’d consider his participation obligatory.

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2021 years ago

“1. We don’t know that High School English is a hotbed of leftist indoctrination on the basis of Sawyer’s article”

Gee can’t we make a calculated guess though? Then let’s see what is said in next months journal.

yobbo
2021 years ago

Not English in particular. High School in general. And primary school.

“4. I don’t support education being a forum for political indoctrination;”

Yet you’re quite happy to go into bat for those who do believe it should be.

Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

James, maybe – but as everyone who has been a teacher or knows teachers seems to agree, what’s on the Department of Education webpage and what happens in classrooms are two different things (sometimes loosely related!). I think I’ve said my bit about what I think of the Tasmanian and Qld government’s curricula on the earlier thread.

As to my final comment, what concerns me is:

(a) the disproportion between the power of Ministers to access the media and those they condemn. Anything Howard says is news. If Sawyer wants to defend himself or his professional reputation, does anyone in the media care? But this affair may have professional consequences for him.

A similar example is Vanstone attacking the methodology of psychiatric research. I take leave to doubt whether Vanstone knows zip about scientific method but how do the researchers concerned get their (more complex) point across?

And people can’t even sue when the pollies say stuff in the House.

Mark Latham sledged me in a speech once – “typical left wing academic born with a silver spoon in his mouth” – which probably offended Brian more than me. I wasn’t massively concerned because I doubt that what anyone thinks of me is influenced by Mark Latham’s view (and I went on writing unfavourable reviews of his books), but someone like Sawyer could find his professional enemies using this against him. I can guarentee you the Dean and V-C at his university are probably cringing about the publicity.

(b) The related issue is addressing one audience and not intending to enter public debate. I am sure Sawyer would have written very differently if he were writing an op/ed for the SMH.

I’m with David – Sawyer probably wrote in the heat of the moment and any blogger worth their salt would know that if they put such sloppily written garbage up, they’d get torn apart. I also agree that it’s distressing that such an influential educator is such a poor writer of English prose. But I don’t think the guy deserves the stuff he’s getting – eg on these comment threads – sack him, strip away the funding (non-existent probably) from AATE, etc.

Right, home now, shower and beer in the Valley await me! Have a great night!

Nic White
2021 years ago

I did an article on university “indoctrination” in late December, only this time in USA – but Id say the story is much the same here.

http://52nd.blogspot.com/2004/12/universities-not-on-ball.html

Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Whatever, Yobbo. How did I go into bat for him? At most, I said that his article may have been capable of a different interpretation and he shouldn’t be vilified for his opinion – which I said was stupid.

Now, don’t distract me from my beer with any more comments directed to me, Yobbo! If you want to chat further with me tonight, fly to Brisbane and I’ll buy you a beer!

observa
observa
2021 years ago

Really it’s all up to Professor Sawyer now. Does he back down completely with copious apologies all round, or stand and fight for what he believes is the true position of his group? Then we see whether the English teachers largely stand with him. Still, Hollingworth and JH toughed it out for a while before the heads rolled.

David Tiley
2021 years ago

Defence is not whitewash, Yobbo.

All I did was read what he actually said. And thought about the massive disjunction between one academic op-ed in a professional body and three articles in the Australian, the Federal Minister for Education in parliament and the Prime Minister himself all shitting on him. Don’t they have something better to do with their time?

Of course their time is very carefully managed, so I am left to wonder what they are doing. And the answer is, a witchhunt to try and find your imaginary socialists in schools.

It’s nasty Yobbo, nasty.

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2021 years ago

Imaginary?

Don’t tell me Wayne Sawyer is a literary hoax dreamt up by a cabal of right wing teachers!

C.L.
C.L.
2021 years ago

Ernest Melee.

observa
observa
2021 years ago

Now David, it’s unfair to blame the champ for having to knock some big-mouthed pretender, who fancies he’s Ali, clean over the ropes and out of the ring, when absolutely forced to. True, we all admire an underdog but not a total mismatch. Our big-mouth challenger is free to throw off his gloves and trott off home in one piece, any time he chooses. Of course if he doesn’t, it would seem very wise for his corner to throw in the towel on his behalf.

Tim Lambert
2021 years ago

Dear CL, it comes as no suprise to see you respond with a dishonest personal attack. You somehow avoided answering my question. Are you a Creationist?

James Farrell
James Farrell
2021 years ago

I’m sure C.L. is not a creationist, Tim. But I didn’t get the point of his analogy. Does he think that Sawyer should be sacked for an ill-advised burst of spleen in an unread journal, or does he think that a scientist should not be professionally pilloried for espousing creationism?

Alex
Alex
2021 years ago

“Mark Latham sledged me in a speech once”. Mark Who?

Rafe
2021 years ago

I am obliged to fight to the death to defend Sawyer’s right to make a fool of himself in public, however he should be sacked if his capacity as a teacher is as poor as his knowledge of current affairs. For example, the stand-in wharfies were wearing balaclavas to protect themselves and their families from retaliation by the regular wharfies, the ones who have been ripping off the nation with their work practices and rorts for decades.
The children in the water were apparently not thrown overboard, but their parents were doing their best to sabotage the vessels which would have had the same result. The Tampa should not have been in Australian waters, it would have made landfall in Indonesia until it was hijacked and turned around. Etc.

James Farrell
James Farrell
2021 years ago

What’s your point, Rafe? You don’t seriously think the issue here is the correctness of Sawyer’s views on these issues, do you?

C.L.
C.L.
2021 years ago

James – the point of my analogy is this:

Creationism is so monumentally silly that condemning it can only constitute an orgy of PC self-indulgence. See leftist links above. Same with Sawyer: he’s obviously some deluded boomersaur whose utterances are no more to be heeded than the disgusting personal habits of an unchangeable octogenarian are to be deplored.

He’s beyond reformation so leave the old bugger alone I say.

Tim Lambert
2021 years ago

CL, your argument is also monumentally silly so presumably the only reason anyone would criticise it is because of political correctness. I can remember when “PC” actually had a meaning instead of being a term that RWDBs randomly sprinkled into their rants to try to beef them up.

C.L.
C.L.
2021 years ago

Er, Tim: read Mark’s subtitle.

Antonio
Antonio
2021 years ago

FXH, point well taken about right wing bias in business schools although that said there are a number of prominent left wing academics in business schools here in queensland eg. Tom Bramble of Socialist Alternative fame and George Lafferty of NTEU fame. I guess your observation reinforces my point though about the observable decline in pluralism in modern academic discourse.

I totally agree with Mark about doing some actual quantitative research on the decline in civility and in particular in connection with this apparent crisis of the so-called “indoctrination of cultural values”.

Despite the fact that we are often told that society is becoming more secular, in academic and public discourse the absolutism that we once associated with priests and preachers is becoming increasingly accepted as a persuasive form of argumentation.

The bigger question is why public discourse (apparently) becoming more intolerant (on both sides of politics), more essentialist and more absolutist? My guess is that with the decline of modernism and logical positivism, people increasing find them faced with the pluralist reality of uncertainty and non-validation of subjectivity (ie. “postmodernism”). The problem with postmodernism is that it doesn’t seem to be very rewarding to “truth” (ie. objectivity) seekers and “truth” evangelists (ie. shock jocks, newspaper columnists, lazy academics, politicians) who are determined to force society into value-based categories. Sinners and saints. Baby killers and anti-choice. Communists or fascists. And I could just quote the rhetorical dichotomies all night. Where are the classical liberals and social democrats in public discourse when you really need them?

Tim Lambert
2021 years ago

Er CL, Mark seems to know what it means; you don’t appear to.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2021 years ago

while i am reluctant to knock this thread further off-course i feel a brief comment is merited since my URL was one of the ‘leftist’ ‘hysterical’ ones cited by CL (‘leftist’ coming from a Santamaria socialist like CL is rich, but anyway)

To quote:
“Some surprisingly and disappointingly high rates of creationist beliefs among the Australian population, according to this recent survey, though it has to be kept in perspective when compared to US rates of belief:”

Umm, yeah, pretty hysterical there. CL might mean the comments but I can’t really find any that fit my definition of ‘hysteria’ – the closest would be comment no. 5 but that’s more cautionary than hysterical.

Nakabov
Nakabov
2021 years ago

Chill Jason, CL’s just engaging in the tired old rhetorical trick of taking others’ comments out of context and reframing ’em in a new emotional or logical framework to score points.

Whenever someone tries this on, I just assume it’s because they have no substantive argument to make anymore.

I await with interest CL’s hysterical rant in response to my calm, well-informed and factual analysis of his cheap and excitable debating tactics.

Speaking of hysterical, someone better hose Yobbo down before he discovers that, yes there is a VLWC to brainwash our kids by exposing them to such poison as “To KIll A Mockingbird”. Good thing it didn’t take on you Yobbo, hey?

(Now that’s how it’s done properly, CL)

C.L.
C.L.
2021 years ago

Dick Posner’s Mini-Me classifies yours truly as a “Santamaria socialist.”

I like it Mini!

Kevin Donnelly
Kevin Donnelly
2021 years ago

For those interested, in the book ‘Why Our Schools are Failing’ I devote a chapter to the culture wars where I give evidence of how the PC movement impacts on education. A pdf version of the boook is available at:

http://www.mrcltd.org.au/content.cfm?PageID=PubsMonographs

I do not argue that all teachers in all classrooms are left-wing cultural warriors, I do argue that professional associations and many teacher academics, like Sawyer and the AATE, are guilty of pushing an ideological point of view.