Friday, July 11, 2008

Elitism and Censorship

I just can't get away from Elrod-gate. There are a couple of reasons for that.

For one, I just don't like to see my Alma Mater's name dragged through the mud. It has done a lot for me and a lot of other people, and I am offended to see people bite the hand that fed them.

Along with that, I detect a disingenuous spirit afoot in the conversations about this issue across the blogosphere. It smacks of the incongruity most Americans have in that they hate Congress, but they also love their Congressman. Everyone seems to cherish their own Harding experience, but they also love to critique and pick at some of the integral elements that make Harding what it is.

Take this entry, for example. I currently have one comment posted in this blog entry. But when I took an even more critical posture, my voice wasn't allowed to be heard & my opinions weren't given an audience. I'll admit: I was tough. I'm not sure whether or not I'd let a tough comment like the one I made remain on my own blog if I had the choice. But I'm not the one arguing against censorship, either.

Here is the comment that didn't make the cut:

I just don’t know how to say this without being blunt. I’m not sure if it will pass the “blog administrator approval” test, but here goes...

I detect a high level of elitism from you in this forum. Pretending to understand issues better than the people actually involved in them; a manipulative writing style that underhandedly seeks to win the reader over with false arguments (ironically, about “false arguments”); and dictating to each of your dissenters exactly how they should understand & receive the words you wrote and the spirit in which you wrote them.

The great thing about elitism is that it affords you the luxury of being dismissive of dissent: a passive-aggressive tactic for silencing opposing voices. Quite ironic given the subject matter.

So, you see, I find it difficult to take your ideas seriously at all. I think you have an ethos problem.


Bryan Tarpley said...

i'm not particularly close to jonathan, but i'd like to consider him a friend. he doesn't deserve this kind of treatment. he was actually trying to build a case for calling the Harding malcontents "who sit outside Midnight Oil and smoke oh-so-rebelliously and think of pranks to play on Dr. Burks" to some accountability.

you just publicly called jonathan an elitist with an ethos problem who underhandedly seeks to win the reader over with false arguments. how is that in any way productive? i know i called lloyd an ass earlier for writing this, and that makes me guilty of unconstructive name calling. now that i've pointed out the plank in my eye, please consider apologizing just as publicly as you defamed him.

III said...

I wasn't the one who chose to descend into profanity; that was you. So if you're feeling guilty, then apologize away. However, don't expect that you can try to bully others into feeling guilty as well.

I stand by my suspicions & assessments (which are always a work in progress) until/unless I figure that I'm wrong. I smell elitism. And that happens to pose a significant credibility problem for me, as I imagine it may for others. This perspective deserves just as much voice as any other.

I'll reconsider my take whenever I'm proven wrong. And right now, I'm only sensing elitist-like hostility.

Bryan Tarpley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jordan said...

I think what we have here is a clear case of mixing up good intentions with good execution as well as taking an incomplete look at the outcome and deriving its origins.

Some people may have good intentions for instance, their way of achieving those goals may not achieve those original motives, or even do the opposite. Likewise bad intentions or at least ignorant intentions can lead to good outcomes sometimes as well.

Working backwards without complete knowledge is a risky business to be in when making assumptions about human emotions and motivations.

But this comes from someone that believes the only real conspiracy theory is that there aren't really many conspiracy theories at all.

dan said...

Good thoughts, Philip. It always strikes me as ironic that those who support such ideals as "freedom of expression" and "free exchange of ideas" become so antagonistic when people, or institutions, do exactly that. Expression is a double-edged sword. Here, Harding allegedly expressed its views on this blog. Assuming arguendo that these allegations are truthful, wouldn't this just be Harding freely expressing its ideas regarding Elrod's blog? For some who support such ideals to criticize Harding for these alleged events smacks of hypocrisy.

It reminds me of a car I saw in the parking lot of the building I work in downtown New Orleans. On the left side of the car's bumper, a sticker said "TEACH TOLERANCE." On the right side, another sticker said "FUNDAMENTALISM CORRUPTS A GOOD MIND." I couldn't help but wonder why this person, if he is serious about tolerance, isn't more tolerant of fundamentalism? Or, is he really only tolerant of what he agrees with, which is hardly tolerance at all?

One thing about the Elrod situation that I don't know if anyone has considered is that if Elrod was holding himself out as a teacher at Harding, and therefore a representative of Harding, then he might have been exposing Harding to potential liability as Elrod's employer. I never read Elrod's blog, so I don't know if this was a factor or not, but for the blog to suddenly go private, it might have something to do with it.

BTW, I've really been enjoying your blog since I've been reading it.