Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Saturday, October 23, 2010

They Might Understand It All Too Well

According to Lydia McGrew, college students today have a bizarre reaction to “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. (For the benefit of anybody who didn't read the story, it's about an apparently-normal small town in which one person is chose by lot each year to be a human sacrifice.) Instead of reacting with horror, the students defended the townspeople on the grounds that we're not supposed to judge a society.

One possible reason for the change is that the most obvious instance of the unwilling being sacrificed with the approval of the Establishment within memory in the 1970s was a war carried out by a drafted army. The most obvious instance of the unwilling being sacrificed with the approval of the Establishment today is abortion. (In the early 1970s, abortion had been opposed by the Establishment within the memory of college students.) In other words, they took the viewpoint of the sacrificed in the 1970s and the sacrificers today.

Which reminds me … Many of my fellow wingnuts will look at cultural relativists and figure they are in favor of letting every civilization develop in its own way but will make an exception for Western Civilization. On the contrary, they believe in letting every civilization develop in its own way including Western Civilization … which to them means Roe vs. Wade cannot be criticized.

As for fighting this, one possibility is for a teacher to announce that the teacher comes from a culture where people with those ideas flunk and that, by cultural-relativist principles, a decision to flunk an entire class cannot be criticized. For obvious reasons, this can be done only by tenured professors.


Anonymous Trimegistus said...

Today's college students were born during the George H.W. Bush Presidency. They have no personal experience of the draft, and their parents might not, either.

As to Vietnam in general, they know it's that war that Nixon started in order to kill Asians, and both Kennedys were assassinated for trying to end it. Eventually the Woodstock concert brought it to an end and from that day to this peace has reigned in southeast Asia.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Dave M said...

I think they're just going for the easy answer, regurgitating what they heard in some other class, not really believing it.

5:17 PM  

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