Friday, August 26, 2005

"Equal time" and right-wing hypocrisy.


Over here, a few folks are starting to twig on the sheer, unadulterated brilliance of my strategy to counter the right wing's ceaseless yapping for "equal time" in the classroom for Intelligent Design (or as we in the post-Enlightenment universe refer to it, "ignorant wanker rubbish").

The trick, of course, is to turn the argument around and use it against said ignorant wankers, such as with the example I suggested regarding sex education.

Sadly, too many people who should know better try to counter the "equal time" argument by offering up proposals like, "Well, maybe we should teach astrology in astronomy classes, then. Or maybe dowsing in geology courses." And so on. Quite simply, those arguments are non-starters and just make one look kind of like a dick.

The only effective rebuttals are those for which the issues are currently hot buttons for the right wing, as with the example I gave regarding sex education.

Another delightful example would be the topic of homosexuality in the public school system. Consider the state of Alabama, the majority of whose citizens aspire to someday walk upright and have opposable thumbs:

A college production tells the story of Matthew Sheppard, a student beaten to death because he was gay.

And soon, it could be banned in Alabama.

Republican Alabama lawmaker Gerald Allen says homosexuality is an unacceptable lifestyle. As CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports, under his bill, public school libraries could no longer buy new copies of plays or books by gay authors, or about gay characters.

"I don't look at it as censorship," says State Representative Gerald Allen. "I look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children."

(Naturally, it's not "censorship," it's just ... preventing other people from having access to certain materials you find offensive. See the difference?)

But, golly gee, shouldn't students be shown both sides of the story? Shouldn't they have all the evidence? Shouldn't there be "equal time" in the interests of academic fairness? Gee, if I didn't know any better, I'd swear that Republican Allen is a worthless, hypocritical sleazebag with the intellect of a sack of rocks.

And it doesn't even stop with banning gay-oriented books. From a few years back:

USA, Oklahoma - If some lawmakers in Oklahoma have it their way, "homosexuals or lesbians" will not be allowed to adopt or be allowed to work in a school.

The "logic" here is that gay teachers will try to recruit or seduce vulnerable students to the homosexual lifestyle. But, hey (and you know what's coming), how can those students choose wisely unless they get both sides of the argument? Equal time, I say! Academic fairness, I say! Sex toys for everyone, I say! No ... wait ... wrong argument. Never mind.

Anyway, you get the idea. Feel free to try out these strategies, and report back with the results. Class dismissed.

BY THE WAY ... it's not like you need even more evidence of right-wing hypocrisy but, when it comes to refusing to allow all points of view to be heard, it's hard to top the U.S.'s family planning-related "Global Gag Rule," which mandates that:

... no U.S. family planning assistance can be provided to foreign NGOs that use funding from any other source to: perform abortions in cases other than a threat to the woman’s life, rape or incest; provide counseling and referral for abortion; or lobby to make abortion legal or more available in their country.

Called the "gag" rule because it stifles free speech and public debate on abortion-related issues, the policy forces a cruel choice on foreign NGOs: accept U.S. assistance to provide essential health services – but with restrictions that may jeopardize the health of many patients – or reject the policy and lose vital U.S. funds, contraceptive supplies and technical assistance.

No, no, don't thank me, I'm just doing my job.

1 comment:

teffie-phd said...

Some very good examples.

I particularly like the one about talking about "different" kinds of families in all school classes.

That means reading kids "Sarah Has Two Mommies" and similar books from kindergarten onwards. How they going to be able to choose carefully without all the information?

Also, in sex ed, there should be discussions of masturbation and safe non-coital sexplay (sex toys, oral etc) so that kids can have all the information before deciding on abstinence.

I believe it was Katha Pollit who said that if teenage girls could "do it for themselves" the teen pregnancy problem might lessen considerably.

As for the gag law. Bush and his ilk can bite me.