Hypocrisy in the name of what *I* believe

Apr 13 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

At Penn State there is the usual and expected outrage, outrage I tell you, that a former radical comes to speak. In an article about campus speakers titled "Free speech, much of it angry, flies at budget hearings over Vietnam-era radical’s speech at Penn State":

“The one thing we know for certain is I can’t step in and say: ‘No, you can’t spend your student fees in that manner,'” [Penn State President Eric] Barron told Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Blair County, at one point.

But several lawmakers persisted in asking Barron to do more.

Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Indiana County, asked if students – or their parents – can ask for refunds for a portion of student activity fees used to support programs they want nothing to do with.

To me this is saying " I won't pay for birth control or abortion or euthanasia because it is wrong". The equivalent, of course, is "I don't want to pay for your children's education because you are so frickin' stupid that there can be no hope for them".

This is the politically-right-leaning version of safe space. People on the left who think everyone should be protected from hearing hurtful things. (Why did they not tell Ricky Diamond, in 7th grade, not to make fun of me, call me a  non-girl and spit gum in my hair? I would have loved to have been protected then.)

If everybody only paid for the things they wanted to hear, there would be no student programs at all. And while that might be a defensible position on what college is for, its probably not in the best interest of students.

The long article in the NYTimes on safe space had the words "hiding from scary ideas" in its title. I do not doubt that being exposed to some painful things do have the potential to trigger horrible and painful responses.

I don't think we should go looking for painful experiences. But sure as the Cubs have already blown their chance to win the World Series this year, they are going to happen. If you want to be protected from everything, go join a nunnery.

Back before you were born, I belonged to a women's group that decided to work on things that scared us. Negotiating for anything with a man in a suit. Letting our kids go somewhere. anywhere. Somedays just getting out of bed. It scared us to admit we were scared. Hell, its still hard to admit I'm scared of stuff. We started small: jumping off  10M board, into a pool. We walked or crawled out onto the end of the board. Someone could, if you liked, go with you, and hold your hand and talk to you till you were ready to jump. But jump we did. Glorious. Since then, I've tried to do things: figure out what that is important scares me and then go do something else (less important) that petrifies me. The hardest part, now, is that little stuff doesn't scare me much any more: high dives, roller coasters, deans, men in suits, talking at meetings.

Life is full of scary things you don't want to confront. Life is full of unpleasant things to which you object politically.  Life is not going to be exactly what you want. Get a grip.

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