Face of politics co-opted by conservatives

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The enmity between the “working man” and the uppity intellectual is, debatably, one that transcends time. Just like oil and water, never the twain shall meet. But it didn’t used to be this way.

After the eras of enlightened despotism turned the masses off to “intellectualism,” some great things like the French Revolution proved that even if intellectuals knew absolutely nothing about crops and good beer that they could at least get rid of idiotic kings with nothing better to do than expend the national budget transforming a hunting lodge into a Versace-esque monument to tackiness la queer-eye.

Then along the way, something horrible happened, and the intellectuals and the working man were turned against one another–and never has the souring of a relationship pleased politicians the world over more. As Bush’s public pleas to “teach the debate” indicate, this enmity is encouraged and instilled within the American public. Why, per chance, is the fundamental failure of the American school system not the object of debate?

Another potential topic for debate: The “No Child Left Behind” act contains a clause that allows military recruiters nearly unlimited access to student records while simultaneously cutting funding to schools that have already fallen into a sad state of disrepair (and, might I add, during a war). No, these issues are left outside the arbitrary borders of discourse while the brain activity of Terri Schiavo takes the front pages.

It is interesting that the debate over ID (this is the new abbreviation for “intelligent design”) has been reduced by Mr. Haskin to the fundamental right of individuals to raise their children in the manner they choose–which is a pretty radically liberal idea within an era of politics that seeks to control every other aspect of quotidian life, from marriage to abortion to how fast I can drive on the interstate to the content of my emails (at this point, I’m pretty sure “Homeland Security” is on it).

This wholesale acceptance of the “family values” rhetoric is indication enough that, what Lenin might call “useful idiots,” have taken up the agenda of an administration that seeks to demolish the middle class, infringe on civil and human rights in new and innovative ways, and introduce the most idiotic rhetorical diversions into public discussion.

The defamation of liberal values in this situation in particular is ironic. Liberals want nothing more than close “Big Brother’s” eyes and universally promote civil rights. As a current participant in one of Prof. Sim’s classes, let me close by saying–in the most unflattering terms I can muster within my “liberal” skin–that she has an uncanny insight into politics–which she clearly demonstrated in her veracious sponsorship of the “March of the Penguins” screening.

Maybe it’s her years of work in the Singaporean office of “Psychological Defense;” or perhaps it’s her willingness to equally–and truly–consider all sides of every debate. In either case, her sponsorship of this screening was a clear expression of her dedication to universal liberal expression as the keystone in any truly democratic system. And I say cheers to that!

I am proud to live in a nation where a student can quote the Bible in a French cinema paper–as happened in one of my classes–and not be persecuted for it. And, for the record, liberals are pit bulls when it comes to advocating free expression and civil liberties–a reality that is all too often overlooked in the irrational hysteria that has subsumed what used to be the most progressive nation on earth.

As my own punch line, allow me to re-iterate: they’re penguins. They waddle around and awkwardly hump in the freezing cold and have adorable little babies; with the exception of the reproduction part, this is not much different than Macalester (thank you Margaret Sanger and Roe v. Wade!).

Contact Julia Murphy at [email protected]