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Hate Speech and Academic Freedom: The Limits of Tolerance at Amherst College

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(Ethan Corey)– Is ideological diversity a crucial part of a liberal arts education? Most Amherst professors lean left (at least in the context of mainstream American political discourse), and the few conservative professors are widely known for their views (here’s looking at you Arkes). Yet, as far as I can tell, most students don’t find this problematic—I know I don’t. In fact, a number of students (myself included) find the presence of the few conservative professors at the College more problematic than the “liberal bias” of most professors. Academic freedom does not mean accepting all viewpoints from our professors; professors that hold political positions and philosophies that marginalize members of the College community should not be teaching at the College.

About a week ago, the conservative “academic freedom” organization, the National Association of Scholars, released a “scathing” report criticizing Bowdoin College for “politicizing” education and focusing too much on “race, class, gender, and the environment” instead of Plato’s Republic and other artifacts of white male hegemony. . It’s an interesting read to say the least: they attack the “promiscuity” and “rampant drug use” of Bowdoin students and call the school racist because it promotes diversity, which, despite what you may think, is in fact “liberal racism”!! But one interesting point that they raise, regardless of your political leanings, is the fact that 100 percent of faculty donations from Bowdoin College in 2012 went to President Obama, and Bowdoin’s president has advocated for liberal causes like same-sex marriage in Bowdoin’s newpaper, The Orient. If we are truly committed to giving all viewpoints equal consideration, such a state of affairs should be deeply disturbing. Bowdoin (like Amherst) has an undeniable liberal bias in its faculty, administration, and student body. Don’t conservatives have somewhat of a point when they call Bowdoin an indoctrination camp or something similar?

Yet, I don’t think such a state of affairs is necessarily a bad thing. Even the most zealous defenders of academic freedom and academic pluralism would shrink at the idea of allowing avowedly white supremacist or sexist professors to teach at a college like Amherst or Bowdoin—and rightly so. Professors who held such beliefs would be attacking the identity of a large number of their students and implicitly (or maybe even explicitly) questioning their presence at the college. A racist professor would be a horrible resource for a student of color. Nevertheless, when professors who hold ideological positions that are equally hateful (e.g. homophobia) are attacked for their offensive beliefs, students rush to their defense in the name of academic freedom and tolerance of dissent. What can explain this contradiction? Surely the popularity of an offensive belief does not change the fact that it is still offensive. If students believe that racist professors should not teach at the College, then logical consistency demands that they treat homophobic professors the same way.

The fact of the matter is that not all beliefs serve to “broaden horizons” or “challenge preconceived notions.” Ideological positions that attack the full humanity and equality of members of our community don’t foster debate or academic growth; they only serve to marginalize and silence the students that they attack. Such beliefs offer nothing but hatred for our community. Academic freedom requires respect for the identity and worth of all persons; without such respect, “academic freedom” is no more than oppression masked as intellectualism.

At this point, I’ve probably pissed off many of my readers. How do I propose to enact this scheme? Ideological purity tests? Hate speech witch-hunts? Gulags? And why am I equating conservatives with racists and misogynists? Am I actually Josef Stalin? Such fears are completely misplaced. The College has a policy already in place that, if enforced, would be completely sufficient to achieve my goals without any book burnings, re-education camps, or grand inquisitions. The College Honor Code states:

Respect for the rights, dignity and integrity of others is essential for the well-being of a community.  Actions by any person which do not reflect such respect for others are damaging to each member of the community and hence damaging to Amherst College.  Each member of the community should be free from interference, intimidation or disparagement in the work place, the classroom and the social, recreational and residential environment.

Thus professors that compare LGBTQ students to people who enjoy “sex with animals, pedophilia, even necrophilia” or call women who choose to abort their pregnancies murderers of innocents should not be tolerated by the College. They should be hustled into early retirement or outright fired and repudiated. Academic freedom does not include the freedom to hate.

As for whether all conservatives engage in hate speech, I certainly would not make such an overgeneralization, especially when the definition of the term “conservative” is nebulous and itself up for debate. Nevertheless, many positions commonly held by self-described conservatives fit under the rubric of hate speech: opposition to equal rights for LGBTQ individuals, the idea that “abortion is murder” (which implies that women who receive abortions are murderers), distinguishing between ‘legitimate’ and illegitimate rapes, disparagement of people who receive government assistance as “welfare queens” and “moochers,” and supporting the deportation of undocumented immigrants. Such beliefs attack the humanity and identity of many individuals at the College and implicitly or explicitly challenge the legitimacy of those individuals’ presence at the College. Individuals who hold such beliefs are promoting ideas that are antithetical to the kind of community that we wish to promote at the College. Why are they teaching at this College?

About Ethan Corey

Ethan Corey is a junior at Amherst College. Find him on Twitter at @ethanscorey or share your thoughts in the comments.

21 comments on “Hate Speech and Academic Freedom: The Limits of Tolerance at Amherst College

  1. Ethan Corey
    April 12, 2013

    As a note, when Liya was editing my post, she recommended I change “homophobia” and “homophobic” to “heterosexism” and “heterosexist.” I decided that homophobia was a more easily understood term and that using heterosexism/heterosexist would probably confuse some readers, but check out the Wikipedia page on the term to get a better understanding of why people use it:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heterosexism#Etymology_and_usage

  2. RJS '12
    April 13, 2013

    One key problem with your article is it’s insistence on banning language because “not all beliefs serve to ‘broaden horizons’ or ‘challenge preconceived notions.’” Such a fact is one that is inherently subjective, and helps to further an environment in which “one’s rights end when another’s feelings begin.” In fact, your example of homosexuals is especially indicative of such a case for both sides. On the one, you advocate for a respectful treatment of homosexuals. On the other hand, there are others out there that would consider your statement offensive, and would seek to limit your own freedom of expression on the same grounds as you wanting to limit their freedom of expression.

    In fact, your entire article is politically-biased against conservatives. You state certain ideas held by conservatives, but merely dismiss them, stating that they are “antithetical to the kind of community that we wish to promote at the College.” If you truly wished to engage in an open debate on key issues, it would be common sense to at the very least evaluate and come to an understanding on the other positions surrounding those very same issues.

    In this way, we are further censoring ourselves and taking away from ourselves the ability to engage in a legitimate public debate on the merits of an issue. If an issue is worth it, it should be able to be proven as such against any and all allegations that it might face along the way. Censoring speech merely serves to create resentment among a class that might be unable to express their objections to something, because they would be engaging in “hate speech.” Even if they were engaging in incendiary speech, there are already laws in place that protect against such an issue,

    Also, I still take issue on your notions on the importance of beliefs to validate the ability to express them. The ability to express an idea should not be tied to its social, political, economical, or any other sort of importance it might have. In fact, if that were so, why not take the Kardashians off the air? They clearly serve no importance in the progression of society. In fact, the author should take down the cover picture on his Facebook of the Asian men riding horses while farting, as there’s no discernible purpose to it.

    The all-encompassing nature of our First Amendment on our ability to express ourselves is there for a reason. Utilizing an appeal to emotion merely serves to render it void, and to take away from the nature of a public discourse. In fact, we live in a country where racist speech is not considered an offense, because in a marketplace of ideas, an idea that has been attributed no purpose nor legitimate contribution would be ultimately tossed aside.

    • Ethan Corey
      April 14, 2013

      “One key problem with your article is it’s insistence on banning language…”

      One key problem with your response is its misconception that I ever advocated banning language. I do not wish to ban language or police thought. You have the inalienable right to spout as much hateful nonsense as you like, but you do not have the right to make anyone listen to you.

      Amherst College is a voluntary association. No one is here against their will. As such, it has the rights to establish whatever limits it likes on what is and is not considered acceptable behavior. I am making the argument that one of those limits should be requiring that members of the community respect the full humanity of other members of the community. Those who do not, such as Hadley Arkes, have no place in our community.

      “Such a fact is one that is inherently subjective, and helps to further an environment in which ‘one’s rights end when another’s feelings begin.'”

      First, I fully concede that my position is subjective, at least in the sense that it preferences one set of beliefs over another. But that doesn’t undermine my argument in any way; to the contrary, it is built into the core of what I say. My point is that debating Hadley Arkes or whoever on the merits of their position is useless and counterproductive because a) there is an irreducible antagonism between our points of view that ultimately cannot be resolved through rational argumentation and b) engaging him in debate legitimates the idea that his position is an acceptable position to hold in the first place. One’s status as human is not a matter of intellectual debate, because if someone is negating your full humanity, then they are not engaging you in the debate as an equal partner, undermining an essential precondition for the debate to have value in the first place. If Arkes thinks LGBTQ individuals are comparable to pedophiles, he is already discounting the validity of their position before the debate even begins.

      “In fact, your example of homosexuals is especially indicative of such a case for both sides. On the one, you advocate for a respectful treatment of homosexuals. On the other hand, there are others out there that would consider your statement offensive, and would seek to limit your own freedom of expression on the same grounds as you wanting to limit their freedom of expression.”

      I sincerely hope you’re making this argument in jest. Not only is calling LGBTQ individuals “homosexuals” pretty damn disrespectful and offensive, but the idea that bigots who attack the full humanity of LGBTQ individuals are comparable to LGBTQ individuals themselves is patently absurd. As far as I know, LGBTQ individuals generally do not compare their opponents to pedophiles and seek to deny them equal protection under the law. The same cannot be said for people like Hadley Arkes.

      “In fact, your entire article is politically-biased against conservatives. You state certain ideas held by conservatives, but merely dismiss them, stating that they are ‘antithetical to the kind of community that we wish to promote at the College.'”

      Yes, my article is biased against conservatives, at least in the sense that I described in the article, i.e. to the extent that conservatives engage in hate speech. I do not say that this is a universal trait of conservatives or that it is impossible to be conservative without engaging in hate speech. For instance, it is one thing to be personally opposed to abortion or same-sex marriage. While I do not myself hold such a position, I can understand why some people would feel that way, due to religious beliefs or the like. It is quite different when those individuals seek to impose their beliefs on others, by denying them their full humanity and calling them murderers of innocents or quasi-pedophiles.

      “If you truly wished to engage in an open debate on key issues, it would be common sense to at the very least evaluate and come to an understanding on the other positions surrounding those very same issues.”

      Again, you miss the point of my article. I argue that it would be futile to debate people like Arkes on these issues, because the positions they take a priori exclude open-mindedness or willingness to take the other side seriously. It would be absurd for me to give their positions due consideration if they refuse to do the same for mine. Such is the nature of an irreducible antagonism.

      “Also, I still take issue on your notions on the importance of beliefs to validate the ability to express them. The ability to express an idea should not be tied to its social, political, economical, or any other sort of importance it might have. In fact, if that were so, why not take the Kardashians off the air? They clearly serve no importance in the progression of society. In fact, the author should take down the cover picture on his Facebook of the Asian men riding horses while farting, as there’s no discernible purpose to it.”

      This is a gross mischaracterization of my position, and it’s kind of weird that you facebook-stalked me to find a cover picture that is more than a year old. Moreover, “Keeping up with the Kardashians” is not hate speech, as far as I can tell, so it seems like a strange example to cite in opposition to my position. Nevertheless, to reiterate, I am not calling for any speech to be banned; I am arguing that the College should not associate with people who engage in hate speech, because in doing so they implicitly legitimate their positions.

      “The all-encompassing nature of our First Amendment on our ability to express ourselves is there for a reason. Utilizing an appeal to emotion merely serves to render it void, and to take away from the nature of a public discourse. In fact, we live in a country where racist speech is not considered an offense, because in a marketplace of ideas, an idea that has been attributed no purpose nor legitimate contribution would be ultimately tossed aside.”

      Again, my argument has nothing to do with the First Amendment. I’m not calling for Arkes to be thrown in jail or sent to a re-education camp or whatever. You point out that racist speech is not an offense in the United States, and I am not trying to change that. But if the College employed a professor that openly propagated racist ideas and denied the full humanity of students of color, then I think people would be justified in calling for the College to end that professor’s association with the College, and I honestly don’t think you would disagree.

      • RJS '12
        April 15, 2013

        “I am making the argument that one of those limits should be requiring that members of the community respect the full humanity of other members of the community.”
        As the abortion debate has clearly shown, there is no consensus on what defines humanity, much less “full humanity.”

        “First, I fully concede that my position is subjective, at least in the sense that it preferences one set of beliefs over another. But that doesn’t undermine my argument in any way; to the contrary, it is built into the core of what I say. My point is that debating Hadley Arkes or whoever on the merits of their position is useless and counterproductive because a) there is an irreducible antagonism between our points of view that ultimately cannot be resolved through rational argumentation and b) engaging him in debate legitimates the idea that his position is an acceptable position to hold in the first place.”
        I would say you have conceded the argument at this point. An argument that focuses on subjectivity is doomed to failure because it assumes everyone would think the same way and that any deviance in thought is incorrect. In fact, many homosexuals seeking top marry are currently making an argument that current restrictions are in place due to the subjectivity of a social orthodoxy and are therefore invalid.
        Also, your lack of willingness to debate Arise serves to perfectly illustrate this. You precisely recognize the subjective elements behind each other’s arguments and understand the intransitivity involved. Instead of seeking to acknowledge his beliefs, or conceding that he might have others, you want him silenced.

        “Not only is calling LGBTQ individuals “homosexuals” pretty damn disrespectful and offensive”
        Nice straw man.

        “It is quite different when those individuals seek to impose their beliefs on others, by denying them their full humanity and calling them murderers of innocents or quasi-pedophiles.”
        Yet at the same time you seek to impose your own, and call them bigots.

        “Nevertheless, to reiterate, I am not calling for any speech to be banned; I am arguing that the College should not associate with people who engage in hate speech, because in doing so they implicitly legitimate their positions.”
        Give me a specific, cited example of an Amherst College professor, Hadley Arkeys included, in which he/she engages in hate speech. In fact, I dare say a court of law would consider your attacks against Professor Arise defamatory.
        Also, the word you’re looking for is “legitimize.”

        “Moreover, “Keeping up with the Kardashians” is not hate speech, as far as I can tell, so it seems like a strange example to cite in opposition to my position.”
        My understanding I’d that you seek to forbid hate speech because you understand it to have no purpose. I was simply providing an example of a popular, yet trite show, and reasoning that it would also be forbidden under those very same guidelines.

        “Again, my argument has nothing to do with the First Amendment. I’m not calling for Arkes to be thrown in jail or sent to a re-education camp or whatever. You point out that racist speech is not an offense in the United States, and I am not trying to change that. But if the College employed a professor that openly propagated racist ideas and denied the full humanity of students of color, then I think people would be justified in calling for the College to end that professor’s association with the College, and I honestly don’t think you would disagree.”
        I believe it to have everything to do with the First Amendment. Considering the College receives large amounts in government funding and seeks to provide an environment for intellectual debate, I believe them to be beholden to respect the First Amendment.
        Also, your article leads me to believe that it is not just professors who would be held top the same standards of speech, but also students. In fact, simply depriving a student of an intellectually brilliant professor because of him/her holding controversial beliefs is inexcusable.

      • Fact
        October 13, 2013

        I believe ienhrently, we are all racists. In fact, I thought it would be a good idea if everyone wore t-shirts declaring I’m a Racist’ and see what kind of discussion that would generate. Of course, you have to have a lot of courage to do that, and be open to the complicated conversation that will ensue. To be more candid means we must openly admit that we are confused and ashamed to have that honest conversation, and we must also develop a spirit of curiosity and exploration. I admit I’m a racist. I see people who are not of my race as different, and I hear the stereotypical messages that have pervaded my entire life through the media and the people I grew up with when I am in conversation, or engaging with others who are not like me. I hear these messages of separation when I’m interacting with others of another race or culture. I hear myself saying things that are so obviously culture biased and yes, racist, and I feel a deep shame that I am even going there because it is contrary to how I like to see myself as a citizen of the world.Removing the deep discomfort of this conditioned thinking means to be more conscious of what I say and do, without being hypocritical, or biased. I’m not even sure I’m describing this adequately, but it’s a start.When we speak about whiteness we are speaking of privilege, or domination. How do we remove the barriers that exist and have that open conversation. We first of all admit our sense of superiority, and then seek to change it by being open to conversations that will include shame, anger, guilt and anger. All of which may, or may not be justified, none of which is particularly personal, but is definitely societal and cultural.The Western notion of whiteness is particular to Western Europe, but can also be translated to the previously held colonies by virtue of the fact that there would appear to be a need to emulate many of the traits and habits of their colonizers. However, I think that has changed over the last 30 years or so, as more colonized cultures return to their own homogenous roots, which of course, are complicated because it also involves a mixing of races and cultures, and thus divisions. There is no simple answer to this, but if we can at least start the conversation, as you are doing here, then perhaps we can start to shift the limited and destructive patterns of separation that are currently killing our world.

  3. zm91
    April 13, 2013

    Hey Ethan,
    I’m an Amherst College student. I apologize for the anonymity. I was thinking of using my real name to respond to your article, but after considering the tone and content, and the fact that it is hosted on a semi-official website affiliated with the College, I conclude that the climate is still too unsafe to express my views openly, since I have been feeling a tacit assumption that views such as yours are the default at the college. Honestly speaking, if you had access to my thoughts, by your standards of what constitutes “hate speech”, you will find that I have committed a thoughtcrime or two here and there. You would no doubt wish I would not be a student at this college, just like you wish Professor Arkes weren’t teaching here. As you seem to be in a greater position of power due to your views, I cannot risk getting expelled.

    But let us go on to the main subject matter. The problem with your argument is that there is no clear standard on who gets to define what “fits under the rubric of hate speech”. You can no doubt draw up some criteria, but they are always open to interpretation and manipulation by whomever happens to hold the reins of power. Ultimately, it becomes no more than a tool to silence others.

    Take your example that “abortion is murder” as an example of “hate speech”, according to your views. This is a pretty interesting example, actually. But I was sincerely and genuinely shocked. You honestly think this is offensive? For those on the pro-life side of the debate, the offensive party is you. Why? Because we believe in the personhood and humanity of the unborn. You are the one who is not showing “respect for the identity and worth of all persons”, because we believe that the unborn count as “persons”. To us, you are like a Nazi who denied the humanity of Jews. If a pro-life person were to hold the same extreme views about censorship and dissent like you do, they would no doubt accuse you of having committed the thoughtcrime. Thankfully, not everyone holds the same views as you do.

    The question is: why do you get to define what constitutes “hate speech” or not? What makes your definition of “hate speech” any more valid than the pro-lifer’s?

    This conundrum is partially why academic freedom and tolerance of dissent is given much wider wiggle space than you want it to be. To put it bluntly, a world ruled by views such as yours would be no different than those inquisitions and witch-hunts which I can sense make you doubt your conviction somewhat. You attempt to preempt such objections, by mentioning them:
    Ideological purity tests? Hate speech witch-hunts? Gulags? Am I actually Josef Stalin? Such fears are completely misplaced.

    But you do nothing to alleviate any such fears. You have done nothing to show that there would be no inquisitions in such a world. Think about it, how are we going to decide to fire Professor Arkes? Why, of course, we would need to drag him in front of a Judiciary Council of some sort. There would be judges who would attempt to penetrate every single corner of his mind, to see whether his ideology is deemed to conform enough with your notion of “respect”. I can’t see any other way. Of course, you can go full-Stalin and just fire him quietly in the middle of the night without anyone knowing it.

    Your offense at people who compare LGBTQ students to pedophiles and necrophiles is kind of ironic. Because it serves to illustrate that despite our “progress” as a society, there is still some group of people which are considered the hated “other”, to which comparison is offensive. A hundred years ago, LGBTQ people were lumped in with pedophiles and necrophiles. Today, many people don’t agree with that. Who knows, in the year 2100, perhaps we would be able to satisfy the (inborn) desires of pedophiles with virtual reality sex which harms no real children. Perhaps we would regard them as simply unfortunate individuals instead of monsters. And people like you and me, who at think of pedophiles as disgusting, would be viewed in the same way as we view racists today.

    My point is not that I support such a view – my point is that there’s no crystal clear demarcator on what constitutes hate speech. The demarcation is mostly subjective and depends on the whims of those in power.

    Does this mean that absolutely all kinds of speech should be tolerated at the College? Should we hire a card-carrying member of the KKK to teach at this College? I would say we shouldn’t. But the reason I would say we shouldn’t is because no serious scholar holds such views anymore. These views simply don’t hold water. If we were living in a time where many intellectuals held racist views, and the College has chosen to portray itself as a place of “free intellectual discourse”, then I argue we should hire at least one professor which represents that view. (I say this as an Asian person from an ethnic group which is a minority in a developing country, an ethnic group which has experienced horrific abuse in the past.) Because what should we be afraid of, if we genuinely believe our anti-racist views are more logical and superior to those people who are racists? Shouldn’t we be able to soundly defeat racists in logical debate, as long as everyone is playing fair by the rules? Are you trying to tell me that you’re afraid to face racists in debate?

    Analogously, are you afraid of facing professors such as Arkes in debate? If he is indeed clearly wrong, ignorant, and hateful, then why can’t you tear his arguments to shreds? If you could, then his arguments against marriage equality would be laughable and ridiculous instead of dangerous and uncomfortable. We would all just laugh our heads off at the racist, the sexist, the pro-lifer. But that’s not what I sense here. What I sense here is a laziness and fear to engage in actual debate. You don’t want to think hard and critically about your arguments. You don’t want to play by the rules. You just want your professors to conform to all your previous prejudices and preconceptions – an echo chamber. And I’m very dismayed and disappointed at this attitude among Amherst students. I thought you, being selected from the cream of the crop of America’s best, should be intellectually more confident than that.

    Finally, in practice, there will always be a limit to the level of tolerance in a private institution. But it is dangerous for any single party to be given the power to judge what is the limit of acceptable speech.

    • Ethan Corey
      April 14, 2013

      “I’m an Amherst College student. I apologize for the anonymity. I was thinking of using my real name to respond to your article, but after considering the tone and content, and the fact that it is hosted on a semi-official website affiliated with the College, I conclude that the climate is still too unsafe to express my views openly, since I have been feeling a tacit assumption that views such as yours are the default at the college. Honestly speaking, if you had access to my thoughts, by your standards of what constitutes ‘hate speech,’ you will find that I have committed a thoughtcrime or two here and there. You would no doubt wish I would not be a student at this college, just like you wish Professor Arkes weren’t teaching here. As you seem to be in a greater position of power due to your views, I cannot risk getting expelled.”

      I’m sorry, but this honestly made me crack up a bit here in Frost Library. The idea that I am somehow in a greater position of power or that conservatives are somehow an oppressed or marginalized group is pretty fucking funny. Also, I said nothing about “thoughtcrimes” or trying to read people’s minds in my post. Hate speech is (by definition) public, and thus qualitatively different from whatever you may think in the privacy of your own mind.

      “But let us go on to the main subject matter. The problem with your argument is that there is no clear standard on who gets to define what ‘fits under the rubric of hate speech.’ You can no doubt draw up some criteria, but they are always open to interpretation and manipulation by whomever happens to hold the reins of power. Ultimately, it becomes no more than a tool to silence others.”

      Any debate, in order to be meaningful, requires that each party respects the ontological status of the other. In other words, if one side thinks that the other side is subhuman and wishes to deny them equal protection under the law, then the debate will be pointless. Once the ontological status of a participant in the debate is in question, further discussion is futile, because a necessary precondition for debate has been violated. That’s why we need something like a “Respect for Persons” statement in the Honor Code. Obviously everything is up for interpretation, such is the nature of life, but this problem is not unique to my position and thus does not constitute a meaningful argument against it.

      “Take your example that ‘abortion is murder’ as an example of ‘hate speech,’ according to your views. This is a pretty interesting example, actually. But I was sincerely and genuinely shocked. You honestly think this is offensive? For those on the pro-life side of the debate, the offensive party is you. Why? Because we believe in the personhood and humanity of the unborn. You are the one who is not showing ‘respect for the identity and worth of all persons, because we believe that the unborn count as ‘persons.’ To us, you are like a Nazi who denied the humanity of Jews. If a pro-life person were to hold the same extreme views about censorship and dissent like you do, they would no doubt accuse you of having committed the thoughtcrime. Thankfully, not everyone holds the same views as you do.”

      Yes! You have pointed out the fundamental characteristic of an irreducible antagonism. I think anti-choicers are misogynistic (to the extent that they seek to deny women body autonomy) and you think I am a Nazi. Can we have a meaningful debate when neither of us can possibly find the other’s position acceptable? As a quick side note, the status of the fetus as a “person” is a red herring; the real issue is body autonomy (Cf. http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil160,Fall02/thomson.htm). Getting back to my argument, Amherst College is a voluntary association, and has the right to ask for some consensus on values from its participants. If you went to Liberty University or somewhere similar, they would likely take the opposite position.

      “You have done nothing to show that there would be no inquisitions in such a world. Think about it, how are we going to decide to fire Professor Arkes? Why, of course, we would need to drag him in front of a Judiciary Council of some sort. There would be judges who would attempt to penetrate every single corner of his mind, to see whether his ideology is deemed to conform enough with your notion of ‘respect.’ I can’t see any other way. Of course, you can go full-Stalin and just fire him quietly in the middle of the night without anyone knowing it.”

      Arkes publicly engaged in hate speech. There’s no need to “penetrate every single corner of his mind”; he expressed his views openly. It’s not that hard to print out his articles, ask him if he wrote them, and act accordingly.

      “Your offense at people who compare LGBTQ students to pedophiles and necrophiles is kind of ironic. Because it serves to illustrate that despite our ‘progress’ as a society, there is still some group of people which are considered the hated ‘other,’ to which comparison is offensive. A hundred years ago, LGBTQ people were lumped in with pedophiles and necrophiles. Today, many people don’t agree with that. Who knows, in the year 2100, perhaps we would be able to satisfy the (inborn) desires of pedophiles with virtual reality sex which harms no real children. Perhaps we would regard them as simply unfortunate individuals instead of monsters. And people like you and me, who at think of pedophiles as disgusting, would be viewed in the same way as we view racists today.”

      This is another red herring. The difference (in today’s world) between LGBTQ individuals and pedophiles is that LGBTQ individuals wish to engage in consensual activities with other individuals, while pedophiles and necrophiles do not (because children and the dead cannot give consent). If, in 100 years, there is some sort of virtual reality sex simulator, maybe it would be a different story, but it’s not 2100, so your example doesn’t really matter.

      “My point is not that I support such a view – my point is that there’s no crystal clear demarcator on what constitutes hate speech. The demarcation is mostly subjective and depends on the whims of those in power.”

      I fully concede that my position is subjective, at least in the sense that it preferences one set of beliefs over another. But that doesn’t undermine my argument in any way; to the contrary, it is built into the core of what I say. My point is that debating Hadley Arkes or whoever on the merits of their position is useless and counterproductive because a) there is an irreducible antagonism between our points of view that ultimately cannot be resolved through rational argumentation and b) engaging him in debate legitimates the idea that his position is an acceptable position to hold in the first place. One’s status as human is not a matter of intellectual debate, because if someone is negating your full humanity, then they are not engaging you in the debate as an equal partner, undermining an essential precondition for the debate to have value in the first place. If Arkes thinks LGBTQ individuals are comparable to pedophiles, he is already discounting the validity of their position before the debate even begins.

      I’m advocating egalitarianism as an fundamental precondition for academic freedom. This has nothing to do with the “whims of those in power,” because egalitarianism is by its very nature counterhegemonic. In fact, the academic freedom without bounds that you call for marginalizes and silences far more than my position ever would. You seek to allow racists and homophobes to verbally assault the humanity of the students they are supposed to teach; I seek to ensure that all participants in an academic debate respect the humanity of their opponents.

      “Does this mean that absolutely all kinds of speech should be tolerated at the College? Should we hire a card-carrying member of the KKK to teach at this College? I would say we shouldn’t. But the reason I would say we shouldn’t is because no serious scholar holds such views anymore. These views simply don’t hold water. If we were living in a time where many intellectuals held racist views, and the College has chosen to portray itself as a place of ‘free intellectual discourse,’ then I argue we should hire at least one professor which represents that view. (I say this as an Asian person from an ethnic group which is a minority in a developing country, an ethnic group which has experienced horrific abuse in the past.) Because what should we be afraid of, if we genuinely believe our anti-racist views are more logical and superior to those people who are racists? Shouldn’t we be able to soundly defeat racists in logical debate, as long as everyone is playing fair by the rules? Are you trying to tell me that you’re afraid to face racists in debate?”

      I bolded part of your response, because I think it highlights exactly where you fail to understand my point. Racists, by virtue of being racist, do not “play fair by the rules” because they start by assuming the lesser value of their opponents. The Civil Rights Movement succeeded (I say succeeded only because progress has been made; not because I wish to imply that the struggle is finished) not because they convinced all racists through reason that racism is wrong, but because they engaged in political struggle and fought for legal protections against racism.

      Also, it seems strange that you think that the acceptability of an idea depends on its popularity. It’s like you’re advocating some sort of bizarre cultural relativism that justifies injustice so long as it is supported by the majority of the population. Slavery was wrong even when most people supported slavery.

      “Analogously, are you afraid of facing professors such as Arkes in debate? If he is indeed clearly wrong, ignorant, and hateful, then why can’t you tear his arguments to shreds? If you could, then his arguments against marriage equality would be laughable and ridiculous instead of dangerous and uncomfortable. We would all just laugh our heads off at the racist, the sexist, the pro-lifer. But that’s not what I sense here. What I sense here is a laziness and fear to engage in actual debate. You don’t want to think hard and critically about your arguments. You don’t want to play by the rules. You just want your professors to conform to all your previous prejudices and preconceptions – an echo chamber. And I’m very dismayed and disappointed at this attitude among Amherst students. I thought you, being selected from the cream of the crop of America’s best, should be intellectually more confident than that.”

      I think I’ve explained why debating Arkes would be silly, and the reports I have heard from students who have attempted to do so confirms my position. He does not want to listen to us, so why should we bother listening to him? Your assumption that I want an echo chamber is laughable on a number of levels, and simply proves that you know very little about me. There’s a difference between being close-minded and having some standards for what viewpoints are worth hearing. I think people would rightfully judge me poorly if I spent all day reading racist literature and actively sought out apologists of slavery trying to figure out for myself whether racists might actually have a point. Some positions simply don’t deserve equal consideration.

      • zm91
        April 14, 2013

        I’m sorry, but this honestly made me crack up a bit here in Frost Library. The idea that I am somehow in a greater position of power or that conservatives are somehow an oppressed or marginalized group is pretty fucking funny.,

        When you are in a campus where the majority of the population seem to be liberals, and you have someone declaring that even the small population of conservative professors should be closely scrutinized and fired for hate speech if necessary, I think it’s easy to see who’s in a greater position of power. It’s not you, personally, Ethan. You merely have the potential to be a catalyst for more powerful people to start openly persecuting conservatives (in fact, if you didn’t, why did you even bother to write this?).

        Any debate, in order to be meaningful, requires that each party respects the ontological status of the other. In other words, if one side thinks that the other side is subhuman and wishes to deny them equal protection under the law, then the debate will be pointless.

        Do you know what ontology even means, Ethan? Ontology is only relevant in this case if Arkes refuses to recognize that people arguing for marriage equality exist. Certainly as he is arguing against them, he acknowledges they exist. The question of equality under the law does not fall under ontology.

        The real issue here is whether Arkes commits ad hominem attacks against his debate opponents for the reason whether they are homosexual, e.g., stating that “My opponent is a homosexual who engages in depraved practices, so there is no need to think his arguments are worth anything.” Such an utterance would be a logical fallacy which hinders debate. But if Arkes wanted to argue that homosexuality is a “depraved” thing, then he is certainly within his intellectual rights to do so, if he finds a willing opponent. Similarly, he is free to argue whether LGBT people are worthy of “equal protection under the law”, as long as his arguments do not commit logical fallacies.

        If you don’t allow Arkes to argue against marriage equality, then it opens the sluicegates to all sorts of other prohibitions on what to argue. You can start by claiming that opposing abortion at any point up to birth is tantamount to denying women respect as persons. It’s not hard to construct a half-credible argument for that, one which you would be open to accepting. So then we would have to expel Andrew Kaake. Then perhaps we can continue to argue that opposing nationalized healthcare is tantamount to denying that poor people the same respect as rich people. This is also not hard to do. We can cap it off by declaring that due to the horrendous track record of the Republican party with regards to these issues, voting for the Republican party is tantamount to denying “respect of persons” to women, LGBT people, undocumented immigrants, and the poor. So we have to ban College Republicans, and put the Amherst Political Union under investigation for daring to invite Republicans to campus. Finally, as you advocated for “class suicide” in an earlier post, perhaps you would declare that anyone who doesn’t agree with that is an Enemy of the Community. This is the stuff which starts things like the Cultural Revolution.

        Lest you think I am exaggerating, take note that there is nothing which can prevent the above scenario from fully happening, as it is not difficult to imagine constructing arguments for all of the above. (In fact, despite being a libertarian, I can help you with that.)

        Arkes publicly engaged in hate speech. There’s no need to “penetrate every single corner of his mind”; he expressed his views openly. It’s not that hard to print out his articles, ask him if he wrote them, and act accordingly.

        Ah, and how would be that be any different from the actions of the NKVD? Eventually, to “act accordingly” you would have to allow Arkes at least a show trial of some sort. Undoubtedly there would be people that would disagree with your, i.e., Ethan Corey the sophomore student’s definition of hate speech, so we would have to have some sort of Inquisition to determine whether Arkes really crossed that line. The paradise you propose would be a reign of terror.

        Getting back to my argument, Amherst College is a voluntary association, and has the right to ask for some consensus on values from its participants. If you went to Liberty University or somewhere similar, they would likely take the opposite position.

        So you’re advocating for Amherst College to be a liberal version of Liberty University? Really? You want this college to stoop to that level?

        More importantly, however, you can’t just trot out the “voluntary association” argument the way a libertarian can more consistently do so. If a private gentleman’s club wishes to deny membership to women are they not a voluntary association as well? If a restaurant refuses to serve black people, why would you object? Can’t the black person just “eat somewhere else”?

        If, in 100 years, there is some sort of virtual reality sex simulator, maybe it would be a different story, but it’s not 2100, so your example doesn’t really matter.

        You fail to understand the point of the example. You apparently don’t understand what a thought experiment is, and you also don’t know that pointing out that the premises of a thought experiment are false completely misses the point of them. I have little time to educate you in analytic philosophy, so we shall let this pass.

        One’s status as human is not a matter of intellectual debate, because if someone is negating your full humanity, then they are not engaging you in the debate as an equal partner, undermining an essential precondition for the debate to have value in the first place.

        This is where the problematic nature of your subjective criteria shows forth. No doubt many conservatives would argue that opposing marriage equality is not tantamount to denying LGBT people “full humanity”. Would you allow debate for that? Why wouldn’t you?

        I’m advocating egalitarianism as an fundamental precondition for academic freedom. This has nothing to do with the “whims of those in power,” because egalitarianism is by its very nature counterhegemonic.

        The interpretation of what egalitarianism constitutes is certainly dependent on the whims of those in power. Giving one party the power to enforce on others their interpretation of equality is dangerous. Have you ever read Animal Farm?

        I seek to ensure that all participants in an academic debate respect the humanity of their opponents.

        The problem is that what “humanity” constitutes is open to a lot of debate. I could argue that as in my culture abortion is viewed as an abomination, not allowing me to even express my disapproval for abortion is tantamount to denying me expression of my culture. Thus you deny me my humanity, as my culture is a fundamental part of my humanity. What can you say against such an argument? Oh we would have to argue, and argue all day long about whether you are really denying me my humanity. Which brings me to the main point your criteria are practically meaningless, and if they were imposed they would result in a lot of intellectual bloodshed, as they did result in real bloodshed in Mao’s China and Stalin’s Soviet Union.

        Racists, by virtue of being racist, do not “play fair by the rules” because they start by assuming the lesser value of their opponents.

        The only rules in an intellectual debate are: no logical fallacies, focus on the arguments, be intellectually honest. You don’t have to respect my views, nor do you have to respect me as a person, but you do have to give heed to my attempts at arguing. If a racist were to debate an anti-racist, the only thing we need would be a moderator who is fair enough to enforce these rules equally.

        Also, it seems strange that you think that the acceptability of an idea depends on its popularity. It’s like you’re advocating some sort of bizarre cultural relativism that justifies injustice so long as it is supported by the majority of the population. Slavery was wrong even when most people supported slavery.

        Strawman and irrelevant. The “acceptability” of an idea means little or nothing, as it would differ from person to person, or from community to community. The “prominence” of an idea, however, is quite clear-cut. A truly intellectually diverse university would have a spectrum of views among its faculty which reflects the spectrum of views across the community of scholars (which would perhaps reflect the spectrum of views among the masses). A university shouldn’t be a place where certain political causes are officially supported by its establishment.

        Your assumption that I want an echo chamber is laughable on a number of levels, and simply proves that you know very little about me. There’s a difference between being close-minded and having some standards for what viewpoints are worth hearing.

        However and whatever you really are, you have not shown it in your writing. The fact that you express yourself poorly and come across as nothing more than a close-minded is not my problem.

        I think people would rightfully judge me poorly if I spent all day reading racist literature and actively sought out apologists of slavery trying to figure out for myself whether racists might actually have a point. Some positions simply don’t deserve equal consideration.

        Thank God that I have a much more superior basis for my belief in opposition of slavery rather than just social disapproval.

    • Ethan Corey
      April 14, 2013

      It’s not letting me reply directly to your most recent comment, so I’m posting my response here.

      “Do you know what ontology even means, Ethan? Ontology is only relevant in this case if Arkes refuses to recognize that people arguing for marriage equality exist. Certainly as he is arguing against them, he acknowledges they exist. The question of equality under the law does not fall under ontology.”

      I do know what ontology means, believe it or not. Equality is an ontological concept: the statement X=Y is an ontological claim. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy agrees with me on this front (“we have at least two parts to the overall philosophical project of ontology: first, say what there is, what exists, what the stuff is reality is made out off, secondly, say what the most general features and relations of these things are.”)

      “If you don’t allow Arkes to argue against marriage equality, then it opens the sluicegates to all sorts of other prohibitions on what to argue.”

      It’s ironic that you question my philosophical literacy when you seem to have never learned about the fallacy of the slippery slope.

      “Ah, and how would be that be any different from the actions of the NKVD? Eventually, to ‘act accordingly’ you would have to allow Arkes at least a show trial of some sort. Undoubtedly there would be people that would disagree with your, i.e., Ethan Corey the sophomore student’s definition of hate speech, so we would have to have some sort of Inquisition to determine whether Arkes really crossed that line. The paradise you propose would be a reign of terror.”

      This argument is too absurd to merit a response other than derisive laughter.

      “More importantly, however, you can’t just trot out the ‘voluntary association’ argument the way a libertarian can more consistently do so. If a private gentleman’s club wishes to deny membership to women are they not a voluntary association as well? If a restaurant refuses to serve black people, why would you object? Can’t the black person just ‘eat somewhere else’?”

      The fact that you can’t seem to comprehend the difference between excluding bigots from positions of power and excluding women and minorities from restaurants or strip clubs suggests a more fundamental flaw in your understanding of the world. First, hate speech is a voluntary action, unlike being female or being black. Arkes does not have to compare LGBTQ persons to pedophiles; women and minorities, on the other hand, cannot change their identities. Second, the reason for the exclusion of hate speech is fundamentally different than discrimination on the basis of race or gender. Hate speech undermines academic freedom, so it must be prohibited in the name of academic freedom itself; racial or gender diversity do not prevent men from looking at naked women or diners from eating their food.

      “You fail to understand the point of the example. You apparently don’t understand what a thought experiment is, and you also don’t know that pointing out that the premises of a thought experiment are false completely misses the point of them. I have little time to educate you in analytic philosophy, so we shall let this pass.”

      I understood the example just fine. I just think it’s irrelevant, because the fact that one day there may be acceptable outlets for pedophilia does not change the fact that today there are not.

      “This is where the problematic nature of your subjective criteria shows forth. No doubt many conservatives would argue that opposing marriage equality is not tantamount to denying LGBT people ‘full humanity.’ Would you allow debate for that? Why wouldn’t you?”

      I have defined hate speech as an attack on the full humanity of another party. That is the position I am committed to: my argument that denying equal rights to LGBTQ persons is hate speech merely follows from it. I don’t think it is possible to argue against society as a whole giving equal rights to LGBTQ individuals (your private opinion on LGBTQ persons is irrelevant) can be anything but hate speech, but if you could make a convincing argument to the contrary, I’d be happy to hear it.

      “The interpretation of what egalitarianism constitutes is certainly dependent on the whims of those in power. Giving one party the power to enforce on others their interpretation of equality is dangerous. Have you ever read Animal Farm?”

      Your argument is non-unique. The idea of society itself implies a conception of equality that is immanent to the social field. This conception is, of course, always a site of contest, but all existing societies always-already take a position on their interpretation of equality, even libertarians.

      “The only rules in an intellectual debate are: no logical fallacies, focus on the arguments, be intellectually honest. You don’t have to respect my views, nor do you have to respect me as a person, but you do have to give heed to my attempts at arguing. If a racist were to debate an anti-racist, the only thing we need would be a moderator who is fair enough to enforce these rules equally.”

      You cannot focus on the arguments in a debate when your opponent denies you equal status as a human. When Arkes goes around comparing LGBTQ persons to pedophiles he marginalizes and silences LGBTQ students in his class, because he is portraying them as sexual deviants and monstrosities. You cannot honestly tell me that such an atmosphere is conducive to a fair debate.

      “The problem is that what “humanity” constitutes is open to a lot of debate. I could argue that as in my culture abortion is viewed as an abomination, not allowing me to even express my disapproval for abortion is tantamount to denying me expression of my culture. Thus you deny me my humanity, as my culture is a fundamental part of my humanity. What can you say against such an argument? Oh we would have to argue, and argue all day long about whether you are really denying me my humanity. Which brings me to the main point your criteria are practically meaningless, and if they were imposed they would result in a lot of intellectual bloodshed, as they did result in real bloodshed in Mao’s China and Stalin’s Soviet Union.”

      …You still misunderstand my point. I don’t think that all opposition to abortion or same-sex marriage or whatever is hate speech. You have the right to your personal beliefs and you have the right to express them any way you please. However, when you seek to impose those beliefs on others, and use your personal opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage to deny others the ability to exercise their rights, you are engaging in hate speech, and the College has no obligation to tolerate your hatred. Another example, if you privately dislike African-Americans, nobody can do anything about that. You even have the right to burn crosses and call people the n-word all you want. But Amherst College has the right to disassociate themselves from your hatred. Allowing a KKK member to be a professor would create a hostile environment for students of color. I don’t see how allowing a homophobic professor is any different.

      “Strawman and irrelevant. The ‘acceptability’ of an idea means little or nothing, as it would differ from person to person, or from community to community. The ‘prominence’ of an idea, however, is quite clear-cut. A truly intellectually diverse university would have a spectrum of views among its faculty which reflects the spectrum of views across the community of scholars (which would perhaps reflect the spectrum of views among the masses). A university shouldn’t be a place where certain political causes are officially supported by its establishment.”

      Are you serious? The “prominence” of an idea has no concrete content whatsoever. Like, you could measure the popularity of a certain idea, but I don’t think that’s what you mean: large numbers of people believe things that are objectively false, but the College would be acting absurdly if they went out and made half of their professors creationists or flat-earthers, just because there are people out there who believe such things. Prominence has far less meaning than acceptability.

      “However and whatever you really are, you have not shown it in your writing. The fact that you express yourself poorly and come across as nothing more than a close-minded is not my problem.”

      Perhaps you simply lack the reading comprehension skills to understand my point; the blame game works both ways.

    • To clarify: ACVoice is not “affiliated with the College” in any way. We receive no Amherst College funds for the upkeep of our website. Our only relationship to the college is a self-imposed restriction of writer applications to Amherst College students.

  4. alum12
    April 13, 2013

    My main problem with this piece is that you, the author, assume your views are entirely correct to begin with, and thus those that disagree with those viewpoints are objectively wrong and thus entirely deserving of being removed from the school (as opposed to, say, being marginalized by the unpopularity of their positions and the rationale for them – you advocate in effect the use of force to silence their viewpoints rather open debate). The reason conservatives exist at all is because there is disagreement about whether those assumed positions you have are correct to begin with. Your intellectual self-righteousness is incredible, and it’s incredible to me you seem unaware of it while preaching about academically honest, open, and positive environments. I seriously suspect you tend to surround yourself with those that share the same political viewpoint and outlook on life, to the point where you believe all (or most) of the students at Amherst do too.

    Also, since we are talking about academic conduct here, the quote you use in your piece “murderers of innocents” does not appear in the article you linked (and in general I think was a mischaracterization). Is this not a form of academic dishonesty? We get that you don’t like conservatives, but let them speak for themselves and we can judge them on that.

    • Ethan Corey
      April 14, 2013

      I’ve addressed most of your points in my other replies, but I wanted to respond to your (valid) point that Arkes did not say “murderers of innocents” in the linked article. I did not intend to imply that he outright said “murderers of innocents” in the article–although I thought it was implied–the use of the quotes was to show my distance from his position (i.e. scare quotes). Nevertheless, I see how that was misleading, since my use of quotes before that referred to a statement Arkes actually made, and I have removed the quotes from the article. Thank you for your criticism.

  5. article is ridiculous
    April 13, 2013

    zm91 demolished this article’s argument.

  6. Wilfredo Gomez
    April 13, 2013

    To reiterate what Ethan stated rather clearly:

    “The fact of the matter is that not all beliefs serve to “broaden horizons” or “challenge preconceived notions.” Ideological positions that attack the full humanity and equality of members of our community don’t foster debate or academic growth; they only serve to marginalize and silence the students that they attack. Such beliefs offer nothing but hatred for our community. Academic freedom requires respect for the identity and worth of all persons; without such respect, “academic freedom” is no more than oppression masked as intellectualism.”

    When a professor doesn’t even recognize the personhood of the person they are supposedly engaging in debate, you have what I believe to be a pretty serious problem. From the get go, the premise of professors like Arkes is that homosexuals are flawed/lesser human beings. How can any classroom headed by a professor that holds an insurmountable, prejudical belief—ie gays should not have access to what society has to offer—function as a space of learning? To quote an Arkes article that Ethan linked in his article:

    “What hasn’t quite dawned yet, even on good liberal citizens, open to novelties in the law, is that same-sex marriage is not the ultimate, culminating end for gay-lesbian activists. It is only an intermediate end, on the way to the state of things even more devoutly to be wished.”

    Here’s what this boils down to. This man has a problem with a group of people in our population that has finally figured out how to make the democratic process work for them. Could we have carried on as a society by not allow African Americans to establish themselves as free human beings of this great land that have the right to pursue their happiness how they see fit? How much longer will we have to endure these hurtful, malicious, noxious beliefs that seek to deprive swaths of people in our population of their humanity/autonomy? A fellow commentator above asks:

    “But you do nothing to alleviate any such fears. You have done nothing to show that there would be no inquisitions in such a world. Think about it, how are we going to decide to fire Professor Arkes? Why, of course, we would need to drag him in front of a Judiciary Council of some sort. There would be judges who would attempt to penetrate every single corner of his mind, to see whether his ideology is deemed to conform enough with your notion of “respect”. I can’t see any other way. Of course, you can go full-Stalin and just fire him quietly in the middle of the night without anyone knowing it.”

    I agree that it is difficult to determine what constitutes hate speech, but, to paraphrase Justice Stewart, I think that we as a community can establish some standard as to what kind of beliefs we believe to simply be inherently corrosive to the learning environment we wish to establish on campus; in other words, we’ll know it when we see it. Fellow commentator, you are correct in saying that history will determine how the views of the past are to regarded in the future; pedophiles may get to fornicate with young children in their virtual havens, but here’s where your attempt at an analogy falls flat: GAY PEOPLE HAVING SEX WITH OTHER CONSENTING GAY PEOPLE ISN”T THE SAME AS PEDOPHILES RAPING LITTLE CHILDREN. It’s not my fault or problem that YOU find it disgusting that two grown men/women can love each other; take that shit to your shrink.

    I have no qualms in stating point blank that I cannot endorse any concept that seeks to deprive another person of their identity, and moreover of their humanity insofar as those affirming their humanity, in doing so, do not seek to deprive others of their own capacity to live their lives as they see fit.

  7. Pingback: Weekly Feminist Reader

  8. Jeffrey Lloyd Nickels
    April 15, 2013

    Hi Ethan! I don’t go to your school, but I came across this as it was posted on the popular blog “Feministing.” The original argument you made was good, but frankly, I was even more impressed by your responses to your objectors. You’ve taken up a difficult fight, and I believe you’re handling it with skill, great care, and not a little amount of grace. Anyway, keep it up!
    Also, death to the patriarchy.

    • whymartin
      April 16, 2013

      agreed, wholeheartedly. snaps.

  9. Christina Anderson '13
    April 15, 2013

    I have a lot of feelings about this article, but I believe that the people who have already commented have done a lot of justice and given well-articulated responses in a similar vain as I would give. I just want to say quickly that, while I don’t support Professor Arkes’ views, he was my adviser for two years and stepping into his office was always intriguing because I knew he would challenge me to come up with meaningful answers to questions and not just give him the same bullshit that other people let me get by with. He questioned me extensively about my decision to study abroad in Italy, making me think it through thoroughly. When I returned from my year abroad he made me dig deeper into my experience to realize the full extent of the effect the year abroad had on me. He also made me think long and hard about my decision not to write a these. I also had a really awesome class with him on the Constitution, was able to question and be challenged in my liberal views, and think that his conservative voice most definitely has a place on our campus, at the very least to remind us that people out there do still hold views contrary to our own.

    Being challenged in our liberal views is one of the only ways that people ever manage to remember that there’s still work to be done. Just because a lot of our campus is left-leaning and liberal does not mean the rest of the world is, and we need to be challenged each and every day so that we remember just how much the world needs our intelligent minds to work on these issues.
    But on top of that, Professor Arkes, while holding what seem like outlandish and outdated ideas on abortion, homosexuality, and the like, was a great educator and losing him from our faculty is actually a shame. It’s possible to be great at what you do while holding views that differ from those you work with.

  10. LeDarius Tyrese Jackson
    April 16, 2013

    tl;dr: I’m a self-entitled pseudo intellectual who believes I’m above everybody else, especially those white, stupid, racist, conservative people who hold opinions that differ from my own. While I don’t advocate outright banning their speech, I do advocate forcing them to retire if they say something with which I disagree. All clubs and organizations that don’t represent my political views should be terminated. So….technically, we’re not “banning” their free speech, just completely and utterly stopping them from ever being able to speak! Hooray for diversity! The amount of melanin in one’s skin, and whether they’re attracted to a penis or a vagina, contributes MUCH more to diversity than varying ideological beliefs! Of course! Now, everyone – please pat me on my back and tell me how morally righteous I am.

  11. Pingback: Santorum, Arkes, and Platforms for Hate | AC VOICE

  12. Pingback: Do Not Take That Arkes Class | AC VOICE

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This entry was posted on April 12, 2013 by in Academic, Amherst College Losses and tagged , , , , .
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