The following account of a philosophy class at Portland State University was written by a student who has asked us to keep her identity hidden because she is fearful of possible reprisals. Apparently, this is what passes for education in America today. -- The Editors.
The last four classes of my philosophy class included watching a documentary called Manufacturing Consent [based on the book by Noam Chomsky], then discussing Marx’s view point of our American system. My professor promoted David Ray Griffin, a leftwing conspiracy theorist who wrote a book claiming that the Bush administration had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, and his books on two occasions explaining that he would offer the missing viewpoint that might combat the mainstream view of Americans. We then defined Marx’s philosophy by remembering our criticisms of other philosophies and explaining why Marx’s philosophies fixes these problems.
The video was obvious propaganda. The students even acknowledged it as such when given our five minutes of rebuttal. The movie said fallacies like the Neo-Conservatives (including Gingrich, Bush, Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and other members of Bush’s administration) were trying to take over the world immediately following the Cold War. Apparently, since winning the war, Neo-Conservatives decided that it was America’s chance to increase military power and to dominate the world’s resources. This has been continued by President Bush. The movie was accompanied by out of context quotes from conservative politicians discussing war tactics. They criticized America’s cover-up by these Neo-Conservatives about the Iraq War, discussed the public's pathetic misunderstanding of the connection between Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, all while playing haunting, eerie background music.
The kids were given about 5 minutes to discuss the movie before class finished. (Mind you, the movie took up 2 class periods). I think 3 students spoke up, and I was surprised. I expected them to talk about how evil the right wing is. However, the students discussed how truth is so easily made up by the political parties. The parties just battle each other by using propaganda. The kids explained how frustrated they were because it is impossible to figure out what the truth is when we are not the ones dealing with the political issues. Any politician could make up anything for their benefit. It comes down to which political side can make up the better cover up. Which side can fool the people more. I was encouraged by a student who said that it was obvious that the president would be saying such “war monger” sounding comments because our country, in fact, is in a war! Why was the video misquoting him so? If the movie does this how reliable is it?
The next class period involved defining Marxism and how his philosophy is the best mix of all the philosophers we have studied previously in class. Not much time for discussion was permitted, but most people felt that communism was a silly idea. Still, it was infuriating that my professor would argue for equal payment for everyone. The concept that everyone should be allowed to do their dream job for awhile, then be required to switch around because everyone needs to take on the undesired jobs of society as well, was ridiculed in class. I believe his argument for communism was destroyed. Yet, it was frustrating that he was standing in front of the class playing “the devil’s advocate”. Sure! He has let us know that he voted for Nader, and if I am not mistaken has also been to some political function where he had dinner with him. This man is extreme.
While I hate philosophy in general, he has been a teacher who engages the class well and keeps things somewhat interesting. He is usually organized and can gauge the class’s stress level and knows when to assign homework, when to be lenient, and when to crack down. Yet, his talks always had some annoying spin to them. It is unusual that he left us with so little time to respond to this movie. While it was the end of the semester and we were trying to fit all the necessary info in for our final, I felt the time crunch was planned. He didn’t want us to argue too well with him.
Click Here to support Frontpagemag.com.