Thursday, August 28, 2008

How to avoid the real issue in an argument and talk about things that really don't matter instead

Well I never got to respond to several letters to the editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader in response to my column about the lack of ideological diversity at the University of Kentucky. Now let me just say that I love debates like this: ones in which the left has to literally abandon their own principles to defend their own principles.

On the one hand, they say they're in favor of diversity. On the other hand, they want to impose their own ideology, which is anything but diverse. And the latter always trumps the former.

On August 2, Jeff Sharp of Lexington and Robert Pohowsky used the usual litany of nonarguments that social liberals employ when they don't have real ones in their response to my opinion piece in the Herald-Leader last Monday about the lack of ideological diversity at the University of Kentucky.

Both of the articles attacked calls for ideological diversity at UK in the name of ideological diversity. In fact, he attacked my piece calling for ideological diversity and defended Penneybacker's piece where he came out against it and for UK's current policy of ideological uniformity.

Memo to Jeff Sharp: the best way to defend a position is not to attack the very position you are defending. Trust me on this.

Sharp even ends his letter in defense of ideological diversity (in which he attacks ideological diversity) with a little cheer for "progressive programs." And we all know what "progressive" means, don't we?

In the rest of the letter, Sharp does what social liberals commonly do when they don't have actual arguments to defend their positions: he changes the subject. The common way to change the subject is to charge your opponent with being concerned only with one issue--even when he may be involved in all kinds of issues. Of course there were several issues mentioned in my article, and The Family Foundation, which he apparently considers "unprogressive," deals with all kinds of issues, including economic issues affecting families, education, health care, and fiscal responsibility--or the lack thereof, if we're talking about bringing casinos into the state.

He also brings up the issue of the $11 million that was earmarked for Cumberland College and asks why The Family Foundation wasn't concerned about fiscal responsibility in that case. The answer for which, of course, was that the $11 million was going for a school of pharmacy, that would produce pharmacists. What does Sharp have against training pharmacists?

He apparently prefers training political ideologues--the specialty of the UK Gender and Women's Studies program.

But Sharp should have compared notes with the other letter writer, Robert Pohowsky. Pohowsky is apparently under the impression that I have taken a position on Intelligent Design:
Educated people see through the pseudo-scientific ploy of intelligent design, which is, fundamentally, another name for creationism. Likewise, taxpayers should see what lies behind the foundation's demand for what it calls diversity in academia.
What this has to do with UK's ideological uniformity I don't know, but the relevant question is how it is possible that I could have a position on Intelligent Design at all if I'm a "one-issue gadfly," which he accuses me of being elsewhere in the piece?


Pohowsky then proceeds to employ another diversionary technique: he argues against something I never actually said:
Diversifying UK's faculty by adding people approved by the foundation makes almost as much sense as diversifying the staff of Central Baptist Hospital by adding a team of tree surgeons.
Uh, where did I say that the UK should add faculty we approve of? We asked for the university to start focusing on academics not politics. In fact, we are against the kind of political litmus tests that the Gender and Women's Studies program employs.

There shouldn't be any political or ideological litmus tests other than academic competence. That's the whole point.

Why am I not surprised they missed it?

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