The Dartmouth Observer
Friday, April 11, 2003
Freedom of Expression vs. Political Inquisitions
But what about the argument that some forms of speech are hateful and silence a part of the population? Does Frank's freedom of expression come at the expense of someone else's pain? If Anit and company are right, then everytime the Indian mascot is displayed, someone bleeds and sheds tears of immense pain. Strangely enough, not all Native Americans are offended. However, there appears to be a large correlation between leftist political ideology and the pain of the mascot. Those Native Americans who do not buy into that theory, don't seem affected by it.
Why then are some Native Americans offended when others are not? Ethnicity clearly can't be the factor because you can't explain a change with a constant. It seems then that the stronger argument that Anit could make to explain the change in beliefs is to make an argument about political ideology: leftists tend to be offended by these sympbols. Therefore, display of the symbol is a political crime and acts to supress it our political themselves. This has, if my argument is correct, nothing to do with ethnicity and everything to do with politics. It would be in Frank's best interest then to ask a more important question: is a blatant misuse of the principle of community to further ideological apartheid consistent the with the values of an elite liberal arts school? (Of course this reminds me of an associate of mine who remarked that when she walked around campus she thought, when she saw white students, she wondered whether they had owned her family at some point in history. Ahh, the racism.)
Futhermore, is Frank expressing his desire to wear a T-shirt, or defending the right of others to do so, silencing the leftists (since we have suggested that wearing the T-shirt is not a sufficient condition to offend Native Americans)? We would arrive at the conclusion: no. In so far as people like Frank give them something to protest. His exercising of his speech encourages protest against the ubiqitous and ineffable (hegemonic) power structure.
Lastly, is there a right to comfort on campus? Do you have the right to 'not to be offended'? Dartmouth's own independent thinktank, ingeniously named the 'SLR' (South Living Room) came to the conclusion yesterday that the only place on campus where Dartmouth students have the right to be comfortable is either in their own rooms or in Greek organizations of which they are members.
Of course Frank could make my favorite argument. The Nazis had the SA and they went around beating up people with whom they disagreed. We don't want to be like the Nazis do we?
Regarding radical reconstruction and other such things, I think Congress was at its finest with the South was under military rule. As a kid, I enjoyed reading about the Titantic clash between the Republican congress and Andrew Johnson. (I was a little disappointed they couldn't impeach him because then there would be a radical Republican president along with a Congress that was willing to go along.) It's difficult to feel sorry for the loser in a conflict. I am personally of the opinion that the South was more barbaric then than Iraq is today but that the North was closer to the South and thus ideologically colonized it after burning it to the ground. (Go Sherman and the carpetbaggers!) Whether or not we can reconstruct Iraq 'radical'-style remains to be seen. As I have already mentioned to CW, I don't believe that democracy can exported. If it were possbile to spread one's values by force, then I would more likely support FedExing democracy with the Marines as postmen. The best we can hope for is some stability with a large police force to track down the Iraqis loyal to Saddaam and execute them for treason against Iraq and the US. But determining loyalties is a problem in and of itself.