by Jeremy Young | 2/17/2008 02:16:00 AM
Vince Hancock brings us the Chronicles of William Hone. He writes: "The weekly program reintroduces listeners to material first compiled in 1825 by English writer and publisher William Hone. By then, Hone was largely retired from his former radical and satirical works, and
he turned to sifting through his many newspaper clippings and books, in order to produce an almanac of old stories and seasonal observances. His project eventually produced three volumes of such material and provided a "This Day in History" service to his readers. 'The Chronicles of William Hone' revives Hone's material through a
weekly podcast, with additional notes and readings." Good luck to Vince on what sounds like an interesting project.

Harvard University Press has released a new collection of Abigail Adams' letters, edited by Margaret A. Hogan and C. James Taylor.

Though I like the general gist of Aaron Barlow's attack on FrontPageMag, I disagree with his contention that "there is no evidence that [liberal] indoctrination is happening" on college campuses. There is in fact abundant evidence that liberal indoctrination is happening, not least that of our eyes and ears, and the fact that college graduates consistently vote Democratic; what there is no evidence for is the conservative contention that liberal indoctrination is intentional. The arguments for that sort of intense politicization are simply ludicrous. On the other hand, David Horowitz has a point that the academy needs to reexamine just how politically-neutral its classroom teaching is.

Finally, just so Ahistoricality doesn't accuse me again of ignoring American politics, watch Tom DeLay refer to Joe Lieberman as one of "the most liberal Democrats in Congress." Contrary to published reports, DeLay apparently truly does live under a rock.

What's on your mind?

[Update] How could I forget? Belated congratulations are due to Ralph Brauer, whose post on Ronald Reagan's first inaugural was featured in this month's History Carnival.



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Blogger AaronBarlow on 2/17/2008 8:07 AM:

Though I may be picking nits, I think what appears to be disagreement between us may simply be one of definition: To me, "indoctrination" requires intent. Therefore, "intentional indoctrination" is redundant and "unintentional indoctrination" meaningless.

That said, I do agree that each of us is unconsciously imbued (at least to some degree) with the attitudes of our surroundings. And this, yes, is something we college professors don't pay enough attention to. We act on unexamined assumptions as much as anyone and, by doing so, often pass on those assumptions. While I don't think that it is possible to honestly be politically neutral in any situation, we need to be much more aware that our attitudes can stifle debate even while we believe we are promoting debate. The power of the position in front of the class, even if we style ourselves as simply first in a community of learners, is immense.


Blogger Ahistoricality on 2/17/2008 1:19 PM:

I think the first problem is that a classroom is a miserable site for indoctrination, intentional or otherwise. I know from my students tests that any attempt I make to force opinions and ideas on them is likely to fail; even if I were willing to back up my biases with grade penalties (which I would never do), most students consider me (all of us teaching general education courses) a temporary obstacle, someone to be mollified for a short span of time.

On controversial issues, there are too many alternative sources of information, and not all that much respect for the sole authority of the professor, for indoctrination to be generally effective.


Blogger Jeremy Young on 2/17/2008 1:45 PM:

I agree with both of you. Not much more to say on that!


Blogger Ahistoricality on 2/17/2008 5:43 PM:

Anyone think it's odd that we're just now seeing stuff like reports on McCain's "famous temper" in the mainstream press?


Blogger Jeremy Young on 2/17/2008 6:01 PM:

Ahistoricality, no it's not. This is part of something I'd write up in a front-page post if I had the time: the new strategy for winning multi-candidate Presidential primaries -- have your poll numbers tank six months out! Kerry did it in 2004, McCain did it in 2008 -- disappear off the press's and the other candidates' radar screens, and let them bash the heck out of each other while you quietly emerge as the compromise candidate-in-waiting. The unfortunate result for the party is that they end up with a candidate that hasn't really been vetted -- or, rather, HAS been vetted, but so long ago that everyone forgot why he failed the vetting process.

What was wrong with Kerry in June 2003 was still wrong with him in January 2004, but people were just so tired of watching Dean and Gephardt bash each other that they turned back to the guy they hadn't heard from in a while. A similar thing happened for the Republicans this cycle, when they turned back to McCain because of their disgust with Thompson and Romney and Giuliani and their sheer terror of Huckabee. To be fair to the GOP, they didn't really have a better candidate running this cycle (maybe Huck), while we Dems did have one in 2004. But still, it's a heck of a terrible way to choose a Presidential candidate.

Regarding McCain's temper, I have to say, as a former McCain and Dean supporter, I don't think temper in a President is a bad thing. There's no evidence that he'll use his temper to, say, nuke the Vietnamese -- it's generally been directed at Party hacks, where it belongs.