Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Liberality vs liberalism in the classroom
When I was in teaching, there was already a de facto expectation that one bow to the Zeitgeist in this sort of way. I came to feel that there were advantages in it. I used to tell the pupils: “Some people think ...’, and then give them as passionate an advocacy as I could manage of the ‘liberal’ line – clichés, false logic, spurious rhetoric, factual misrepresentation, you name it, I threw myself into it all with relish. Then I said: ‘But other people think ...’, and gave them the Christian view. When they said ‘But what do you think, Father?’, I allowed them to pester me into revealing to them why the ‘liberal’ view I had so convincingly put forward was, in my own view, such rubbish. This had the advantage that when they later heard (as they were undoubtedly destined to) the ‘liberal’ orthodoxies, they were already to a degree inoculated; they found them rather less persuasive than than they were when Fr H had so convincingly expounded those same views ... ‘and he didn't even believe it!’

I also obeyed to the letter the fashion for teaching ethics in a ‘balanced and non-judgemental’ way by giving the arguments both for and against Racial Discrimination, Gender Prejudice, etc. Liberal colleagues used to find it incredibly difficult to explain to me why I was wrong to do this without conceding that they themselves were up to their ears in unbalanced and and judgemental teaching of moral and social matters. ‘But X is just
wrong’ they would naïvely bleat. I found the fun of it all really rather exhilarating.

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