This is in response to David’s earlier post. Two things I take issue with.
1) And I don’t know that sexuality studies necessarily deserves as much chagrin as you often give it. I don’t think sexuality studies is going to overtake the history or political science departments in size or scope anytime soon, and a diversity of opinions and ideas–isn’t that what Mill was talking about with his marketplace of ideas?
Sexuality Studies deserves everyone’s chagrin. It is a waste of taxpayer money to say the least. You may not be able to get into that class that you need to graduate, but you can learn all about “Pornography, Sexuality and American Culture.”
And no, this is not what Mill was talking about. In “On Liberty” Mill was talking about the importance of freedom of speech and expression. A government (or the general population) should not censor ideas because even stupid ideas will help the debate by showing us how right the correct ideas are. Mill did not say, however, that government was required to promulgate every idea it could. Especially not baseless ideas. It simply should not silence them. Unfortunately, the sexuality studies department represents government promulgating vapid ideas.
The easy thing to do is ignore them, the harder thing to do is seek out its proper place among the “more academic” departments.
I am not taking the easy road by criticizing the department. After reading the titles and course descriptions of the courses in the department, I am saying that they have no place in a University curriculum.
But more importantly, I take issue with this statement:
There are no right answers because nothing is perfect, no matter how hard we try. But discussions like this help find the middle ground that everyone can be happy with, and in extreme cases, at least tolerate.
There most definitely are right answers. There most definitely is truth. Just because we may not know the answer, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. For example, when does life begin? People may disagree about the answer or not know the answer, but there most definitely is a right answer. And to take this back to Mill (not that Mill’s opinion really matters. just because someone had some interesting ideas does not mean they were right, or their opinion validates my opinion) he claimed that “the marketplace of ideas” was important because it helped people bring the truth to light. Truth would rise to the top, so to speak. The marketplace was not to find a place that everyone can agree on. For in fact, if everyone simply agrees on someplace in the middle, society becomes stale and complacent. Finding truth is the goal at hand. For it does exist.