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February 26th, 2010 12:41 am
Digital Kneecapping

If you or someone you know has attended a public and/or secular university in the last few decades, you’ve probably heard about the leftward tilt in the academy.  Some propose an Academic Bill of Rights requiring professors and schools to teach all sides of an issue instead of whatever uniformly diverse viewpoint has been approved by ‘60s radicals masquerading as accreditation agencies.  Others – like Gary North – have a different method for overcoming liberal classroom bias: “digital kneecapping.”

As explained by North in this article, digital kneecapping is a process where a conservative or libertarian college student can use a blog, some subject matter expertise, and a little community organizing to turn the tables on a holier-than-thou professor.

1. Set up a blog site that allows interaction (a forum).

2. Post key questions on the blog. Refer to your confusion. “If he is saying that, then how can we explain this?” Provide the summary of your position. Provide links to supporting data. Do not attack him. Undermine confidence in him.

3. Once you have a few questions posted, hand out a card before class begins. Have the site’s address on the card. Invite others to share their views.

4. Position this blog as a discussion group in which each person helps the others to do better in class. It’s a joint effort to pass the course.

5. If he is forcing mindless regurgitation on exams, ask if others have experienced lower grades for not doing this. Ask what the best way is to give him what he wants, even though what he is saying seems so one-sided. (The phrase one-sided is a killer in academia, where one-sidedness is universally practiced, and is also universally disparaged as not conforming to the search for truth.)

6. If word gets out to the department chairman that he is not playing fair, he has a big problem — not because he is not playing fair, but because he has been caught and is being exposed where the Administration can see this. The Administration worries about alumni, who might quit donating if the media find out. This is kneecapping.

7. He can respond on the forum. He then deals with you as the top gun; it’s your forum, not his. He comes to it on your terms. He has never had to do this with students. He has played the toady with his superiors to get where he is. He has never had to do this with mere students. This puts him on the defensive. It forces him to defend his ideas and his behavior. You cannot believe the pain this inflicts.

8. If he ignores your site, you can slice him up, piece by piece, day by day, after each lecture. This is not kneecapping. This is death by a thousand cuts.

For my part, I’ll take North’s approach over a legally imposed “Academic Bill of Rights” any day.  The spring semester is still young, so get those blogs rolling!

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