How Long before the Left Makes Our Universities Offer Queer Studies?

Daily Mail (London), February 4, 2008 | Go to article overview

How Long before the Left Makes Our Universities Offer Queer Studies?


Byline: Mark Dooley

FEW things in this life deprive me of sleep. But whenever the airheadantics of the academic Left hit the headlines, I succumb to bouts of incurableinsomnia. Why? Because nothing enrages me more than highly-paid adults behavinglike hormonally-fuelled adolescents. And, believe you me, Irish academia isbulging at the seams with such dross.

There was a time in this country when scholarship was the real test ofintellectual competence. In those days, professors were hired on the basis oftheir pedagogical skill. Political views counted for nothing. But not now. Ohno, the chances of a young academic with conservative credentials beingemployed as either a sociologist or a psychologist are virtually nil. It doesntmatter that he may the brightest of the bunch. What matters is that he doesntsubscribe to the politically correct claptrap that currently infects most Irishcolleges.

That rot first surfaced with the advent of womens studies and equality studiesin the 90s. It was then that political propaganda eclipsed intellectual rigouras the object of university education. It was then that the academic Leftseized control of the campuses.

Look, there is not a jot of educational value in a daft subject like WomensStudies. The same goes for Peace Studies, Equality Studies and Queer Studies.Thats right, Queer Studies is taught in leading universities right across theWestern world. And no, Ireland has not been spared such lunacy. Here is how oneuniversity course treats the subject: By grounding our understanding in readingfeminist Marxist and feminist psychoanalytic writings from this period, we willbe better placed to appreciate the deconstructive turn and critical race, queertheories and critiques of neo-liberal global capitalism which currentlyinvigorate feminist theorising and political strategies.

For Gods sake, how can you study the history of women or homosexuals, withoutsimultaneously studying the history of men and heterosexuals? Or, as one of myacademic friends nicely put it: It is impossible to isolate the work of womenfrom a tradition created largely by men; it is impossible to understand thesocial reality of womanhood without studying manhood; it is impossible to holdthe jar of civilisation to the light and expect the masculine and the feminineto separate like oil and water.

But that is precisely what the feminist ideologues of womens studies expect oftheir students. For example, they condemn most Western literature as a typicalproduct of oppressive white males. Leftist authors such as Simone de Beauvoirare hailed as heroines. But rarely will you encounter literary giants such asIris Murdoch or Jane Austen on the same curriculum. Why? Because they espousedold-fashioned ideals of womanhood, and are thus dismissed as devious traitorsto the cause.

No, my friends, the academic Left wonttolerate dissent from its politicallycorrect creed. Either you fully subscribe to its mad Marxist view of the world,or you are branded as someone with a fatal phobia.

If, for instance, you express even the mildest criticism of gay marriage, youmust be homophobic. If you contest the publicly expressed view of TrinityCollege lecturer, Dr Ronit Lentin, that the 2004 citizenship referendum wasevidence of state racism, you must be xenophobic. And if you dont think iteither morally or strategically possible to make peace with Muslim fanatics,then you must be suffering from Islamophobia.

So what, pray tell, was Labour Party president and left-wing intellectual,Michael D Higgins on about last Friday night, when he declared that many Irishacademics have lost their nerve, and have quietly capitulated to anoutrageously distorted version of freedom and the market? What did he mean whenhe said that there has been a failure by Irish intellectuals to discussfundamental moral and political issues? And what was he on when he suggestedthat, insofar as the society in which we live is described as a democracyand in the case of us Irish, a Republicone can only conclude that we are blindly drifting to a condition of unfreedom? …

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