Earlier this week I had the pleasure of sitting in on a lecture given by Dr. Richard Baer, professor emeritus of environmental ethics and education, at an event hosted by the Cornell Republicans.
Baer spoke at length about how, in their rush to ensure that they’re not promoting religious values, state-run and other “non-sectarian” schools actually end up promoting a dangerous brand of secular humanism that effectively acts as a religion in which one worships one’s self.
The double standard is astounding. Never mind that schools spend plenty of time – rightly, in my view – promoting values like racial and gender equality; when it comes to issues of, say, sexual morality, sixth graders should really hear both sides and form their own conclusions.
While I encourage you to listen to Baer’s argument yourself (the MP3 of a 1994 lecture in which Baer makes roughly the same larger points is available here), he essentially contends that by making the decision not to promote morality, both our public schools and institutions of higher education actively discourage moral behavior.
This is certainly true of Cornell. In fact, this coming weekend my university is hosting “Filthy/Gorgeous,” its annual celebration of sexual promiscuity headlined by “Chi Chi LaRue,” a DJ that dresses in drag whose day job is producing pornography. While I’m thankfully not privy to the more graphic details of what the event entails, you can pretty much get the idea from the promotional materials (warning: link NSFW) and the innuendo in the event’s tagline – “Come Filthy. Come Gorgeous. Just Come.”
This event is held in a University-owned recreation center and its nearly $30,000 price tag is paid for by numerous student organizations, most prominently the LGBTQ Student Union, that receive funding through the mandatory $229 student activity fee that this state-supported institution levies on all students.
But to be fair, organizers also raised money this year by getting sex toy and lubricant manufacturers to cosponsor the event, so students are only responsible for about $13,000 of the event’s expenses.
I’m not entirely disheartened though, as I think there is a largely silent majority of more modest students on campus who are similarly disgusted with the University-sponsored assault on morality.
In fact, one of these students seems to be Nate Treffeisen, the current LGBTQ representative on the Student Assembly, who bravely told the student newspaper in 2010 that he found the event “personally offensive” because it “reinforces gay stereotypes in the sense that the name ‘Filthy/Gorgeous’ does not necessarily reflect the way every gay person goes about their daily life.” Treffeisen proves that the promotion of promiscuity doesn’t square with the values of any community and that those behind events like “Filthy/Gorgeous” do everyone on campus a disservice.
This extreme example of a university offering its explicit endorsement of values outside of the mainstream even for relatively liberal college students is, unfortunately, rapidly becoming the norm.
Given the proliferation of events like “Filthy/Gorgeous” on college campuses across the country (Yale’s “Sex Week” is one of the more infamous), the administrators of liberal academia are going to fight to keep you from pushing your values onto students . . . by pushing their values onto students.