Good take down by Ace of the “pseudo provacative” flattery involved in the Florida college professor who wanted students to stomp on the name of Jesus and found one (and sadly, only one) objector in the form of a religious Mormon.
Consider, there might be some kind of a bracing Kill Your Assumptions/Smash Your Symbols experience were a Christian to stomp on the name of Jesus. (Just roll with the hypothetical for a moment.) In that particular case, the Christian would, arguably at least, be learning (or at least being subject to) some kind of lesson that The Word is Not The Thing and The Symbol Is Not the Signified and also various Question Your Beliefs type kindergarten horsehshit.
But does a Muslim learn that lesson from stomping on the name Jesus? No. How about an atheist? Again, no. How about a gay guy who hates “Bible Thumpers”? No. How about a feminist who hates the Patriarch and considers patriarchal religion to be the most important perpetuator of Male Privilege? Again, obviously not.
These folks don’t learn any of these Very Important Lessons from these actions. In fact, they learn the opposite lesson, don’t they? While the Christian is arguably learning to “not be so tribal in outlook,” or something, the other groups are learning the power of tribalism.
After all, their symbols aren’t being smashed. The symbols of their Destested Enemy are being smashed. Their Symbols are being elevated by contrast to the treatment of the Symbol of the Enemy.
But, of course, so much education of the “consciousness raising” variety is the very opposite of real education, which I understand to be the development of critical thinking, the expansion of the imagination, knowledge of the world around us (and before us), and increased sensitivity to nuance, truth, beauty, and the good. Indeed, consciousness raising is indoctrination by people who want, more than anything else, everyone to agree with them.
Now Mormons and religious conservatives and many others have that in common too. But the difference is they mostly have more or less regard for freedom as one among several important societal goods, they’re aware not everyone agrees with them, and they don’t mistakenly think their attempt to drive people to the good is somehow an expression of “open mindedness.” They at least know what they’re doing and why.
This scene happens in small ways every day, and the kids emerge with a degree, debt, and they can barely read and write. In other words, most “college education” is not worth crap, and I say that as someone who thinks education should do a lot more than “get you ready for a job.”