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Re: shifting the debate right. #3

After reading all the other posts (and comments) responding to the question: To What Extent is There Room for Conservative World Views at EUC? I would like to state a few points; starting off with the fact that it is never possible to have a completely politically neutral type of education, even though EUC likes to focus on scientific and empirical matters.

This is due the following reasons:

Firstly, it is naive to think that education can be 100% politically neutral. It already starts with the fact that students cannot learn everything and thus a selection of knowledge needs to be made. If four PBLs discuss European history and one PBL discusses African history, it is not a completely neutral choice. The curriculum is shaped by our Eurocentric capitalist country, which reflects in the courses we are taught, but not an entire world view. So even without the PBLs having started, the fact that the curriculum up for discussion is 100% neutral is already gone.

Secondly, tutors are not always completely academically distanced in their teachings. I think we all have experienced some tutors who let their opinions shine through a little bit more extreme than others, this could be solved by having a more politically diverse team of tutors, which will take time to form. For the current tutors there might be certain dilemmas. For example, if we had an extreme-right tutor who thinks the Dutch parliament is ‘fake’, what would that teacher teach us about Dutch democracy?

I don't think this second point is that much of an issue at EUC, as the tutors usually take an as neutral standpoint in the discussion as they can but it is certainly something to keep in mind.

Taking into consideration the previous two points that argue that education is not as neutral as we want it to be, creating a more comfortable space for left leaning students, as the courses generally lean more towards left-wing topics and tutors are more likely to be ‘left-leaning’. A recent study found that 68% of conservative students self-censor in the classroom, compared to 24% of liberal students. ¹

For right-voting students, this creates an environment in which they are less likely to share their opinion. This does not rule out that there is no space for conservatives at EUC, it might just mean that we hear them less as they might be less comfortable speaking up in EUC’s leftish environment. However, this does not mean that people with different views than yours do not deserve their voice to be heard (or worse, treated differently as has been mentioned by other commenters).

Additionally, it is important to distinguish political matters and matters of human rights. As has been mentioned before, yes EUC may have a leftish preference. But let's not forget one thing: human rights are not a matter of left or right. For example, Black Live Matters is not a matter of politics, it is a matter of human rights. Politics is about the controversy that surrounds it, and it is okay to have different opinions about the political issues, such as what should be done about issues regarding racism.

Gender neutral bathrooms are not a matter of left or right. Simply put, I think the issues in itself are human rights issues, but how we choose to solve these issues is a political matter. For students at EUC, human right issues are not up for debate, but how to solve them should be. Discrimination is not a matter of left or right.

In conclusion, higher education is supposed to be a free marketplace of ideologies where students can decide for themselves what to think. Dialogue between students with different ideologies should make you learn and help you develop to be that ‘critical world citizen’ which EUC cannot shut up about. It is good that EUC tries to create a certain safe space for students, but it might be true that there is a preference for the left side of the political spectrum, due to the courses that are picked, the tutors that teach the courses, and the fact that the majority of the students seem to be voting left of the spectrum. This would simply leave slightly less room for right-voting and/or conservative students, but this would not mean that there is no room for conservative students.

1. I do acknowledge the fact that conservative and right and, liberal and left are not interchangeable terms, but as the mentioned source talks about the American political system I took the liberty of using this source.

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Re: shifting the debate right. #1

Dear all, Let me begin by stating my personal political views. I consider myself a traditional liberal (although I do believe in a minimum floor for every person, and hence support a welfare state, wi

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