Thursday, August 30, 2007

Not Looking Forward to Class Tomorrow

Specifically, my Pol S 235, "Intro to Ethics in Politics." First, a bit of background about this class. One thing that's frustrating jumping into Political Science late is having to take three of the four "Intro to" classes the Department offers. (I got out of one due to some AP credit I brought in from High School.) These classes consist primarily of underclassmen, mainly freshmen, in political science and upperclassmen from outside the department taking it to fulfill an elective requirement. In both cases, the level of education, logic, and argument crafting is not what one would encounter in a 300 or 400 level Pol S class. I took the Intro to International Relations and Intro to Comparative Politics last semester; both were easy and, not to sound haughty, but rather beneath my level of competence. The same seems to be applying so far for the Intro to Ethics class.

An example: We are currently delving into the ethics and laws of war, international relations, etc. Machiavelli, Hobbes, Aquinas so far, Kant and Grotius a bit later. Anyway, the class was discussing Summa Theologica (specifically the sections regarding self defense and waging war) and people kept bringing up "interests." You should not sound like Kissinger when you are discussing Aquinas and just war theory. The worst part was that even after the Prof called the class on it people continued to discuss things using interests arguments. It was like it was an IR class. Rather frustrating. Going along with that, it should come as no surprise that people like to get off on tangents, especially on contemporary issues, things like torture, terrorism, etc. In an upper level class, the rare times this would happen the professor would simply shut whoever it was down before they got started. The Profs in the intro classes tend to be a little nicer (which is probably part of the reason why they're teaching intro classes) and will never flat out tell someone they're wrong or shut them down. It's EXTREMELY frustrating.

So, why am I not looking forward to class tomorrow? We're discussing the decision to invade Iraq. I have no interest in sparring with most of the morons in the class because we'll be talking past each other. If you can't agree on a bedrock of common facts, there's no point. I doubt I would get much past "Bush didn't lie" before the screams of disagreement started. I am, however, sorely tempted to record the class, because I'm sure the discussion would make for a wicked drinking game.

Every time someone mentions:
-oil, drink.
-"the troops," drink.
-neo-cons, take a shot.
-WMDs, drink.
-Abu Ghraib, take a shot.
-Rumsfeld, drink.
-9/11, take several shots.
-ZIONIST neo-cons, finish the bottle.