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7/29/2004 06:53:00 PM | Timothy

Stevenson miscites political theorist?
John Stevenson writes:
Antiracism, antidiscrimination, elitism, vegetarianism, a concern for injustice, and feminism are just a few of the values I have appropriated from my classes.

Elitism?!? You go, John. Notice how that usually is not identified with the other values you claim to have appropriated. But this is what really gets me:
This brings me to a practical application of what I have learned. The College can, and should, ban speech that injures the quality of life and the total community environment of learning. Since we as individuals are, as political theorist Benhabib notes, situated among many webs of interlocution and various communities of language and socializing, we as individuals, and the College as an institutional authority, have the responsibility to censor and punish speech-acts, which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.
Huh? In Seyla Benhabib's book The Claims of Culture, Benhabib says she agrees with Charles Taylor that our selves are situated among many webs of interlocution. BUT Benhabib says that, from that fact, she  does not think it follows that that the government should single out one of those indenties and it give specific institutional recognition and protection to it. At least in the context of society as a whole, Benhabib makes it clear that she is more interested in our identities being contested in the institutions of civil society, rather than through state enforcement. Granted, I haven't read everything Seyla Benhabib wrote, and she may in fact be in favor of 'speech codes.' But simply because we publically negotiate and contest our identities does not entail that the nearest institution should be empowered to regulate identity. Stevenson can make whatever argument he wants; I just don't think it's Benhabib's argument and I'd like him to tell me at least where he got it from.




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