The Wash Post had an article today describing how an Arlington middle school had canceled a mock UN discussion in which one team would represent the Taliban point of view. At least one parent had objected, saying it was an “abuse of the academic freedom that we all cherish.” Apparently we don’t cherish academic freedom enough to actually practice it if the topic is in any way objectionable, at least not in Arlington County.
Well, I am no fan of the Taliban but the US is heavily engaged in their country and is trying to kill them so it would seem that a little knowledge about them might actually be a good thing. The Taliban do have a certain constituency inside Afghanistan and many Afghans appear to prefer them to the government that the US is supporting. Ignorance may indeed be bliss, but I would think that teaching students that there might well be two sides (or more) to an argument is not intrinsically harmful and might actually result in some of those being educated realizing that bombing the natives does not always make for the best foreign policy.