Libertarian Senator Rand Paul is to teach a course in dystopian literature this fall at The George Washington University in DC, triggering several lefty college professors into tantrums.
The GW Hatchet broke the news, noting that Paul will lead the class on novels and works by authors such as Ayn Rand. Paul will fulfill the role, leading 33 students, while acting as a sitting U.S. senator.
Paul has previously spoken of his desire to take on such course, telling Vice in 2013 “I think dystopian novels are a discussion of politics, and sort of what happens if you let a government accumulate too much power.”
“New presidents or kings think that they’re too good and smart to abuse their power,” Paul said at the time, adding “It’s like when Madison said, If government were comprised of angels, we wouldn’t have to worry about how much power to give the government.”
While the course filled up immediately, and GWU dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences described the prospect of Paul as “an engaging backdrop for our students,” lefty college professors at GWU are not happy about it.
“I think teaching something on dystopian history or dystopian vision and dystopian novels seems to be a thinly disguised political ideology course, masquerading as intellectual inquiry,” said Elisabeth Anker, an associate professor of American studies and political science.
Anker also complained that “the investment in having Rand Paul to brand the University really comes at the expense of the reputation of the school, in terms of the intellectual offerings and the type of education we provide to our students.”
Other professors complained that Paul isn’t qualified to teach the course.
“We’re trained to do this,” said professor of English Robert McRuer. “So the fact that a celebrity could potentially teach a course that was listed as a novel course is a bit troubling.”
“The works themselves are complex,” added Holly Dugan, an associate professor of English, “You need a scholar or a teacher who is trained in that aesthetic tradition and can present them as what they are, which is complex works of art, not necessarily political ideologies.”
The professors complained about the course, and managed to get the title changed from “the dystopian novel,” saying that it shouldn’t be sold as a legitimate English course.
The English department even released a statement making it clear that Paul’s course is not a part of their department, and that it does not count toward a degree.
Freshman Thomas Crean, a member of the GW College Republicans, said that Paul’s political background fits well with the dystopian topic, yet his political opponents will criticize it regardless.
“I think by and large the criticisms are going to be coming from the political left and not from an intellectually honest inspection of what he’s actually teaching,” Crean said.