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Salient. Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 25. October 4, 1976

Relevance and Political Science

Relevance and Political Science

Dear John,

That lengthy and prolixious gripe in last week's Salient about Political Science, (at least some of it was about Political Science) inspired me to outpour my gripings too. All this frogshit about 'relevance' get on my nerves. Do these blathering radicals realise that we are here studying at the reluctant expense of the tax-payers who would prefer us to all be commerce or science students or out humping shit around some grim construction site?

You see the problem - who's relevance? Muldnonism is alive and well, the idea that a University has no intellectual autonomy but is brain-processing plant for commerce and industry, left or right. Doubtless our energetic educational radicals curl up their placards in honor at being equated with il Mulduce but the repercussions of their self-righteous demands for relevant courses are just as bad if not worse.

Muldoonism is commercially expedient, it is an economic restraint, their sis an ideological restriction. The analysis and study of topical issues and problems woudl lead to a sterile university. Astute understanding and analytical skills come from the study of the foundations of problem, the principles underlying the facts. How did Carey once put it "A 'fact' is the reified product of subjectively selected principles".

I maintain that we would do better to research our principle making apparatus rather than shove our prejudiced based 'facts' down someone else's reluctant throat. Thank God (or whatever deity or reverred symbol or person you prefer) for irrelevance! As long as the university pursues a course of non-aligned intellectual studies it can assume the role of (honorary at least) gadfly, it can produce students with some cerebral skills, not just with a headful of famine statistics, and through research and theoretical studies provide a better critical service than a gaggle of vigourous welfare workers stuffed with piety, pat phrases and a vocal empathy for the much-lauded 'needy and dispossessed'. The idea of 'relevance' is arbitrary, repressive and eventually self-defeating.

We need an institution that continues freelance to think for thought's sake.

To say a university should produce what the society needs assumes one knows what the society needs. I would not aspire to any such presumption but support a free university that may help we understand more fully the paradoxes and problems of the human group by looking further than the end of it's scholastic nose.

Irrelevantly yours,

Max Currier.