I have noticed personally a tendency toward hyperbole and dare I say anti-intellectualism within American society, along with of course a marked polarization along ideological fault lines.
Is it ethical for a professor, seeking to shape a more informed and open-minded citizenry, to dock points from students who argue a point overtly ideologically when it adds nothing to the point being addressed?
Examples I have in mind:
- OK: As demonstrated by the retrospective study by Pooler, discourse in American society is beyond an unacceptably and unsustainably dangerous level of polarization along ideological, racial, and religious fault lines.
- Not OK: As demonstrated by Pooler, or by turning on grandfather's favorite Fox News program, discourse...
- Not OK: The progressives and their Alinksy-style tactics have succeeded in polarizing...
One more question: how do you handle edge cases, such as the following?
A gifted student submits a quality paper written in an obviously sarcastic manner without any single instance of excessive sarcasm, like the copious use of understatement, implied hypocrisy and contradiction, etc. Is that just clever?
A student submits a adequately-researched opinion paper that argues a position you find reprehensible using what appear to be sincerely-held value judgments about, say, war crimes or genocide. For instance: "When it comes to dealing with a barbaric and cruel enemy, one must have the courage and moral strength to do as the Romans did when dealing with the barbaric Carthaginians. If the women are spared, no man or boy should be found alive. In modern times, Henry Kissinger sums it up well: anything that flies on anything that moves. It may be ugly, but it is an ugliness that betrays an inner beauty."