Perhaps we've been using the wrong set of metaphors here, and been too
centred on ideologies that are offensive _to us_. I think Marcy's
quite right that we have no business trying to "cure" a student, which
really means imposing our own ideologies. For that matter, we have
equally little business patting a student on the head for having the
"right" ideology--that is, one that _does_ appeal to us.
But there is a difference between being multiplistic--all ideologies
are equal--and relativistic--there are competing ideologie (to use
Perry's term). If the univerity is here for anything it's to make
sure that students become critical thinkers, that they do not leave
with "unopened baggage" to use Anthony's felicitous term.
If we expose students' ideologies to critical scrutiny as part of
showing them how to strengthen arguments, especially about minority
opinions as Marcy suggests, we are not just showing them how to
promote their ideologies better. (That's the business that got
Plato's charater Gorgia into so much trouble with Socrates.) If they
examine their positions in the light of others' positions they can't
help coming away with a better understanding of both positions, and
more importantly, of the critical tools needed to understand positions
in general. Even the ideologies we approve of will have come through
a healthy airing process.
Well, maybe I overstate. "Can't help" presumes an mirculous educative
climate in our classrooms. But maybe they are more likely to come out
of a writing classroom with more critical understanding than most
other sorts of classrooms.