Tag Archives: totalitarianism

Ethics Hero: Notre Dame Political Science Professor Vincent Phillip Muñoz

Vincent Phillip Muñoz is the Tocqueville Associate Professor of Political Science and Concurrent Associate Professor of Law at The University of Notre Dame. Following the violent protest that prevented his announced lecture at Middlebury College earlier this month, Prof. Muñoz invited Murray to speak at the University of Notre Dame next week. This occasioned some protests and objections from students and faculty at his own college, and he responded with an essay at RealClearPolitics, writing in part…

Charles Murray is speaking at Notre Dame because I and another Political Science professor assigned his book “Coming Apart” in our classes. His visit is one of several outside lectures that are part of this semester’s Constitutional Studies offerings. My class, “Constitutional Government & Public Policy,” addresses some of the most important and divisive issues in American politics: abortion, gay marriage, religious freedom, inequality, freedom of speech, death penalty, race and the meaning of constitutional equality, immigration, euthanasia, and pornography.

 The class is designed to prompt students to think more deeply and thoughtfully about contemporary moral and political issues. I don’t assign a textbook or “neutral” readings that summarize the issues; I require students to read principled thinkers who advocate vigorously for their respective position. I want my conservative students to read smart, persuasive liberal thinkers, and I want my liberal students to read thoughtful conservatives. Educated citizens can give reasons for their beliefs and can defend intellectually the positions they hold. That requires that we understand and articulate the positions with which we disagree.

…“But Murray is controversial and will make students feel uncomfortable,” my faculty colleagues say. Don’t I know that he has been accused of being racist, anti-gay, and a white nationalist? I’m told that bringing him to campus is not fair to Notre Dame’s marginalized students.

I have no desire to inflict unwanted stress or anxiety on any member of the Notre Dame community, especially our minority students. I appreciate the concern for student well being that motivates some of the opposition to Murray’s visit. But I believe what is most harmful to students—and, to speak candidly, most patronizing—is to “protect” our students from hearing arguments and ideas they supposedly cannot handle.To study politics today requires handling controversial, difficult, and divisive topics…

The price of a real education is hearing powerful arguments that make us realize our opinions are based on untested assumptions. Only then, when we realize that we do not know as much as we think we know, can genuine learning occur.

I invited Dr. Murray to Notre Dame months ago…Given what happened at Middlebury, it would be cowardly to disinvite Murray now. Rescinding his invitation would communicate that violence works; that if you want to influence academia, sharpen your elbows, not your mind. It would tell those who engaged in violence—and those who might engage in or threaten violence—that universities will cower if you just appear intimidating. Rescinding Murray’s invitation would teach exactly the wrong lesson…

Notre Dame faculty critical of Murray have implored me to think about the larger context of what his visit means. I am. That is why I will not rescind his invitation. As a professor and program director, my job is to do what we are supposed to do at universities: pursue the truth through reasoned dialogue and discussion. Whether you find Charles Murray’s scholarship persuasive or objectionable, his visit offers an opportunity to learn. That is why I invited him to speak at Notre Dame. After Middlebury, it’s all the more important that he do so.

It is almost an insult to academia to call Prof. Muñoz ‘s statement heroic. It should be obvious. Dissenters from the position he articulates should be instantly recognizable as regrettable outliers, the opponents of academic freedom and freedom of thought, the advocates of censorship and ideological indoctrination. Yet increasingly it is this traditional view of higher education that Muñoz advocates that is under attack. Continue reading

11 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Quotes, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Professions, Race, Research and Scholarship, Rights, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

Comment Of The Day (2) : “Catching Up On “Instersectionality,” And Finally Paying Attention”

It’s always satisfying to post a Comment of the Day from a new commenter on this forum, and such is the case with Mrs. Q. She, like Isaac before her, authored her response to the original post about Andrew Sullivan’s observations on “intersectionality” and its emergenec on the Left as virtual religion.

Here is Mrs. Q’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Catching Up On “Instersectionality,” And Finally Paying Attention”:

I’m amused that the main discussion in the 45+ comments so far is about identity politics. I’m also guessing, including the kind host of this blog, that the majority of folks having the discussion are somewhat similar in identities. Fun to watch.

What I find most interesting in Sullivan’s remarks is the similarities to various religious and religion-like movements that have been mostly totalitarian in nature. There is always a good guy & bad guy/sinner & saint/better or worse. Intersectionality is a fancy way of saying “stuff overlaps sometimes and from it develop new challenges.” Indeed racism is in that bad/sinner/worse category – until those attempting to correct racism become a new form of racist, as we are seeing much of. Look up sports commenter Sage Steele to see how some liberals wanted to trade her in the racial draft (it was a funny but not funny joke) for a prime example.

I have 4 categories in which I qualify for minority. I can tell you without fail, white liberals have been as oppressive if not more so in how I’ve been treated than white conservatives. Why this is I don’t know. Time after time I’ve put my so called oppression to the test & found in spite of it all that:

A: I have way more advantages than some people both because of race, class, sex, sexuality, ect…and also…not because of those things.

B. I have way less advantages for the same reasons as above.

C. This is the human condition. The end.

What I think we need to be much more concerned about is the general malaise in respectfulness and respectability. Without fail when we begin to dehumanize no matter much “they deserve it” or how much “they started it” we as a nation or nations bring about terrible changes. This we must talk about.

6 Comments

Filed under Character, Comment of the Day, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, U.S. Society

Catching Up On “Instersectionality,” And Finally Paying Attention

There are more than 22,000 tags used here, even if you eliminate the duplicates due to my typo problem, and still  “intersectionality” is not among them. I have seen the term, mostly recently, but only in contexts that led me to dismiss it as leftist, scholarly jargon, the kind of word radicals throw around to confuse their opposition and make people think they are intellectual when they are really arguing nonsense. I wasn’t wrong: it is one of those words. Still, it is a useful one, because it helps explain several phenomena of great importance, which can be collectively described as the increasing totalitarian tilt of the political left, especially since the election of Donald Trump. I should have realized the importance of the word long  ago and investigated: I apologize. Bias makes me  stupid too.

Over at New York magazine, Andrew Sullivan had one of his lucid moments—when he can bypass his anger at anti-gay attitudes (the bias that makes HIM stupid), Sullivan can be brilliant—, and delivered a perceptive essay about “intersectionality,” beginning with the recent disgrace on the Middlebury College campus, where a student protest designed to prevent sociologist Charles Murray from speaking turned into a violent riot, injuring a professor. Do read all of Sullivan’s article, but here are some key passages:

[W]hat grabbed me was the deeply disturbing 40-minute video of the event, posted on YouTube. It brings the incident to life in a way words cannot. At around the 19-minute mark, the students explained why they shut down the talk, and it helped clarify for me what exactly the meaning of “intersectionality” is.

“Intersectionality” is the latest academic craze sweeping the American academy. On the surface, it’s a recent neo-Marxist theory that argues that social oppression does not simply apply to single categories of identity — such as race, gender, sexual orientation, class, etc. — but to all of them in an interlocking system of hierarchy and power. At least, that’s my best attempt to define it briefly. But watching that video helps show how an otherwise challenging social theory can often operate in practice.

It is operating, in Orwell’s words, as a “smelly little orthodoxy,” and it manifests itself, it seems to me, almost as a religion. It posits a classic orthodoxy through which all of human experience is explained — and through which all speech must be filtered. Its version of original sin is the power of some identity groups over others. To overcome this sin, you need first to confess, i.e., “check your privilege,” and subsequently live your life and order your thoughts in a way that keeps this sin at bay. The sin goes so deep into your psyche, especially if you are white or male or straight, that a profound conversion is required….

Like the Puritanism once familiar in New England, intersectionality controls language and the very terms of discourse. It enforces manners. It has an idea of virtue — and is obsessed with upholding it. The saints are the most oppressed who nonetheless resist. The sinners are categorized in various ascending categories of demographic damnation, like something out of Dante. The only thing this religion lacks, of course, is salvation. Life is simply an interlocking drama of oppression and power and resistance, ending only in death. It’s Marx without the final total liberation.

It operates as a religion in one other critical dimension: If you happen to see the world in a different way, if you’re a liberal or libertarian or even, gasp, a conservative, if you believe that a university is a place where any idea, however loathsome, can be debated and refuted, you are not just wrong, you are immoral. If you think that arguments and ideas can have a life independent of “white supremacy,” you are complicit in evil. And you are not just complicit, your heresy is a direct threat to others, and therefore needs to be extinguished. You can’t reason with heresy. You have to ban it. It will contaminate others’ souls, and wound them irreparably….Murray’s old work on IQ demonstrates no meaningful difference between men and women, and Murray has long supported marriage equality. He passionately opposes eugenics. He’s a libertarian. But none of that matters. Intersectionality, remember? If you’re deemed a sinner on one count, you are a sinner on them all. If you think that race may be both a social construction and related to genetics, your claim to science is just another form of oppression. It is indeed hate speech….This matters, it seems to me, because reason and empirical debate are essential to the functioning of a liberal democracy. We need a common discourse to deliberate. We need facts independent of anyone’s ideology or political side, if we are to survive as a free and democratic society. Trump has surely shown us this. And if a university cannot allow these facts and arguments to be freely engaged, then nowhere is safe. Universities are the sanctuary cities of reason. If reason must be subordinate to ideology even there, our experiment in self-government is over.

This outburst was apparently too much for Andrew, his old libertarian/conservative persona emerging full-force after a long hiatus, so his piece suddenly shifts into a standard issue anti-Trump rant. It’s fascinating to see, because Andrew apparently hates the President so much that he can’t perceive that the same antipathy created by “intersectionality” that he rebuts regarding Murray (after all, Sullivan is friends with Murray), applies to the President (whom he detests) as well. The proof is how Trump’s misogyny and opposition to illegal immigration has led the Left to presume that he is racist, classist and homophobic as well. He’s not. But, to quote Sullivan against himself, “But none of that matters. Intersectionality, remember? If you’re deemed a sinner on one count, you are a sinner on them all.”

Thus Sullivan pivots to blaming all of the social and political tilt he correctly deems as dangerous on Donald Trump, and in doing so, he becomes the partisan hack he so often appears to be: Continue reading

175 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Quotes, Race, Religion and Philosophy, Research and Scholarship, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

Ethics Observations On The Impeachment Poll

johnson-impeachment

Public Policy Polling reported yesterday that…

“Just three weeks into his administration, voters are already evenly divided on the issue of impeaching Trump with 46% in favor and 46% opposed. Support for impeaching Trump has crept up from 35% 2 weeks ago, to 40% last week, to its 46% standing this week. While Clinton voters initially only supported Trump’s impeachment 65/14, after seeing him in office over the last few weeks that’s gone up already to 83/6.”

What’s going on here?

Ethics Observations:

1. The article buries the lede. What has changed is that Clinton voters now want the President to be impeached by an incredible 83-6 margin. Good job, news media! Well done, Democrats! Nice well-poisoning, social media! Now, if the poll is to be believed, virtually all of the 65,844,610 voters who supported Clinton have adopted the Left’s favored totalitarian mode of governance: if our candidate loses the election, gain power through other means.

2. This has been the relentless message wafting in from the Left  like Assad’s poison gas since November 8, 2016, when “The World Turned Upside-Down.” The popular vote should decide the election…Electors should violate their pledges…Trump should be impeached before he takes office…He should be stopped from taking the oath until he sells all of his business interests—Russia “hacked the election,” we should have a do-over…His cabinet should declare him “unable to discharge the duties of the Presidency,” and make Pence President…the military should take over…He should be arrested…He should be shot…Rioters should prevent the Inauguration from occurring…Did I miss any? I’m sure I must have. But now it has come back to impeachment.

3. Impeachment has been the default remedy of radicals, fanatics and crazies who oppose Presidents since at least the 1950s, when the John Birch Society was running amuck. Democrats, having once taken their name seriously and genuinely supported, you know, democracy, used to regard it as dangerous device that could be used to take power away without the inconvenience of elections. John F. Kennedy won a Pulitzer Prize for putting his name on a pop history book called “Profiles in Courage” (he didn’t write it) about heroic U.S. Senators, and one of the most stirring tales was the book’s recounting the story of Edmund Ross, Republican Senator from Kansas, who bucked his party leadership and his constituents by voting for President Andrew Johnson’s acquittal in his impeachment trial, thus causing the effort to throw Johnson out of office to fail by a single vote. Kennedy’s book stated that Ross, whose career in Kansas was ended by the vote (he later switched parties and moved to New Mexico), may well have saved the balance of powers and the integrity of the the democratic process. Johnson was an unpopular and obstructive President who stood in the way of the Radical Republicans’ plans to subjugate the defeated Confederacy, but his “high crimes” consisted of using his power in politically unpopular ways.

4. The Democrats carried on Ross’s tradition when they refused to give Bill Clinton’s impeachment a fair trial, and he had engaged in impeachable offenses. That didn’t mean that it would have been good for the country to remove Clinton from office, however, especially since the Republican Party had been openly searching for ways to undermine Clinton since he was elected. The impeachment was an example of something justifiable done for unethical reasons, thus setting, again, a dangerous precedent. Impeachment has to be a last resort when a President’s conduct abuses law and power, as it would have been if Nixon hadn’t resigned. Any other use of the device will allow elections to be overturned whenever a President’s opposition gets sufficient popular support and representation. Continue reading

25 Comments

Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Leadership

Esquire’s Ridiculous Book List Smear

esquire-book-list

To paraphrase Michael Corleone, every time I think I’ve gotten away from having to comment on the extraordinary unethical performance of the national media toward the President, they puuuull me back in.

What is the correct and fair reaction to the latest media cheap shot on the President of the United States? This one would have been contemptible to inflict on a candidate before the election; now, almost three months after it, the feature is something to behold. Godwin’s Law is invoked far too often, but in this case, it tells the tale.

Esquire’s embarrassing article is called “20 Essential Books to Prepare You for What’s Next: A handy reading list featuring not-so-speculative dystopian fiction, political memoirs, and cautionary tales from Nazi Germany.” The point being made, of course, though already hackneyed, dishonest and thoroughly debunked, is that the President is Hitler. This contention requires ignorance of the United States culture and institutions, Germany, world history, Hitler and the President, but never mind: hate and fear is all the article is intended to generate, not perception or understanding. Taking it seriously requires blocking out the fact that it is the President’s opponents who are flirting with totalitarian methods, using violence to stifle dissent, trying to overthrow lawful elections, calling for coups, and co-opting the news media. The list is an insult without substantiation or justification; Esquire might just as well have published a full page reading: “The President of the United States is a Poopy-Face, and We Hate Him!” There is no substantive difference.

For anyone who has read the books and is not deranged regarding the President to the point of delusion, Esquire’s book list is kind of hilarious. “1984,” for example, is a vision of Soviet-style totalitarianism, with a news media that distorts facts  to support a political party similar to the way our current news media manipulates it against the current administration, but previously did to bolster the Obama. Indeed, Esquire’s book list itself is Orwellian, using mass communication to control public opinion with deception, emotion and fear.

Sinclair Lewis’s “It Can’t Happen Here” was considered hysterical when it was written in the Thirties. Including “The Handmaiden’s Tale” as a guide to “what happens next” is about as silly an example of fearmongering as one could imagine: Continue reading

44 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Environment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Literature, Popular Culture

Ethics Observations On Berkeley’s Anti-Speech Riot

Protesters setup fires during a protest against right-wing troll Milo Yiannopoulos who was scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (Doig Duran/Bay Area News Group)

From SF Gate:

A protest at UC Berkeley over a scheduled appearance by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos turned fiery and violent Wednesday night, prompting police to cancel the event and hustle the Breitbart News editor off campus. But even after the event’s cancellation, hundreds of protesters spilled off campus into the city streets, where the violence continued as they confronted drivers, engaged in fights, smashed storefront windows and set fires.

Protesters decried President Trump’s policies as much as they did the visit by Yiannopoulos, a gay conservative who has been making the rounds at college campuses across the country with his “Dangerous Faggot” talks, specializing in remarks meant to insult, offend and disgust liberals who disagree with his ideas.

More from Heat Street:

The violent riots that convulsed the campus of the University of California at Berkeley on Wednesday evening were driven by rioters identifying as “Antifa”, self-styled anti-fascism activists who align with anarchism.

The violence began when hundreds of anti-Trump demonstrators forcefully disrupted a speaking event featuring the conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos. The protests turned into full blown riots after “Antifa” rioters shot fireworks at the building in which the event was set to take place, smashing windows with police barricades and destroyed several large light fixtures. The Antifa members dressed in all black and wore gas masks and face coverings to hide their identity. These rioters led the most aggressive elements of the demonstration.

Police and campus administrators repeatedly ordered the mob to disperse, to which rioters responded with chants of “Fuck you! Fuck you!” and “Fuck Trump!”

Nice.

You will notice that last part  appears to be an exact quote from Madonna at the Women’s March….

Some unpleasant ethics observations: Continue reading

139 Comments

Filed under Character, Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, Social Media, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

Unethical Quotes Of The Month: DisruptJ20 Organizers David Thurston And Legba Carrefour

disruptj20

“We are not in favor of a peaceful transition of power, and we need to stop it.”

 —Legba Carrefour, one of the organizers of DisruptJ20, a group working with Black Lives Matter and other protest groups to disrupt the Inauguration with demonstrations, predawn blockades and efforts to interfere with inaugural balls in the evening.

“We want to shut down the inauguration. We want to see a seething rebellion develop in this city and across the country.”

—David Thurston, another DisruptJ20 leader.

This is, increasingly, the face of the political Left in 2017 America. These two are a bit more radical, self-righteous, undemocratic and extreme than the Democratic Party and its allies in academia and journalism, but not as much as one would think, or hope.

A significant number of progressives and Democrats have completely lost their minds, as well as their common sense, during the still rolling 2016 Post Election Train Wreck. At least Thurston and Carrefour are honest and straightforward about wanting to undermine the democratic process and to justify a coup solely on the basis that their candidate did not prevail. Democrats, progressives, academics and pundits are advocating or encouraging the same thing, but are less direct about it.

Every few days, often every day, bring new examples. I don’t just mean certified left-wing crazies like Michael Moore, who says we have to find some way to stop Trump from taking the office he was duly elected to, or Rosie O’Donnell, whose status as an idiot would normally make me hesitate to cite her except that ABC News gave her a forum as a pundit on “The View” for a few years, who says that Trump should be “arrested.” When did any conservative, libertarian, or Republican not residing in a padded room advocate that a Democratic President-Elect should be forceably prevented from taking office?

I know, I know: Trump is special. Trump justifies suspending ethics. The New York Times Rule.

About a week ago, another Hollywood video led by Sally Field demanded that Congress “stop” Trump, without really knowing what they will be stopping. The video is pure fear-mongering without substance, calling Trump “racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, anti-worker, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-environmental…” Of course, the same people were part of a loud group of indignant Democrats who maintained for eight years that for Congress to deny the wishes of a President was akin to racism and treason. The previous video, that one headed by fake President Martin Sheen, made the historically stupid argument that Electors were supposed to have the power to veto the will of the people, at least when Democrats lose. That worked well…as as it deserved to.

Yesterday, over at The Hill, an assistant professor of government in American University’s School of Public Affairs was given a forum to make the batty argument that Russia’s hacking and leaking e-mails that exposed some of the filthy under-belly of the Clinton machine and the Democrats mandate cancelling the results of the election and holding a new one. Now, it would be a slightly less batty argument (but batty still), to call for a re-vote if damaging information was uncovered after an election that the winner withheld from the public, like, say, the fact that the IRS was sabotaging conservative groups to keep them from participating in civic discourse, or that the President lied to pass Obamacare, or that the Democratic Senate leader deliberately lied to smear the losing candidate….like in 2012. This guy (his name is Chris Edelson, and I am officially ashamed to have once been on an American University faculty with him) so hates Trump that he advocates causing a Constitutional crisis because damning information about the corruption of Clinton and the Democrats enlightened the public so they could, if they chose, use it to cast an informed vote. Cant have that.

Worse still was the jaw-dropping argument by liberal columnist Richard Cohen a few days ago, in a screed titled, “How to Remove Trump From Office.” Like all of the Left’s suddenly revolution-minded, Cohen begins with a list of Trump’s failings and character deficits, asserting that he is not fit to be President.  Boy, when did the concept of “an election” become so alien to the Left? I happen to agree with Cohen about Trump completely, but see, Richard, it is the voters, not us, who get to decide who is fit to lead the country. If you argue that your opinion should prevail over theirs, you are not a supporter of the Constitution, or democracy. You are an elitist autocrat, tending to totalitarianism.

You, and people like you, scare me a lot more than Donald Trump.

So what is Cohen’s brilliant plan for reversing the will of the people?

Under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, the vice president, together with a “majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide” can remove the president for being “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” No doubt the mere mention of incapacitation would summon a horde of lawyers to Washington to contest it or the meaning of every term. But it is plain that the 25th Amendment does give a role to Cabinet members that is not generally considered when they are up for confirmation. This time, however, they should all be asked whether they are aware of the 25th Amendment and, if need be, whether they would be willing to implement it.

This is so ignorant, so foolish, so intellectually dishonest and so manifestly illegal that I still can’t believe that it isn’t some kind of a terrible joke.

Cohen has readers who trust him and his judgment:it is a betrayal to misuse his influence to propose nonsense like this. The 25th Amendment is entirely there to deal with actual disability, as when Ronald Reagan was shot, when Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated by a stroke, or Eisenhower had a heart attack. There is no ambiguity, in either the Amendment’s wording or the legislative record. “Unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” cannot be tortured into meaning “not what Richard Cohen, Hollywood, Harry Reid and Rosie O’Donnell believe is a qualified President.”

But such is the current ugly derangement on the Left, and if it does not diminish public respect and trust of Democratic Party further—make that even further—I will be surprised.

_________________

Source: Yahoo!

 

 

35 Comments

Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Quotes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement