Tag Archives: universities

Ethics Quote Of The Week: Andrew Sullivan

“When elite universities shift their entire worldview away from liberal education as we have long known it toward the imperatives of an identity-based “social justice” movement, the broader culture is in danger of drifting away from liberal democracy as well. If elites believe that the core truth of our society is a system of interlocking and oppressive power structures based around immutable characteristics like race or sex or sexual orientation, then sooner rather than later, this will be reflected in our culture at large.”

      —-Andrew Sullivan, in a New York Magazine essay titled “We All Live On Campus Now”.

Once again, blogger-turned-essayist Andrew Sullivan arrives at an accurate assessment of an ethics problem in society without being able to avoid his own biases in trying to assess where the problem came from, which would be extremely easy if he were capable of objectivity. I recommend the whole piece, though Sullivan is an infuriating truth-teller and iconoclast trapped inside an angry gay man who can’t muster  the integrity to directly criticize his sexual politics allies.  Incredibly, Sullivan substantially blames Donald Trump for the phenomenon he assails here, which is ahistorical in the extreme, bordering on delusion:

“Polarization has made this worse — because on the left, moderation now seems like a surrender to white nationalism, and because on the right, white identity politics has overwhelmed moderate conservatism. And Trump plays a critical role. His crude, bigoted version of identity politics seems to require an equal and opposite reaction. And I completely understand this impulse. Living in this period is to experience a daily, even hourly, psychological hazing from the bigot-in-chief. And when this white straight man revels in his torment of those unlike him — and does so with utter impunity among his supporters — there’s a huge temptation to respond in kind.”

Good God, Andrew, show some backbone. Trump, as can be documented and proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, was the “response in kind” to the identity-based social justice movement that was weaponized and reached the point of madness under the leadership of Barack Obama. Why should anyone listen to you when you equivocate like this and make false excuses for what was spinning out of control before anyone thought Donald Trump had as good a chance of becoming President as Martin O’Malley? The University of Missouri meltdown that triggered an across-the-nation epidemic of identify politics warfare occurred in 2015. You know that, and you still write this fiction? What’s the matter with you? Continue reading

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Museum Ethics: The Rape Of The La Salle University Art Museum

“This old thing alone will fetch enough to fund that Klingon language course!”

Among its other tenets, the Code of Ethics For Museums followed by The American Alliance of Museums requires that member organizations ensure that:

  • collections in its custody are lawfully held, protected, secure, unencumbered, cared for and preserved
  • acquisition, disposal, and loan activities conform to its mission and public trust responsibilities, and
  • disposal of collections through sale, trade or research activities is solely for the advancement of the museum’s mission. Proceeds from the sale of nonliving collections are to be used consistent with the established standards of the museum’s discipline, but in no event shall they be used for anything other than acquisition or direct care of collections.

In other words,  museums cannot ethically sell off  their collections to finance or benefit non-museum goals and objectives.

Never mind. La Salle University’s trustees announced that the university planned to sell 46 paintings, sculptures, and drawings selected by Christie’s auction house and use the expected profits of $4.8 -$7.3 million into teaching and courses. That means that the University will be using the art as investments and assets rather than art.

Unethical.

“I feel as though the place has been raped,” said Caroline P. Wistar, a longtime curator of the museum who retired about a decade ago. “They’re selling all of the very best things — a Degas drawing, a Vuillard. This is major. I feel like they’ve killed the museum.” Timothy Rub, head of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and past president of the Association of Art Museum Directors,  said, Continue reading

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Why Does Colby College Think That It’s Ethical To Keep A “Bias Incident Log”?

Might be time for a new motto, Colby. On the other hand...

Might be time for a new motto, Colby. On the other hand…

Wait…you say that more than a hundred campuses have this or the equivalent?

Oh-oh.

I am scheduled to teach a legal ethics class in the avoidance of bias in the practice of law next year, and I’m already worried. Past engagements of mine on this topic have been popular with attendees, but not always appreciated by my clients. The bar associations that make such training mandatory usually want to get someone to drone on about how lawyers should love Big Politically Correct Brother and search their souls for any germ of an attitude that would make Chris Matthews say they are racist, or the President of NARAL say they are sexist, or a Black Lives Matter activist call them privileged.  In other words, these are often devised as political indoctrination courses, using “bias” as code for “non-conforming thoughts according to progressive orthodoxy.”

I can’t and won’t teach that, because it’s as wrong as it is boring. Bias includes all ideas wedged in our minds that overcome reason and prevent just, even-handed, logical and fair decision-making. Bias makes us stupid, and for lawyers, the kind of bias I’m talking about undermines justice. Ironically, what most proponents of anti-bias courses want to do is instill biases that they and their partisan allies approve of. Once that is done, the Orwellian process is complete. “Bias” then means “not accepting our biases, which aren’t biases because we believe them, and we are good.”  The rationalization involved is 14. Self-validating Virtue.

The news and ethics issues are reaching one of those crisis points for me where everything seems to be connected to everything else, and I am torn whether to write one huge, conceptual post (the ones most readers skip) or a series of single episode posts. Facebook, a topic on its own, is revealing most of my friends whom I would identify as Democrats or progressives as in the grip of a crippling cognitive bias-based malady. Why did they think it was just wonderful for so many elected officials to deliberately ignore the core Constitutional principle of due process? Why did they reflexively attack the British vote to leave the European Union as “racist” or “xenophobic” rather than recognize it as a principled reassertion of their nation’s autonomy and democratic principles? How did freedom of speech, freedom of thought, true civil rights, and democracy itself become so alien to so many supposedly intelligent and self-proclaimed liberal adults?

Don’t worry, I’m coming back to Colby. It really does come down to bad and anti-American education poisoning the culture. In an excellent though disturbing essay on the Ethics And Public Policy website, Stanley Kurtz persuasively argues that U.S. education itself has turned against liberty, resulting in an increasing majority of citizens who do not believe or accept the virtues of core American ideals.

The incident that brought my attention to the Colby Bias Incident Log, which, at Colby and elsewhere, sends a Bias Response Team into investigation mode, was one in which a student was reported for allegedly using the idiom “on the other hand.”

No, this is not a hoax. It is not a joke. And what the fact that I am writing this suggests is far from funny. It is tragic. Continue reading

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Read ‘Em And Weep: The Jefferson Muzzle Awards

muzzle-banner

 Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression (TJC) hands out yearly “awards” to  government agencies that show themselves hostile to free speech.  This year, however, the Jefferson Muzzle Awards were reserved for various colleges, as the increasingly radical left institutions of higher learning, spurred by such groups as Black Lives Matters and the craven administrators who quiver in fear of them, have scarred freedom of expression over the past year in a multitude of ways.

Fifty schools got their ceremonial muzzles—the Muzzies?—in five categories:

1. Censorship of Students
2. Censorship by Students
3. Efforts to Limit Press Access
4. Threats to Academic Freedom, and
5. Censorship of Outside Speakers

Here they are.

And it’s not funny.

_______________________

Pointer: Instapundit

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Campus “Safe Spaces”= Free Speech Suppression And Intimidation: The Next Step

edinburghBad ideas take root when they are not immediately called what they are—bad—, then mocked, eviscerated, and destroyed with reason, logic and common sense. That is why fools should never be suffered gladly, and why their foolish inspirations should be dashed before they are allowed to draw a breath. Many factors, such as misplaced politeness, mistaking open-mindedness for lack of critical thought, laziness and cowardice  allow these bad ideas to spread like weeds.

Who was it that shrugged when it was first suggested that the U.S. should ignore its own immigration laws? Who was it who failed to point and laugh when someone suggested that rape accusations in colleges should be decided without due process? Who neglected to say, “Whaat?” when a legislator suggested that workers be exempted from doing the duties required of their jobs when their religions disapproved of them? Good ideas can be defended against the attacks of those without imagination or daring. Bad ideas have to slip by, undetected and unrebutted, until they get out of control.

Some, indeed many, allowed the ridiculous “safe spaces” theory to live when it should have been strangled in its crib. Now it is strangling education and open discourse on campuses all over the nation. I’m proud to say that Ethics Alarms did its part deftly when the related argument was raised on various blogs, including this one, that places of debate should be “safe,” in the sense that no commenter risk a harsh rebuttal or an insulting retort no matter what that commenter wrote. We lost a couple of hardy and substantive participants over the issue.

The “safe places” theory is especially sinister, as it also creates places safe for more bad ideas to flourish and grow beyond the stage where they can be stamped out with ease. Of course, not every idea, even good ones, are welcome to all. “Safe spaces” means guaranteed safety from  ideas that are unwelcome to the specific group constructing its safe zone, ideas like, say, “TRUMP 2016.”  It is the culmination of the position that people should be guaranteed the right not to be confronted with opposing views. Now the University of Edinburgh, “influencing the world since 1583,” is showing us what happens when the weeds of “safe spaces” are allowed to spread. Continue reading

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Ethics Corrupter Weekend, Part III. Williams College And Open Minds

williams-college_416x416If colleges can’t educate students about core American values and principles like freedom of speech, what good are they? It’s worse than that, though. They appear to be teaching the opposite of those values, corrupting our upcoming generations and through them, poisoning our society.

Author Suzanne Venker, a conservative  social critic who has called herself an anti-feminist, was scheduled to give a lecture at Williams College as part of a student-created “Uncomfortable Learning” series, but the group cancelled her appearance when students complained that her ideas would make them uncomfortable. The leader of the student group that created the series, Zach Wood, was subjected to protests like this:

“When you bring a misogynistic, white supremacist men’s rights activist to campus in the name of ‘dialogue’ and ‘the other side,’ you are not only causing actual mental, social, psychological, and physical harm to students, but you are also—paying—for the continued dispersal of violent ideologies that kill our black and brown (trans) femme sisters. You are giving those who spout violence the money that so desperately needs to be funneled to black and brown (trans) femme communities, to people who are leading the revolution, who are surviving in the streets, who are dying in the streets. Know, you are dipping your hands in their blood, Zach Wood.”

Physical harm! Hearing her speak would actually injure them!

Opined the student newspaper:

While free speech is important and there are problems with deeming speech unacceptable, students must not be unduly exposed to harmful stereotypes in order to live and learn here without suffering emotional injury. It is possible that some speech is too harmful to invite to campus. The College should be a safe space for students, a place where people respect others’ identities. Venker’s appearance would have been an invasion of that space.

Gee, I thought “safe” on campus today meant “safe from sexual relations that you decide after the fact were a bad idea, and that magically become rape after the fact.” My mistake. Apparently it means “Having one’s world view challenged.” Wood capitulated to the mob, demonstrating that Williams had failed to teach him and his group members integrity, the importance of keeping commitments, not to be weenies and to be willing to fight for what’s right, even when it is unpopular. Continue reading

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Incompetent Elected Officials Of The Month: The Connecticut State Senate

The Connecticut Senate this week approved a probably unconstitutional bill requiring all Connecticut colleges and universities to adopt the “yes, means yes” policy when it comes to sexual consent, similar to California’s cypto-fascist law. The bill dictates a completely unenforceable standard for sexual consent It was bi-partisan fascism, and passed 34-1. Sen. Joe Markley, R-Southington, was the lone vote against it.

According to the bill’s champion, Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Killingly,  it is “is redefining the definition of consent.” She explains that under the law, college students would be required to “say yes” or indicate nonverbally through “physical cues” that they are willing to have sex with another college student. And what “physical cues” would qualify? How about eye contact, and the kind of communications that we celebrate in the arts and literature? What about the “look of love” that Dusty Springfield sang about? Enough, Mae? How would schools enforce such a law? Cameras in every room? A panel of “physical cues” experts, watching every possible sexual encounter? Continue reading

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