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September 16, 2009

Comments

SG

The first rule of the thought police is you do not talk about the thought police.
The second rule of the thought police is you DO NOT talk about the thought police.

Didn't you get the memo?

Simen Thoresen

Beautiful, David.

Of course, there is a particular logic to this;
"
She was stating that the feelings of the offended were proof of the offensive nature of the behaviour.
"

If one is to judge against offense (a subjective experience), then the (subjective) feelings of the offended are the only possible evidence. You can't have a body without a murder, and you cant be offended without an offense. It's simple, really.

-S

David

Simen,

Yes, the key assumption does have a deranged, through-the-looking-glass quality. But it’s remarkably pervasive, at least among those prone to victimhood theatre. As I noted in the post linked below:

“Despite the howls of victimhood, it’s hard to excuse the opportunist denial of any objective criteria or coherent ethical rationale. Thus, injustice is defined, unilaterally, by feelings, or claims of feelings - and, of course, by leverage. Phobias, prejudice and oppression become whatever the Designated Victim Group or its representative says they are. And the basis for apology, compensation and flattery becomes whatever the Designated Victim Group says it is. The practical result of this is egomaniacal license and the politics of role-play.”

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/05/tears-and-role.html

And of course it gives those so inclined a powerful tool to use against people who don’t quite comply the prevailing mindset.

Anna

"Black told Thibeault that he "was a divisive force in the college at a time when the college needed unity" and that Thibeault must resign by 11:30 a.m. or be fired and have his "long history of sexual harassment… made public."

So this "long history of sexual harassment" boils down to the word "asshole" in the title of a book? And this is the "evidence" they're going to make public (eventually, maybe)? Jesus wept.

David

“So this ‘long history of sexual harassment’ boils down to the word ‘asshole’ in the title of a book?”

Well, that’s all that’s been suggested so far. And if there were, as claimed, a catalogue of indefensible sins, you’d imagine they’d have been presented by now. The failure to offer any substantiation, despite the customary procedure and repeated requests, suggests credible evidence may be in short supply.

But then it’s often struck me how enforcers of sensitivity are so erratic in their judgments and wildly inconsistent when it comes to procedure. On the one hand, they’re ready to assume the worst of certain designated groups, with student “orientations” that presuppose “unconscious racism” and other lurking bigotry, at least among those who happen to have white skin. But on the other hand, there’s an enormous reluctance to recognise the obvious incentives to exploit and abuse the very system they enforce. As numerous items in the archive demonstrate, being conspicuously aggrieved can be a form of passive-aggression - a way to express hostility or dominance while hiding being the role of victim. This tactic is widely employed by craven opportunists, the morally incontinent and bullies of all kinds. Yet somehow this detail gets overlooked.

Becca

Wow, I actually became nauseous reading this. It seems as if the walls are closing in around us, and soon even our thoughts will be censored. I'm afraid to ask what is next.

Scott

Perhaps he knows a good attorney, or perhaps someone could recommend one. The only solution is to try this in the courts and make it very unpleasant and expensive. The Left has been doing this for years.

SG

"How can a public college professor in the United States be fired and kicked off campus by the president and police but, more than a month later, still have no idea why?" asked Adam Kissel, Director of FIRE's Individual Rights Defense Program… "Nobody knows what the actual allegations are because they are being kept secret, even from Thibeault himself. In the stunning absence of any charges, evidence, or hearings, it is clear that EGC has punished Professor Thibeault for speaking out against a flawed harassment policy."

http://www.thefire.org/article/11078.html

Tom Freeman

"In an ordinary crime, how does one defend the accused? One calls up witnesses to prove his innocence. But witchcraft is ipso facto, on its face and by its nature, an invisible crime, is it not? Therefore, who may possibly be witness to it? The witch and the victim. None other. Now we cannot hope the witch will accuse herself; granted? Therefore, we must rely upon her victims — and they do testify, the children certainly do testify."

Barb

Ihope the fired professor hires a lawyer and sues the pants off everyone involved - oops, sue the pants off? Could that be construed as a sexually offensive remark? Are people's feelings going to be hurt at the mere thought of being judicially divested of their underwear?
Really, this idiocy makes me very glad my student days are far behind me.

The Phantom

How much did he get in his wrongful dismissal suit? A farce like that should be worth a pretty penny, one would think.

David

Tom,

Exactly.

RodW

Isn't blackmail (or extortion, depending on the truth of the threat) -- "Resign immediately or we'll make your long history of sexual harrassment public"-- a criminal offence?

James Martel

I know of one incident where at a university, a woman student issued a sexual harassment complaint because a man was "avoiding her, which made her uncomfortable." He found her strident feminism scary and didn't want anything to do with her. Even this was a crime to the woman.

For many feminists truth is individual and constructed. "Their truth" is paramount and even violence is justified in pushing their "will to power."

carbon based lifeform

If Thilbeault has a "long history of sexual harassment" why did East Georgia College keep him on the payroll? Wouldn't they have fired him already and said why? Maybe keeping quiet and then blackmailing him is just how things are done now.

Franklin

When I first became aware of FIRE, I thought, isn't this sort of a narrow field of wrongdoing for a whole organization to devote itself to? And then I saw how busy they manage to keep themselves, thanks to the abject terror with which many university administrations regard civil liberties and due process. Please give, and give generously.

http://thefire.org/

David

Franklin,

Yes, when I first stumbled across FIRE I naïvely assumed there’d be a shortage of material for them to tackle. But there’s no sign of that. As we’ve seen more than once, there’s a common assumption that academia is some kind of independent fiefdom, where normal proprieties can be suspended.

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/09/rebellion-revis.html

See also:

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2009/04/righteousness-101.html

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2009/04/not-a-person-but-a-group.html

Mary Jackson

A disturbing story, which I link to in my latest post at NER.

Generally I'd say the UK was more PC than the US, but on campus it seems to be the other way round.

newbie

I bet the ACLU will be all over this. Oh wait...

carbon based lifeform

Just checked. Not a peep.

Simen Thoresen

Tom,

the criticism against the witch-hunts bothers me. We neither know the extent of the witch-problem which prompted these measures, nor do we know how the situation would have evolved if the hunting had not taken place. Just as with the current global warming crisis, the rationale may have been to better be safe than sorry.

For us to criticize from afar smacks of superiority and elitism of the worst sort.

So also with the case at hand here. We're belittling genuine feelings of offendedness and, as (most probably) white males, will never be able to understand what it is to be victimized.

Yours,
-S

Pete

Simen

I'm curious as to what you think would mitigate the actions of those who burnt witches? Granted we don't know for sure cos we weren't there, but if Tom's assertion is true, that people were being sentenced to death with little or no evidence, then I for one am happy to criticise it from afar. That's assuming we're talking about the kind of witch-hunt represented by The Crucible, or the cases which are said to have taken place within my own home city where a witchfinder was hired and financially rewarded for every 'witch' he sent to execution.

I've heard some (feminists and christians) claim that some witches were burnt because they were abortionists. If this is true, then at least there's some rationale for the death sentence. However, it is by no means clear that this was the motivation for the vast majority of witch executions.

And just to be clear: demanding evidence before condemning someone to death (or sacking them from their job) smacks of superiority because it *is* superior to the alternative.

Also, do you seriously believe because someone is white or male they cannot be victims? Sounds like something a feminist would say...

Pete

I find it odd FIRE doesn't mention the arrests at Notre Dame University during Obama's vist. Seems like an obvious denial of free speech.

AntiCitizenOne

>Just as with the current global warming crisis, the rationale may have been to better be safe than sorry.

Yes I see the analogy, greenism is a religion whose presithood demands human sacrifice (as their targeted damage to the economy will surely do).

You're just pro-witch burn in case they're really "witches".

It's an argument...

Stains

Simen:

"We're belittling genuine feelings of offendedness (sic) and, as (most probably) white males, will never be able to understand what it is to be victimized"

If you really do believe certain human beings are unable to experience feelings of victimisation just by dint of their sex and skin colour then you, sir, are by definition a sexist and a racist, although if you are white and male you knew that anyway didn’t you?

Wm T Sherman

Re: Simen's post.

Come on, people. Are you really that irony-challenged?

TimT

One thing that strikes me about these occasional bizarre cases of witch hunts in US academia: normally it's liberals accusing conservatives of being rigid, fundamentalist, backwards, too willing to interpret all human diversity in simplistic ideological terms.

But it's the conservative interpretation in this case that allows for the variety of human experience: the unremarkable statement that sometimes, people will lie about their feelings, will lie about the actions of others; and the obvious truth that sometimes, people will harbour feelings that are less than virtuous towards others. On the other hand, the liberal/left-wing approach to claims of offense/racism/sexism is typically manichean, with clearly defined victims and villains, heroes and enemies.

David

Tim,

“…the unremarkable statement that sometimes, people will lie about their feelings, will lie about the actions of others; and the obvious truth that sometimes, people will harbour feelings that are less than virtuous towards others.”

Quite. As I said, it’s an odd thing to overlook - especially given the readiness to invoke “unconscious racism,” “code words” and “invisible knapsacks of privilege.” On the one hand there’s a bizarre, somewhat paranoid scepticism as to human nature (at least among certain *types* of people). On the other hand, there’s a naïve, rather disingenuous confidence that the system won’t be exploited by liars, opportunists and vindictive little shits. Even when the system affords enormous scope for precisely this kind of abuse. (In what other modern complaint system would the risk of false accusations be so casually dismissed, as if it were irrelevant, or impossible? In what other context would *claims* of hurt feelings be asserted as “proof” of injustice and a basis for dismissal? And in what other context would educators feel bold enough to behave in this way despite an apparent lack of evidence – where the accusation itself is a license to act with impunity?)

But this is what happens when a system of “sensitivity” and “social justice” is premised on Designated Victim Groups (and by implication Designated Oppressor Groups). It’s a variation of Marxist class war rhetoric, and contemptible for much the same reasons.

tehag

Seems like business as usual to me. No lawsuit will change that. This mass insanity will continue until it burns itself out, having irrevocably changed the US and its colleges. Pity, 'cause I could have done without it.

Pete

Haha, Sherman, you got me! I did consider that Simen might be taking the p, but because he wasn't as shrieking as the professionally aggreived usually are I took him at his word. Also, the fact he was arguing FOR witch hunts threw me, tho I can see what he was doing there. I guess it struck a nerve because I happen to think there MAY be justification for punishing 'witches' through the law, just not without adequate evidence.

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