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Prof. Churchill
Posted: 09 February 2005 01:25 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Just wondering how the ethical rationalists view the actions of Churchill, the ACLU, Board of Regents, Governor, etc.  I wonder if the press is accurate reflecting what this ethics professor is saying.  Is this more ethical trash that needs to be challenged by the rational thinker?

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=533&e=1&u=/ap/20050209/ap_on_re_us/speaker_protest

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Posted: 09 February 2005 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I view Ward Churchill akin to a rather poor modern day imitation of a Biblical Prophet. He is crying out against the inequity of the times he lives in as he sees it (skewed by his own very particularly narrow prejudices).

Unfortunately he doesn’t appear to live his life with the same convictions of his Biblical counterparts. I doubt very much he is an ascetic. If one chooses to partake of the wealth of the society one condemns can one’s criticisms ring true? If he owns a car does he not support the so called imperial war for oil? If he eats commercially grown food does he not support the exploitation of migrant workers? At least most Biblical prophets isolated themselves from the society they considered corrupt while they cried: “Repent!” (e.g. John the Baptist). Even Mr. Churchill himself (to his credit) understands the delicate position he has placed himself in:

A longtime American Indian Movement activist, he said he is also culpable because his efforts to change the system haven’t succeeded. “I could do more. I’m complicit. I’m not innocent,” he said.

To make matters worse while he acts like a prophet he is living as a priest. He wears the vestments of higher learning and is paid by the state to direct our future course (thru his students). I don’t believe he should be removed, on the contrary I support his right to speak. If every hypocritical professor was fired every university would stand empty. Instead I agree with this:

David Horowitz, a champion of conservative causes who has long accused American universities of overstocking their faculties with leftists, has said firing Churchill would violate his First Amendment rights and set a bad precedent.


He called instead for an inquiry into the university’s hiring and promotion procedures to see how Churchill managed to rise to the chairmanship of the school’s ethnic studies department

Trans-generational blame I find to be another curious parallel between the good professor and the Bible. Churchill uses the 9th Amendment of the Constitution (similarly to prophets interpreting the Torah for political reasons in their times) to condemn as illegal the practice of celebrating Columbus Day. In essence he wants to restrict the 1st Amendment rights of the present generation for sins that prior generations committed (genocide of indigenous peoples). Is this much different than Exodus 20:5

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me

As a rational skeptic I can not only blow holes in both the Bible and the Liberal ranting of such as Mr. Churchill but also see the interesting historical parallels between them. Racial Prejudice, Historical Land Rights and Free Speech Issues are just a few examples of this. One interesting divergence between the two though is Mr. Churchill’s use of Moral Relativism to condemn unintended collateral deaths as equally as the planned terroristic murder of innocents.

On one hand he condemns our present culture for our past generational sins regardless of any advancement of our scientific/cultural compassion, yet on the other hand he gives legitimacy to other cultures that are just as sinful today because they continue to struggling against any reformation of their archaic 7th century religious beliefs.

Each generation is responsible for itself in the times that it lives in, not for the sins of its fathers. We need to encourage the Muslim world to evolve beyond the restrictions of Islam just as we have beyond our own Judeo-Christian past (albeit imperfectly).

Mr. Churchill’s ideas I find counterproductive to that ideal, infact they are downright regressive. He is no better prophet than any number of other false prophets found throughout history.

Doniphon

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Posted: 10 February 2005 12:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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David Horowitz, a champion of conservative causes who has long accused American universities of overstocking their faculties with leftists, has said firing Churchill would violate his First Amendment rights and set a bad precedent.

He called instead for an inquiry into the university’s hiring and promotion procedures to see how Churchill managed to rise to the chairmanship of the school’s ethnic studies department.

I would think that Political Correctness and maybe even Affirmative Action were major factors in his rise.  The toleration of the irrational in religion, politics and the universities are not policies which improve the quality of life. Political Correctness corrupts our infrastructure and makes intellectual cowards of us all.

The crowd Tuesday night was loud and orderly as Churchill spoke: “I do not work for the taxpayers of the state of Colorado. I do not work for Bill Owens. I work for you,” he said.


Apparently he is considers himself accountable to nothing and noone, not even to reason.

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Posted: 10 February 2005 12:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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In an essay, Churchill wrote that workers in the World Trade Center were the equivalent of “little Eichmanns,” a reference to Adolf Eichmann, who ensured the smooth running of the Nazi system. Churchill also spoke of the “gallant sacrifices” of the “combat teams” that struck America.

During his 35-minute speech, Churchill said the essay was not referring to children, firefighters, janitors or people passing by the World Trade Center who were killed during the attacks.


As if the threshold of the WTC separated the guilty from the innocent.  All inside were guilty as if it were Sodom.  Galant sacrafices of the righteous? Sounds like familiar reasoning to me.

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Posted: 14 February 2005 02:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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The issue with Ward Churchill is not whether he has the right to speak and express his bizarre views but whether or not he should be paid handsomely by the tax payers and/or those funding his honorariums for doing so.

If you were running a business and an employee came in every day and told you the you were the scourge of mankind, were equivalent to a Nazi and that everything you and your company stood for was corrupt and evil, how long would you continue to employ him or her?

I suspect that you would very quickly advise the employee that he or she was free speak his/her mind elsewhere, to find another source of income and to not let the door hit him/her in the a$$ on the way out.

It seems to me that the taxpayers of Colorado as well as the regents, benefactors, students and/or alumni of the colleges who are inviting and paying Churchill to speak should have the choice as to whether or not they want him to exercise his freedom of speech on their nickel.

If what he has to say has value in the marketplace of ideas, then someone will probably be willing to pay hear what he has to say.  If not, then he can always choose to fund his own freedom of speech.

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Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful…..Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman (3 BC - 65 AD)

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Posted: 16 February 2005 01:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]It seems to me that the taxpayers of Colorado as well as the regents, benefactors, students and/or alumni of the colleges who are inviting and paying Churchill to speak should have the choice as to whether or not they want him to exercise his freedom of speech on their nickel.

If what he has to say has value in the marketplace of ideas, then someone will probably be willing to pay hear what he has to say.  If not, then he can always choose to fund his own freedom of speech.

I’d like to take issue with this, even though I think Churchill is an unqualified loon and an inveterate liar. He is currently being investigated on charges that he faked his credentials, and that is definitely a firing offense.

But, if it’s merely his political views that are at issue, and the institution in question is publicly funded rather than privately owned, then no, it is not up to the taxpayers.

There’s this attitude abroad in the country—from both ends of the political spectrum—which basically reserves the right to withhold support for any policy on which the individual has not personally been consulted and personally signed off on, every single time. And sorry, but that’s no way to run a civilization.

Those who disagree with Churchill should have to subsidize his speech for the same reason that those who oppose the war should have to subsidize that policy, or serve if there is a draft.

Some principles matter more than one’s personal approval.  Public universities should be places where the public is exposed to ideas they may not like or want to hear, because free speech matters more to society in the long run than does any individual’s short-term personal offense. In the so-called “free” marketplace of ideas, some ideas are never given the light of day; Churchill’s deserve to be aired in a publicly-funded forum because they largely can’t be heard anywhere else. Plus, this way, society knows he has received a fair hearing, and there’s no credible basis for claiming censorship.

The private speech market cannot be trusted to give all ideas a fair hearing, and it shouldn’t be forced to. But there is an interest in publicly subsidizing forums where otherwise unheard ideas can be heard, regardless of how stupid they are.

If some taxpayers don’t like it, tough shit. Some other taxpayers don’t like supporting the war; unless one is willing to allow them to opt out of subsidizing the military, then one can’t presume to opt out of subsidizing “offensive” speech at universities. Both, in the long run, are equally important to the maintenance of a free society.

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Posted: 16 February 2005 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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As to the actual content of Churchill’s ideas… well, like I said, he is a liar and a loon.

An even bigger liar, from what I can tell, than Chomsky himself. And that’s a helluvan accomplishment.

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Posted: 16 February 2005 06:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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I’m sorry, ...........I must have missed that footnote to the US Constitution that says that academics are a special class of citizen who are immune from the consequences of their freedom of speech.

To my knowledge, nowhere in the Constitution does is say that the guarantee of freedom of speech implies or guarantees freedom from the consequences of speech.

The idea that anybody who is in the employ of the tax payers is somehow exempt from being held accountable for public displays of idiocy and therefore cannot be fired is ridiculous.

Every day of the week, we see examples of public employees (presidents, congresspersons, soldiers, bureaucrats, mayors, police officers, judges, social workers, etc. etc.) who suffer the consequences of saying or doing things that are stupid and/or contrary to the perceived interests of the tax paying public.  Academics should be treated no differently.

If enough tax payers do not like the war, the president, or any other publicly funded activity, policy, or person they have the power to express their displeasure and insist on accountability.  Why do they not have the same power with respect to academics?

I defend Churchill’s right to say whatever he chooses……..however, I also vigorously defend the right of the people who pay his salary and/or speaking honorariums to exercise their freedom of expression by firing his a$$.

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Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful…..Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman (3 BC - 65 AD)

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Posted: 17 February 2005 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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The problem with that, though, is that it establishes a precedent whereby the party in power can decide to fire people solely on the basis of their political beliefs. And that way lies the one-party state.

Academics in public institutions aren’t elected, and their purpose is to provoke thought. That’s different from other public servants, whose purposes are to defend the country, or administer law, or whatever. The purpose of public universities is to foster education through the free exchange of ideas, where the only consequences are debate or, at worst, name-calling and scorn. If we start firing people because of what they say, then that defeats the purpose of the whole institution.

Sometimes, people need to be offended. As Orwell said, “if freedom means anything, it is the right to tell people things they do no want to hear.”

It’s the town commons principle. Democracy cannot thrive, for real, unless there do in fact exist places where people can speak their minds with absolutely no consequences at all.  No matter how stupid or offensive they are. And since the private marketplace can’t be counted on to maintain such spaces—it’s not designed to, and shouldn’t be forced to—it’s in the long-term public interest for the state to subsidize and protect such spaces.

Free-market principles are great for many things, but they are not and should not be universally applicable. The irony of a free society is that it’s not based on majority rule, but on minority protection. A society which fails what Sharansky calls the “town square test” isn’t free, even if it has voting and a capitalist economy.

So, I disagree that Churchill should be fireable merely for saying stupid and offensive things. Sometimes, citizens have to sacrifice for their society’s long-term health, and having to provide morons with a place to spew their nonsense is a small price to pay, IMO.  I have no more problem subsidizing that than I do the military. I consider them both important to my own freedom.

Now, if it turns out that Churchill faked his credentials, lied about his background for the school’s records, or practiced academic fraud, that’s another matter entirely. Given what an idiot he is, I wouldn’t be surprised.

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Posted: 17 February 2005 11:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Ok, you may have convinced me…........but, I want to make sure the that University environment is representative of as wide a range of opinions that we “don’t want to hear” as possible. 

So, for example I am sure that the enlightened tax payers of Colorado will be excited and eager to fund tenured professors that represent the following points of view so that they are fully represented at the University:

    -  The Nazis
    -  The Klu Klux Klan
    -  The North American Man Boy Love Association

.......to name just a few.

Although all of these people currently have the right to tell us things that “we don’t want to hear” it would clearly be much better to give them hard-earned tax payer money and a university setting to do it rather than spending those funds on such low prioity items as, for example; scholarships for deserving poor students.

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Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful…..Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman (3 BC - 65 AD)

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Posted: 17 February 2005 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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[quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]Ok, you may have convinced me…........but, I want to make sure the that University environment is representative of as wide a range of opinions that we “don’t want to hear” as possible. 

So, for example I am sure that the enlightened tax payers of Colorado will be excited and eager to fund tenured professors that represent the following points of view so that they are fully represented at the University:

    -  The Nazis
    -  The Klu Klux Klan
    -  The North American Man Boy Love Association

.......to name just a few.

Although all of these people currently have the right to tell us things that “we don’t want to hear” it would clearly be much better to give them hard-earned tax payer money and a university setting to do it rather than spending those funds on such low prioity items as, for example; scholarships for deserving poor students.

Well, I’m not saying that we abandon academic standards, or that universities should seek those fools out. I’m just saying that if a qualified professor already employed there expresses those views, without engaging in illegal or unethical behavior, then he should not be fired simply for expressing those views.

But of course, there are exceptions and nuances. A Nazi, for instance, who worked as a history professor and doctored the evidence in order to lie about the historical record, should be fired. A Nazi who expresses pro-Nazi views, but doesn’t fake evidence and presents the historical record as it really is, should not. If he said, “Here’s what Hitler really said and did, and by the way, I think he was right,” then certainly he would deserve scorn and ridicule, and probably receive it.  But so long as he isn’t perpetrating crimes, his Nazi views alone should not be grounds for firing him.

The university, however, is under no obligation to seek out controversial or offensive professors, just for the sake of offending people.

Now, I have no idea what the academic standards of “ethnic studies” are (I am suspicious, though); but if Churchill meets them fairly and hasn’t done anything unethical, then I think he should be allowed to stay.

I know I’d love to have him as a professor, so I could laugh at his expense, to his face, in class. But that’s just me.

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Posted: 17 February 2005 08:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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I watched Ward Churchill on C-span then read the entire essay that caused this.

My opinion is that what he has to say is valid, he believes in a national type of karma, and that what happened to the world trade center had its roots in previous actions of our country and our government.  This to me is a valid hypothesis, there is no action without first cause.

I then went back and read what was being said about what W. Churchill was saying.  I found alot of out of context quoting and propaganda spin.

Regardless, it fundamentally comes down to this for me:

Universities should encourage dialogue.

Freedom of speech means freedom of opinion.

Protesting the Columbus Day parade on behalf of the Native Americans may have been a violation of the law, but that is a seperate issue from his right to free speech.

Taxpayer dollars are already used to put out Republican opinion on Federal Social Security information documents, clearly stating that Privitization is the “only” way to save social security.

There are many problems in this country, but silencing dissent and using my tax money to promote a “party” line and disguising it as “information” are pretty big ones to me.

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Posted: 18 February 2005 03:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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You may (or may not) be interested in Ann Coulter’s views on this topic.

http://www.anncoulter.org/

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Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful…..Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman (3 BC - 65 AD)

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Posted: 18 February 2005 02:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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[quote author=“Iisbliss”]I then went back and read what was being said about what W. Churchill was saying.  I found alot of out of context quoting and propaganda spin.

Care to be specific? I’ve read his “essay” (and I use the term loosely), too, and have found most excerpts of it to be 100 percent accurate, both as to the actual words it contains and to the general meaning of what he said.

Taxpayer dollars are already used to put out Republican opinion on Federal Social Security information documents, clearly stating that Privitization is the “only” way to save social security.

Which, by the way, was also the conclusion of Bill Clinton’s liberals looking at the same problem back in ‘98. Was it “Republican opinion” back then, too? I’m not defending the Republican position on Social Security—I haven’t studied the issue enough to make an informed judgment—but I am pointing out that it’s possible for something you don’t believe to still be true. Even if Republicans say so. (The same would apply in reverse to conservatives who knee-jerk reject something liberals say, just because they’re liberals). It’s entirely possible that the Republicans are right about Social Security, and if they are, your beliefs about it are irrelevent.

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Posted: 18 February 2005 02:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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[quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]You may (or may not) be interested in Ann Coulter’s views on this topic.

http://www.anncoulter.org/

I find Coulter entertaining, but I trust her about as much as I trust Noam Chomsky.

Which is to say, not at all.

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Posted: 18 February 2005 03:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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For what it is worth, here are my predictions regarding the Ward Churchill situation:

Unless some pissed off Comanche scalps him first for impersonating a native american;

    -  Alumni contributions will decline dramatically at the University of Colorado and all other institutions of higher learning that pay to hear him speak

    -  Financial and political pressure will make his continued employment and/or support extremely painful for all of these institutions.

    -  Eventually (sooner rather than later) he will either be fired or resign from his teaching position at the University of Colorado

    -  The “official” reason given for his departure will be some politically correct explanation such as violation of academic standards, falsification of academic credentials, or “personal reasons”.......but the truth will be that his continued employment is an unacceptable embarrassment.

    -  After his termination, he will be employed by George Soros, find refuge and an outlet for his extreme anti-American views at someplace like Moveon.org and he will be featured in Michael Moore’s next film becoming extremely weathy in the process.

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Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful…..Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman (3 BC - 65 AD)

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