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March 8, 2012

Professor Sanctioned for Siding with Rush

Inside Higher Ed reports this morning -- surprise! -- that "®oughly two-thirds of public and private college presidents say they plan to vote for President Obama in November." Only two-thirds? Actually, that is a surprise.

I wonder how many of them are in states that have had to cut or reduce spending on higher education because of a lack of economic growth caused, at least in part (in my view, in large part) by President Obama's economic policies. Liberals, of course, have a hard time comprehending why rubes and other conservatives would ever vote against what liberals are sure is in their interest. "For the life of me," a typical one (unsurprisingly, a journalist) wrote in typical frustration on Democratic Underground several years ago, "I don't understand what causes a person to vote against their own best interests." Journalist, meet university president.

One of those presidents, Joel Seligman of the University of Rochester, Inside Higher Ed reports in another article today, has issued a public statement denouncing one of his professors, Economics professor Steven Landsburg, for -- gasp! -- defending an unpopular person in a blog posting. True, the unpopular person in question is Rush Limbaugh, and it would be asking too much to expect any major university president to refrain from publicly condemning any errant faculty member so heedless of community standards as to defend such a despicable person.

Prof. Landsburg made a clear distinction between criticizing Ms. Fluke (the Georgetown law student who wants the public to pay for her contraception) and criticizing her position, a distinction that lost on both Rush Limbaugh and President Seligman. "[W]hile Ms. Fluke [the law student] herself deserves the same basic respect we owe to any human being, her position -- which is what's at issue here -- deserves none whatsoever," Prof. Landsburg wrote on his blog. "It deserves only to be ridiculed, mocked and jeered. To treat it with respect would be a travesty."

Failing to see the irony, President Seligman thundered, "To openly ridicule, mock, or jeer a student in this way is about the most offensive thing a professor can do. We are here to educate, to nurture, to inspire, not to engage in character assassination." Presumably, students (or is it just female students?), even thirty-year -old law students, are such frail little flowers that they are immune to criticism even after they testify in public in what CBS news calls a "pretend hearing" organized by Democrats to publicize their stance on contraception.

Thirty student protesters entered Professor Landsburg's class on Wednesday, reports the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, and formed a line between the professor and the students. If President Seligman saw this disruption as posing any challenge to the university's mission "to educate" and issued a public statement condemning it, Inside Higher Ed does not say.

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John S. Rosenberg blogs at Discriminations.

Comments (10)

John Kettlewell:

I was just a kid in the 80s, so I'm not sure how bad Academe has been, or how the change has taken place since the 60s. The biggest problem I've seen is in the past decade or so, the realization that left-wing views have no consequence through the media. The Left is so obnoxious that any right-wing view becomes an echo chamber of protests with most media outlets reporting against it. The Right tends to be conciliatory toward left-wing views with a very tolerant threshold.

While throwing "Justice" into every phrase, the Left has embraced victimhood within every facet of society. If you're not a victim, it's just because you don't see it yet. Then one becomes "owed" something, just for existing.

There's a reason left-wing activists and radicals always go to law school. Begging the question...

F. Glass:

As a former student at the University of Rochester, I must say that I am disgusted with President Seligman. Thank God that I was studying chemistry and mathematics when I attended; campus liberalism seems to emanate from the humanities and permeate the entire campus. Most of my fellow science majors contributed almost nothing to the culture of the campus (we were too busy studying) while the humanities majors overran the school.

SpecKK:

I vote in my country and my society's best interests. While I presently draw a salary attached to government spending, I'd be happy to make sacrifices for the good of America, because I know a strong economy will allow me to get a better job.

The crazy university journalist is so short sighted, he doesn't recognize that the corruption which builds up his university is the same corruption which created the financial collapse and will eventually destroy America.

fenngibbon:

"To openly ridicule, mock, or jeer a student in this way is about the most offensive thing a professor can do."

Yeah! Why couldn't he ridicule, mock and jeer a student in the privacy of faculty get togethers, like every other professor?

M. Rand:

When I was in college in the early nineties, the notion of "P.C." was already in full swing. Ostensibly the university (SUNY Albany) wanted to create a "just community", but we learned a lot about what we should and shouldn't say in order not to offend the "diverse" groups on campus.

"Disabled" became "differently abled", Non-whites became "Persons of color". "Women" became "Womyn" (couldn't have "men" in "women"). . . .

Different expressions too, were now taboo. No talk about being gypped, because that's insulting to Gypsies. No talk about being blacklisted, blackballed, the pot calling the kettle black, etc..because all of those negatives being associated with the color black is offensive to African-Americans.

I had gotten in trouble for describing myself as "poor but honest". Why? Because it assumes that most poor people are not honest.

Ironically, it is that sort of proposition that liberals propose when they say that poverty causes people to commit crimes.

Mike S:

I think the statements from both Professor and President were wrong. Clearly Seligman misrepresented Landsburg's statement. On the other hand, a large chunks of the American electorate seems to agree with Ms. Fluke's position.

There is a very strong conservative case against Fluke, though, in terms of Constitutional rights vs regulatory 'rights'. Instead of focussing on that argument Rush draws a really bad analogy, ignoring the content of Fluke's statement in much the way Seligman ignores Landsburg's statement. And it is a really bad analogy.

Birth control protects the monogamous as well as the promiscuous and can also treat conditions unrelated to sexual activity. Much of Fluke's testimony focussed on the latter. She did, however, speak about others who wanted birth control as straight up contraception, including a married couple.

So what is a slut? Is it anyone that wants to have sex without the possibility of pregnancy? Is a slut anyone who has sex outside of marriage? Are we still saying sex before marriage is fine for men but not women? Are we to believe that Rush has never had sex outside of his four marriages? And a whore has no intent to have sex unless paid. A woman who wants birth control already has the intent toward sex, she wants her risks mitigated. If Rush used health insurance to pay for that Viagra he was caught with a few years back, I'd say they're in the same boat. Someone else paid so he could have sex.

Rush is probably one of the most listened to conservative voices in the US. it would be helpful if he would focus on the actual arguments. Instead, he 'ridicules, mocks, and jeers', and his supporters, apparently even in academia, slap themselves on the back and say how clever Rush is with his cries of 'slut' and 'whore'. And then the cries from the left about Sl-t shaming gain power. Heckuva job Rush

Paddy Brennan:

Re: Mike S ..."Birth control protects the monogamous as well as the promiscuous and can also treat conditions unrelated to sexual activity. Much of Fluke's testimony focused on the latter." All of which has nothing to do with the criticism articulated by Professor Landsburg, who simply pointed out the incongruity of Ms Fluke demanding that the rest of us pay for whatever "protection" she desires for herself. As for the "latter" case cited, there is no issue, because the use of the products in question for medically acknowledged purposes other than contraception does not constitute a conscience issue. Finally, let's recognize that the entire Fluke performance was a sham, a show, a farce; a piece of non-Congressional political theatre staged by the minority and presented as if it were the real thing to a public both gullible and uninformed.

George T:

Mike S,
Landsburg wrote, "All she said, in effect, was that she and others want contraception and they don’t want to pay for it." I don't think this misrepresents Fluke's position. Clearly, she was there speaking against the Blunt amendment and is in favor the HHS mandate. It's true much of her statement talked about conditions unrelated to sexual activity but her solution is to have free contraceptives.

Paul137:

M. Rand wrote, "Rush is probably one of the most listened to conservative voices in the US. it would be helpful if he would focus on the actual arguments. Instead, he 'ridicules, mocks, and jeers', and his supporters, apparently even in academia, slap themselves on the back and say how clever Rush is with his cries of 'slut' and 'whore'. And then the cries from the left about Sl-t shaming gain power. Heckuva job Rush"

Thing is, M. Rand, that eminences on the left routinely emit stuff much more offensive that what Limbaugh said. So Limbaugh's less-than-ideal utterances are nothing to apologize over. Attempts to scourge Limbaugh, and similar hypocrisies, should be called out (but ignored as a matter of substance) and Prof. Landsburg's point should be quoted at the accusers, adamantly and without any concession.

With the downfall of the blunt amendment i think the battle is over. Birth control is such a important problem we have to resolve in our minds before moving forward.

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