Saturday, November 22, 2014

Marquette Warrior: Support From an “In the Closet” Philosopher

In the wake of some nasty attacks from politically correct academics following our account of a Philosophy instructor who would not allow discussion of gay marriage because any voicing of opposition to the policy might offend gay students who might be in the class, we have also gotten messages of support.

The following is from an e-mail with the subject line “Support from the Closet.” No, the person is not a closeted gay (so far as we know) but rather someone with politically incorrect political attitudes.
John (if I may), I am a philosopher and want to express my support for your clear-headed critique and analysis of the recent incident at Marquette. This event is consistent with the recent, yet rapidly growing, infection of political correctness that is consuming academic philosophy, a place that was a hold out against this madness. That political correct tyranny could take root in philosophy, the tradition that traces back to Socrates, is a grotesque irony of the highest magnitude. I hope you understand that there are philosophers out there who agree with you and applaud you but that many of us cannot speak publicly for legitimate fear of retaliation. Those of us, like myself, who don’t have tenure, are well aware of the vicious, career-destroying tactics of the politically correct operators in our field. So, I can only express my support for you on this matter in private.

It’s good to know that there are still some reasonable people out there.
The most chilling comments here are those about “legitimate fear of retaliation” and “vicious, career-destroying tactics of the politically correct operators in our field.”

The politically correct crowd does not consist of happy warriors, eager to engage in debate and wanting to prove the superiority of their views in the free market of ideas. Before the era of political correctness (which grew out of 60s leftism, although the current practitioners are the intellectual children and grandchildren of that generation) a lot of liberals welcomed debate. While they could be as biased as anybody else, when pressed they came down on the side of tolerance.

They are a dwindling breed.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Lovely Lady said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:00 AM  
Blogger John Protevi said...

I would be thrilled to discuss this issue with me, if you would only do so. Here you cherry-pick a supportive email, while ignoring all the polite and reasoned criticisms. Here is one from some people at MU with whom you may be familiar, including a certain Professor Barrington:

http://dailynous.com/2014/11/22/letter-of-support-for-abbate-from-marquette-dept-chairs/

The following department chairs in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences deplore the recent treatment of a Philosophy graduate student by Political Science Professor John McAdams on his Marquette Warrior blog. We support Ms. Abbate and deeply regret that she has experienced harassment and intimidation as a direct result of Prof. McAdams’s actions.

Prof. McAdams’s actions—which have been reported in local and national media outlets—have harmed the personal reputation of a young scholar as well as the academic reputation of Marquette University. They have negatively affected campus climate, especially as it relates to gender and sexual orientation. And they have led members of the Marquette community to alter their behavior out of fear of becoming the subject of one of his attacks.

Perhaps worst of all, Prof. McAdams has betrayed his role as a faculty member by pitting one set of students against another, by claiming the protection of academic freedom while trying to deny it to others, and by exploiting current political issues to promote his personal agenda. This is clearly in violation of this passage from the Academic Freedom section of Marquette’s Faculty Handbook:

“The college or university teacher is a citizen, a member of a learned profession, and an officer of an educational institution. When he/she speaks or writes as a citizen, he/she should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but his/her special position in the civil community imposes special obligations. As a man/woman of learning and an educational officer, he/she should remember that the public may judge his/her profession and institution by his/her utterances. Hence, he/she should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that he/she is not an institutional spokesperson.”

Prof. McAdams has ignored both the spirit and the letter of this statement and has failed to meet the standards we aspire to as faculty, as well as the broader ethical principles that guide Marquette’s mission as a Jesuit, Catholic institution.

Other members of the Marquette University community are invited to join us by “signing” this letter in the comment section.

Lowell Barrington, Political Science
Nancy Snow, Philosophy
James Marten, History
Jane Peterson, Social and Cultural Sciences
Krista Ratcliffe, English
John Grych, Psychology
Anne Pasero, Foreign Languages and Literatures
Robert Masson, Theology​

8:36 AM  
Blogger Badger Catholic said...

John,

What are "Prof. McAdams’s actions?" Ie., is he guilty of "homophobia" or of discussing a private Marquette matter publicly?

Also, do you think the student he is protecting is permitted to discussed the issues mentioned in a classroom setting? The portion of the handbook mentioned seems to actually indicate yes, while maintaining "respect for the opinions of others" and "appropriate restraint." If not, what type of setting do you think would be appropriate for discussing these kinds of issues?

Thanks,
Matt

4:43 PM  

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