Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A confederacy of dunces

I've never been one to stare at car accidents or train wrecks, but I can't help but check in on the counterpetition. People occasionally say why they are signing the thing and I feel like I'm giving in to that urge that causes rubbernecking and traffic jams. To be fair, those who signed the original petition don't say what their reasons are so we can't have a laugh at their expense, but if you're home with a cold and want to have a laugh followed by a cry I'd recommend this.

There are these gems:
In a democratic society all voices have the right to speak--including those who are seeking philosophers with an AOS in "queer philosophy" and those who are seeking philosophers who are not practicing homosexuals.

The free exercise of religion, as well as freedom of speech, is essential to the maintenance of any free society.

It is the right of schools, esp. religious organizations, to be allowed to make their own policy as to their staff. To ban them from advertising is usurping the authority APA has.

The policy proposed by its advocates would, in fact, be an act of discrimination, favoring those who share their view. It seriously curtails the freedom of those institutions who treasure their religious heritage over the conveniences brought about by the APA, and it would hurt the APA more in the long run than implementing this amputative policy. Remember that any action restricting freedom in any one direction, once conceded, eventually restricts the freedom in both directions. To demand that you must not do X, frequently leads to the obligation that you must do non-X. To stigmatize your supposed opponents means to stigmatize yourself as one in opposition to them. It is best to err on the side of freedom for all and let traditionally religious institutions maintain their practices without those who are advocating the proposed practice branding themselves as preferring a specific view on morality to moral freedom for all. Let institution A hire anyone regardless of their orientation; let institution B restrict its hiring to those who serve best its constituency. It is in diversity that we are best off.

I hadn't realized that by signing the original petition I was encouraging the APA to violate someone's right to free speech!

Meanwhile, Maverick Philosopher has weighed in on this one here. He seems to think that the APA is being "politicized" and that it is inconsistent with the APA's charter to "take stands on debatable social and political questions". When I asked which debatable social and political question the APA would be taking a stand on if they either enforced their own policies or modified them, he pointed me to some letter he wrote to the APA about the Iraq war. His remarks were, I think, gratuitously rude. When I followed up and asked him about the apparent differences between the two cases he erased that comment. I think I now remember why I had stopped reading his blog and commenting.

1 comment:

Degenerate & Close Personal Friend said...

I love that he memory-holed your comments in a post that complains about "groupthink" and cites someone who lived under communism as an expert on what the APA is doing. (Who knew that the KGB was so into arguments and petitions?)

As an aside, in weird serendipity news: I, too, managed to get an ear infection this week. On vacation. But at least I got to LA first.