Activism! On campus!


It’s been so long since my heart has been warmed by furious students and faculty fighting for what is right, and now it’s happening: UMTC is getting some pushback over an invited speaker. It’s Condoleeza Rice. Why did we invite a war criminal to speak on campus in the first place? She is a person who should be shunned by all civilized company everywhere.

Another sticking point is her lecture fee. She’s going to give a 50 minute talk and get paid $150,000. That’s right, someone is going to give a lecture at the university, and get paid for one talk at a price that is almost 3 years salary for me. Is that what a class is worth? I’m going to have to demand a raise, I guess.

I’ll settle for a mere $100,000 per class hour, since, after all, I’m not as famous as Rice. On the plus side, though, I’m also not responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of people, or the destruction of the American economy, so it all evens out.

Oh, all right, I’ll bargain. I’ll go back to my usual middle class salary if, in return, the campus police slap handcuffs on her the instant Rice sets foot on campus, and then banishes her from the country on charges of committing crimes against humanity.

I’m being fair here, people!

Comments

  1. Holms says

    Oh, all right, I’ll bargain. I’ll go back to my usual middle class salary if, in return, the campus police slap handcuffs on her the instant Rice sets foot on campus, and then banishes her from the country on charges of committing crimes against humanity.

    I’m being fair here, people!

    Inflicting her on another nation is not very nice :(

  2. mikeyb says

    She’s done a tremendous service in increasing the stock portfolio for the likes of Halliburton and Blackwater, just as a tip of the iceberg so she’s being compensated for it. It’s a necessary business promoting the next generation of war profiteering. After all Kissinger and associates have been in the business for multiple decades now.

  3. erichovind says

    And here I thought you guys believed in “Survival of the Fittest”. PZ should be proud of this.

    “fighting for what is right, ” Out of curiosity, where do you get right and wrong in your worldview?

  4. brett says

    $150,000 is more than a little excessive, but I’m not a fan of the censorious response to her speaking. She’s not a convicted criminal even if she had a role in the Iraq War, and the proper response is to protest outside the speech and go after her in the Q & A period.

  5. says

    Speaking of war criminals, it’s insane that Henry Kissinger is still walking around unindicted, when Ratko Mladic and Slobodan Milošević at least got their day in court.

    I’m trying to recall the last US president who wasn’t a war criminal. Was it Ford?

  6. Ben Lutgens says

    Wait how is she “responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of people” because that’s some serious genocide-like numbers. I’m not saying you’re wrong or that I disagree with you about her being a piece of human filth, I’m just curious about the origins of this allegation.

  7. says

    hey Eric, why don’t you actually listen to what we think instead of telling us what we think. Dude, you are one of the LEAST qualified people on the planet to accurately represent scientists and science writ large

  8. says

    Wait how is she “responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of people” because that’s some serious genocide-like numbers

    It’s “traditional” in some sectors of the US, to only count US and allied casualties in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But, of course, there were vastly more civilians killed. Estimates vary; the Lancet and Johns Hopkins Hospital have estimated variously 250,000 to 500,000 though it’s complicated by the obvious fact that a percentage of those are inflicted by other Iraqis. 200,000 is a conservative estimate; it is certainly “hundreds of thousands”

  9. says

    3 years of salary? You’re woefully underpaid, PZ.

    That being said, yeah, as much as I don’t like her or her views, she’s not in the same park as Bush, Cheney, or Rumsefeld and what they did. She was connected to the State department, not the DoJ, which is responsible for stuff like torture and the legitimate war crimes out there. Historically, the State Department is responsible for diplomatic relations… and we’d be better served letting them run things than the military.

  10. ganymede says

    I agree that 150k for 50 minutes is completely ridiculous, even if she had some actual positive accomplishments to talk about, which I don’t see that she does. That said, I think part of going to university is being exposed to a wide range of viewpoints so that one can learn to think for oneself, so I generally disapprove of liberals trying to silence conservative speakers, even though I mostly agree with liberals on the merits. I agree with the person who said that the appropriate response is to invite her and then clobber her during question period (if there is one). Education involves more speech, not less.

  11. anteprepro says

    Eric Hovind, the bullshit you are trying to indulge in is INCREDIBLY off topic. If you want to blather about evilution and “objective” “morality”, there is always the Thunderdome. Your other alternatives are to stay on topic or just STFU.

    As for the main post: Holy fuck. Apparently torture and war are ridiculously lucrative in our culture. Because We’re The Good Guys. *gag*

  12. says

    @13… She was the secretary of state. the buck stops clearly somewhere in her vicinity. She could have supported the truth and resigned. That could have had a major effect on the outcome, and even if not, she would have removed herself from responsibility for what happened. She was nothing more than a lousy litte sychophant lapdog…Ha She was the Lapdog’s lapdog…

  13. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    erichovind @10,

    I have a friend who knows everything, and he told me about right and wrong.

  14. says

    Yeah, right. Clobber her in the Q&A. How much do you want to bet that part of the deal involves very specific restrictions on the Q&A…or no Q&A at all? She’s evil, not stupid.

  15. erichovind says

    anteprepro #22 So questioning the foundation of the claim is “off topic”? That sounds like a lame excuse not to answer the question.

  16. says

    @21. Would it have been cool to have Eichmann speak at university if he had not been tried? That’s the only real difference here. The Bush administration have not been tried for the crimes they committed, because America!!!! I am ALL FOR people taking a stand and protesting hyman shit…And them daollahs is UNIVERSITY dollahs. The protester are on solid motherfucking moral grounding here…

  17. says

    @24 Where she deserves to be raked over the coals is for her part in trying to cover up torture to all of the stuff that was in her wheelhouse. At the very least, contempt for lying to other leaders saying we don’t torture, or that it wasn’t torture. Like I put earlier, she wasn’t involved directly in the crimes, but she most certainly was an apologist for them.

  18. says

    And here I can’t get a tenth of that for a full fucking year of working. Also seconding
    doublereed; the assholes in charge of the uni had better not be whining about budget problems (other than themselves, that is) any damn time soon.
    brett #11
    No, the correct response is to tell the administration not to spend money that could be used to improve the university’s education paying a war criminal to lie for an hour. If she were coming and giving a talk on her own dime, you’d have a point.

    Ben Lutgens 13
    Here you go.

  19. says

    Clobber her in the Q&A.

    That rather misses the point: if her attendance is protested or (better) prevented, that’s press-worthy. If she speaks and gets “clobbered” in the Q&A that’s just normal.

    As we’ve seen from Cheney and Bush, that set is remarkably unapologetic and even less concerned with the truth than they used to have to appear to be. In the Q&A she could glibly lie and any journalists covering the event will have already gotten their sound bite and headed to a nearby pub to install a cloak of forgetfulness.

  20. Tomas C. says

    @erichovind

    I don’t think they exist in my worldview (even though I’d like them to).
    How do you get them in your worldview?

    Also lol @ noahthemovie.
    Are you in the movie?

  21. brett says

    #31 Marcus Ranum

    That rather misses the point: if her attendance is protested or (better) prevented, that’s press-worthy. If she speaks and gets “clobbered” in the Q&A that’s just normal.

    Because there’s very real merit in allowing people with unpopular viewpoints to be heard, and say what you will about Rice, but she’s a prominent, unpopular voice. As I mentioned above, Rice isn’t a convicted criminal, and we don’t know how much role she had either in the preparation for the lead-up to the Iraq War, or involvement in the operations thereafter. Moreover, it’s not a war crime simply to participate in the planning for armed conflict – war by itself is not a war crime under the Geneva Accords.

  22. consciousness razor says

    I have a friend who knows everything, and he told me about right and wrong.

    fishcake #25 Who would that be?

    My guess is the ground of all being, aka Cthulhu. Don’t fuck with him. Therefore, he’s always right.

  23. says

    There is a merit to allow people to be heard when they have stupid opinions, because that’s how they’re exposed. There isn’t merit to sponsoring or equating those opinions. The $150,000 speaking fee is absurd and insulting, money that should be put into, I don’t know, academics. It’s the same logic that makes news put a stupid viewpoint (say, Creationism) on part with a factual one (Evolution). But silencing one doesn’t work either. Call it out for what it is, and let them slink back to being the person that’s forgotten and shamed, not silenced and shunned.

  24. mikeyb says

    I see the the utterly contemptible thoroughly refuted divine command theory excuse has made its appearance yet again.

    @11 Brett, laughable as if a few sane people with no influence whatsoever have any power this day and age influencing universities to disinvite speakers (which in what way would be censorship even if it occurred I don’t understand- it’s a paid speech after all??). I bet if Fox News, or the Koch brothers protested that would be a whole different ball game.

  25. consciousness razor says

    Because there’s very real merit in allowing people with unpopular viewpoints to be heard,

    There’s real merit in spending $150k to hear her bullshit for less than an hour? You could’ve fooled me.

    Of course, she’s “allowed” to be heard. She can speak freely, assemble with others, and we could hear what she has to say, however she wants to say it on the platform of her choice. Inviting her to a school and giving her a big fat check isn’t one of her first amendment rights, and it isn’t valuable to anyone’s education.

  26. ebotebo says

    @ erichhovind. As much as I want to ignore your babbling bullshit, I have to agree with anteprepro, Shut the Fuck Up!

  27. anteprepro says

    anteprepro #22 So questioning the foundation of the claim is “off topic”? That sounds like a lame excuse not to answer the question.

    Yes, Eric, you special little snowflake that everyone must pay attention to, your presuppositional apologetics handwaving games are not strictly relevant to the sweet public speaking gig given to someone who should have been jailed for war crimes. No, it isn’t excuse to not answer the question: It’s just suggesting that if you REALLY want to go through your typical line of bullshit for the umpteenth time, it is best for you to take that particular dump in the corner we set in the basement, rather than on the shag carpet.

  28. Rey Fox says

    And here I thought you guys believed in “Survival of the Fittest”. PZ should be proud of this.

    Looks like Non Sequitur Sunday arrived early this week.

  29. ganymede says

    At 28, I think Eichmann may actually have had some useful things to say about how a thoroughly mediocre civil servant managed to become head of a program that exterminated millions of people. If you can get over the fact that it’s Eichmann that’s doing the talking, how in the hell did Eichmann happen is actually a fairly important topic on which Eichmann might have been able to shed some light. I wouldn’t have paid him $150,000 to do it, but that’s a separate question from whether he should be invited to speak at all.

    And that’s why I think it’s important not to silence other viewpoints, even if you think they’re evil. Even evil people can teach us things, even if only by the power of a bad example.

  30. mikeyb says

    Conversations occur between people, if you want to stretch it with pets too, but generally not with imaginary beings in your head.

  31. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    That said, I think part of going to university is being exposed to a wide range of viewpoints so that one can learn to think for oneself, so I generally disapprove of liberals trying to silence conservative speakers, even though I mostly agree with liberals on the merits.

    Are you fucking serious? Right-wingers own half the media and have the rest licking their boots doing the “Some people say Obama eats boiled baby heads! Others say he doesn’t! More on this GROWING CONTROVERSY after these messages!” thing. Basically everyone has a, minimum, racist or libertarian or both relative or coworker, who feels ENTITLED to hold forth at length on politics without anyone disagreeing. Rightwingers aren’t being “silenced” by being shut out of one stage out of millions.

  32. mikeyb says

    Ganymede I thoroughly disagree. If you want to learn about the bathos of evil, you can arrange to talk with Charlie Manson in his jail cell right now to your hearts delight. No thanks.

  33. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    And that’s why I think it’s important not to silence other viewpoints, even if you think they’re evil. Even evil people can teach us things, even if only by the power of a bad example.

    Do you really trust them to make up their own lesson plans?

    Dude. Pull. My. Finger.

  34. Fishcake-SireSpout says

    erichovind @32,

    My friend makes himself known to anyone who opens their heart and willingly accepts his divine revelation. If you don’t know him, it’s only because you have deliberately rejected him. Humble yourself sincerely and he will come into your life.

  35. says

    war by itself is not a war crime under the Geneva Accords

    The Nuremberg tribunal disagree with you, and were willing to hang a bunch of people – that’s how hard they disagreed.

    It’s also a violation of article 39 of the UN charter, and the ICC’s Rome Statute:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rome_Statute_of_the_International_Criminal_Court
    which specifically criminalizes “aggression:

    For the purpose of this Statute, “crime of aggression” means the planning, preparation, initiation or execution, by a person in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a State, of an act of aggression which, by its character, gravity and scale, constitutes a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations.

    So, um, you’re kinda sorta completely wrong.

  36. says

    Interesting. Awhile back I got one of those calls to alumni asking for a donation. Condi Rice was going to speak at my Alma Mater, so I asked the student calling me if she felt it was appropriate to have Ms. Rice speaking at the university while I am being asked for a cash donation.

    The student tried to explain how she nor other students were in a position to involve themselves in the politics of the school. I then explained that I could not, in good conscience, off the school any further monetary support.

  37. says

    A lot of people do a 2-4 year stint in politics just so they can raise their profile enough to command outrageous speaking fees, and so that people will pay for subscriptions to their online newsletters, buy their other online-offered junk etc. Newt Gingrich is a master at this scam.

    The real problem with Condi Rice is that she is still pumping out the pro-war stuff that got us into trouble before.

    Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice says that American leaders need to resist the temptation to become weary of war, according to a report of her remarks at a fundraiser.

    “I fully understand the sense of weariness,” she told a GOP fundraiser Wednesday, according to reports. “I fully understand that we must think: ‘Us, again?’ I know that we’ve been through two wars. I know that we’ve been vigilant against terrorism. I know that it’s hard. But leaders can’t afford to get tired. Leaders can’t afford to be weary.”

    Washington Post link.

    Rice is repeating the canard that President Obama has withdrawn from the role of global leadership, and she is pushing for war with Russia and with Syria, albeit more subtly than Dick Cheney or John McCain. People like Rice because she is a polite black woman with a good education and a sweet smile, but her policy decisions are dangerous. When it comes to foreign policy, she sucks.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/condi-rice-lectures-war-weariness

  38. anuran says

    Looks like there’s a model for you in Montana Tech. The faculty is set to boycott homophobic, science-hating, Focus on the Patriarchy alum and all around fuck blintz Greg Gianforte.

  39. davidchapman says

    I’m a bit puzzled by the “free speech for all” and “we might learn something” angle that some people are advancing here. Condoleeza can be observed talking on Youtube for anyone who’s interested. The problem is that this university is giving her a slap on the back worth $150,000 for doing the things she did. Some people will learn from this indeed. People who are thinking about going into politics.

  40. says

    I’ll add my vote that this is about freedom of association by way of giving or withholding a platform, not freedom of speech. If a large enough group of students and staff don’t want their university to have her speech associated with them, they shouldn’t feel inclined to give her a platform. If she wants her views discussed, she can find some other platform that doesn’t carry an implied stamp of approval from the university.

    Re: Survival of the fittest:

    Hovind, you really need to learn the difference between the “is” of science and the “ought” of morality. In biology, I acknowledge that organisms that are in some way unfit for their environment have a tendency to die without producing offspring. In politics, I acknowledge that people without power tend to be oppressed by the powerful. That’s how things are.

    That doesn’t mean I advocate culling or oppressing the weak in any way. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to change the landscape so than everyone can prosper. To me, that part of the natural world is a difficult problem to be solved. Civilization is largely our (admittedly highly flawed) attempt to mitigate the suffering. Still better than barbarism.

    Religion can’t genuinely offer anything better, especially since there’s no consensus, just an ever-growing pile of schisms at the mercy of fashion, politics, and convenience. That includes the chaotic state of Creationism.

  41. barnestormer says

    $150,000 could pay fifteen GTAs for a year at my alma mater. Or 10, if you wanted to give them all a nice raise for their hard work. What’s Condi even going to talk about that you couldn’t get just as well for free? These things are baffling to me.

    I think I favor house arrest for war criminals and other dangerous people (though most of them might need to be moved to a smaller house to make it cost-effective). Antarctica doesn’t need the trouble.

  42. don1 says

    I don’t think Rice can be technically called a war criminal. I am not versed in the law but as the US has a veto at the UN then nothing they ever do will be officially sanctioned as constituting ‘ a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations.’

    She may be morally guilty of foisting a bloody and unwarranted war on the country she was supposed to be serving, but the top table have made sure they are insulated from that. You could be the feted president of a regional power for decades and then find yourself being dragged through the streets in less time than it takes to watch Breaking Bad. Or, if you’re lucky, sitting around the Hague for a few years waiting for very little to happen.

    But the big powers? They are exempt. The Trial of Henry Kissinger was a wonderful book, but it could never happen. Putin can rampage around all he wants and he’ll never be sanctioned as constituting ‘ a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations.’

    I could be wrong, but I think that it has been so arranged that war crimes charges simply cannot be laid against the administration because there is nobody who can bring them to book.

  43. Pierce R. Butler says

    Marcus Ranum @ # 12: … the last US president who wasn’t a war criminal. Was it Ford?

    & Mothra @ # 14: … James Earl Carter.

    Please recall that, near the end of his unelected term, Ford visited Indonesia and – under the baleful influence of Henry Kissinger – gave the green light to the subsequent years of massacre in East Timor.

    And Carter, faithfully obeying the rule that all Democrats must support and continue the atrocities of all Republican predecessors (see also Clinton, Iraq sanctions), provided weapons, funding, and benign neglect to ensure that the slaughter continued for Four More Years.

  44. davidchapman says

    59
    Halcyon Dayz, FCD

    How about Antarctica? Or the Moon?

    But what about the penguins? Or the poor Selenites?

    Fuck ‘em. It’s someone else’s turn.

  45. ganymede says

    No, No. 48, I do not trust them to make up the lesson plans, but I don’t see the lesson ending when Ms. Rice steps off the platform. I think that what she says then gets analyzed, dissected and torn apart in every philosophy, poli-sci and other related class on campus. Before her speech, the professors should tell their students to take careful notes so that a vigorous discussion can be had later. We read Mein Kampf when I was in high school, not to make us sympathetic to Nazi ideology, but so that we could get a lesson in critical thinking by then tearing it apart in class.

    And I understand this isn’t a free speech issue; she is not entitled to speak where she isn’t welcome. The university would have been within its right to not invite her in the first place, or to rescind the invitation if it chooses to do so. I just think that there are worse strategies, from a higher education standpoint, than thinking someone might learn something by listening to a contrary viewpoint. And yes, I agree with everyone else that 150k is ridiculous.

  46. davidchapman says

    61
    ganymede

    28 March 2014 at 3:58 pm (UTC -5) And yes, I agree with everyone else that 150k is ridiculous.

    But you didn’t address my argument. The University faculties can attack, dissect, scathingly dismiss and mock whatever she says till the echoes of laughter and scorn fill the halls. There will still be ambitious young students, and similar, there noting the obvious fact that, while academic opinion may utterly condemn this person and their action, the system, including this university system, rewards them.

    Therefore, the more corrosive the criticism, and the more dishonest and culpable her speech may be shown to be, the worse it will be, not the better.

  47. ganymede says

    David, your point is legitimate in large part because she’s being paid $150,000, which is why I think it’s important to keep separate those two issues (should she be allowed to speak, and should she be getting a six figure fee for it). I think the appropriate balance would be for the university to say that if she wants to come to campus to make her case, fine, but not at that price or anything close. That way, nobody can claim she’s being censored, but nobody can claim she’s making money off dead Iraqis either.

  48. davidchapman says

    44
    ganymede
    At 28, I think Eichmann may actually have had some useful things to say about how a thoroughly mediocre civil servant managed to become head of a program that exterminated millions of people. If you can get over the fact that it’s Eichmann that’s doing the talking, how in the hell did Eichmann happen is actually a fairly important topic on which Eichmann might have been able to shed some light.

    I don’t think we should get over the fact when it’s Eichmann doing the talking. I think that’s a critical element of the situation. There are other critical elements of the situation that you are sidelining whilst making your point that these people shouldn’t be censored & should be listened to. I agree with you that it’s important to know what they may have to say, but there’s a difference between hearing or reading what people have to say in their defence, and what’s happening here. What’s happening here is she is being invited to speak at universities, which is a major intellectual compliment, which presents an audience that has undertaken to be respectful, and can be counted on to applaud the lecture; and which is a social event that involves bigwigs in the University treating Condeleeza Rice with politeness, smiles, respect and kindness. This would be rotten even if she were being paid a sane amount of money; social connivance from academia, religious figures, celebrity culture and so on are among the ways the power structures of the world project their nasty priorities. You are presenting a rarefied, laboratory idealization of the real situation here: the real situation is that this person is being paid an obscenely vast fee, and is literally being wined and dined ( see link in original story ), feted by the upper echelons of university society, and in short being presented with cultural acceptance by this academic institution. This is a massively different thing from mere interest in what she might have to say. I might be interested in what she might have to say. But I want her to say it on fucking Youtube, and not with any of this accompanying plush scholastic upholstery, which transmits a message probably more eloquent than anything most of these creeps could manage, to the effect that all this George W. Bush thing is quite acceptable, when you consider it in the long term.

  49. says

    @27 erichovind

    So questioning the foundation of the claim is “off topic”?

    I know, right! It’s like if someone, by fiat and or with a flawed explanation, just presupposes that their position on the claim is true! How stupid is that?!?!

  50. says

    Kevin @8: I once nuked the Fulda Gap to try to prevent the invasion of West Germany by the Warsaw Pact. But I didn’t enjoy it, and never did it again. (Those West German dorfs and bergs were built less than 10 kilotons apart! Atrociously poor town planning.) And I’ve killed a few orcs, goblins, trollkin, broo and assorted monsters in my time. But they don’t count, right?

  51. Menyambal says

    C. Rice actually has some academic credentials, if I remember one of the first forwarded e-mails that I ever got. It was bragging about the qualifications of the W administration. It listed W as a businessman in about two lines, then dumped screens of all the academic accomplishments of Rice. It took me a while of flickering through it to see that it repeated her section, which just made W look even worse. Trimmed down, she still has some academic chops.

    That said, I’d still not expect a school to pay her obscene amounts of money.

    A friend who worked for Ms. Rice while she was SecState, said that Rice refused to look at any document that wasn’t classified as secret, or maybe it was top secret. Boring, harmless documents, containing generally available information, had to be classified before she got them.

  52. pacal says

    Re: Marcus Ranum no. 12

    “I’m trying to recall the last US president who wasn’t a war criminal. Was it Ford?”

    No it wasn’t Ford. He was involved, along with Kissinger with giving the go-ahead to Indonesia in a war crime and crime against humanity called East Timor in 1975.

  53. says

    No it wasn’t Ford.

    Then we’re back to, hmmm… Washington forswore his parole. I guess – none. Unless Millard Fillmore managed to not commit any war crimes in office.

  54. says

    But you didn’t address my argument. The University faculties can attack, dissect, scathingly dismiss and mock whatever she says till the echoes of laughter and scorn fill the halls.

    OK, let me address your argument: that won’t happen because she wouldn’t be appearing at all unless she had a reasonable expectation that the university was going to give her a nice soft soapbox. Even for $150 large she’s not going to subject herself to newsworthy pillorying, and you’re a fool if you pretend to believe otherwise.

  55. norsk says

    In a more sane and just world, Rice would be on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity along with Carter, Bush, both Clinton’s, Cheney/Bush, Obama, many of their administrations, and the surviving members of the Nixon and Reagan administrations….

  56. davidchapman says

    70
    Marcus Ranum

    But you didn’t address my argument. The University faculties can attack, dissect, scathingly dismiss and mock whatever she says till the echoes of laughter and scorn fill the halls.

    OK, let me address your argument: that won’t happen because she wouldn’t be appearing at all unless she had a reasonable expectation that the university was going to give her a nice soft soapbox. Even for $150 large she’s not going to subject herself to newsworthy pillorying, and you’re a fool if you pretend to believe otherwise.

    You mean I’m disengenuous if I pretend to believe otherwise, presumably.

    Anyway you have misunderstood my point. In the post following, which you don’t seem to have read, I made it quite clear not only that I expected a ‘nice soft soapbox’ is exactly what she would receive, but that that was part of the problem.

    My remarks about the faculties dissecting and criticizing what she said was an answer to Ganymede’s claim that the situation was perfectly acceptable, if the professors and students discussed what she said afterwards; then all would be well because they would demolish any faulty arguments, and mock her evil. Or to be more exact, in his words:

    “Before her speech, the professors should tell their students to take careful notes so that a vigorous discussion can be had later. We read Mein Kampf when I was in high school, not to make us sympathetic to Nazi ideology, but so that we could get a lesson in critical thinking by then tearing it apart in class.” — Post 61.

    For my objections to this approach with regard to this situation, see above.

  57. randay says

    I don’t know how much Kurt Vonnegut got paid for his commencement speech at Bennington College for his pessimistic speech including, “Things are going to get unimaginably worse, and they are never, ever, going to get better”. I suppose the college wasn’t expecting that message. But watching how things are going he seems to be right.

  58. Jerry says

    One problem that has not been mentioned is that Dr. Rice was not just Secretary of State, but before that was National Security Adviser during the build-up to the second Iraq war, a war done on specious reasoning. She has not changed her mind nor admitted wrongdoing about that act (act meaning political theater as well as action). What could she possibly have to say that would inform the student body, as opposed to misinform? Especially at that outrageous fee, which could be better spent actually teaching reality to the students as opposed to self-serving lies?

    (Speaking of self-serving lies, I have yet to read anything worthwhile from Mr. Hovind. Is there any way for me to block those meaningless comments so I do not waste my time on them?)

  59. Bicarbonate is back says

    I think Rice should be allowed to speak, if she did it for free and took questions.

  60. davidchapman says

    74
    Jerry

    She has not changed her mind nor admitted wrongdoing about that act (act meaning political theater as well as action). What could she possibly have to say that would inform the student body, as opposed to misinform?

    I have to agree with Ganymede and disagree with you there. We have to ask her that, not decide for ourselves. Even if she talks self-serving rubbish, that’s valuable too; it lets you know that she talks nothing but self-serving rubbish. But if you mean, what could she possibly have to say, that she hasn’t said or couldn’t say somewhere else shorn of the prestige and social approval, then we concur.