Reply to: Sunday News: From the Editorial pages
This week's loser is UNC BOG member Joe Knott, for being a knot-head:
Should the UNC Board of Governors, after months of delay, move Silent Sam to a safer, less disruptive location? My answer to that question would be a very respectful “no,” at least not until the status quo ante has been restored and the issues have been identified, defined and debated publicly. I would submit to the board members, speaking only for myself, that giving legitimacy to such behavior as we observed in the destruction of the statue, betrays duty to protect the university and educate the next generation.
First, in protecting the university, the governors insulate, stand between the forces who would “take over” the schools for their own purposes. Does not academic freedom die when coercion and violence are allowed, even a little, into governance?
You want to talk about coercion? How about when you championed the effort to ban the UNC Center for Civil Rights from litigating cases, a move that was opposed by the Chancellor and faculty? You weren't concerned about "protecting" the school then, and you damned sure weren't concerned about protecting citizens from being discriminated against by state or municipal governments. You just didn't like the idea of the University actually helping people, because outside your rarefied little clique, those people are all...
When an organized mob arrives with masks, ropes, sheets and a plan to destroy Silent Sam, the mob is attempting to usurp the policy making function of the Board of Governors. If the board has any policy, the first policy must be that such behavior is unacceptable.
That's what this is all about. Power. The protesters took that decision out of your hands, mainly because ideologues like you were more than happy to sit on your ass and do nothing, while that monument to slavery stank up the campus. And losing that power made you angry. Not because of any of these crafted rationalizations:
The university is, after all, the first and the last redoubt of reason, debate, freedom of expression and respect for individual conscience and opinion. At the university, decisions are made and taught to be made rationally and after articulate public debate. It is the marketplace of ideas. The board should not make any decision influenced by fear of violence, terror or threat of violence. That is exactly contrary to the spirit of freedom and education.
You want to talk about "spirit of freedom" and rational decision-making? How about the General Assembly passing a law that took away the freedom of local authorities to relocate or remove statues? Your GOP colleagues actually took away your power to "decide" what to do with Silent Sam, and you didn't make a squeak. But some nameless powerless protesters pulled the statue down, and now we have a crisis that can only be fixed by putting it right back where it was.
The mob must not be allowed even an ounce of influence over policy at UNC, much less the power to dictate the resolution of a disagreement about the placement of the statue. If lawless people are allowed to determine policy at UNC, our great university will not be great for long.
My second reason for advocating the immediate return of Silent Sam to his original place is educational. The university is a school, and schools teach. The question is what are we teaching? Do we intend to teach that efficiency always trumps principle? Is easy expediency the guide to a good life?
Yeah, principles are important. And when Julian Carr bragged about whipping a black woman in the streets when Silent Sam was dedicated, a principled response would have been for that crowd to tar and feather him, and maybe ride him out of town on a rail. But instead, they applauded. And in that very instant, the true nature of Silent Sam was determined. And so was his eventual fate.
Reply to: Asshole of the Week: Tom Fetzer
One variation was "Misogynistic Prick of the Week," but asshole works so much better than others, even if it does take vulgarity to another level. Honestly, this jerk sitting on the UNC Board pf Governors is more vulgar than anything I could write.
Reply to: Asshole of the Week: Tom Fetzer
Glad to see this feature back.
I know the word "asshole" is off-putting to some, but it's one of the least offensive that can be used for something like this.
For a while, I liked "ass" as an alternative, but it doesn't do justice to Fetzer's paternalistic bullshit.
Reply to: New report highlights the economic benefits of clean energy
20 years or so down the road, the decision to place a solar farm in a location can be revisited and the land should be basically no worse for the wear - if the panels are installed with that in mind.
Reply to: Friday News: Feeling the Bern?
Nothing to worry about, just an annual thingie for my urologist. But it may be a while before I can post anything else.