(Walter Block seeks justice from the Affirmative Action Diversity Task Force, Loyola University New Orleans; hah!)
by Walter Block
by Walter Block
TO: Mr. Ted Quant, Director of Loyola's Twomey Center for Peace through Justice; members of the Affirmative Action Diversity Task Force, Loyola University New Orleans: Mr. Ted Quant, Professors Lydia Voigt, Wing Fok, Lisa Martin, Al Alcazar, James Hobbs, Kurt Bindewald, Artemis Preeshl, Karen Reichard, Anthony Decuir
CC: Ed Kvet, Provost, Loyola University New Orleans; Bill Locander and David Luechauer, Deans, College of Business, Loyola University New Orleans; Fr. Kevin Wildes, S.J., President, Loyola University New Orleans; Roger White, Associate Provost, Loyola University New Orleans; plus the entire Loyola University New Orleans community (well, at least as much of it as I can reach with this present message that cannot be broadcast to the entire student and faculty list because it would be considered "personal"; hint, hint: please pass this on to all and sundry, particularly the law school faculty)
FROM: Professor Walter Block
Mr. Quant, I hereby formally charge you, personally, with bias, racism, sexism, anti Catholicism and anti Semitism for that letter to the editor you published at the Times Picayune on 12/3/08; and, also, I now make the same complaint against you and all other members of the Affirmative Action Diversity Task Force, Loyola University New Orleans, for your/their (undated) "statement" about me.
I am writing to you now because of this automatic message I received from Professor Martin, in response to a letter I wrote on 12/18/08 to all the members of the Affirmative Action Diversity Task Force, Loyola University New Orleans, including her, and then another addressed solely to her:
"Professor Martin will be out of the office until early February. Should you have a bias-related incident, please report it to Ted Quant, Director of Loyola's Twomey Center for Peace through Justice. [email protected] Phone (504) 861-5831."
Previous to reading this, I didn't realize that the calumny that has been heaped upon me of late by you, personally, and by you and your colleagues on the Affirmative Action Diversity Task Force constituted "bias," plus racism, sexism, anti Catholicism and anti Semitism, and that there was an avenue open to me to seek redress for this vituperation.
Before I elaborate on the indictment against you and your fellow Task Force members, let me make several preliminary comments.
I. First, here are the two letters, in their entirety, that prompted Prof. Martin's automatic message, and my present response (these two letters were prompted by an initial longer letter, which I reproduce here).
Please read this very important essay by Tom DiLorenzo about my recent speech at Loyola College in Maryland. I would appreciate it if you could circulate this as widely as possible on campus. I would be delighted if the Task Force on diversity would read this; I am copying them on this message. I wonder if they will read DiLorenzo; they have not seen fit to reply to the list of questions I put to them in response to their "statement." This op ed of Prof DiLorenzo's is crucially important, since he exhibits in it the views of his students who actually attended my lecture. If someone would forward this to the law school faculty in particular, I would greatly appreciate that.
Here is my own most recent publication on this event. It links to most of the material on this thread, including the Diversity Task Force's "statement" and my response to it.
Dear Prof. Martin:
Thanks for your message that appears below. I didn't realize that I had this option.
As a matter of fact, I do have a "bias-related incident" to report. It pertains to Mr. Quant, and to the entire Diversity Task Force of which he is a part. In my view, they are all guilty of engaging in "bias" against me. See here and here.
Can you please advise me as to how I can bring formal charges of bias against them? What campus mechanisms are there for victims of bias such as me? Surely, I cannot report this incident to Mr. Quant himself, as he would then be a judge in his own case.
Wait, I just realized that you, too, are a member of this Task Force. Thus, you, too, would be precluded from judging my bias complaint. But, as an expert in these matters, you could still advise me as to how to proceed. What mechanisms are there in place to come to the rescue of victims of bias perpetrated by the very people in charge of ferreting out, and, presumably, punishing, "bias"?
Would someone who is receiving this message please forward it to the law school faculty. Surely, someone on that faculty could advise me as to how to bring a charge of bias against the defendants in this case.
Walter E. Block, Ph.D.
Harold E. Wirth Endowed Chair and Prof. of Economics
College of Business
Loyola University New Orleans
6363 St. Charles Ave., Box 15
New Orleans, LA 70118
Professor Martin will be out of the office until early February. Should you have a bias-related incident, please report it to Ted Quant, Director of Loyola's Twomey Center for Peace through Justice. [email protected] Phone (504) 861-5831.
II. Second, is it not anomalous of me to bring a charge of bias, racism, sexism, anti Catholicism and anti Semitism against you, personally, and the Task Force, in general, when you are precisely the people in charge of publicizing, condemning and rooting out such acts in our community? Well, yes, I suppose it is. But, such a charge is not without precedent. After all, policemen are commonly thought to have the function of protecting society against crime; yet, although happily rarely, there are policemen who have been found guilty of the selfsame criminal behavior they are sworn to end. Similarly, the presumed goal of judges is to promote justice. And, yet, there are indeed cases where judges, themselves, have been imprisoned, because they have suborned justice.
As well, it is the contention of some political philosophers (not me, as it happens) that racism, sexism, anti Catholicism and anti Semitism and other such perspectives are endemic in our society. Well, if these outlooks are that widespread, this present claim of mine should not be seen as much of an anomaly as would otherwise be the case. They can infect those, too, who are supposed to oppose them.
III. Third, I am no lawyer, but I am acquainted with at least one element of law: it is improper for a judge, such as ordinarily you would be in these matters, to take on that role in a case where you are also the defendant, such as the case I am now bringing against you and your colleagues on the Task Force. Thus, I hereby ask you to recuse yourself in this matter.
Who should take your place in this trial? Whatever the mechanisms already in place to deal with the situation would be satisfactory to me. If this awkwardness has not been anticipated, then I would accept as my judge on these matters the university president, provost, any of the associate provosts, any dean or associate dean, except, of course, for Dean Anthony Decuir, who would also have to recuse himself.
IV. Fourth, I have been accused of racism and sexism. The burden of proof rests with those who make this hysterical allegation; until and less they do, it is not required of me, the accused, to refute it.
However, I want to clarify the record. I have a paper trail incompatible with these accusations. Here is an article of mine published in January, 1993, long before the present unpleasantness began, in support of black leader Malcolm X. And here is a more recent op ed (published on 5/16/08, about six months before the brou ha ha that erupted in Baltimore) supporting the candidacy of Barack Obama, versus his two main competitors at the time, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Then, too, I have written on several occasions in favor of reparations to present day black people, in compensation for past slavery; see on this here, here and here:
These are hardly positions associated with racism. Further, among my many co authors, several of my writing partners are black scholars. Here, here and here are some of the publications we have co authored.
You will note that this evidence of my non racism is of long duration. I have published in favor of slavery reparations to black people in 1999-2000, 2002 and again in 2007. My explicit support for black leaders (Malcolm, Obama) stretches from 1993 to 2008. This bespeaks a long term dedication to this cause. My co authorships with black scholars stretch from 1981 to 2007. Thus, I am no Johnny-come-lately to the non or anti racist banner.
My record on sexism is equally clear. I would estimate that I have in excess of several dozen female co authors, going back to the 1990s. I can supply a bibliography of these publications if needed. At this point, let me mention only one citation: here is a publication that began as a term paper by one of my black female students. Although I do not agree with a word of it, indeed, she explicitly criticizes my views in her paper, I took great pains to help her get it published.
V. Fifth, I want to give some background as to my teaching style. If I had to summarize it briefly, it is inspired by John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty," where he discusses the pedagogical benefits of students hearing all sides of any dispute. That is precisely the way I run my courses. For example, when I teach environmental economics, I try to instill in my students four different viewpoints. I even place them on the blackboard like this:
Radical left; moderate left; moderate right, radical right
(Radical left indicates those who take a position similar to David Suzuki or Paul Ehrlich; moderate left is roughly the Al Gore position; moderate right portrays the University of Chicago watered down free enterprise viewpoint — Julian Simon might be a good exemplar of this; and radical right, my own Austro libertarian views).
Then, I make a list of topics to be discussed, and place them down the first column of the blackboard, hence:
- Species extinction
Note, that with four columns and seven rows (I usually cover about 15 topics in my classes) this creates a matrix of 28 boxes. I tell my students that a great part of the term's work will be to fill in this checker board: they will learn the views of all four of the perspectives regarding all the topics to be discussed. As evidence for this pedagogical style, I offer my seven years' worth of syllabi, which are on record at the College of Business. (If a student writes a term paper from a perspective with which I disagree, I give it a high mark if I think it is a good example of that orientation.)
After my lecture in Baltimore, during the question period, I was asked why there is a black — white earnings gap. As most economists would, I answered that this was a function, mainly, of productivity differentials. The questioner persisted, wondering why these, in turn, existed. In response I said there are two main theories that purport to explain this. The first, I went on to say, was that lower black productivity could be traced back to slavery, to Jim Crow legislation, to poorer inner city schooling, diet, etc. The second was IQ differentials. I feel it is my duty as a professor, when confronted with student questions, to lay out all the relevant issues. In my view, a student who has never so much as even heard of this IQ explanation is at a decided intellectual disadvantage, compared to those who have. I go further: such a student has been cheated. Now, even mentioning IQ in the typical university setting (apart from debunking the entire concept) is, for many, akin to shouting out the F word in the drawing room. Indeed, it is simply not done in "polite" society, in their view. I beg to differ.
Jesus claimed to be "the Truth" and that part of "putting on the full armor of God is to "gird your loins with Truth". The pursuit of Truth is an integral and recurrent commandment to the faithful Christian. Well, it is true that some scholars explain productivity differentials in terms of IQ. This is the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. To evade this, to hide this from students, constitutes moral cowardice. I search in vain for biblical or Jesuitical writing to the effect that the truth must be suppressed if it brings about hurt feelings. Perhaps I will be corrected on this by those with greater theological credentials than I. It is intellectual malpractice to act as if the Herrnstein-Murray book, The Bell Curve, simply does not exist. It is a sin against the truth. I will never be part of any such thing.
Rather, I take my stance with John Stuart Mill. It is as if he presciently wrote, in On Liberty, about this very sort of thing:
"… the opinion which it is attempted to suppress by authority may possibly be true. Those who desire to suppress it, of course deny its truth; but they are not infallible. They have no authority to decide the question for all mankind, and exclude every other person from the means of judging. To refuse a hearing to an opinion, because they are sure that it is false, is to assume that their certainty is the same thing as absolute certainty. All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility."
Mill continues (emphasis added):
"But when we turn to subjects infinitely more complicated, to morals, religion, politics, social relations, and the business of life, three-fourths of the arguments for every disputed opinion consist in dispelling the appearances which favour some opinion different from it. The greatest orator, save one, of antiquity, has left it on record that he always studied his adversary's case with as great, if not with still greater, intensity than even his own. What Cicero practised as the means of forensic success, requires to be imitated by all who study any subject in order to arrive at the truth. He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion. The rational position for him would be suspension of judgment, and unless he contents himself with that, he is either led by authority, or adopts, like the generality of the world, the side to which he feels most inclination. Nor is it enough that he should hear the arguments of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. That is not the way to do justice to the arguments, or bring them into real contact with his own mind. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them; who defend them in earnest, and do their very utmost for them. He must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form; he must feel the whole force of the difficulty which the true view of the subject has to encounter and dispose of; else he will never really possess himself of the portion of truth which meets and removes that difficulty."
With these preliminaries out of the way, I now elaborate upon my indictment against you and the Task Force.
First, consider your own letter of to the Times Picayune. It reads as follows:
White supremacy theory proved fatal and false
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Re: "A tough sell in the marketplace of ideas," Other Opinions, Nov. 25.
Loyola University professor Walter Block asserts that black people and women are less productive than white men because women have only "average" intelligence needed for motherhood but not for "leading corporations;" he cites discredited research that asserts black people have lower IQs than white people.
Apparently the havoc wrought by 500 years of pseudoscientific "proofs" of white supremacy is not sufficiently instructive. Millions of native peoples were slaughtered and Africans enslaved while theologians debated whether they had souls or were even human. The racial theories of American eugenics led to forced sterilizations and Nazi racial policies that categorized certain peoples as "life unworthy of life." With great Aryan efficiency, millions were murdered.
There have always been academicians ready to provide "scientific" proof of white supremacy and a justification for racial and gender discrimination.
Will the next step be demanding the repeal of civil right laws to allow discrimination against those Block deems unproductive? This is the logic and legacy of such flawed analysis.
Let me address this letter under the following five headings: bias, racism, sexism, anti Catholicism, anti Semitism.
1. bias. You place in quotation marks the words "average" and "leading corporations." The context makes it plain that you are directly quoting me. Yet, I challenge you to find such words in any of my publications with that precise meaning attached. Your letter is almost a classic case of guilt by association. Some supporters of forced eugenics used IQ to buttress their case. Therefore, anyone who utilizes this IQ measure is guilty of advocating a similar rights violation. Yes, the Nazis are properly associated with this sort of vicious thinking. But Hitler was also an advocate of health foods, and environmental concerns. Are we to condemn all those with these interests? Yes, if we believe in guilt by association.
As it happens, the Nazis were not the only supporters of eugenic measures. Far from it. Others who held these views include: H. G. Wells, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, Emile Zola, George Bernard Shaw, John Maynard Keynes, William Keith Kellogg, Margaret Sanger, Winston Churchill, and Sidney Webb; feminists Emily Murphy, Louise McKinney and Nellie McClung. Here is yet another listing of famous people who supported this initiative: Charles Darwin, H.G. Wells, Margaret Sanger, Samuel Butler, Plato, Alexander Graham Bell, John D. Rockefeller, Theodore Roosevelt, John H. Kellogg, Charles Davenport, Lewis Terman. Are we to denounce all those who are guilty of merely citing any of these people? Yes, if we believe in guilt by association. Yes, if you apply the same logic to all of them as you have applied to me. Do you indeed revile, as you do me, anyone who ever quoted any of these supporters of eugenics? Of course not. Hence, your bias is demonstrated.
President elect Obama has called for people to "disagree without being disagreeable." I have long tried to follow this advice, all throughout my intellectual career. Can you honestly say that you have disagreed with me without being disagreeable?
2. racism. It is surely racist to accuse a well documented supporter of black leaders, and of a black cause (reparations for slavery), and a co author with several black scholars, of cooperation with, or support for, the slaughter of millions of Africans, merely for attempting to shed light on why it is that there is a wage gap between whites and blacks. If this is not an attempt to "suppress by authority," in Mill's words, then nothing is.
3. sexism. It is sexist to accuse me of saying this: "women are less productive than white men because women have only ‘average' intelligence needed for motherhood but not for ‘leading corporations," when I did not say this. Indeed, when I was careful not to say this.
4. anti Catholicism. I am already on record in documenting your anti Catholicism here, on grounds of violating paragraph 22 of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, which are the spiritual foundation of Jesuit life. I now add to this indictment the charge that your letter runs contrary to Matthew 18:15-17. This passage lays out a clear process for resolving disputes:
A. Meet privately and lay out your grievance in private. If there is a meeting of the minds, the dispute is over and the grievance healed.
B. If that does not work, then (I would add only then) bring two or three neutral parties and lay out your case again before people whose judgment and fairness you both accept; e.g. elders of the church. If this works, the dispute is over and the grievance healed.
C. If that does not work, then (I would again add only then) bring your grievance to the whole congregation (make the grievance public).
You acted in a manner contrary to this biblical doctrine by immediately moving to step C, completely by-passing A and B.
5. anti Semitism. I am Jewish. You trashed me in this very public letter in a very humiliating manner. My claim is that you would have not done so were I not Jewish (I have as much evidence in support of this accusation as you had in defense of your claim that I am a racist; namely, none. But, I think it is salutary for you to be victimized by this sort of unwarranted outburst from time to time). However, I make this charge under correction. If you can show that you have treated at least one non Jew in the vicious way you have dealt with me, I will withdraw this charge.
Let us now consider the "statement" of the Affirmative Action Diversity Task Force, Loyola University New Orleans, which I reprint here, typographical errors included:
From: [email protected]
Subject: Affirmative Action Diversity Tast Force Statement
In reference to the Times Picayune article, "A Tough Sell in the Market Place of Ideas", by James Gill dated November 26, 2008.
As Loyola University's Diversity Committee, we are dedicated to promoting an appreciation for the valuable contributions of all, instilling in every one of our students a desire to pursue excellence and to be women and men in solidarity with others. We also hold to the Jesuit ideal of rigorous intellectual examination in the pursuit of truth and therefore, defend the right of academic freedom. However, it is our responsibility to respond critically to statements made by members of Loyola University that run counter to our commitment to inclusion and that marginalize women and African Americans, a majority of our community.
Professor Walter Block's reductionist statements about the productivity of African Americans and women in the marketplace ignore critical factors and structural patterns of inequality. His flawed remarks are dangerous, fueling those with prejudices to confirm their biased views. We must recognize the reality of racism and sexism in our society, whose impact has had long-lasting consequences in the lives of African Americans and women.
The Diversity Committee encourages all members of the University to use this event as a catalyst to engage in meaningful dialogue that addresses these issues in a way that moves us closer to our Jesuit ideals.
Affirmative Action/Diversity Task
As before, I will deal with this document under the following five headings: bias, racism, sexism, anti Catholicism, anti Semitism.
1. bias. This "statement" incorporates very serious charges. Yet, instead of making these accusations on the basis of what I had done, you based it on what a journalist wrote about a speech I gave, and an interview he did with me. If this does not bespeak "bias" I do not know what does. The fact that you would send out an official document, to the entire Loyola community, undated, and with typographical errors, is insulting. I take it that this emanates from a bias against me (I have no evidence to support this; I just wanted you too see how it felt to have unwarranted accusations made against you.) It is also biased to ignore a series of nine questions previously put to you, in response to this "statement."
2. racism. You never quite come out and directly accuse me of racism. Instead, you meander around this charge with verbiage such as "reductionist" (I still don't know what this means; I have asked you about it, but I have not been vouchsafed any answer) "flawed remarks" (I know full well what this means). I regard it as racist to accuse another person of racism, particularly one with my paper trail of anti racist publications, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever.
3. sexism. I maintain that it is sexist to take the position, if only by innuendo, that I do not favor "instilling in every one of our students a desire to pursue excellence and to be women and men in solidarity with others." This implies I short-change our female students. Not so; not even close. Here is a bit of evidence on that score. I am inordinately proud that in my seven years at Loyola, 21 of the essays that started out as term papers for my courses have ended up, with my help, as publications in refereed journals. Not bad for undergraduate students. I list them here. Of these 21, fully 15 have been authored by women; only 7 have men students as authors (there is an over count by one since one of the papers was co authored by a male and a female student). But, let me engage in some full disclosure: there are also another 6 articles that have been accepted for publication; 5 of these are authored by male students. The bottom line here is, at least based on this partial record, that I do indeed try my best to "instill… in every one of our students a desire to pursue excellence and to be women and men in solidarity with others."
4. anti Catholicism. You say you hold to the Jesuit ideal of rigorous intellectual examination. Your statement is simply not compatible with that high ideal. And, what about the Jesuit ideal of paragraph 22 of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius? What about Matthew 18:15-17? Is this incompatible with Jesuit ideals?
Further, there is much in Paul's letters to the various churches (Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, etc.) and pastors (Timothy, Titus, Philemon, etc.) on the importance of the Truth, standing firm in the Truth, and being wise enough to give clear cogent answers when questioned about your beliefs and why you hold them.
Paul was speaking of the salvation of Christ, but the principles (seek the Truth, know the Truth, study and understand the Truth so well that you can articulate your beliefs to any who ask) seem applicable to any endeavor where the goal is to persuade (not coerce) another person to your point of view. (I owe these theological insights to a theologian who wishes to remain anonymous.)
5. anti Semitism. I make the same charge, here, against the Task Force that I made with regard to the published letter of Mr. Ted Quant. I am Jewish; this letter attacks me. Therefore, it is an attack on all Jews. Ergo, here is a case of anti Semitism. Why should I show evidence in support of this charge? No, I content myself with making this claim which, for all I know might be true, and charge you with the responsibility of proving that it is false. Hint: one way to demonstrate this is to show a case where the Task Force dealt so unfairly with a non Jew. Just give me one such example, and I will withdraw this part of the indictment.
Here is a bit of friendly advice, in closing. Next time, pick your target for unwarranted ill-treatment more carefully. Do not choose a professor who is on sabbatical. He has more time than usual to respond to your unjust allegations. Better to abuse a faculty member with a full teaching load. Even more efficacious, avoid those of us with tenure; we are even more free to speak our minds. Yes, focus on an untenured assistant professor with a full teaching load, who really wants to keep his job. Go for the low lying fruit first, no? Let Rev. Martin Niemoller be your guide. He said "In Germany they first came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up." So, first come for assistant professors. Then, associates. Then, full professors. Leave alone, until last, those of us with named endowed chairs, who have recently won the Dux Academicus, and have been singled out, at both the college and university level, for research and publishing awards. Academics of this sort may well have encouraged female student publications and for many years published material on their own that undermines your charges. That just makes you look inept. Why put yourselves through the rigors of reading all that they have published? (Of course, if you find a "smoking gun," all bets are off; but, remember, such research takes time). Better to try to bully faculty members with a shorter paper trail.
December 23, 2008
Dr. Block [send him mail] is a professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans, and a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is the author of Defending the Undefendable and the newly released Labor Economics From A Free Market Perspective.
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