Affirmative Action With Jack Boots

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Dear Prof. Block,

I came across your story on the website, and eagerly followed all the episodes to date. Well done! Thanks for putting it all on the web (tho not entirely for my amusement, I’m sure). Great entertainment!This bit gave me a chill tho:

“Subject: Affirmative Action Diversity Tast Force Statement

Info: 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 FORCE??!! omg. I can see them now,
armed, with their jackboots…

What are these people saying, other than you have no right to express
opinions they do not agree with? Do they even realize what they are

I also read DiLorenzo’s comment where he quotes a student of his.
Being European, I can understand the tendency to equate this kind of
behaviour with jackbooted thugs, but my own experience here in Japan
(well-known bastion of individualism, ahem) shows a different facet of
collectivism. The actions of the Baltimore Economics Faculty – making
an apology on your behalf, and criticising you publicly without
communicating with you directly – reminded me of behaviour I’ve met
here. The Japanese form of collectivism avoids confrontation like the
plague: people simply do not know how to separate a person’s ideas
from the person themselves, therefore any criticism is taken as
personal, and criticism is therefore rarely offered directly (because
it is assumed it will be taken as a personal attack… which it often
is!). The following scenario has been repeated many times in my
experience. The office reports that some students have complained
about a particular teacher; after a critical mass has been achieved
(e.g. when a parent phones or writes or visits, or when several
students lodge unofficial complaints, or when one student lodges an
official complaint), the Department chair will be informed. An
emergency meeting is usually called: what shall we do? No-one wants to
confront the teacher directly; the easiest way out is, unfortunately,
sometimes adopted, especially if the teacher is a part-timer: simply
fail to renew their contract at the end of the year, with no
explanation other than a vague “department/structural/curricular (you
name it) changes”. The instructor him/herself is, like the cuckolded
husband, the last to know (if ever!)

(Came here via the “usual route”: Ayn Rand’s fiction, Hayek, Rand’s
non-fiction, von Mises institute, Rothbard (just read his hilarious
parody of Rand and her club: Mozart was a Red). Very impressed to read
Hayek’s commentary to your book Defending the Undefendable).


9:11 pm on January 17, 2009