Implications and responsibilities

There has been a lot of talk about freedom of speech and trepidation at even thinking about imposing consequences on a tenured professor, for instance. The fact is that there are consequenses to speech and these consequences should be a regulatory mechanism to assure that free speech is not irresponsible or fraudulent.

The recent stories have included news leaders with egregious problems, university professors, and even an occasional ‘entertainer’ or two. But an occasional Rathergate or Eason’s Fables is only a part of the story.

In the three years and change that N2P has been operational, I’ve come across quite a few stories about American “educators” who care less about imparting knowledge and skills than about making sure their charges come parroting the “correct” political statements. Rarely, though, will those “educators” openly admit to caring more about ideology than about the specifics of their chosen field [Kimberly Swaggert at Number 2 Pencil 9fb05]

This may be an indication of the kind of support that elected leaders are thinking about when they engage in behavior noted by Card:

When Condoleezza Rice’s confirmation as secretary of state was opposed … It meant that the Democrats [“these weren’t thirteen obscure senators. They included some of the most influential or at least well-known”] in Congress were determined to be brutally partisan … at a time when our country is at war, and we need to show our enemies a unified and relentless determination to defeat them.

Once the decision to go to war is made, then the actions of members of Congress must be undertaken with consideration of how our enemies will interpret them. [emph added]

The message is clear: The Democratic Party puts politics ahead of unity, victory, and the safety of our troops. And that makes a Democrat like me furious with my own party’s childish, selfish, dangerous behavior. It’s time for Democrats who are sick of such shenanigans to speak up and repudiate these clowns.
[Orson Scott Card. Rice, Iraq, and Saudi Subversion. World Watch 30JA05. First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC]

This is called the duty of loyalty in corporate governance. It is rarely enforced or even noticed in corporate governence except as a part of something else, such as a conflict of interest or intentional fraud. In politics, the consequences of malfeasance in the duty of loyalty is usually encountered in the ballot box. While ballot box notice has been more and more apparent, those referred to in Card’s comment have explicitly rejected that notice by asserting it was flawed or subject to interpretation. This is that same stance that Professor Churchill recently illustrated. The only problem with a blind stance is that the ground underneath wears away and makes the fall much more traumatic and disasterous.

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