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Friday, December 4, 2009

Ward Churchill

When browsing the Internet, I stumbled across the story of Ward Churchill. It's an interesting example of what happens to a State-licensed thinker who decides to criticize the State. Ward Churchill was a tenured professor at the University of Colorado.

Some pro-State trolls ask:

  • Why don't economics or political science professors say "Taxation is theft!"?
  • Why don't economists write about the Compound Interest Paradox?
  • Why doesn't some university psychiatry professor realize that the "chemical imbalance" theory of mental illness is nonsense?
Any professor who tried to tell the truth like Ward Churchill would be forfeiting their job and their career. The State censorship engine is so effective that only rarely must it be invoked. Ward Churchill crossed the censorship threshold, and had to be punished. By making an example of Ward Churchill and ruining his career, State bureaucrats ensure that no other university professor dares to question official State propaganda.

Ward Churchill wrote a controversial essay critical of US policy before the World Trade Center terrorist attack.

As usual, he said something intelligent and stupid in the same essay. He said that the terrorist attack was blowback for bad US foreign policy. He said that most of the people working in the World Trade Center deserved to die. I agree with the "blowback" issue, but disagree with the "deserved to die" point.

Ward Churchill wrote something intelligent and stupid in the same essay. This is common for people who are cracking their pro-State brainwashing. You only overcome your pro-State brainwashing a bit at a time. Initially, your thoughts are very muddled and some of your ideas aren't articulated clearly.

Just because Ward Churchill said something stupid, that doesn't mean he should be fired and forfeit his entire career. This is the Strawman Fallacy. He should be evaluated based on his entire career, and not the stupidest thing he ever did. Tenure is supposed to provide a professor with the freedom to write whatever he wants, even if it offends people. Tenure is supposed to provide professors with complete academic freedom. The Ward Churchill incident indicates that a tenured professor does not have true academic freedom; if he crosses a certain censorship threshold, then he will be fired.

If someone is evaluated based on the most foolish thing they ever did, that makes people very reluctant to try non-mainstream ideas. If you have non-mainstream ideas, some of them will be good and some of them will be bad. It's important to evaluate each idea independently. If I'm worried that people will get offended, then that makes me reluctant to state controversial ideas. If I had a mainstream media TV show or newspaper column, then I risk getting fired if I say something that offends a vocal group of people who are profiting from State violence.

A lot of people working in the World Trade Center were working in the financial industry. As I've mentioned before, the financial industry produces no useful goods or services. The financial industry is purely parasitic. However, that is not justification for murdering them. Most financial industry workers are unaware that they're participating in a humongous scam. The correct solution is to build free market alternatives to the financial industry extortion racket.

If you're a high-ranking State bureaucrat, a successful terrorist attack is like a huge bonanza. A successful terrorist attack is a justification for a vast increase in State power. Many groups like the ACLU opposed laws like the Patriot Act, which had been planned for a long time. After the terrorist attack, several bad laws expanding State power were passed without opposition. As usual, war is the health of the State.

After a successful terrorist attack, State bureaucrats say "We failed to do our job. Give us more power and more resources!" With an absolute monopoly, State bureaucrats are paradoxically rewarded when they fail.

Ward Churchill advocated for the elimination of government, although he didn't make an argument for agorism like I do. Politicians said "If Ward Churchill is advocating for the elimination of government, then we shouldn't be forced to pay his salary!" Notice that politicians aren't paying a professor's salary with their own personal money. They're paying it with property stolen via taxes. A more accurate statement is "If we're stealing from people, then we won't use that stolen property to pay people who say that our theft is wrong!"

Working for a mainstream media corporation is like working for the government. If you criticize the State, then advertisers will refuse to place ads on your program. If necessary, they will threaten to pull their ads from the entire corporation, and not just one show. The net effect is censorship, imposed via "market forces".

Saying "Government is a massive criminal conspiracy!" is not the same as advocating for violence against State employees. I couldn't find a good reference for what Ward Churchill was exactly saying; I'm summarizing.

If you contradict official State propaganda or criticize the State, then you lose your job and your career. "This policeman is racist!" is an example of valid criticism, because it doesn't question the State itself. The recommended solution for "This policeman is racist!" is "Increase State power so that racist policemen are punished!" If someone starts saying "Who needs a government?", then that's too close to the truth.

Also remember that a professor who says "Who needs a government?" is essentially calling out all his colleagues as frauds. He's telling the truth, while they're all ****suckers looking for an easy paycheck. However, if you know that government is a massive criminal conspiracy, then isn't it hypocritical to work at a university, where your salary is paid by the State?

Ward Churchill won a best teacher award, which was withheld due to the controversy. Critics say that students voted for Ward Churchill in an attempt to influence the controversy. What's wrong with that? If Ward Churchill's statement was so offensive, then shouldn't almost no students have voted for him?

The University of Colorado fired Ward Churchill due to his remarks and the surrounding media hype. The media overreacted to the professor's comments, leaving the university State bureaucrats no choice but to fire him. He was fired even though he had tenure, which is supposed to protect academic freedom. The whole point of tenure is to allow a professor the freedom to say things that others find unpopular.

The workings of a State University are nearly completely uncorrelated with actual useful productive work. It makes no difference if a professor is a brilliant thinker or an unqualified hack. Either way, his salary is guaranteed via State violence.

The "academic misconduct" charges against Ward Churchill were fabricated after State bureaucrats already decided to fire him. If his research was lousy or plagiarized, shouldn't the university bureaucrats have discovered this before awarding him tenure? The "academic misconduct" charge allows the State bureaucrats to say "We fired him for fraud!" instead of "We fired him for criticizing us!"

In a true free market, there's no such thing as tenure. You only keep your job as long as you're producing something useful. A university professor gets tenure, because his salary is backed by taxation/theft. If a free market school gave people tenure and kept employees who didn't deserve it, then it would lose out to competitors who don't have useless employees on their payroll.

Ward Churchill sued the university for wrongful termination. A jury ruled that he was incorrectly fired, but awarded only $1 damages. The trial judge overturned the verdict. The reason is that he could have used the verdict as justification for demanding reinstatement on his job. That pretty much defeats the purpose of trial by jury, if a judge will throw out the verdict when you win. The judge's justification for throwing out the verdict was "The State bureaucrats at the university are protected by sovereign immunity. They were just doing their job, and therefore Ward Churchill could not sue them for misconduct."

Notice that a judge overturning a jury's verdict gives the State bureaucrats a mulligan. If the jury voted the defendants "not responsible", then that would be the end of the issue. By having a jury verdict, but the judge later discarding it, that effectively gives the bad guys two chances to win. If the judge already decided that the defendants were protected via sovereign immunity, then why bother with the farce of a trial? The judge probably was hoping that the jury would vote "not responsible", bringing an end to the issue. When the jury failed to toe the Statist party line, then the judge overturned the verdict. The bad guys were overconfident that they would win in a trial. After they lost, the judge made up an excuse to overturn the verdict.

A university professor does *NOT* have true academic freedom. He has academic freedom *PROVIDED* he doesn't cross a certain censorship threshold.

The number of people seeking an academic career is far greater than the number of slots available. It's very easy for the bad guys to fire someone and find a replacement. There is not a free market for academic research, because it's all funded by the State. It makes no difference if the best thinkers are hired as university professors, or actually the best ****suckers get hired. Contrast that with working as a wage slave software engineer. Even though I had bad experiences at previous jobs, I'm still able to find another job. There are a lot of people looking for software engineer jobs, but very few who really know their stuff. After getting fired, Ward Churchill's career is over, because his only option is to work for the State in a university.

Critics like Noam Chomsky are allowed, because they present a weak criticism of the State. Noam Chomsky's version of anarchy is pro-State trolling. By presenting fools as advocates for anarchy, that makes government seem desirable.

Ward Churchill's career was ruined. He invested many years in his academic career, and it's now worthless. No other university will hire him. The State has a monopoly for funding universities, so he's unable to get another job. It's almost exactly like someone in Communist Russia or China being jailed for criticizing the State. Ward Churchill wasn't explicitly jailed, but he'll be unable to find another job as a professor.

Ward Churchill was making almost $100k/year. That's a pretty sweet deal for someone with no useful skills! The State pays its ****suckers well!

Notice that, via tenure and the fact that a professor has no marketable skills, a professor who gets fired is SOL. This allows State bureaucrats to control professors. Also notice that a professor who is denied tenure is usually just as screwed as Ward Churchill. As a wage slave software engineer, at least I can find another job when my employer ****s me over. The rules of the economic system are biased against me, but there's still a certain level of demand for people who really know what they're doing.

Of course, all university professors are State employees and almost all are parasites. Did Ward Churchill intentionally say something too close to the truth, or did he accidentally stumble in that direction? In either case, all other university professors are aware of this case. They are wimps who are afraid to risk their jobs. They will all write articles saying "Ward Churchill was a scumbag who deserved to get fired!" instead of "He was unfairly fired for criticizing the State!" Other professors will carefully self-censor their work, so they don't have their career ruined like Ward Churchill.

This story is very similar to what happened to Bill Maher's ABC show. He expressed sympathy for the Islamic terrorists' point of view. As punishment, his show was canceled. At least Bill Maher was able to find a show on another channel.

Ironically, as a small unknown blogger, I have more academic freedom than a tenured professor at a university. If I attempt "promote agorism via standup comedy", I won't hold my breath waiting for a mainstream media program to invite me as a guest. I'm not going to adopt a culture of self-censorship, just to promote my career. If you have a contract with a mainstream media corporation, you're subject to the whims of State insiders just as much as a university professor. If you tell the truth, then there will be an outcry of people demanding you be fired. This censorship means that any viewpoint that is true, but offends a lot of people, cannot be mentioned.

A lot of people profit via State violence. They use their influence to censor critics. Critics aren't usually explicitly jailed, because that would be obviously unfair. A fake free market means that anyone who criticized the State is blacklisted and loses their career.


Anonymous said...

"As I've mentioned before, the financial industry produces no useful goods or services. The financial industry is purely parasitic."

Purely? No useful goods or services?

FSK, thread carefully. The big irony might be that you are just cracking through your own prostate brainwashing, hence the risk to say something stupid.

How do you define "useful service"?


You're doing pretty good, but learn to hold your horses, so you can make a right decision.

Anonymous said...

The financial industry should be disbanded and just replaced with a computer, secure computer that records how much money each person owns and some means to allow the transfer of money.

Retail banking for a reasonable fee is OK.

Investment banking is purely parasitic.

theftthroughinflation said...

I love how all of FSK's critics are "Anonymous". Grow some balls and atleast post under your alias.

You must have learned to be anonymous from the state. By paying your taxes and going to vote on election day you anonymously consent to state evil. You would never publicily state that torture of terror suspects is acceptable, but by defending the financial system you consent to it.

The financial system is parasitic because it is an industry that exists only to support/lubricate the manufacturing/productive industry in a healthy economy.

THe financial industry doesn't produce ANYTHING physical. Any money that they made is money leeched from exchanges or real goods and labour.

Money is just a means of exchange of goods and services. If the financial industry is one of the biggest indusrtries in the western world, then what physical goods and services are they exchanging? NONE!

The financial system can only exist in its present form/size because of state violence and the federal reserve. In our state-run economy, state sponsorship through bailouts and printed money is more desirable then producing real goods/services, because once you are backed by the state your monopoly and success are gauranteed. Because of the state the demand for the financial system is increased because of easy FED money.

In reality the only way that an economy can grow is through creation of goods/services and create wealth. Wealth is measured in terms of infrastructure, transportation, food, clothing, houses etc... Not printed currency.

The financial industry is infact parasitic! Go away troll!

Anonymous said...

"Wealth is measured in terms of infrastructure, transportation, food, clothing, houses etc"

And the financial industry directs resources into producing the things people want the most. You want more infrastructure? Then people start up infrastructure companies and sell shares. The value of the shares tells you how much people actually want the underlying assets.

Anonymous said...

"The financial industry should be disbanded and just replaced with a computer, secure computer that records how much money each person owns and some means to allow the transfer of money."

And who pays for the computer?

"Retail banking for a reasonable fee is OK."

So I guess that pays for the computer. But won't that lead to the bankers eventually ending up with all the money (assuming they just sat on it)? OH NO!

"Investment banking is purely parasitic."

No, retail banking is purely parasitic. Investment banking leads to investment in goods and services (wealth).

FSK said...

I can't believe we're having this flamewar again.

In a really free market, there is no government regulation of banking or legal requirement to use a specific form of money.

In a really free market, banks provide a legitimate service. They match savers with surplus capital and borrowers who need capital.

In a really free market, if someone starts monopolizing gold, then people will start using another form of money. It's impossible to form a monopoly or commodity corner without a State subsidy.

The current system of fiat debt-based money is completely corrupt. The rules of the monetary system and taxation system guarantee that a certain percentage of all useful work is paid as tribute to the banksters.

In a really free market, banking is useful and not evil.

The current system is one big scam.

Anonymous said...

by theftthroughinflation:

"I love how all of FSK's critics are "Anonymous". Grow some balls and atleast post under your alias."

It all depends, buddy. If all you want is to steal some visitors from a useful blog to your own parasitic blog, you better post a link to who you are.

If you don't want any strawman argument, on the other hand, and solely wish to make a point, without any regard to your own status or prior work to support your current bullshit, and you want it to be weighted on the merits, anonymous works wonders.

Chrono said...

It's also common for pro-state trolls to say something intelligent and stupid at the same time. Look at Noam Chomsky. He intelligently criticizes US foreign policy, and calls himself an anarchist. But he's a socialist anarchist and is strongly pro-government.

Don't forget an insight you've written about yourself, that often sites with intelligent or potentially useful information on them, like sites claiming the chemical imbalance theory of mental illness is a fraud, or sites proclaiming the existence of water-powered cars and zero-point energy...not to mention sites describing the truth about the Fed, many of these sites also have junk ideas about space aliens and revolutions in consciousness and other nonsense.

I hope you'll mention these along with people cracking their pro-state brainwashing in future posts.

Completely agree with the remainder of what you said (focusing on tenure as a fake 'freedom' and the uselessness of state-sponsored professors, the trial, etc). Overall awesome post.

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