Hey you don't know me, but you don't like me
You say you care less how I feel
how many of you that sit and judge me
ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?
Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens
Philosophy Network joined The Association of American Law
Schools and the state of California in boycotting the state of Texas. The PPN
announced that it is moving its 2018 conference from Denton, Texas to
The group opposes the Lone Star State's immigration policies and a new Texas
adoption law, which, the PPN maintains, discriminates against gay people.
"The basis of publicly engaged philosophy is the absence of barriers to
participation," Robert Frodeman, a PPN spokesperson, explained.
"Every person should feel welcomed regardless of their [sic] place of
origin, sexual orientation or gender identity."
besides, Frodeman might have added, the restaurants in Boulder are better than
the ones in Denton, Texas.
have a couple of thoughts about this latest boycott of Texas:
who gives a damn if a gang of knucklehead philosophers decides to hold its
wingnut conference in Colorado instead of Texas? Philosophy programs are
collapsing like aluminum beer cans at universities all over the United States.
I say let these nerds nurse their delusion that what they say and do is
what exactly do the PPN professors say and do? Here's a sample of the group
members' scholarly interests, taken from the PPN web site.
a PPN member and philosophy professor at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania,
listed her areas of scholarly expertise as follows: "philosophy of
language (particularly later Wittgenstein), philosophy of mind/brain, feminist
theory, theory of sexual identity, post-Marxian theory, nonhuman animal
welfare, ecological aesthetics, aesthetic phenomenology, and philosophy of
ecology." Total cost to attend Professor Lee's university for a year: $24,587.
Tadd Ruetenik, a PPN
member and philosophy professor at St. Ambrose University in Iowa, described
his interests to include pacifism, vegetarian ethics, and prophetic pragmatism.
And what does it cost to take courses from professors like Mr. Ruetenik at St.
Ambrose University? $30,000 a year, not counting room and board.
then there's Maureen Linker,
a PPN member who teaches at University of Michigan at Dearborn. Her academic
interests: "Implicit Bias, Epistemic Privilege and Epistemic Injustice,
Social Difference and Difficult Dialogues." What does it cost to attend
Professor Linker's institutition? If you are a non-Michigan resident, it
will cost you
$29,000 for books, tuition and fees.
No wonder the discipline of philosophy is collapsing at American universities. Students have figured out they are paying too much to attend college to take courses from professors who specialize in vegetarian ethics and epistemic injustice.
And here' my second reflection on the PPN boycott. Although these kooky
academics don't realize it, the boycott of a state based on prejudice is
reminiscent of the Okie migration into California during the Great Depression.
As John Steinbeck chronicled in The Grapes of Wrath, California state police
actually blockaded the state's highways and turned back Dust
Bowl refugees at the California border. In the minds of many Californians, the Okies (who were actually
from several Southwestern and Midwestern states) were a substandard class of
humans who would pollute the pure and sunny atmosphere of the Golden
My analogy is not perfect. The Californians of the Dust Bowl years were
trying to keep disfavored people out of their state. Today's prejudice
involves a refusal to visit a state deemed a pariah by political elites. But
the prejudice is the same. And didn't Professor Frodeman, PPN's spokesperson,
say his group believed people should be welcomed regardless of their place of
the other hand, the Public Philosophy Network's decision to boycott Texas may
be a good thing. I'm not sure Texans would feel safe having a bunch of
wacky philosophy professors roaming around the plains of North Texas, babbling
about epistemic injustice, vegetarian ethics, and nonhuman animal
|Regional bigotry in the 1930s|