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Sticky Update

UPDATE: for those of you interested in THE major reason I support my colleague (aside from the fact that he is among the most reasonable people I know, who wrote a book on economics and raising his daughter that persuaded me to change careers, and who actually considers seriously all good arguments in a way I have rarely seen anyone else do and who actively seeks to learn more and be persuaded by arguments more than most people) is that he is extremely, intensely, consistently, focused on trying to sort out actual arguments from non-arguments. In the case of his initial post, he makes THIS POINT far more eloquently, succinctly and better than I ever could – it is precisely the message I was trying to deliver.  Furthermore, even if every one of you guys thinks that his choice of language, even after considering what I just said, was inappropriate, do we really want to live in a world where the reaction to language is like this? I miss playing football most of all on days like today.

UPDATE #2: They disrupted my colleague’s class today. I am sure looking forward to seeing my university’s response about how this, too, is not how civil discourse is to be engaged in:

Protesting students entered Landsburg’s room at the beginning of his mid-afternoon class.

“They formed a line between him and the class. And he continued to lecture,” said UR spokeswoman Sharon Dickman, who noted a couple of University Security officers were on the scene but didn’t need to take any action.

After about 15 minutes, the protesters left but returned about 45 minutes later for the end of the class, which Landsburg dismissed about five minutes early.

UR student Alykhan Alani, one of the protesters, said the group was not ready to discuss their concerns.

Isn’t there some sort of contract violation here? If the students in class are paying to learn economics, is there any recourse that they have? Is it any different than buying a movie ticket to see Rocky IV and ending up being shown Chariots of Fire?

9 Responses to “Sticky Update”

  1. Harry says:

    Right on, WC.

    The Me generation is so sensitive about their feelings about what they perceive to be other people’s feelings, and all feelings have equal value, except a solar picnic table is better than a regular picnic table with a regular umbrella.

  2. re: Steven Landsburg imagine if a bunch of libertarians had done this to a socialist. The test of freedom of speech is not the opinions with which we agree, but those we do not. In this case, neither Rush Limbaugh nor Prof. Landsburg reflect my own values. The problem with medical care as largess is independent of social behavior. (I never understood why “Brave New World” was supposed to be a dystopia.) But that is not the issue.

    One time… at Eastern Michigan University one night I was leaving a late class and one of our idiot professors was blathering off the top of his head, asserting as fact what any encyclopedia would have contradicted. I wanted to step into his classroom and tell him what a moron he was. … but it was, indeed his classroom, not mine. The professor’s classroom is sacrosanct.

    The protestors refused to discuss their issues. Was it because they were intellectually incapable of expressing themselves? Was it because their actions needed no justification? Was it because discussion of the issues was not anywhere close to their target? The only statement about demeaning an entire gender is utter nonsense. However, their actions, do, indeed threaten an entire institution: not this classroom, department, college or university, but the entirety of academe.

  3. Cheshire says:

    I agree with wintercow20 that this seemed like a poor and tasteless way of protesting a single man’s blog post. Putting their posters up outside the classroom would have been much more respectful, and would not have interrupted the class for the rest of the students who were just trying to learn, and were no doubt distracted. This isn’t exactly the Vietnam War they’re protesting.

    I’m very interested in reading Landsburg’s response to both Seligman’s comment and to the “protest in his classroom. I hope Seligman addresses the protest, but seeing as how all this uproar is over comments concerning a student, I doubt he’ll make any strong statements criticizing or supporting the matter.

    Harry, I do think you’re overgeneralizing our (or at least my) generation. Some segments of the media seem to go out of their way to portray everyone in the millennial generation as entitled hippies while ignoring the majority who are working just as hard as past generations to be successful in adulthood. Every student I’ve talked to concerning the solar umbrella has had a negative opinion of it. It’s not the entire student body’s fault our administration likes to throw money away on trendy movements.

  4. Speedmaster says:

    One thing that has long puzzled me …

    Why do students at colleges feel that they have a stake or interest in the institution itself? That might not be the right set of words, I’ll try to explain.

    I see the proper role of students as customers, no more, no less. When I dislike something about my dentist, grocery store, electronics store, cable provider, etc., I just leave them and switch to another seller/provider.

    If I feel particularly strongly about something I might write them a letter explaining my displeasure and why I’m leaving. But at no point would I feel it appropriate to go into these places of business and disrupt them, especially if it was interrupting the legal & voluntary transactions with others (in this case other students taking a class).

    Why do so many college students feel as though they have a stake or interest in the institution itself?

  5. chuck martel says:

    Good point but you’re probably not wearing a sweatshirt with the logo of your dentist on it. American institutions of higher education deliberately foster a sense of community that’s reflected in attendance at sporting events and, ultimately, hopefully, in alumni financial contributions. Not everyone falls for this scenario, of course, but some do.

  6. Speedmaster says:

    >> “Good point but you’re probably not wearing a sweatshirt with the logo of your dentist on it.”

    LOL, touché! 🙂

  7. Speedmaster says:

    Regardless of the rest of this controversy, Ms. Fluke should probably be booted from the law school for a gross ignorance of the very _basics_ of the U.S. Constitution.

  8. Harry says:

    Cheshire, indeed I am unfair, generalizing about all generations born from 1945 to the present day. I did not mean to paint everyone with black tar. Being a Yuppie and having consorted with other Yuppies, and Gen n…ers, I have run into many good people, including a few dozen at the U of R personally, and I expect that is but a small fraction. Indeed, I do not count good people who agree with me as qualifying.

    The point I wished to make was about how self-absorbed my generation is, and I see it all the time, especially in matters of common courtesy. For example, I see signs telling men to remove their hats before eating. These signs would not be put up if Yuppies did not want to feel comfortable everywhere they happen to plant themselves, never mind what their mothers told them. I think this lack of restraint leads them to a sense of entitlement for a free lunch of ribs, sucking your fingers and eating with your mouth open. That is what I meant about the ME generation. If it feels good, do it.

    That said, I am generally tolerant of all sorts of human behavior. It’s a free country, right?

  9. vald says:


    Students have a stake in the university because it remains a major selling point on a resume for at least a good number of years after college (until the student has worked up enough experience to make the working world a more important part of their professional history). If the college has a bad reputation, or a student’s particular course of study at that university has an especially good reputation, that will effect how employers view prospective employees.

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