What Happens When You Decline Pre-Reeducation

Alexander McPherson, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at UC Irvine, is not the world's biggest fan of AB 1825, the 2004 California bill signed into law by, *cough*, Arnold Schwarzenegger forcing any state employer with more than 50 workers to subject its supervisors to sexual harassment training. So when McPherson continued to tell UCI that he "refused, on principle" to be trained, they were like, "That's cool, this is a university after all."

Ha ha, not really (and not really funny, either).

Last month, the university finally followed through, sending me a letter announcing that my laboratory and the students I oversaw were to be immediately turned over to other university officials and faculty. I continued to refuse to take sexual harassment training, and do so now.


Why so stubborn, professor?

First of all, I believe the training is a disgraceful sham. As far as I can tell from my colleagues, it is worthless, a childish piece of theater, an insult to anyone with a respectable IQ, primarily designed to relieve the university of liability in the case of lawsuits. I have not been shown any evidence that this training will discourage a harasser or aid in alerting the faculty to the presence of harassment.

What's more, the state, acting through the university, is trying to coerce and bully me into doing something I find repugnant and offensive. I find it offensive not only because of the insinuations it carries and the potential stigma it implies, but also because I am being required to do it for political reasons. The fact is that there is a vocal political/cultural interest group promoting this silliness as part of a politically correct agenda that I don't particularly agree with.

The imposition of training that has a political cast violates my academic freedom and my rights as a tenured professor. The university has already nullified my right to supervise my laboratory and the students I teach. It has threatened my livelihood and, ultimately, my position at the university. This for failing to submit to mock training in sexual harassment, a requirement that was never a condition of my employment at the University of California 30 years ago, nor when I came to UCI 11 years ago.


Read McPherson's whole cri du liberte here.

This kind of stuff drives me plum loco. Sexual harassment is already plenty illegal in California; the forced training is because lawmakers were chagrined to discover that criminalization hadn't eliminated every stray ass-grab and Kojak-style boss. More importantly (to me, anyway), is the pile-up of government-enforced behavioral oaths, whether it's to swear to uphold the state constitution (another University of California specialty) or to pretend that marijuana is a dangerous drug. I hope McPherson has an active legal defense fund.

Cathy Young wrote about campus sexual harassment politics for reason back in 1999.

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  • ||

    I'm really curious to see how this story would be covered in the european media.

    -jcr

  • ||

    OT

    Screw you guys. I want to talk about Somali pirate!!!

  • MikeB||

    Screw you guys. I want to talk about Somali pirate!!!

    I for one welcome their hard work in solving the climate criss. I believe that the high correlation between current temps and levels of piracy activity proves the central tenant of FSM.

    BTW Sexual harrasment laws violate freedom of speech.

  • Loyalty Oath||

    I am known by many names.

  • Orange Line Special||

    This "training" was just designed by the Patriarchy in order to give them cover for their Oppression.

  • ||

    Would this still be a problem if it was a private employer that decided to add a mandatory training session?

  • Kolohe||

    What's more, the state, acting through the university, is trying to coerce and bully me into doing something I find repugnant and offensive.

    Once more into the breach, dear friends:

    What if he was a pharmacist at the student health clinic who was told he had to distribute RU-486? or condoms?

  • SIV||

    The imposition of training that has a political cast violates my academic freedom and my rights as a tenured professor.

    While I generally agree with his views and have dodged my companies sexual harassment training for similar reasons, the above statement makes me hope they fire his ass hard.

  • </i>||

    Damn tags...........

  • ||

    He is the one who chose to work for The State and make a living as a parasite. Work for the state- do what the state tells you.

  • ||

    What if he was a pharmacist at the student health clinic who was told he had to distribute RU-486? or condoms?

    Then he would either have to distribute them as required or face the possibility of termination. But this is not an analogous situation.

    my rights as a tenured professor.
    the above statement makes me hope they fire his ass hard.

    These two propositions are incompatible.

  • Nasikabatrachus||

    Alright, let me get this straight. He's paid by state money, works at a state university, and has job security mandated by the state in the form of tenure. And now he wants to complain about the state's oppression. Pardon me while I go play the saddest song in the world on the smallest violin in the world...

    Andrew G. | November 21, 2008, 7:04pm | #

    Would this still be a problem if it was a private employer that decided to add a mandatory training session?


    A problem to whom? No doubt someone would complain about it, people complain about entirely voluntary things all the time. There would be no philosophical libertarian objection, however, unless the state were somehow involved, and even then it would have to require some use of its many coercive mechanisms.

  • stuartl||

    Employers have stupid rules. It is totally appropriate to point out they are stupid and try to get them changed, but you follow them if you want a paycheck. Every private sector employer I have had for 20 years has had this kind of idiotic training to prevent lawsuits.

    That said, it would be nice if the state backed down...forgive me for dreaming.

  • ||

    That should be "preemtive reeducation", right?

    I'd say the difference between this and handing out RU-496 is that sensitivity training isn't an inherent feature of his job description. He'd still be doing his job exactly the same way whether he goes through this politicized charade or not. Whereas the pharmacist would actually have to refrain from performing a primary function of his job to avoid handing out RU-486 and condoms.

  • ||

    On that note, while I have serious problems with the whole institution of academic tenure, good for this guy using his anointed position to stand up to the liability-fearing bureaucracy. The latter assumes and feeds upon the spineless complacency of the people under their administration. It's always nice to see them shaken out of it.

  • ||

    here's one of those issues where libertarians could be a little more flexible towards some of the left's legitimate arguments that non-state forms of coercion exist.

    We can agree till we're blue in the face that ultimately, a private organization has the legal right to do whatever it wants. But we also ought to agree that some kinds of employer coercion of employees are reprehensible and unnecessary impositions on liberty, and ought to be repudiated - just not by resort to government.

    We ought to be in favor of boycotting businesses that discriminate against gays, for instance.

  • SIV||

    I don't recognize the right of the State to offer lifetime "no fire" employment contracts.
    He is a government employee.He should obey, quit, or be fired.

  • ||

    What if he was a pharmacist at the student health clinic who was told he had to distribute RU-486? or condoms?

    Obviously, since the theorized pharmacist doesn't own the pharmacy, he gets canned. I think sexual harrassmaent training is all bullshit myself and in most situations the employee does what he's told or gets canned as well. Certainly that would apply to the folks that sweep the halls and scrub the shitters at UC Irvine.

    But the professor has tenure and is making a claim that

    The imposition of training that has a political cast violates my academic freedom and my rights as a tenured professor.


    It should be fun to watch a tenured curmudgeon go to battle with the PC forces over a worthless* program that is a waste of time and money while simultaneously being an affront to an intelligent adult.

    I'd go, do crosswords the whole time and get drunk afterwards to wash out any twaddle that managed to infiltrate my psyche.

    * To attendees. I'm sure the programs developers and facilitators (or whatever nonsense term is used) find it financially rewarding while stroking their unwarranted oversized egos and validating their own untested nonsensical speculations.

  • Nasikabatrachus||

    But we also ought to agree that some kinds of employer coercion of employees are reprehensible and unnecessary impositions on liberty, and ought to be repudiated - just not by resort to government.

    Why ought we agree? I would probably boycott such a discriminatory business, but I'm not seeing the 'ought' in there anywhere.

  • ||

    But we also ought to agree that some kinds of employer coercion of employees are reprehensible and unnecessary impositions on liberty, and ought to be repudiated - just not by resort to government.

    I think almost anyone claiming to be libertarian would agree. Boycotts, picketing, taking your business elsewhere and publicly denouncing assholish but legal behavior is
    the appropriate response in a libertarian framework.

    Of course the UC Irvine is hardly a libertarian framework.

  • Jordan||

    We ought to be in favor of boycotting businesses that discriminate against gays, for instance.



    Who says we aren't?

  • SIV||

    There should be a Somali pirate post/thread.
    they are the only economic innovators as of late.

  • ||

    Why ought we agree? I would probably boycott such a discriminatory business, but I'm not seeing the 'ought' in there anywhere.

    Jesus H. McChrist,

    Main Entry: 1ought
    Pronunciation: \ˈȯt\
    Function: verbal auxiliary
    Etymology: Middle English oughte (1st & 3d singular present indicative), from oughte, 1st & 3d singular past indicative & subjunctive of owen to own, owe - more at owe
    Date: 12th century
    -used to express obligation (ought to pay our debts), advisability (ought to take care of yourself), natural expectation (ought to be here by now), or logical consequence (the result ought to be infinity)



    IOW, it is the morally correct thing to do. Not legally mandated. You don't want to? Oh well, you ain't coming to my Xmas party.

  • ||

    I think sometimes we get caught up too much in the whole "they're a private business, so they can do whatever they want" argument. Which sometimes trends to result in libertarians basically sitting on their asses and shrugging instead of engaging in vocal criticism. Which leaves the playing field to those who do want government to step in.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Hazel,

    If a libertarian finds private actions distasteful or immoral, then he or she will say "I find those actions to be immoral or distasteful, but they're a private business, so they can do whatever they want."

    The problem is not a lack of moral criticism or even reactions like boycotts. The problem is people who say that such actions aren't doing enough to stop the problem, so we need a gov't solution.

  • Nasikabatrachus||

    Thanks J sub D. It's always nice to have a definition available. Really, that helped. But it didn't answer my question, you just restated a conclusion.

    I think sometimes we get caught up too much in the whole "they're a private business, so they can do whatever they want" argument. Which sometimes trends to result in libertarians basically sitting on their asses and shrugging instead of engaging in vocal criticism. Which leaves the playing field to those who do want government to step in.

    I agree, although I think the "playing field" is there for the people who want to use the state whether we say these things or not, simply because the whole point is not to go on the playing field to begin with. The solution, as I see it, is to not stress "the government shouldn't do X" where X is feed the poor or build the roads and whatnot, but to say "people shouldn't use force and the government (which is just people) doing X is force". Some people will inevitably say we're against poor people and roads, but they're just being jackasses and you can't hope to convince everyone anyways.

  • ||

    I think sometimes we get caught up too much in the whole "they're a private business, so they can do whatever they want" argument.

    Hear, hear. Sometimes bullshit is bullshit, no matter who is pushing it.

    Then again, I'm a little liquored up. Happy Friday, everyone!

  • ||

    While it's certainly true that private employers have every right to mandate this sort of nonsense, in practice the only reason they do is because they are themselves under threat of coercion, either in the form of direct legal mandates or the greatly overinflated risk of a frivolous lawsuit. So it is still state coercion at work, albeit not directly on the employee.

  • thoreau||

    I would say that if one looks enough at sexual harassment there are indeed hard questions, non-obvious issues, and things that might be worthy of a training session. The same can be said of laboratory safety, student conduct issues, scientific ethics, and all sorts of other things.

    HOWEVER, training sessions on these topics are generally conducted to protect institutions from liability ("See, we told them not to do it!") rather than equip people with the knowledge to navigate difficult situations. The answer to genuinely hard cases is generally "Contact [insert office here]" rather than an exploration of the complicated question.

    That's the sort of thing that drives any intelligent person crazy.

    Still, of all the dumb things that we do in academia, I don't see why the guy is choosing this hill to die on. He probably went to laboratory safety training sessions that insulted his intelligence just as much. When I've gone to these things I've just brought my laptop and sat at the back of the room. If you want to get some work done on your laptop without anybody knocking on your door and interrupting you, the back row of a mandatory training session is as good as any other place.

  • tarran||

    I view this as a contract dispute, and who should prevail really depends on the terms of the contract.

    Let us ignore the fact that this is a state institution. This sort of dispute could happen between private parties. The dispute has little to do with the state other than the fact that the state legistlature acts like the stockholders in a private institution.

    Now, if this were a non-state school the question would be what were the terms of his tenure? If he was offered lifetime employment with no strings attached, but no guarantee that he would be permitted to teach students or run a lab, then so long as they don't fire him, he is fine. If the tenure was offerred with the proviso that the school could make changes to the requirements to keep tenure, then they could fire him for breech of contract. On the other hand, if the terms permit him to do whatever he wants without any reductions to his classload and administrative powers, then he is in the right.

    Of course, we haven't seen the contract, so we have no idea who, if any one, is violating the contract.

  • ||

    Apparently everyone posting here misses the point that the insurance industry (in an effort to get state backing of covering their ass) managed to push a law through mandating such training for state employers. Probably used the argument that it would keep the insurance premiums down and save taxpayer money.

    Never mind what it costs to put these programs into implementation. Ongoing implementation BTW.

    Government of the people by the people?

    Hardly.

  • Charles Hueter||

    Though it is important to note the relevance of Professor McPherson's status as a state employee and to remember the prerogative of a legitimate private employer to set the standards for his or her employees, I sincerely cheered upon reading this op-ed.

    Mandatory, lowest common denominator training is annoying and presumptuous. There are some of us out there who know how to properly behave around others who aren't in our immediate social circles. Basic presumption of innocence for someone without a record or an allegation ought to count for something.

    That these policies are often defended with arguments abhorrent to defenders of a free society is bad enough. The real burn is in the organization's (whether statist or private) refusal to certify that it did not currently suspect Professor McPherson of harassment. It's sad because it implies they do and it's sad because it shows how desperate organizations are to avoid these aggressively sensitive civil (and in some places, criminal) lawsuits. Some of those lawsuits have grounds, some of them don't. However, it is often enough just to bring the suit in order to stain reputations and attack market value.

    Then again, he's publicly attacking a central tenant of modern politics. He clearly isn't concerned about how most people will think of him...

  • agorabum||

    "Training" should only be required if someone does something wrong. But the legislature passed a law, and the Gov. signed it. So the administration tries to comply with the law, and he gives them the finger. Bully for him, but don't expect to not get fired. Procedurally, he doesn't have much to go on.

    Also, sexual harrassment in the workplace is not free speech. You can harass strangers, but not coworkers. I mean, you can, but expect to get fired, and if you're a supervisor, sued. Just as you are free to speak and harass, you are free to be fired (and free to be sued).

    Substantively, SH mandated training, without any prior action showing the need for correction, is misguided. It actually undermines the goal of the training, since most people just mock it.

    There are some awesome mock youtube videos on SH, though.

  • Jennifer||

    If you have tenure, and know your job won't be taken, sexual harassment training can be lots of fun. When they start talking about stupid-obvious bullshit like "It's sexual harassment to say 'sleep with me or you're fired,'" just let your eyes get wide and profusely thank the instructor for telling you this, which you never ever ever would have known without this wonderful seminar, and how much are they paying you for this, anyway? Because it's totally not enough. Seriously. This is genius, and extremely necessary.

  • ||

    I never had sexual harassment training, but once many years ago, I worked for a company that was a small subsidiary of NYNEX, which had been caught buying hookers for utilities regulators.

    Part of the settlement was remedial ethics training for all of the employees, which basically boiled down to going into a conference room and being told "don't buy hookers for utilities regulators!" with scowling and finger wagging.

    Of course, the fact that our tiny little division had done no such thing, and that we didn't have any budget to do such a thing was beside the point, apparently.

    -jcr

  • Lester Hunt||

    Prof. McPherson is either very brave or very wealthy. Suing a university -- which appears to be where he is headed -- is unbelievably expensive. They have bottomless pockets, huge legal staffs, and infinite time horizons. They can appeal and foot-drag forever, and often do. And I can think of many ways to become insolvent that are a lot more fun.

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    OT: Weigel just tweeted that, after reading this, he's decided to ditch Reason and go try his luck in the libertarian paradise.

    Europa!

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    My thoughts here.

  • ||

    Jennifer:

    Actually, I think it would be even more fun to attend quietly and afterwards write as sarcastic an article as possible about the experience.

  • Cactus||

    Raise you hand if you've ever made a sexual harassment/sensitivity trainer cry and run sobbing from a conference room.

    Nobody?

    Just me?

  • ||


    Cactus | November 21, 2008, 10:56pm | #

    Raise you hand if you've ever made a sexual harassment/sensitivity trainer cry and run sobbing from a conference room.

    Nobody?

    Just me?



    I haven't so far. But I've got to attend one of those things in two weeks, so I'd appreciate any "how to" suggestions. ;)

  • SIV||

    My employer is cheap. We don't have meetings and retreats with PC sexual harassment facilitators, or counselors or whatever they're called. I think our sexual harassment training is a computer slideshow with a multiple choice test at the end. I'd get an hour or two for taking it and it is "mandatory" but I've successfully avoided it out of general principles.

  • ||

    made a sexual harassment/sensitivity trainer cry and run sobbing from a conference room.

    If you can do it again, I'll buy a ticket.

    -jcr

  • ||

    But we also ought to agree that some kinds of employer coercion of employees are reprehensible and unnecessary impositions on liberty, and ought to be repudiated - just not by resort to government.

    More to the point, these classes are a huge waste of taxpayer money, in addition to being insulting and chock full of irony and bizarre notions of appropriate human behavior.

    For example, these classes teach that if someone takes offense to what you say, even if no other reasonable or sane person would take offense, you have an obligation to change your behavior to prevent their hurt feelings.

    I pointed out during one of these classes I was required to take as a condition of employment that the above notions caused offense to my feelings, and that the instructor thus had an obligation to cease and desist inflicting the class upon me, but despite chuckles and clandestine approval of this little rebellion, the liberal indoctrination continued.

  • Nicholas Stix||

    Gee whiz. No wonder libertarians are so marginalized, not just politically, but intellectually, as well. McPherson's argument is entirely based on three legal facts. You guys either hate these facts or are blissfully ignorant of them, and so you banish them from the discussion, and voila, McPherson loses. The technical term for that is "cheating."

    1. McPherson is a state employee.

    2. The First Amendment protects the freedoms of opinion and speech (among others) of state employees from political coercion. What's more, tenured professors' freedoms of opinion and speech get enhanced protections from political coercion;

    3. The "sexual harassment" training is politically coercive.

    "Sorry, but if all you've got is your union's latest collective bargaining agreement with your employer, the state, you've just lost about 90% of your ethical street cred points with me.

    "In the first place, tenure is probably just about the least defensible employment practice left anywhere in the civilized world, a largely feudal remnant of a time and place when there was some real threat that scholars might be pressured or censured in their quest for truth and knowledge. Ignoring for the moment how many scholars these days would know truth if it bit them on the ass, no such threat exists today nor has it for a long, long time."

    That was D.A. Ridgely, writing either from Mars now or from 1960 Cambridge.

    "Let us ignore the fact that this is a state institution. This sort of dispute could happen between private parties. The dispute has little to do with the state other than the fact that the state legistlature acts like the stockholders in a private institution."

    That was Tarran, writing from a country or planet with no First Amendment, and thus no history of First Amendment jurisprudence.

    As far as most of you are concerned, in order to maintain possession of that priceless good of "street cred," McPherson must make "legal" arguments based on imaginary principles with no basis in the law. I'm sure losing your imaginary support will just crush him.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Nick Stix,

    Damn! Why didn't you just end your post with:

    1. (snap of fingers)

    2. Oh no you didn't!
    Yes Rosie, I did.

    Good post otherwise. I was with you in spirit if not in actual thought.

  • ||

    That reminds me of the sexual harassment awareness briefings I had to undergo in the military. After a fairly recent scandal at the AF Academy involving the abuse of female cadets, every enlisted man and junior officer was (and still is, as far as I know) subjected to an eye-rolling video and a stern lecture about how complimenting a woman's appearance is merely a precursor to a brutal rape, instead of just a generally piggish thing to do (unless you know the woman being complimented genuinely doesn't mind that sort of thing). And, of course, in the military, saying "No" to such training isn't an option.

    The video was funny, too- it featured actors playing junior enlisted people. The female star goes out on a date with another Airman she barely knows, says nothing as he feeds her drink after drink (my favorite line from the video: "Hey Steve, get her another double whiskey sour!), then brings the guy back to her dorm room- where he turns out to be a GASP! serial date-rapist.

    Granted, the point of the video seemed to be more aimed at females: it's okay to report sexual harassment, and we NCOs and lieutenants needed to take those reports seriously (among the central problems, IIRC, at the Academy). However, using a video as an emotional bludgeon to remind all us dudes that we were potential rapists just made us all feel like assholes. That, and the fact that they didn't subject any females to the briefings to let them know they could report such crimes safely.

    I remember thinking that a briefing for females about what to do and what not to do while out on dates, or how not to be alone with strange, testosterone-laden young men while drunk, would have been a more effective message to send. Men who will abuse women aren't going to be deterred by a little video and a smack on the peepee.

    Here's a Rape Checklist that's only a slight exaggeration of some content of the briefings.

  • Seward||

    Nicholas Stix,

    I stopped reading your comment at "marginalized." Depending on the day in question either libertarians (liberals) are some marginal, fringe group that doesn't deserve attention or libertarians (liberals) are the greatest threat to human civilization. And of course, come election time some element of both major parties will be trying to get libetarians to vote for their candidate. The fact that both major parties come a courtin' every four years probably takes libertarians (liberals) out of the marginal status.

  • ||

    Is it just me or is 98% of this thread just the standard libertarian disclaimer?

    Screw it. I'm at work on Saturday again; what else am I going to read? Continue bloviating.

  • robc||

    We ought to be in favor of boycotting businesses that discriminate against gays, for instance.

    I was unaware of libertarian opposition to private boycotts. I supported, in theory, the futile and stupid baptist boycott of Disney. (My counter suggestion was to recommend that baptists invest in Disney stock and sign the proxy over to the SBC)

  • SpongePaul||

    If you are over 16 you know what sexual harrasment is. if you are over 16 you also have the ability to control yourself. its not that hard, its called civility. If you can not understand that being a neolithic ape is bad, no amount of paper thin "training" is going to really help, it will only help you to hide it better.

  • ||

    ...it will only help you to hide it better.

    This is very often the working definition of civility. Not much of an argument against training, IMO.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Nicholas Stix, having quoted me disapprovingly. writes:

    As far as most of you are concerned, in order to maintain possession of that priceless good of "street cred," McPherson must make "legal" arguments based on imaginary principles with no basis in the law. I'm sure losing your imaginary support will just crush him.



    I doubt he'll notice, being so busy with looking for a job and such. If there is a First Amendment issue here, it has eluded me. Of course, McPherson is entitled to express his opinions. He can legally object as vociferously as he wishes, he still has to attend the stupid training or risk losing his job. Yes, that's coercive. So is not being permitted to smoke in the building or to show up for class buck naked. The relative merits of those restrictions aside, they don't constitute a violation of his First Amendment rights, his tenure or his academic freedom, either.

  • ||

    "He is the one who chose to work for The State and make a living as a parasite. Work for the state- do what the state tells you."

    "I don't recognize the right of the State to offer lifetime "no fire" employment contracts.
    He is a government employee.He should obey, quit, or be fired."



    This places calls itself a libertarian website? Unreal. Thee isn't a dimes worth of difference between these opinions and what the worst sort of government busybody would say.

  • James||

    "We ought to be in favor of boycotting businesses that discriminate against gays, for instance."

    No, we ought not. Libertarians believe that people should be free to discriminate against one another. We should be neutral in the case of most boycotts.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    James writes, "This places calls itself a libertarian website?"

    DRINK!

    The apparent belief on the part of some commenters here that of course the only respectably libertarian position is to agree with Prof. McPherson is nothing short of bizarre. If the issue were simply does state required sexual harassment training constitute an unethical affront to all employers and employees, the answer would be an overwhelming, "Hell yes!"

    As I noted over at Positive Liberty, sexual harassment "training" is, itself, intended not to train but to intimidate the workforce. It is predicated on some of the absolutely worst developments in the law in the past several decades; specifically, the notion that the subjective reaction of the alleged "victim" suffices to determine whether, for example, a workplace constitutes a "hostile environment" and thus whether sexual harassment has occurred. The "training" in question is absolutely the sort of protective measure adopted at no small expense by the state and the federal government and most of the corporate world precisely because the nature of the law is such that these employers' own legal advisers correctly argue that failing to do so exposes them to vastly more expensive liability. Moreover, that fact, which Prof. McPherson failed to note, is one of the most objectionable elements of the sexual harassment "training" cottage industry; namely; the obscenely high prices charged by the social parasites who trade under the titles of "facilitators" and "trainers" in supposed furtherance of America's culture of the permanently aggrieved and perennially potential victim classes.

    But if the question is whether a state employee or a tenured professor at a state university in particular merits some sort of special pass when it comes to such law, the simple answer is no.

  • James||

    The apparent belief on the part of some commenters here that of course the only respectably libertarian position is to agree with Prof. McPherson is nothing short of bizarre.

    Really? You fail abjectly in making that case.

    "If the issue were simply does state required sexual harassment training constitute an unethical affront to all employers and employees, the answer would be an overwhelming, "Hell yes!"

    That is the issue.


    "But if the question is whether a state employee or a tenured professor at a state university in particular merits some sort of special pass when it comes to such law, the simple answer is no."

    Who the fuck ever suggested that your strawman was the question? You people are pathetic excuses for libertarians.

  • James||

    In case you had not noticed, Ridgely, there are a lot of other "libertarians" here arguing that private business CAN mandate this reeducation.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Yes, James, I can well imagine how upset you would be at the thought of other libertarians (oops! Sorry, make that "libertarians") arguing that a private employer could require of its private employees as a condition of their continued private employment relationship with each other that such private employees either attend such classes or find themselves some private employment somewhere else. Shocking!

    As for "[w]ho the fuck ever suggested that [what you amusingly refer to as my] strawman was the question," the answer is one Professor Alexander McPherson in his claim that the "imposition of training that has a political cast violates my academic freedom and my rights as a tenured professor."

  • ||

    I had to take sexual harassment training one. I was so disappointed because they didn't teach me how to harass.

    p.s. This was while I was with a medical technology company. One of the other attendees, who did clinical evaluations, asked: "Part of my job is to tell women to take their clothes off so I can probe them. Is that harassment?"

  • James||

    As for "[w]ho the fuck ever suggested that [what you amusingly refer to as my] strawman was the question," the answer is one Professor Alexander McPherson in his claim that the "imposition of training that has a political cast violates my academic freedom and my rights as a tenured professor."

    Except for the fact, you mindless little twit, that he did not actually say the words which you so helpfully put into his mouth - "this is fine for everyone else, but not for me".


    "arguing that a private employer balh blah balh"

    Wonderful. So now we have established that you and your fellow faux libertarians are fine with this sort of indoctrination both for private AND for government employees.

    Also, that if the good prof had said what you pretended to want him to say - "I don't think this sort of thing should be required of anybody, not just people like me" - you would STILL have found fault with him on the grounds offered above!

    The typical "libertarian" at Reason is a liberal in drag. You clowns always seem to manage to come up with some faux libertarian justification for whatever liberalism wants and for the nanny state.

    No doubt if corporate America, at the urging of government, required all workers to take Bible study you would be equally as indifferent.

  • James||

    Fuckity "libertarian" fuck you straw man pathetic fuck fuck fuck discriminate snarl non-sequitur boycott demand kurv fuckity Bible twit!!

    Shut up, mom!!!1! I'm talking grown-up!!!! I don't WANT a gilled cheese!!!1!!ONE1!

  • ||

    So some of the posters on this thread are clearly not your flavor of libertarian, James. No need to go all Tazmanian Devil because of it. There are lots of sites (and other threads on this one) where you'll find lots of people to agree with, if that's what you're after.

    Lambasting all of Reason because you don't like a couple random postings is a bit unnecessary.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    James, James, James! How sad and how difficult it must be to have to struggle through life with nothing but anger and vulgarity to compensate for a lack of reading comprehension skills. My heart goes out to you!

    Other readers -- you know, James, those not suffering from the tragic, long term effects of fetal alcohol syndrome -- will have noticed, however, that no one used the words you allege I "so helpfully put into his mouth." I suppose if one finds the proper use of quotation marks too challenging or complicated, well, these sorts of misunderstandings are bound to arise, aren't they?

    They will probably also have noticed that, having failed to make your case on the facts, you simply assert new contra-factual conditions -- that's okay, we'll wait while you look it up have someone look it up for you -- to try to salvage some shred of self-respect from our exchanges here. I understand. Really I do.

    Finally, the overwhelming majority of them will have understood the difference between approving of the right of an employer to demand their employees do something stupid and approving of what the employer demands.

    You see, if, in fact, "the good prof had said ... 'I don't think this sort of thing should be required of anybody, not just people like me,'" he would have been on absolutely solid ground, I would have agreed with him and that would be an end to it. (Notwithstanding the very high likelihood that you would still have misconstrued the situation, that is.)

    But he didn't.

    I have given you an explanation twice now, James. It is beyond my or, I suspect, anyone else's ability to give you an understanding.

  • ||

    Though I try to avoid trite internet slang, sometimes it is the best most economical way to express my thoughts.

    James, you've been pwned.

  • CED||

    I guess a business, and the government as an employer, should have the right to make people go through this kind of training. But because they have the right doesn't mean I have to jump up and down, clap and go "yay, this is a great thing!"

    I think sexual harrassment can easily be a horrible thing for the victim. But I also think what is often called sexual harrassment can be a pretty mild thing, or as Chris Rock said "being asked out by someone you think is ugly." I sometimes think we are using a blunderbuss to combat this problem when a rifle would be better.

    Or maybe I just wanted to use the word blunderbuss in a sentence. But you get my drift...

  • ||

    You people are pathetic excuses for libertarians.

    DRINK!

  • James||

    So some of the posters on this thread are clearly not your flavor of libertarian, James.

    Not my flavor? How are people like Ridgely any sort of libertarian at all?

    It is, allegedly, a coherent and consistent world view. I don't see how it can contain multitudes of different flavors.

  • Virgil||

    Christ almighty, James, your misrepresentations, accidental or otherwise, have been pretty fucking clearly laid out. You just look like even more of an idiot when you keep pretending otherwise. This would be a good time for you to either 1) acknowledge that fact and offer some vague expression of regret at your misunderstanding, or 2) STFU, go away, and hope that by the next time you show up your behavior on this thread has been forgotten if you want to be taken seriously.

  • Reasonaholic||

    How are people like Ridgely any sort of libertarian at all?



    DRINK!

  • James||

    no one used the words you allege I "so helpfully put into his mouth."

    I assume you mean, "other than me, D.A. Ridgely".
    Because you most certainly did make the arguments i described. Read your own 1:44. And are still making them. You asserted that he claimed that he "merits some sort of special pass when it comes to such law". He made no such claim. In fact he did not address the case of others with the same problem, period.

    You see, if, in fact, "the good prof had said ... 'I don't think this sort of thing should be required of anybody, not just people like me,'" he would have been on absolutely solid ground, I would have agreed with him and that would be an end to it.

    It's odd that you say that you would have agreed with him considering that you wrote an entire post to the effect that it is entirely appropriate for any private employer to require such "training" of their employees. For instance, read your own 2:10 where you say exactly that.


    You have expressed precisely the views I have attacked you for. You believe that state employees must submit to this "training".

    Of course, McPherson is entitled to express his opinions. He can legally object as vociferously as he wishes, he still has to attend the stupid training or risk losing his job. Yes, that's coercive. So is not being permitted to smoke in the building or to show up for class buck naked. The relative merits of those restrictions aside, they don't constitute a violation of his First Amendment rights, his tenure or his academic freedom, either.

    I'm gratified that you are aware to smoking restrictions do not run afoul of, or indeed have anything at all to do with, the First Amendment.

    And you believe that non-state employees must submit to this "training".

    I can well imagine how upset you would be at the thought of other libertarians arguing that a private employer could require of its private employees as a condition of their continued private employment relationship with each other that such private employees either attend such classes or find themselves some private employment somewhere else.


    Drink!

  • Reasonaholic||

    I can well imagine how upset you would be at the thought of other libertarians arguing that a private employer could require of its private employees as a condition of their continued private employment relationship with each other that such private employees either attend such classes or find themselves some private employment somewhere else.

    Drink!



    A) That's not how the game is played

    B) No matter how much we drink, we're not going to sleep with you, James

  • the innominate one||

    DA Ridgely - I think James fails to comprehend the difference between your description of the legal realities of the way things are and the way things "ought to be".

  • Nat||

    Prof. McPherson is either very brave or very wealthy.

    McPherson owns a company called Hampton Research that sells chemicals and supplies to scientists in his field (protein crystallography). They're high quality, and not cheap. It's also very likely that he's paid to advise biotech and pharmaceutical companies. I suspect he's done very well, and I'm pretty sure he's getting close to retirement age anyway.

  • ||

    It is, allegedly, a coherent and consistent world view.

    Just like Christianity, right? Or altruism? Or monarchy? Capitalism? How about humor? Beauty? Stout? Lager? Completely homogenous all over the world, right? Are you referring to anarchist? Minarchist? Big-L Libertarian? Objectivism? Individualism? For a primer on the "flavors" (and yes, I do think you need a primer), start here.

    So I reiterate: Savor the flavors and chill out. You didn't invent the idea, and it ain't your philosophy.

  • anarch||

    Don't forget True Scotsman, Fr.

  • zoltan||

    I have this theory that there is a troll mill on the internet. This troll mill designates one troll to comment on every article on reason.com/blog. For this article, it is James. For that article about Munger and those chicks running for president, it was Tannim. And these are not your normal Lefiti trolls, they are unusually resilient and extremely volatile. They also try to look somewhat sane for a post or two and then go into an all out anger rampage.

    Or maybe I spend too much time on the internet.

  • anarch||

    Or, in the inimitable words of Tom Lehrer, Why not both?

  • ||

    The professor could argue that he considers the training a grope, or an sexual explicit quid pro quo, or a basically fornication at the demand of the superiors to keep his employment at said place.

  • anarch||

    And they would respond that they are entitled to disburse such perquisites so long as they are merit-based.

  • ed||

    I had a HR/Office Manager call me into her office and scold me for almost swearing at her. She could sense that I might (I didn't) and she wanted to be certain that I knew that she knew I was thinking about uttering an expletive. I quit that job. And yeah, she had nice tits.

  • ||

    Quoth James at 6:26pm on 22 November:

    >>no one used the words you allege I "so helpfully put
    >>into his mouth."
    >
    >I assume you mean, "other than me, D.A. Ridgely".
    >Because you most certainly did make the arguments i
    >described. Read your own 1:44. And are still making
    >them. You asserted that he claimed that he "merits
    >some sort of special pass when it comes to such
    >law". He made no such claim.

    Except that one such claim is strongly implicit in the argument that his status as a TENURED professor -- an attribute of his employment status not shared by the general roster of employees at large and hence, yes, making him a special case compared to the rank-and-file -- gives him stronger protection than most. I believe that D.A. Ridgely, in the same sentence which my reading of his 1:44pm comment seems to indicate as the one to which you are referring James, even refers explicitly to the notion of tenure.

    So, yeah, gotta come down on this one and say that Mssr. Ridgely did not, in fact, put anything into the Professor's mouth -- his argument stated that the professor is claiming a special status, which he is (tenure), not that he considers himself a special and unique case, which is what your argument seems to be implying as I read it.

    I am sure someone will chime in helpfully if I am missing, or have misread, anything. Because Hit & Run is that helpful kind of First Amendment communications paradise where "fuck you, you fuckity fuckwit" ranks up there with 'Aloha', 'Shalom', and 'Dude' as a generic, multi-meaning statement.

  • .||

    Does anyone peruse the comments here for lengthy and meaningful treatises?
    I mean, it's just a place for crackpots to spout off, right?
    Am I wrong?

  • :||

    Am I wrong?



    Yes

  • .||

    Am I wrong?

    Yes


    Explain, and be lengthy. Intertubes space is free and limitless.

  • Annonymous||

    I work at major university and as part of our training program we were told that the ideal was to work for "social justice", defined as an equal distribution of the world's resources.

    This kind of stuff is so standard at universities across the country to almost be not worth mentioning A mandatory University of Delaware program used to teach that all whites were racist and that part of the university;s job was to 'treat' students for dissenting views.

    http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/8560.html

    You'd think that the most prestigous insitutions in our society becoming Orwellian brainwashing camps is more important and offensive to a libertarian than 99% of the stuff Reason complains about (marijuana, gay marriage, the right to sell organs) but you guys barely touch this stuff.

  • ||

    I think the real question here is whether the government, as an employer, is different from a private business.

    I do think a private business should be allowed to require its employees to jump through any stupid and counterproductive hoops that it wants.

    I'm not so sure that the state in its capacity as a employer is any different. We usually impose higher standards on the state when it is wielding force or the threat of force, that is, actual coercion. I don't see that here.

    But we also ought to agree that some kinds of employer coercion of employees are reprehensible and unnecessary impositions on liberty, and ought to be repudiated - just not by resort to government.

    I part ways with Hazel on this point. I define coercion narrowly as force or the threat of force, because I don't want to dilute it by defining it down. Conditions of employment are not coercive, in my view.

  • X||

    I feel people don't respect me.

    Why?

    Because of the hat.

  • ETJB||

    I can understand where both sides are coming from. Especially from the context of a College or University.

    Yes, California probably has pretty strong civil rights/anti-sexual harassment rules.

    Yet, at least from my experiences with teaching in higher ed. many incoming students are given little instruction on what their rights and responsibilties are and are increasingly coming to college without basic life skills.

    If your sexual harassment policy is included in a sheet of paper that gets handed to students in a folder, during what is often a really sloppy (poorly planned) orientation process, it is probably going to be ignored and end up in the trash.

    I have not seen the specific training being used. its possible that its a waste of time, many sessions in cultural diversity/tolerance and sexual harassment polices are really stupid and a waste of time and money.

    But not all of them. Their are indeed some for students that can be highly engaging, fun and oftentimes get the message across because they present realistic, politically incorrect, situations and have the audience deal with these real situations.

  • ||

    no one used the words you allege I "so helpfully put into his mouth."

    I think all this discussion of putting things in people's mouths is just a bunch of coded references to oral rape, and the fact that I have to put up with those references is offensive to me. Employees of the Reason Foundation might want to think about bringing a sexual harassment claim, since if this kind of discourse goes on normally, it's pretty clear that there's a pervasively hostile environment.

  • Nicholas Stix||

    I can't drink with you guys anymore. You drink like a bunch of pitchers!

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