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‘Our Guy’ Isn’t Our Guy

Some months ago, in a radio interview to tout part of the Trump tax bill, the Whitewater Community Development Authority’s executive director Dave Carlson referred to Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner as ‘our guy.’ Sensenbrenner, a pro-Trump septuagenarian multimillionaire from a gerrymandered district, is – literally – Whitewater’s federal representative. Sensenbrenner has never been – and…

Political and Apolitical Means of Local Accomplishment

One test of an institution’s vitality is how eager people are to become members, and how interested a community is to learn who’s become a member. Strong institutions or organizations attract attention. When the institution is a city or county government, one looks to see who’s eager to run for office, and how many people…

The Broad Outlines of 2019

For many years, I would begin the year with predictions for the twelve months ahead.  Events since 2016 have made predictions harder,  but one can still discern some short-term developments for the city.  These prospects, of course, form an online of topics to ponder, and about which to write (often requiring that one return to the…

Kopper Resigns, Whitewater Remains

One reads that Beverly Kopper, UW-Whitewater chancellor, has resigned her position effective 12.31.18.  Her resignation was generally expected for at least the last few weeks, and was, more importantly, necessary.  This was a public matter involving a spouse appointed to a public position accused of sexual harassment by at least five women while the appointing chancellor kept…

Weak Underneath

The was an armed robbery in Whitewater this week. Robbery is wrong and armed robbery especially so.  There’s neither justification nor excuse for the crime. Radio station WFAW reported the crime in a straightforward way, but the Daily Union on Facebook crudely described the suspects not as black males (as would be conventional) but rather as male blacks. …

The ‘Real’ Residents

Emily Badger reports Are Rural Voters the ‘Real’ Voters? Wisconsin Republicans Seem to Think So: In much of Wisconsin, “Madison and Milwaukee” are code words (to some, dog whistles) for the parts of the state that are nonwhite, elite, different: The cities are where people don’t have to work hard with their hands, because they’re collecting…

0, 448, 476, 84

0 Number of published words from Chancellor Beverly Kopper in support of five complainants alleging sexual assault or harassment from her publicly appointed assistant-to-the-chancellor spouse. 448 Number of published words from Chancellor Beverly Kopper in reply to one remark from a single sportscaster during a single Packers preseason game. (It’s not that one shouldn’t reply…

A Defense That’s Worse Than Nothing

Retired UW-Whitewater professor Brian Kevin Beck contends that Kopper shouldn’t leave [the] Chancellor post. (Candidly, there’s a chance that his defense is so bad that it’s an intentional parody of a defense. It’s hard to believe anyone who served on a worthy faculty could reason so poorly.) Beck argues that (1) misconduct involving Kopper’s public…

Another ‘Advisory Council’ Isn’t What Whitewater Needs

Whitewater has a same-ten-people problem, derived from a few people living behind (metaphorically) a narrow and high perimeter fence, with those few often producing mediocre work, while the city’s economy stagnates. And yet, and yet – one reads that even during the third investigation for sexual harassment & assault concerning the relative she appointed, supervised,…

The Principle of Diversity Rests on Individual Rights

Some of Whitewater’s residents may have heard – because it’s been falsely told to them – that diversity – the inclusion of people from different backgrounds and characteristics – is a group value resting on subcultures of varying size. Hearing this, they’ve heard something else, too: that to abandon a particular leader in Hyer Hall…

Act Utilitarianism Isn’t Merely a National Scourge

Trump justifies his treatment of Christine Blasey Ford by the outcome of the Kavanaugh hearings: “It doesn’t matter. We won.”

One wouldn’t have to go to Washington, or wait for Trump to speak, to find this sort of act utilitarianism. Long before Trump’s 2016 campaign, officials and self-described community leaders in small towns across America shared a similar calculus. For the sake of some imagined overall gain, individual injuries and injustices have been swept aside.

And so, and so — officials justify financial and personal injuries to individuals on behalf of the supposed greater good of being ‘community-minded,’ of defending the ‘university family,’ or some such collective claim.

Trump’s act utilitarianism did not begin with Trump: it grew in cities and towns in which factions decided they’d take what they want, and conveniently sweep aside others by use of nebulous ‘community’ principles. (In the video above, Trump betrays his amorality early on, as he shrugs his shoulders when part of Christine Blasey Ford’s injury is recounted to him.)

In most of these cases of supposed collective gain, of course, it turns out to be a particular politician, particular businessman, or particular university official who reaps the most at the expense of ordinary individuals, but these community leaders would prefer one didn’t look too closely into that selfish benefit, thank you kindly.

Whether a highly-placed person’s selfish gain, or community’s supposed overall gain, the disregard for individual rights reveals a dark, calculating amorality.