FREE WHITEWATER

Culture

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.

Why Dirty Dogs Roam With Impunity

I’ve written before about the foul mess that is the ‘Warriors and Wizards’ festival in Jefferson (formerly a Harry Potter festival before Warner Bros. shut that usage down). So, how is it that city officials, ‘development professionals,’ lying publishers, and bottom-shelf promoters get away with wasting tens of thousands in public funds each year while simultaneously…

Who Will Jefferson’s Residents Believe: Officials or Their Own Eyes?

For three years, the Harry Potter Festival (in Edgerton and then Jefferson, Wisconsin) has been a fiasco and disappointment. (Note: I’ve not experienced personal disappointment: hundreds of patrons have.) It’s now re-branded as the Warriors and Wizards festival – because ignorant promoters ran afoul of the intellectual property rights of Warner Bros. – and with…

The Motivation of the Horde

Most people, in all times and places, are clever and intelligent. It’s simply false to contend that only a few people are sharp; society does – and only can – function through the capable participation of many. At times in our own history, however, large numbers of our people have slipped into malevolence, in opposition…

The Theory of Moral Sentiments and the Morality of Markets

In Five myths about capitalism, Steven Pearlstein describes the primary myth as a misunderstanding about motivations of those choosing freely in the marketplace (broadly understood, these choices are about not only capital, but also labor or goods): Myth No. 1: Greed, a natural human instinct, makes markets work. Adam Smith, the father of economics, first pointed out in his…

No Principle But Principle

Over these years that I have written, Whitewater has seen two city managers, three chancellors, four district administrators, and dozens upon dozens of other municipal, school district, and university officials. During this time, this ilk has relied on projects, press releases, committees, and conferences to advance itself at the expense of the community it professes…

An Example of Old Whitewater’s Deficient Reasoning

Old Whitewater – a state of mind rather than a person or a person’s age – seldom speaks except to reveal its deficient reasoning (and to reveal, in fact, that it doesn’t even know what good reasoning might look like).  Before going further, a reminder: FREE WHITEWATER is the work of one person, writing without…

Noah Smith on Diversity

Noah Smith of Bloomberg recently published a thirteen-tweet thread in reply to Tucker Carlson’s dismissive questioning of diversity.  The small town from which I write is a diverse place, of different ethnicities, occupations, and ages.  Smith’s defense of diversity as a social strength was first published on 9.9.18, beginning at 10:02 AM. His full remarks appear below,…

Self-Defined Notables (in a Small Town)

Over these years of writing, I have sometimes referred to self-important political and community figures in Whitewater as notables, town squires, etc. It should be clear (at least one hopes!) that these descriptions rest not on the basis of others’ actual talent as elites but instead on their overweening (ludicrous, unjustified) sense of entitlement. (Most…

The Two Questions that Haunt Old Whitewater

Two questions haunt Old Whitewater (where Old Whitewater is a state of mind rather than an age or a particular person): What does it mean to be a college town? and What is meaningful community development? (There are other serious questions, but one can be sure – at the least – that these two have Whitewater…