UPDATE: Steven Taylor favors us with an extensive examination of the Churchill debate with links to pertinent blogs and articles. I understand his points about the protections Churchill has built up over time: tenure, government employee, etc. As an originalist, I don’t buy the government employee protection because I don’t buy the conduit of the 14th Amendment argument. Further, firing him is not the same as incarcerating him. The state of Colorado is under no Constitutional or moral obligation to continue the employment of any person it deems detrimental to the state’s welfare. Under present interpretations of the 14th Amendment, Colorado may not be able to jail him–thank God for that–but they have no obligation to retain him.
Some lefty school somewhere will hire this imbicile should U of C axe him. His livlihood does not depend on his current job. And his book is ranked 101 on Amazon’s bestseller list, so he has both a soapbox and a source of income.
If I were a regent, I’d vote for his termination.
This a great discussion. Here I’ll give you little piece of an exchange with a girl named Rebekah whose latest blog entry is, well, thought provoking.
I’m frustrated with those who have read an article or two and think that qualifies them to make articulate or accurate judgements of the situation.
CraigC: Churchill didn’t say those working at the World Trade Center “deserved to die.” Nor did he refer, as CNN claims, to all “white collar workers.” Churchill’s official statement concerns the “technocrats of empire,” a group he later describes as the “CIA office…situated in the World Trade Center” and the “command and control infrastructure” there. His statement is that the placement of government workers in a civilian facility makes that facility a legitimate military target for offensive action by those against whom he believes the United States has militarily transgressed.
Whether or not you agree with this statement or with his comments in general, please don’t twist his statements.
Secondly, Churchill has not done anything deserving of termination of his employment. He made comments that, due to the nature of the subject matter, invariably offended people. Any criticism of the United States following the 9/11 attacks is bound to offend people.
The man may be stupid, pompous and greedy for attention. His argument may be faulty and inconsiderate. Still, his comments are not grounds for dismissal. Churchill may be abrasive, but that alone is not reason to fire him.
Posted by Rebekah
Obviously, you’ve read Mr. Churchill’s press release. Had you read the original essay, you’d realize that the press release amounts to spin. It’s a pack of lies. He denies writing what he wrote and allowed to be published.
In his essay, Churchill wrote:
If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it.
In his press release he claims
I mourn the victims of the September 11 attacks
Rational humans cannot square those two quotes with each other.
There’s plenty more.
Mr. Churchill believes childish things. But he is, at heart, a heartless capitalist. He intended his inflammatory essay to spur sales of his book–which ain’t real high on the Amazon chart. He calculated a balance between outrageousness and dollars. Had he calculated that the only way to achieve his sales goal was to announce that he would donate $1 from each book sold to Al Qaeda for training the next wave of suicide pilots, he would have done so.
And, yes, he should be fired. He brought discredit upon his employer for his own personal financial gain. That gets people fired every day. He is no different than the convicted leaders of Enron and Adelphia.
Jeff Goldstein picked up my challenge to reconcile Churchill’s two, seemingly contradictory statements. Here’s the product of his effort:
Just to play devil’s advocate, I can square those two quotes: I mourn the victims of the September 11 attacks who were turned into little Eichmanns by a system that promotes domestic greed and apathy at the expense of oppressed peoples the world over.”
I disagreed that he’d created a rational squaring of the two:
Just pick a point, you haven’t squared the two statements at all–you’ve woven the adjectives. In fact, you’ve dealt exclusively with the part of the sentence that can be thrown away without losing Churchill’s meaning:
If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty . . . I’d really be interested in hearing about it.
The penalty to which this sentence refers is death, in many cases by fire or suffocation.
Of course, Jeff still thinks he’s reached a logical melding of Churchill’s two points: a) I mourn those who died in the Twin Towers and the airplanes with b) I know of no more proper punishment for those who died in the Twin Towers and airplanes than to have been murdered as they were.
Am I wrong here, or is Jeff just playing semantics to defend the professor?