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1) Stability of employment should not be bound in any way to ideological alignment (unless you're employed in an explicitly ideological or highly political organisation, which is not what most of us want academia or medicine to be). It's hard enough to get and to keep such a job as it is; besides, as a person in charge of hiring/firing/staffing decisions, your primary loyalty is to your institution and to your field as a whole. Even Hitler was denied entry to art school on the basis of uninspired paintings rather than politics. If you've got a wacko in your workplace (which Hunt does not appear to be), the rational way to approach the situation is to exploit him to his full potential as you do everyone else, all the while taking care to minimise the impact of his wackiness. And if word goes out, be boring about it.

2) This kind of power is dangerous. Now, of course that whenever there is a strong value alignment among mob as well as staff, there is the opportunity of wielding it against crimethinkers, but the fact that there is no attempt on self-restraint in the name of higher moral principles on the part of the staff (the mob is a mob, no high expectations there) shows a troubling value shift. As a theme to meditate upon, the people involved in this should be thinking what the world would come to if the other side were to wield this power. Which they may be tempted to, now that they conveniently have been given precedent for it. Just in case freedom of speech is not an impressive argument.

3) He's kinda right, you know. At least for the more attractive of us. And it doesn't always end well... for science. (You have never known real temptation if you had never had some sulfuric acid within throwing range of your romantic rival.)

(Except for the part about crying. Come on now, we're all out of kindergarten here, and perhaps a symmetrical argument could be made that boys are more likely to smash Berzelius beakers when criticised, and labware is more expensive than Kleenex.)







Come on now, we're all out of kindergarten here, and perhaps a symmetrical argument could be made that boys are more likely to smash Berzelius beakers when criticised, and labware is more expensive than Kleenex.


Except they're not, at least not any non-negligible extent. And the problem with crying isn't the cost of Kleenex, it's the dynamics it creates in the lab.
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VoiceOfRa
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I am wondering what you are including in the definition of ideological organization that is not supposed to apply to universities. There are important sections of universities that are supposed to produce tools that we as a society can deal with ideologies. While that doesn't mean the organization needs to be ideological it makes naive aideology pretty damn hard.
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Fwiffo
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The reason of points like 3) is the reason to favour being too heavy handed on these matters. It is very easy to take refuge in humour and get crap past the radar if people know what words to subsitute for the ones you didn't say.
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Fwiffo
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I agree with (1), but there are exceptions, and they are not necessarily ideological ones. One such example is people working in education. Their views can make them unsuitable for a job. A teacher who believes that blacks/women/whatever other group are bad at physics (or whatever other subject) is not suitable for his or her job. We may find out about him or her being unsuitable in various ways, with the person him/herself letting it slip being one of them.

I also absolutely agree with (2). (3) is kind of disgusting - though I'm guessing it was meant as a joke.

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Alice
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