Friday, May 25, 2007

Who Needs Philosophy?

As I will soon be losing my web site at MCC, it was time to start up a new website for my classes. To that end, I've started This site is for my students to find out more information about their classes, their instructor, and philosophy in general. Others are welcome to peruse the site as well.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Evil Competition: Nazis and Communists

Stephen Browne has an interesting post , distributed as a column by The Atlasphere, that wonders why Nazis are the epitome of evil while the Soviets and Communist Chinese have body counts that are orders of magnitude larger. Hitler is the ultimate way to call some one evil, but Stalin, Lenin, or Mao are not. This is something that I have wondered myself. I am disgusted by the college students I see wearing t-shirts with Che, Mao, or Lenin on them. Are they just stupid and ignorant or something much worse?

I posted a comment to Stephen Browne's blog along the following lines (I forgot to copy and paste it and the comment is awaiting approval, so I am rewriting from memory).

I wonder if part of the reason that the Nazis are seen as worse, as more evil, than the Soviets, etc., is the systematic, methodical plan to kill entire races of people. The communists had their camps and mass executions, but they generally only murdered their perceived enemies and those that were deemed beyond 'rehabilitation' or 'reeducation'. They didn't target, to my knowledge, people solely because they were Jewish, gay, gypsie, etc.

Another aspect of this is that the Nazis had no qualms about murdering children. They actively targeted and killed children of all ages. (1.5 million Jewish children were murdered by the Nazi's during the Shoah). To my knowledge, the communists usually didn't target children for execution. (not to imply that children weren't murdered by the Soviets/Chinese/etc.)

I think for many people in comparing the Nazis with the Soviets/Chinese/etc. considerations of intentions and goals are trumping the body counts.

Ultimately, both the Nazis and Communists were and are evil. There is a certain point where trying to make distinctions like "more evil" no longer makes sense.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Rockford Bound

I am very pleased to announce that I have been offered and have accepted the job at Rockford College. Rockford is a small, private liberal arts college in Rockford, Illinois. It's about 90 miles NNW of Chicago.

I'll be teaching a 4-4 load from a mix of different classes. The fall slate is Intro to Philosophy and upper-division sections of Ethical Theory and Business Ethics.

[update 5/2/07 4.19pm] Rockford has produced this flyer announcing my hire!