THE INSTITUTE FOR ETHIC AL LEADERSHIP AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBLIT Y at Rosemont College
2020 | Issue 8
Director’s Welcome Welcome to the Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility’s annual symposium! Every spring, the symposium serves as a culminating event for the academic year, addressing an issue of ethical significance for individuals and society. This year, the program consists in a screening of the powerful documentary film A Dangerous Idea: Eugenics, Genetics and the American Dream, followed by a panel discussion. A Dangerous Idea explains how purported discoveries of genes for intelligence, poverty, and crime have been used to promote pseudoscientific explanations and justifications for discrimination and rapidly rising rates of economic inequality in the United States. Such claims – often repeated in popular media outlets – have their origin in the rise of social Darwinism in the late 19th century, and the film traces the influence of this ideology on the subsequent eugenics movement and the injustices and human tragedies that have been perpetrated in the name of the gene over the past century, including the compulsory sterilization of over 60,000 United States citizens. The film is particularly relevant given the stubborn persistence of biological determinism in some quarters today despite its long having been repudiated. The film unfolds vividly through a weave of archival footage, compelling and original graphics, and interviews with a number of scholars, scientists, and activists including Van Jones, Robert Reich, Ruth Hubbard, Evelyn Fox Keller, Richard Lewontin, Robert Pollack, and William Tucker, who joins us today for the panel discussion. We are pleased to have with us as keynote speaker the writer, director, and producer of A Dangerous Idea, Stephanie Welch, of Paragon Media. Following her remarks, she will join a panel consisting of Dr. Jeannette Dumas, Associate Professor of Biology at Rosemont College, Dr. Quayshawn Spencer, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. William Tucker, Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University Camden. We are delighted that you have chosen to spend your morning with us today, and hope that you will come away from the program with an appreciation for the importance of an accurate understanding of the issues raised in the film.
Alan A. Preti, Ph.D. Director, Institute for Ethical Leadership and Responsibility
The title of this publication - Ethos - is the ancient Greek word for ‘character,’ and the root of ethikos, from which the English ‘ethics’ is derived. A central moral concept, an individual’s ethos is his or her credibility or trustworthiness, while a community’s ethos is manifested in the beliefs, practices, and ideals which provide its members with meaning and shared purpose. We look forward to the ethos of the Institute being a guiding light for the College and the greater community in the years ahead. Major support for this Symposium and the Institute has been provided by Halloran Philanthropies and individual donors.
Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility Rosemont College Montgomery Avenue Rosemont, PA 19010
Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility ETHOS STAFF Editorial Director Alan A. Preti, PhD DESIGN AND ILLUSTRATION Susan DiGironimo WRITERS Francis Klose Deaynna Koskulitz Jamie Longazel William Tucker Stephanie Welch
PHOTOGRAPHY Susan DiGironimo PRINTING Garrison Printing Company ÂŠ 2020 Rosemont College Ethos is published by the Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility and the Office of College Relations. Communications regarding the contents of Ethos should be directed to the Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility, 1400 Montgomery Ave., Rosemont, PA 19010 or ielsr@rosemont. edu. To support the Institute or to learn more, please visit rosemont.edu/institute. INTERNAL ADVISORY BOARD Lisa Dolling, Ph.D. (ex officio) Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, Rosemont College Steve Alessandri, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Psychology Troy Chiddick, M.B.A. Dean of Students, Undergraduate College Jeanne Marie Hatch, SHCJ, M.A. Vice President of Mission and Ministry Adam Lusk, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Political Science Michelle Moravec, Ph.D. Associate Professor of History Dennis Perkinson, M.S. Assistant Professor of Mathematics Brittney Strauss, â€˜22 Student Representative EXTERNAL ADVISORY BOARD Lisa Dolling, Ph.D. (ex officio) Joseph Camardo, M.D. Maureen Caulfield, M.D. David. J. Farber, Ph.D. Anna Hadgis Harry R. Halloran, Jr. Tom Handler Irene Horstmann Hannan Deb Takes
A Dangerous Idea By Stephanie Welch
Science and Human Rights William H. Tucker
Visions of Change in Northeast Pennsylvania Jamie Longazel and Deaynna Koskulitz '20
The Catholic Social Tradition: Restoring the Dignity of Humanity Francis X. Klose
The Margaret M. Healy Fund Institute Fellows Richard Leiby and Katherine Baker
Jeannette Dumas, Ph.D.
is a documentarian and executive director of Paragon Media, a nonprofit media organization that is the co-producer ofâ€ŻA Dangerous Idea, for which she served as writer and director. Welch is also the senior producer of the award-winning syndicated program Bioneers Radio: Revolution from the Heart of Nature. She co-produced the radio documentary Biowars: First Do No Harm, which won a NFCB Silver Reel Award. Welch is also audio engineer for Women Rising Radio.
is Associate Professor of Biology at Rosemont College and coordinator of its environmental programs. Dr. Dumas oversees the Biology Departmentâ€™s Center for Hydroponics and Sustainability, and is faculty advisor for the student environmental club Rosegrow. She also heads a student research team on aquatic ecology called the Stream Team. Dr. Dumas was an Institute Fellow during the 2018-19 academic year where she developed a curricular unit on the evolution of morality for her evolution course. She is very passionate about dispelling misconceptions about evolution and believes that it could provide humanity with a biological basis for universal kinship.
Quayshawn Spencer, Ph.D.
William Tucker, Ph.D.
is Robert S. Blank Presidential Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his Ph.D. at Stanford University and specializes in the philosophy of science and biology, with interest in Newtonian studies, philosophy of race, and ethics. He has explored such questions as whether any folk racial classification divides people into real biological groups and whether there is any way to group organisms into biologically real subspecies. The author of a number of articles and book chapters on race and biology, Dr. Spencer is the coauthor of What is Race? Four Philosophical Views (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019).
is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Rutgers University, Camden. Throughout his career, he has studied the misuse of social science to support oppressive social policies, especially in the area of race, seeking to explore how scientists in general, and psychologists in particular, have become involved with such issues and what effect their participation has produced. Dr. Tucker has authored numerous articles and book chapters, as well as several books critical of race science, including The Cattell Controversy: Race, Science, and Ideology (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009), and The Funding of Scientific Racism: Wickliffe Draper and the Pioneer Fund (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2002).
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The Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility
A Dangerous Idea Stephanie Welch, Paragon Media
“We pass through this world but once. Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life, few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive or even to hope, by a limit imposed from without, but falsely identified as lying within.” - Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man
While we were editing the final cut of A Dangerous Idea, Donald Trump was making it very difficult for our team to wrap it up. How many more examples would he give us that would illustrate exactly what we were warning of in the film? We’d focused on the 20th century, reminding viewers of terrible U.S. policies rooted in the belief that some people were biologically inferior, such as forced sterilization and bans on immigrants. Here we were in 2017 with a president who was dragging us all back in time with toxic rhetoric about Mexicans being rapists and murderers, giving a wink and a nod to white supremacists who felt free to take to the streets, and banning people who practiced Islam from entering the country. Since our film was released, I’ve tracked frequent, disturbing reminders that the belief in biological determinism remains strong in the United States: “The Biological Roots of Intelligence” (The Scientist 11/1/18), “Why Progressives Should Embrace the Genetics of Education” (NYT Opinion 7/24/18), “Researchers Want to Link Your Genes and Income – Should They?” (Wired 4/12/19), “How Genetic Engineering Will Reshape Humanity” (The Economist, 4/25/19). These kinds of articles are alarming not because there’s any truth to the claims
that scientists have located genes for “intelligence” or any complex trait. But because so many people believe such discoveries have been made. The general public seems unaware of the colossal failure by proponents of this type of research to locate genes and deliver on their decades-long promises. This hasn’t stopped many of those proponents from proclaiming the end of the “nature/nurture” debate, and failing to object when the media get it wrong, which is most of the time. How can what we believe about genetics and DNA be so far from proven, scientific truth? That question was the basis of A Dangerous Idea, and we discovered the answer is actually rooted in an age-old political battle over the causes of inequality. What better ideological weapon than biology to convince people that it’s useless to foment a revolution demanding that society favor everyone and not just a small elite? You are where you are because of your genes, so stop complaining. 15 years of research into claims about
genetics taught me more about ideology than I ever learned in purely political reading. Before embarking on the film project, I was what one of our executive producers, Andrew Kimbrell, called a “lazy progressive” when it came to the topic of genetics. I kept up on current events and was a seasoned news junkie, and when I saw stories about “gene” discoveries, I assumed the basic science had been carefully vetted even if it was being overly simplified by the media. As a radio producer, I joined my colleagues in sounding the alarm about the safety and morality of genetic engineering experiments. But I never questioned the scientific premise upon which these experiments were based. Research into A Dangerous Idea opened that door, and I couldn’t believe how duped I had been. My first task was to dig into media archives going back to 1953 with the legendary discovery of the DNA double helix, through the 1960s as universities and government agencies “went molecular,” through the 1970s when recombinant DNA took hold of the public imagination,
into the 1980s as fantastic promises were made about the benefits for medicine and agriculture, into the genomic revolution of the 1990s and warnings of “superbabies,” culminating with the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003. What stood out most was the steady increase in hype over the decades, while the primary messages stayed the same. Once we understand DNA and genes, we will know the secret of life and what it means to be human. Religious language and imagery were ubiquitous. Then there was the wild speculation by reporters about recombinant DNA. Genetic engineers now have the power to be coauthors of evolution, and are manipulating life at the most fundamental level. Will they use this power for good or for evil? And wild speculation by investors. Think of the possibilities, think of the profits, a lot of people are in biotechnology and the race to map the human genome. Another pattern that emerged was the reinforcement of stereotypes and tired myths about the sexes and “human nature.” Scientific claims about the differences between men and women have been around for a long time, but when E.O. Wilson dropped his 600-page book Sociobiology in 1975, the evolution frame really took off. Wilson attempted to cover all of human nature in this book about how we’re basically prisoners of the genes of our Pleistocene ancestors, but details about the sexes were particularly interesting to a wide audience. Wilson claimed that “in hunter-gatherer societies men hunt and women stay home. This strong bias presents in most agricultural and industrial societies and, on that ground alone, appears to have a genetic origin” (“Human Decency is Animal,” NYT Magazine, October 12, 1975: 177). “It pays males to be aggressive, hasty, fickle and undiscriminating. In theory it is more profitable for females to be coy, to hold back until they can identify the male with the best genes. Human beings obey this biological principle faithfully” (Wilson, On Human Nature, 1978: 552). Psychologist Oliver James remembers when the book came out. He and his colleagues couldn’t believe that someone was contending that genetics profoundly affected the shape of society. “The word of E.O. Wilson and his successors very
much starts with the premise that something in the past must have caused what we’re like, regardless of what the evidence is. Take anything, shopping, obviously things like sex and aggression – it doesn’t matter what it is, they can come up with a theory for it. It’s not remotely science. They’re just speculating, they’re creating fairy stories about the past. But it serves a very useful purpose for the ruling elite in the society that we live in today” (interview with Oliver James). These theories made their way into the news and popular media, raising questions about the viability of equality of the sexes just as the “Second Wave” of feminists were organizing around the country. “...An uneasy sense of frustration and pessimism is growing among some advocates of full female equality in the face of mounting conservative opposition. Moreover, even some staunch feminists are reluctantly reaching the conclusion that women’s aspirations may ultimately be limited by inherent biological differences that will forever leave mean the dominant sex.” (New York Times, B4, November 30, 1977). Pop culture couldn’t get enough. Playboy Magazine triumphantly reported that biological science proves men aren’t naturally monogamous. “It has been said that a man will make it with anything that moves – and a woman won’t. Now the startling new science of sociobiology tells us why” (“Darwin and the Double Standard,” Scott Morris, Playboy, May 1983). A decade later, evolutionary psychology emerged, different in that its theory focused on the human brain as a sort of Swiss army knife with various behavior modules. The messages were similar enough and inspired a new wave of speculation. Cosmopolitan Magazine offered explanations for sexism and stereotypes: “Is Your Man an Ogler? We can’t help it! Blame it on DNA, testosterone, or the evolutionary years spent hunting for the perfect female to perpetuate the species.” “Blond hair is an indicator of higher fertility levels.” A Discovery Channel program titled “The Science of Sex,” featured evolutionary psychologist Martie Haselton “examining speed dating from an evolutionary point of view.” “It’s Sociobiology, Hon! ) “Genetic Gender Determinism in Cosmopolitan
Magazine,” Feminist Media Studies Journal, August 24, 2009). Sociologist Hilary Rose finds the people who promote these theories particularly irritating for their seeming lack of knowledge of social science research findings. “The extraordinary, unbridled speculation. It knows no limits. My whole training as an academic says kindly show me some evidence. I’m prepared. Give me good enough evidence and I’ll listen to it. The only reason that I look at it is because I think it’s pernicious, and it’s damaging our culture. Otherwise, it is such awful stuff, I couldn’t be bothered with it” (interview with Hilary Rose). Theories like these are used to explain differences between the sexes in social status, why there aren’t more women in powerful positions in society, and to argue that what women mistakenly perceive as sexism and discrimination are simply unavoidable biological realities. Some have even proposed crafting social policies like affirmative action around biological sex differences. Social scientist Charles Murray chimed in on the question in his book, Human Diversity: The Biology of Race, Gender and Class (2020). He’s built a lucrative career promoting anti-egalitarian arguments based on biology. On the topic of sex and gender, he includes chapters citing studies that a number of biologists and others (e.g. Rebecca Jordan-Young and Cordelia Fine) have shredded after going through all the data. He concludes that “the links between phenotypic differences and the sex differences in the brain are still only partly understood, but what we have learned so far hangs together” and that “this coherent picture fits seamlessly into within the context of evolutionary pressures over millions of years that shaped Homo Sapiens.” In the end, he recommends that these purported sex differences be “taken into account” around issues like women in combat, Title IX requirements and broadens it this statement: “An acceptance of the constraints imposed by human nature should guide the administration of the civil and criminal justice systems, the regulation of business, the powers granted to bureaucrats – the operations of just about every social, cultural, economic, and political institution” (Murray, 2020).
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The Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility
“Biological knowledge has potent political implications, and you cannot avoid them. Whether you’re quiet or you speak out, you get involved in those political implications.” -R ichard Lewontin Nova (PBS, 1975) The most disturbing research I have come across during this project has been the hidden history of eugenics in the United States. In fact, this research led us to ultimately shift our focus away from agriculture and medicine to focus entirely on genetics through a social lens. We present the most detailed history of eugenics that we could manage in a single documentary as we tackled all the other things we felt we needed to cover. We include the rarely discussed Nixon years, when nearly half a million people (mostly poor, and mostly black and Native American women) were sterilized without their knowledge or coerced into an operation, often under the threat of losing financial assistance upon which they were relying. We demonstrate that eugenics took off during the Gilded Age at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. Psychologist William Tucker notes that “One reason that the eugenics movement was so influential at the time was because it provided a scientific solution – or a supposedly scientific solution – to a political problem.” Namely, it blamed individuals and groups for the abject poverty and terrible conditions they were living in and justified anti-immigrant racism and policies designed to stem the influx of people coming from Southern and Eastern Europe (interview with William Tucker). Closing the borders, sterilization, segregation of the sexes, and other eugenic measures were implemented without any solid scientific evidence that they were warranted. The belief in “genes” was at the heart of eugenics, promoted by some of the most prestigious scientists in the country. Consequently, the belief in genetic determinism became broadly accepted on all sides of the political aisle. While the Catholic Church spoke
strongly against eugenics, we had trouble finding any scientists who joined them. Some said let’s wait until the gene is discovered, but weren’t in opposition otherwise. The only real critic of the eugenics project I found was J.K. Chesterton, the British writer and philosopher who wrote a seething analysis: “Eugenics is nothing but terrorism against the poor committed by tenth-rate professors. My question is: who will practice eugenics on the eugenicists?” (Eugenics and Other Evils, 1922). Today, social conditions are precarious enough to anticipate that some version could emerge. Inequality in the United States is starker than it was in the Gilded Age, and there are many more people than when we started this project who are willing to openly suggest biology as the ultimate explanation. Charles Murray is one of them. Of course, he repeatedly denies he is promoting eugenics, which prompts an eye roll and face plant from me every time. Instead, he calmly and softly asks, golly, how can people possibly come to that conclusion? All he has said, he claims, is: “Not only is biology the most important of the sciences politically today, it is about to become of epic importance. And that has to do with the sense of human nature and whether it is malleable or not” (The Robert Taft Club, panel discussion on Darwin, Genetics, Conservatism: Friends or Foes, December 5, 2007). Intelligence is 60-80% genetic, and that inequality is simply the result of a natural distribution of talents in society based on intelligence. Those who don’t score well on IQ tests are on the losing end of this distribution (Charlie Rose interview, PBS, November 3, 1994). “Science is going to undermine the moral underpinnings of the welfare state” (Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 (2012, 299). These were all cornerstone arguments of the eugenics movement. One needn’t promote a sterilization campaign – ignoring or denying social forces and attempting to apply biology directly to social questions is the foundation of eugenics. The danger is that such bogus arguments will be used to implement certain eugenic programs, or embolden white supremacists with pseudoscience they can use to generate support and find allies abroad, as
we see happening presently. William Tucker notes that, in The Bell Curve, Richard Herrnstein’s arguments about immigrants echo those made by eugenicists in 1924 when they lobbied and passed racist legislation restricting certain people from entering the country: “What he writes is that today’s immigrants are very low quality, unlike the immigrants who came in the ‘20s, who were smart and resourceful and self-starting and took initiative. Which of course is absurd if you look at what the social scientists at the time said about those immigrants. They were the “morons” of the time. So what it suggests is that it’s the same thing that we heard over and over again” (interview with William Tucker). Tucker adds that while the media reported on controversy around the claims about race that Murray and Herrnstein made in The Bell Curve, another important claim they made got less attention: “Herrnstein argues that if you create equal opportunity, you’ll inadvertently heighten inequality because, you’ll wind up with a society that is stratified. But it won’t be stratified because of differences in privilege that come from birth, it’ll be stratified because of differences that come from genes. And you’ll wind up with a biologically based meritocracy in which the people at the top are there because they deserve to be there, they’re smarter than everybody else, and the people at the bottom will be there because that’s where they belong. It will be the socio-economic reflection of their genetic merit, that’s where they belong” (interview with William Tucker). E.O. Wilson echoes Herrnstein’s assertion in Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1999), confident that genes dominate: “Imagine the result if a society were to become truly egalitarian, so that all children were raised in nearly identical circumstances and encouraged to enter any occupation they chose within reach of their abilities. Variation in environment would thus be drastically reduced, while the original innate abilities and personality traits endured. Heritability in such a society would increase. Any socioeconomic class divisions that persisted would come to reflect heredity as never before” (Wilson 1999, 153). Perhaps the most blatant eugenics
argument Charles Murray makes is his social Darwinian scheme in which all government assistance be abolished and replaced with a basic guaranteed income. Anyone who falters at that point will have to rely on the kindness of strangers and hope that their local communities care enough to help them (Reason TV, April 25, 2012).
So What About The Science? As much as Murray and others would like us to believe science is on their side, it just isn’t. After many years diving deeply into scientific claims versus reality, the evidence is clear: Scientists have nothing to show for the billions of tax dollars and private money spent on so-called “candidate gene studies.” Despite years of excitement in the media about supposed gene discoveries, those claims were retracted, proven wrong or just fabricated. Now proponents are banking on Genome Wide Association studies (GWAs). Scientists are in the midst of this massive and hugely expensive effort to sequence the DNA of millions of people searching for “pathways” and “variants” that have very small “significance,” but in total they give us a gene associated with X. These socalled “polygenic” results are being hailed as solid evidence that biology will reveal secrets to our behaviors and personalities. Yet, as in the past, the public isn’t receiving an accurate translation of results from these studies. Detractors predict that this technology will fizzle out like all the others. The supposedly positive results will continue to be nullified as they undergo scrutiny, and it will become too difficult to feign excitement over them anymore. The need for a replacement will surely prompt yet another “promising” technology.
So why continue this research? Shouldn’t a massively expensive endeavor with such an abysmal track record have been scrapped a long time ago? As we explain in A Dangerous Idea, apparently too much is at stake for doubt to be cast on the whole research enterprise – too much
money in the pipeline, and too many people banking on it politically. Honest proponents admit the biological evidence “isn’t quite there,” but argue that the research should continue. The rationale, they say, are the results of twin, family and adoption studies. But psychologist Jay Joseph has written about problems with twin studies that make them useless from the get-go. “All of these studies have tremendous flaws and whole sets of assumptions that are not true. There’s bias by genetically-oriented researchers who tend to interpret their results as supporting their views, regardless of what the study finds. The failure to identify genes is validating a lot of what critics have said. And what people need to do is to go back and look at the problems and flaws and biases in these adoption studies. And they don’t. What they do is they say we need better molecular genetic studies, or the media reports gene findings that are not duplicated. And this erroneously led to the idea that genetics play an important role in psychiatry, intelligence, and what researchers define as personality” (interview with Jay Joseph). When I asked neuroscientist Steven Rose about this, he said it’s sort of an interesting historical joke. “Twin studies and heritability studies were the only ways geneticists could study human differences up until the DNA revolution. So then the argument was twin studies and heritability studies are old-fashioned, and they’re out the window, we don’t need them anymore. Molecular genetics will provide what we need. Well, the human genome didn’t, and the GWAs haven’t lived up to expectations. So that particular wheel has come full circle, the genetic bubble has burst… So let’s leave it alone, and let’s actually move into 21st century biology” (interview with Steven Rose). Instead, many continue to rely on the famous Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart study by psychologist Thomas Bouchard and colleagues. Jay Joseph points out that Bouchard refuses to let their MISTRA data be independently scrutinized. Considering how ideologues have come in and historically fixed twin studies data, Oliver James says Bouchard must allow independent scrutiny of their data if he wants to be taken seriously. “From that point of view, that study is
really, really unreliable, and yet it has been in countless documentaries, countless newspaper features, very, very well covered and presented as being watertight science, which it is nothing of the sort” (interview).
Conclusion – A Social Battle As long as these arguments continue to be framed as a “nature/nurture” debate in which people from two valid philosophical viewpoints are simply disagreeing, we won’t get anywhere. The general media will continue to favor deterministic views, due to their support of the scientific and political establishment. Those who warn that genetic determinism is a political view falsely projected onto biology will continue to be accused of being “blank slaters” who wish the science was different because of their leftist political beliefs. Richard Lewontin and his close colleagues have heard these accusations during their entire careers. “Those of us who say that these things are not fixed in the genes, but are part of social structures are accused of saying this because of our politics. We want to change the world, so we make this up. But the reverse is actually true. It’s perfectly possible for me to say I would like to change the world, but I must know for a fact that the world can be changed. The truth is very important to me. If it turns out it’s a fact that the world can’t be changed, what a fool I would be to want to change the world.” “On the other hand, people will say, oh no, human nature is fixed. They don’t have to be right. It doesn’t matter what the truth is for those people. They just want to keep the world the way it is. But it matters a lot for people who claim to be devoted to changing the world, that the world is changeable, and we must know the truth about that. We can’t say that just because we wish it were true” (interview with Richard Lewontin).
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Science and Human Rights William H. Tucker Rutgers University – Camden
In his insightful book, Racism: A Short History, Stanford University historian George M. Fredrickson described the paradox that notions of human equality were the necessary precondition to the emergence of racism. A society premised on an assumption of inequality produced an accepted hierarchy, he argued, one unquestioned even by those relegated to its nadir, thus creating no need to locate the cause of the underlings’ position in some specific characteristic on their part that makes them less worthy than others. However, as societies became increasingly committed to the belief in freedom and equality--as once revolutionary ideas about equal rights for all became more widespread, especially in the West--then those groups systematically denied such entitlements were claimed to possess what Fredrickson called “some extraordinary deficiency that makes them less than fully human.” That is, racism arose in this analysis as a result of the contradiction between egalitarian principles coupled with the exclusionary treatment of specific ethnic groups: the rejection of organically hierarchical societies brought with it the implied necessity to account for the fact that some groups were subjected to servitude, enforced separation from the rest of society, or ghettoization. Beginning around the end of the eighteenth century, as Enlightenment rationalism replaced faith and superstition as the source of authority, the pronouncements of science became the
preferred method for reconciling this difference between principle and practice; the ideological foundation for systematic discrimination shifted from religion to science, as the natural order was invoked to justify inequalities previously sanctified by the divine order. A number of supposedly scientific rationales have been offered as support for racial discrimination in the United States, each of them having a lengthy history. One approach has been the claim that there are biological dangers involved in racial interbreeding. Indeed, it was in part on the basis of this belief that, in the United States and South Africa, for many years statutory prohibitions against intermarriage were enforced. The first supposed evidence for this conclusion was provided in the midnineteenth century primarily by physicians who insisted that, as a result of their mixed blood, “mulattoes” were considerably more susceptible to disease than either of their parents and thus exceptionally short-lived; in addition, leading anthropologists of the time predicted that, were persons of different races to intermarry, they would become progressively less fertile, and eventually completely sterile. Of course, abundant evidence from clandestine experiments in Southern laboratories soon made this claim untenable. In the early twentieth century, the scientific community’s discovery of Gregor Mendel’s work led to a new,
exciting branch of biology but also a new justification for discrimination, as some geneticists warned of the deleterious consequences resulting from the union of persons from different ethnic backgrounds, especially at a time when immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe was peaking. Charles Benedict Davenport, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and world renowned researcher, described some of the genetic “disharmonies” such intermixtures could produce. If, for example, a member of a tall race, such as the Scots, should mate with a member of a small race, such as the Southern Italians, then, according to Davenport, the child of such a mating might inherit the genes for large internal organs from one parent and the genes for small stature from the other, resulting in viscera that were too large for the frame. There were children, he warned, for whom “every inch over 5’ 10” is an inch of danger.” Nor were all the genetic incompatibilities merely physical. Davenport explained that the “mulatto” inherited an “ambition and push” from the white parent, combined with “intellectual inadequacy” from the black, making the “unhappy hybrid dissatisfied with his lot and a nuisance to others.” Although belief in such genetic mismatches was once fairly widespread within the scientific community and cited specifically to rationalize various oppressive racial policies, this notion now enjoys far less credibility. However, while
there has been absolutely no evidence that racial interbreeding can produce a disharmony of any kind, warnings of some kind of genetic discord are still far from entirely extinct in the modern era. In 1987, Raymond Cattell, the father of personality trait measurement and the 7th most highly cited research psychologist in the twentieth century, referred to the “hideously wrong inscription on the idol in New York Harbor” and cited the intermarriage of immigrants as “partly responsible for the higher crime and insanity rates in the U.S.A. than in the parent countries.” And in 1999 Glayde Whitney, a prominent geneticist and former president of the Behavior Genetics Association, claimed that the intermarriage of “distant races” could produce a harmful genetic mixture in offspring, citing the wide range of health problems afflicting African Americans and their high infant death rate as examples of the effects of “hybrid incompatibilities” caused by white genes that went undetected due to the “one drop” convention defining all “hybrids” as blacks. However, the most common way in which science has been used to support racial discrimination is through pronouncements that some groups are genetically less well endowed than others in important cognitive or behavioral traits. Of course, even if true such a difference would be irrelevant to issues of social and political equality, but again the use of such claims for oppressive purposes has a long history. For the first third of the twentieth century there was particular concern over the results of early intelligence tests, which supposedly demonstrated that the recent immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europeans were intellectually inferior to their Northern counterparts; data documenting this conclusion were even presented to the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization during the deliberations leading to the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act of 1924, which imposed strict national quotas, substantially reducing the number of newcomers allowed from the so-called Alpine and Mediterranean countries. During the second half of the century attempts to prevent blacks from finally attaining social and political equality
often relied on studies purporting to demonstrate their genetic inferiority in intelligence. In the lower court proceedings challenging segregated schools that eventually culminated in the landmark Brown v. Board decision, the Southern strategy had focused initially on states’ rights and legal precedents, noting that the oxymoronic concept of “separate but equal” facilities had been upheld in every previous consideration. But when this approach proved unsuccessful, a number of scientists sympathetic to the segregationist cause sought to overturn Brown or prevent its implementation by arguing that genetic differences in intelligence between the races made integrated education an impossibility, harmful to all students. This argument, featuring testimony by a parade of prominent scientists in support of segregation, was actually made in a subsequent district court case seeking to integrate the Savannah-Chatham school system, leading a sympathetic judge to find against the plaintiffs and recommend that the Brown decision be reconsidered--an opinion quickly overruled by the Court of Appeals with a reminder that segregated schools constituted a violation of the constitution, a matter to which scientific studies were irrelevant. After the legislative victories of the civil rights movement, the most blatant forms of discrimination largely disappeared from American life, and the movement’s emphasis shifted from struggling for equal rights to improving the conditions of life for minorities and the poor. Social welfare legislation, enacted as part of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, sought to provide the most impoverished citizens with new access to health care, nutrition, and education. Here again some scientists opposed these efforts on the grounds that poverty, especially among blacks, was caused primarily by genetic disadvantage--people were poor because they were not very bright--and as a consequence environmental improvement would be of no benefit to them. Indeed, vast expenditures on social programs such as Medicaid and food stamps would only exacerbate the problem, in this view, by assisting the least capable to reproduce. The Nobel Laureate physicist, William Shockley,
predicted that the present system of aid would lead to blacks’ “genetic enslavement” due to the proliferation of the genetically less intelligent; the source of their oppression was now internal, and what they really needed, according to Shockley, was not early education, good food and health care but birth control and sterilization. Obviously equality as an ethical principle concerning the rights to be enjoyed by all members of a society should not be predicated on any scientific conclusion, whether or not it is accurate. This is indisputably true for the traditional American view of rights as “justiciable,” encompassing certain freedoms guaranteed to the individual and not subject to violation or contravention by the state. Government does not grant such rights as much as it refrains from interfering with their exercise. Of course, the claim that specific social programs should be eliminated as a result of genetic differences does not constitute a deprivation of rights in this sense; such “aspirational” entitlements as social and economic assistance, which require funding from the government, do not enjoy the same kind of constitutional protection as, for example, exercise of the franchise or freedom of religion. But whatever degree of legitimacy they may have does not depend in any way on a scientific demonstration of the genetic merit of their recipients. The kind and amount of social support that an affluent society decides to guarantee to its neediest citizens are an expression of its humanitarian ideals and its notion of social justice, derived not from science but from such traditional sources of moral values as religion and conscience. There are no moral directions in genotypes.
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The Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility
Visions of Change in Northeast Pennsylvania On September 23, 2019, Jamie Longazel, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Law & Society at John Jay College, City University of New York gave a lecture at Rosemont College sponsored by the Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility. He presented research from his book, Undocumented Fears: Immigration and the Politics of Divide and Conquer in Hazleton, Pennsylvania (Temple, 2016), which chronicles the politics surrounding Hazleton’s highly controversial 2006 passage of the Illegal Immigration Relief Act (IIRA). The IIRA sought to sanction landlords and businesses who rented to or hired undocumented immigrants and to make English the city’s official language. A Hazleton native, Longazel argues that although the ordinance was ruled unconstitutional and never enforced, the divisive, anti-immigrant rhetoric from city officials was attractive to many white, working-class residents who were feeling severe economic anxiety after the region lost more than half of its manufacturing jobs since the 1980s. He refers to this as the “politics of divide and conquer.” Top-down rhetoric meant to scapegoat immigrants encouraged local residents to focus on the alleged differences – most of which were based on racialized myths – between themselves and the city’s (largely Dominican) recent arrivals rather than recognizing the two groups’ shared economic position: Both are experiencing poverty on account of virtually the same global economic circumstances. Deaynna Koskulitz is currently a senior at Rosemont College, majoring in English Literature and Political Science. After graduation, she plans to complete a Year of Service through the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry, followed by law school, where she hopes to focus on immigration and poverty law. She is also from Hazleton, and came across Longazel’s book as a sophomore when she was taking a political science course called “Politics and the City.” It was Deaynna’s idea to invite Longazel to Rosemont. To her, this was an important discussion to have because many people overlook small cities such as Hazleton. And even more importantly, she saw an opportunity where the Rosemont community could benefit from hearing an example of how the rhetoric of those in power can shape the actions of ordinary people, and what the broader implications of such an arrangement can mean. As Rosemont teaches “trust in and reverence for the dignity of each person,” she believed that Longazel’s approach of encouraging unity among poor and working class people would resonate well with students. In what follows, Jamie and Deaynna converse about growing up in Hazleton, getting involved in social justice work, and how to, as it says in Rosemont’s mission statement, “meet the needs of the time.”
Jamie Longazel, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Law & Society at John Jay College
Deaynna Koskulitz ʼ20 Rosemont College Senior English and Political Science Student
Jamie Longazel: Deaynna, first off, thank you for inviting me to Rosemont and thank you for having this conversation with me. It’s a real pleasure. I would actually like to start off with a question for you. I’m very interested in what we might call “political development.” How is it that people who stand up against injustice get to that point? What are the influencing factors? It’s especially interesting in our case, given that we’re coming out of a context that has pushed us to do just the opposite. Hazleton, more than ten years after the IIRA, is still sadly plagued by anti-immigrant sentiment. Lots of people are still convinced that immigrants are increasing crime, draining resources, and generally destroying the community. We hear this nonsense at the dinner table, out in public, in the press, and even from many of our so-called community leaders. How did you manage to cut through all of that and develop an interest in pro-immigrant advocacy? What brought you to this point? Deaynna Koskulitz: Growing up in Hazleton, I experienced—and still do experience— much of that racially-charged rhetoric. For a while, I grew up with the impression that many stereotypes were the truth of the matter, without questioning those norms because most people I knew didn’t say anything different. However, it probably wasn’t until my early teens when I started thinking differently. It was then that I started to step back and reevaluate my thoughts and opinions, not just about immigration, but many other issues pertaining to politics and beyond. I realized my opinions have been shaped by what “the grown-ups” were saying, and I hadn’t done much thinking of my own. It took time, but I eventually developed my own sense of personal, social, and political awareness. It took even more time after that to start to feel comfortable embracing my opinions in a more active way. I think the 2016 election had a significant role in pushing me along in that regard. Very quickly, the debate over immigration became prominent during the election, and it clearly still remains that way. As someone who grew up in Hazleton, I quickly recognized that the rhetoric pushed by the Republican candidate was aimed
at the fears and anxieties of the white working class towards immigration, both in social and economic ways. As you’ve explained in your book, the Latino Threat Narrative creates division in society based on race, providing an explanation for economic difficulties that is not based in fact, but sure does feel like relief to those it privileges. It becomes easy to blame all the issues you face on those who you are told are different from you, even though real change could be made through unity. The 2016 election came at an interesting time for me. Since Hazleton itself was built up on a proud history of immigration, with droves of poor laborers coming from Europe to work in the coal mines, I honestly felt frustrated—though not surprised—that such divisive rhetoric would appeal to many residents, as it did to countless working-class Americans. Growing up in Hazleton had always made me aware of the controversy over immigration, but I think that election caused me to realize that it was a much greater issue across the country. Like for many after the election, I would say I was inspired to take action and become more involved with what I thought was important when I hadn’t done so before. In my opinion, the most important part of my development was becoming more comfortable expressing myself like this. Deciding to become more vocal and more outwardly focused has been a significant area of change for me, one that I think I’ll always be working on. JL: That’s interesting. It reminds me of what the famous Brazilian educator Paulo Freire called conscientization. The idea is that when people come to see their own personal circumstances in a broader context, they become inspired to speak up and get involved. And that involvement, in turn, leads to more social action. We become actors rather than spectators. My story is quite similar. I started college in 2001, just a couple of weeks before the 9/11 attacks. So both of us were in our first semester of college during the two most significant moments in the U.S. of the past twenty years. I remember it pretty vividly. I had an introductory sociology course that day, and in his lecture, my professor said something like “the world is going to change forever because of what just happened.”
That really struck me (and, of course, it turned out to be correct). I hadn’t been all that politically conscious before this. And I should note that the bulk of immigration to Hazleton began just about as I was leaving, so I wasn’t exposed to either the diversity or the hostility we’ve seen since. But, anyway, that comment made me start paying much closer attention to what went on in the months and years that followed. It was also pretty impactful because I had close friends who had just enlisted in the military and ended up being among the first people on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. This all led me to further study and to eventually go to some anti-war events and such. I continued connecting dots between my own life and what was happening in the world leading up to Hazleton’s 2006 passage of the IIRA. I was in graduate school by that point and had been studying the sociology of race, criminalization, and political economy. It seemed obvious to take this up as a major research project; and once I did there was no turning back. There was something special about studying my hometown in such depth – a feeling very similar to what Freire described. It became almost an obligation for me, especially after seeing so many people suffering because of the hateful rhetoric, and seeing so many of the people I knew when I was young falling for it. Immigrants weren’t coming to Hazleton to cause problems as so many claimed. They were coming to escape them. Hazleton, like a lot of Rust Belt communities, was rapidly losing manufacturing jobs. And steady, decent-paying work was gradually being replaced by work that is temporary, low-wage, and often dangerous. Warehouses, a meatpacking plant… that sort of thing. Those jobs were attractive to immigrants, most of whom who originally settled in New York or New Jersey after being economically displaced by so-called “free trade” agreements. They left seeking economic stability, just as people like you and me are moving out of Hazleton because there are so few opportunities for viable employment. But that’s not at all the story we were told. Immigrants were made out to be the scapegoat. Urged on by an opportunistic politician, they became the reason for the city’s decline in the minds of so many.
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And you grew up in the crux of all that, didn’t you? Is that where your particular interest in immigration law comes from? DK: I’d certainly say so. Like I said before, I find it disheartening that Hazleton has such a significant history of immigration, for which most of the older residents feel a strong sense of pride, yet many of those same people fail to empathize with the immigrants of today. Of course, this is where the issue of race inevitably enters the mix. Since such “outward differences” are so easily exploitable by politicians, we can understand how the portrayal of an “us and them” becomes so successful, especially when the “us” is assured that “they” are a problem. It’s easy to feel helpless in such a situation, and I think this is around the time I became interested in immigration law. I was in high school when the Syrian refugee crisis reached a fever pitch; later, the Muslim Ban took effect during my freshman year. As I watched immigration attorneys rush to airports to give legal aid to the people who were stuck there, I was amazed to see a profession that gave you the power to help others at perhaps their most difficult moments of need. I remember distinctly thinking, “I want to be able to do that.” Additionally, learning that toddlers and children were being forced to “defend” themselves in their own immigration proceedings without legal representation because the right to counsel is not guaranteed in those proceedings (unlike how it is assured in criminal cases) was motivation to seek a career path that would allow me to give legal aid and support to those most in need. To me, solidarity with oftenmarginalized immigrants is important because of my own roots in Hazleton, where the concept of hard-nosed, coal-mining immigrants is revered and at times romanticized. I think current immigrants should get to be as openly proud of their roots as myself and my neighbors, not shamed into second-class status. I think this is where we can make connections between the global and national issue of immigration and how it became quite personal within my own experience. I still love Hazleton and its people for their warmth and sense of tradition, and their lack of pretentiousness in what they do, but I do feel a sense of disappointment that a city of people with such
capacity for kindness can be caught up in since usually no one knows about Hazleton something so evil. I think what becomes or even where it is, and in the one situation especially upsetting to me is that many someone did, it was not for a shining moof the friendliest neighbors you could ment. Even though that person was someimagine are manipulated and persuaded what off in terms of exact location, it was to believe ugly things, rather than encourtelling of the impression that my general aged to rethink their situation from a hometown region leaves on other people. Eric B.Kmiec, PhD different perspective. JL: That’s very true. It’s important, too, JL: Right! That’s such an important because in addition to being frustrating, point about Hazleton. When I travel to it’s also an impediment to change. On one professional meetings and tell colleagues hand you have folks looking down upon – mostly upper-middle class academics immigrants, and on the other hand you from big cities or wealthy suburbs – have folks looking down upon poor and where I’m from, the response is invariworking class people for not being as “enably “you’re from there?” As if it’s toxic. lightened” as they are on social issues. This There’s this perception that Hazleton is is where we’re stuck, not just in Hazleton, just “Trump country” and that the people but nationally as well. I think that instead there are irredeemable. That kind of of always “punching down” as they say, we hurts, you know? The racism is disgustneed to start paying more attention to who ing, there’s no denying that. But these are has the real power in our society. Who is the people I grew up around that they’re hoarding resources? Who is generating this cringing at. The people who were at my divisive rhetoric and for what purposes? wedding, you know? Being from there Who is denying so many of us access to you understand these folks as complex basic rights like healthcare? That is a much people. more productive conversation to have. For instance, many families have lived I’ve been involved with the Poor People’s in Hazleton for generations, going back to Campaign: A National Call for Moral the late 19th and early 20th centuries, anRevival, and, building on the work that thracite coal’s heyday. Poverty has always Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. started just been an issue. Often extreme poverty. The before his death, they are building a movewealthy have kicked our people around ment to end poverty, that is led by poor and for a very long time. Anti-immigrant working class people. One of the particular backlash was very common then too. things they are trying to do, which I really And the coal barons were always pitting appreciate, is to change what they call our workers against each other. They’d tell the country’s “distorted moral narrative.” For more established immigrant groups that example, one of their slogans is “It’s not the newcomers were to blame for all their a sin to be poor; poverty is a sin.” That’s problems. As you said, local folks have a more or less what I’m getting at here: Let’s pretty good understanding of all this. Lots stop being so judgmental about people of pride as well. I think these conditions who are struggling and instead start raising also led to some deep anti-establishment questions about why so many people are sentiments that have been passed down struggling in the first place. and which remain strong in our local culture. To me that was recognizable in DK: Definitely. I think taking on this the 2016 election. I may not agree with perspective is a much better way to start what they did with those sentiments, but enacting change in the U.S. today. In my I understand them. I have them myself. opinion, one of the most important things DK: That happened to me once. I told I ever did in my time here at Rosemont was someone I was talking to I was from to go on our service trips through Campus Hazleton, and they said “Oh, that’s Ministry, and by far my favorite has been where they have those crooked judges, our trips to the St. Francis Inn in Kensingright?” This, of course, refers to the 2008 ton, Philadelphia (a trip which I am very “Kids for Cash” scandal, when a judge lucky to be co-leading this June). In order to in neighboring Wilkes-Barre was found prepare as a service trip team, regardless of guilty of receiving kickbacks for sending where that trip is going, you reflect a lot on thousands of children to a private detenthe intent of the trip as a group. You contion center for relatively minor incidents. sider the lives of those you will be serving, In the moment I laughed to myself a bit, both how they differ from your own and
the aspects you share. Our preparation for the St. Francis Inn—and of course, our actual service work there— has opened my eyes to the complex issue of poverty. The Inn is a soup kitchen that is set up restaurant-style, so the volunteers come in and serve the guests. Such an arrangement is meant to encourage conversation, and the stories vary wildly amongst all the guests of the Inn. There are veterans, who struggle to get by on their measly checks; families with many children, also struggling to get by on meager checks and food stamps; there are people with advanced degrees, who happened to be one or two instances of sheer bad luck away from living in poverty; and there are those struggling with a variety of addictions, cast away by many for being “undeserving” of food or any sort of care, among countless others. What I think makes Rosemont really special is that it allows and encourages its students to live out its Mission in a lot of ways. Through this one example of our service trips, I’ve been able to reassess my thoughts on poverty, seeing myself in others who are in situations of profound struggle. This is in sharp contrast to the general rhetoric of society, which teaches you to look down—or as you say “punch down”— on those in poverty. I think Rosemont’s emphasis on having an “open and critical mind” and “being a lifelong learner” is important because it invites you to constantly question your beliefs and rethink them, thus developing yourself further as a person over time. The process of questioning yourself and your beliefs is difficult, yet necessary, and I think that if you don’t put yourself in an environment that encourages you to seek change or question things, then you might not ever do that. This is the aspect of the “us and them” rhetoric over immigration that I think is the worst. When political elites push that rhetoric, they encourage Americans to keep their assumptions as they are, rather than cluing them in to the fact that things could be much different if we saw others as similar to ourselves. Seeking out alternative narratives is important, which is why I appreciate your mentioning the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Likewise, the culture surrounding Rosemont inherently encourages that change and development, and I’ll always be thankful for it.
2016 Voting Rate for all Institutions
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The Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility
The film A Dangerous Idea: Eugenics, Genetics and the American Dream draws attention to how pseudoscientific claims about genetic inheritance were used throughout the 20th century to justify discriminatory and other practices which clearly violated human dignity. In this piece, Professor Klose discusses the centrality of the dignity of the human person to the Catholic Social Tradition. When people think of Catholicism, the first thought in people’s minds might be of the Catholic mass, sainthood, or the mother of Jesus, Mary. But what many call the “best kept secret” of the Catholic Church is its commitment to social justice. The Catholic Social Justice Tradition refers to a large body of material that has come forth from the Vatican all the way down to ordinary pastoral ministry in which the local bishop ministers to the needs of the local people. The Catholic Social Justice Tradition has one primary goal: maintaining the dignity of the human person. In the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, God creates not only the world but also humanity, made in the “image and likeness of God.” Many theologians have placed this in the human ability
15 | Ethos
The Catholic Social Justice Tradition:
Restoring the Dignity of Humanity By Francis X. Klose, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies
to think and reason, be creative, and that human beings have dominion of the earth in their hands. Therefore, any human being, regardless of any label that can be put upon them, has an inherent dignity that cannot be violated. The Catholic Social Justice Tradition seeks to protect that. As the world was rapidly changing during the Industrial Revolution, there was a new need to speak out to protect those who were vulnerable. Two groups were forming: those who controlled manufacturing and those who worked in manufacturing. Workers often faced unsafe
work conditions, long hours, and unfair wages. Children were often among the workforce. As a result, in 1891 Pope Leo XXIII issued what would be the first of many documents, Rerum Novarum: On the Condition of Human Labor. The document seeks to protect the rights and dignity of workers and remains a major theme of Catholic Social Teaching today. Technological advancement did not stop from there and remains an issue today. At the Second Vatican Council in 1965, Gaudium et Spes reflected on the ever-changing Modern world. The Church stated that it was its ongoing duty to recognize the “signs of the times” and that “we must therefore recognize and understand the world in which we live, its explanations, its longings, and its often dramatic characteristics.” This means
reflecting upon the way of the world and any instances that require attention to protect the dignity of all. With protecting the dignity of all in mind comes the principle of solidarity. Gaudium et Spes states that the world has become above all else, one human family. This precedes one’s affiliation with nation, race, social class, or way of life. The rapid change of the world has led to “spiritual agitation” as the world presents new griefs and anxieties for humanity. Globalization has led to labor being shifted across the world, often because there is an opportunity to exploit workers in lands without labor laws. This has led to a continued working poor. Another principle of Catholic Social Teaching is subsidiarity. This means that decisions should be made not simply by people at the upper levels in society, but rather include those on the ground level. Often the ones most vulnerable in society are those who are left without a voice. The poor often do not have the resources to be effective members of society. This principle seeks to leave no one behind due to poverty to any other structure that hinders their advancement. The preferential option for the poor ensures that those who are left behind in poverty are always kept in mind. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated, “blessed are the poor,” but also, “woe to you who are rich.” The one who has served money instead of God capitalizes on the poor; the one who serves God serves the poor. And of course, the great commandment of Jesus is to love God and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. The poor are among our neighbors, whether near or far away. Societal structures also demonstrate the need for the protection of rights and responsibilities for all. Voting, for example, is a right of all. In our own country’s history, the 15th and 19th amendments of the Constitution were necessary to give a voice to people once kept from having a say in society. But at the same time, voting is a responsibility. All persons should work to better society through exercising their right to vote to help shape society. But beyond that: our advanced societies have advocated a person’s right to education, safety, and healthcare. These are tasks that seek to preserve the dignity of the human person and will not simply
happen or their own or by voting alone. The social unit of the family is where all people have their beginnings. It is where people are formed; the family is a unit among other units that make up society. This means that in a society that protects the dignity of the human person, the human family should help the family function. That means creating a society in which people can afford to provide childcare for their children. Where education is a guarantee. And where sometimes even working families have to choose between diapers and food on the table. The family unit should be one supported by society. One final theme, which was reinforced by Pope Francis five years ago with the publication of Laudato Si is care for creation. Francis writes, “The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate
catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world.” The Catholic Church has long held that it is the duty of human beings to be stewards of creation to ensure that the people of this world today and in the future have a home that allows humanity to thrive. When such catastrophes occur, Francis notes that the poor are the ones affected most. The Catholic Church is continually on the lookout for societal structures that keep people from living in full dignity. That continues today, with growing concerns about gun violence, the opioid epidemic, war, racism, sexism, migration, healthcare, education, and so many more issues that affect people around the world. While the personal spirituality of individuals is indeed nurtured by the Catholic Church, one fully lives their Catholic faith through engagement with the world. In fact, it is called a “constitutive” element of the faith.
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The Margaret M. Healy Fund for Faculty Research in Ethics and Leadership
The Margaret M. Healy Fund for Faculty Research in Ethics and Leadership was established in 2016 in honor of Margaret M. Healy, Ph.D., former President and long-time supporter of Rosemont College, to facilitate research in Ethics and Leadership Studies within the Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility. Research supported by the Fund is expected to lead to the design of new courses or course modules with an emphasis on ethics or leadership, conference presentations, or to the publication of case studies, journal articles, or books. Award recipients are designated Institute Fellows throughout the duration of their project.
Richard Leiby, Ph.D. Professor of History
The Healy Grant award enabled me to conduct extensive research on the Nazi concept of Führerprinzip (leadership principle) in an attempt to discover what ethical considerations underpinned their approach to leadership and guided their decision making. Putting the two terms “ethics” and “Nazi” in the same sentence may seem inherently contradictory, but recent work by Claudia Koonz has demonstrated that the Nazis had a clear and distinct ethical consciousness that guided their actions. This past semester, I worked in both primary and secondary sources (mostly in German) in the National Archives, University of Virginia, and other libraries. The research is on-going, and hopefully the end product will shed some light on Nazi leadership ethics; a topic that has not been thoroughly explored by historians.
Katherine Baker, M.F.A. Assistant Professor of English
Through the Healy Grant, I was able to attend the Conference on Community Writing in Philadelphia sponsored by the Coalition for Community Writing. Attending the conference contributed to my research and curriculum development, which has been focused on the intersection and integration of social justice issues with literature and writing. The conference focused on DeepThink Tanks (participatory, actionoriented working sessions focused on critical social and environmental issues) and the keynote speakers and workshops were aimed towards addressing these issues in teaching, research, and the community. This was a great opportunity for representing Rosemont and to collaborate on ideas for the development of future courses and research with the integration of social justice issues and activism in the areas of immigration, gentrification, environmental and food justice, youth activism, and racial justice.
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is proud to serve as a Silver Sponsor of the 2020 Symposium of Rosemont Collegeâ€™s Institute for Ethical Leadership & Social Responsibility
The Magazine of Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility’s annual symposium. This year, the program consists in a screenin...
Published on Mar 20, 2020
The Magazine of Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility’s annual symposium. This year, the program consists in a screenin...