American government, de facto or de lure, which the armed citizenry will be required to bring down, just as the citizenry less than two centuries ago humbled the legal but oppressive government of King George. Such revolutionary premises may be inferred both from the titles of such from the fact that the retention of small arms in private hands for the repulse of some foreign foe is clearly pointless in the. days of nuclear bombs, nerve gas, and tanks Prague and Budapest make that fairly clear. There are, of course, more complex philosophies of revolution available. Thinking simply of philosophic pronouncements on revolution in Texas apart from Caroline’s, I recollect arts and sciences Dean John Silber offering a sensible, rather Paleyan, view of the matter before the model United Nations. Paley, you may remember, stated “the justice of every particular case of resistance is reduced to a computation of the quantity of the danger and grievance on the one side, and of the probability and expense of redressing it on the .other.” To Silber a revolution is, by definition, an appeal to force, and, in the spirit of Churchill’s comment . to Roosevelt about the Nuremburg trials and the next war, he added: “The one rule to be minded is that if you engage in a revolution, you’d better win.” This is perhaps a little hard on such people as Thoreau and Patrick Henry, not to mention such unsuccessful revolutionaries as the defenders of the Alamo, the heroes of the Easter Rebellion, and the freedom fighters in Hungary, or even the students of Prague, but it is a consistent and sensible view of revolution which should be carefully considered. The only criticism one might make is that occasionally the protesting of injustice may be more important than the chances of success, and sometimes an unsuccessful revolution may arouse the conscience of one’s neighbor. For example, the ‘recent bloody, if ineffectual, riotings of the oppressed Catholic minority in Northern Ireland may lead to some relief by spurring Great Britain, not the Ulster government, to do something about the present discontents. When I investigated Caroline’s speech, given all this talk on campus about revolution, I was a little surprised to find that he had not advocated a gobd old-style American revolution like those I mentioned earlier, or even like the smaller affairs that dot the pages of American history: Shays’ Rebellion, Bacon’s Rebellion, and the Dorr War, Nat Turner’s Rebellion, or the Whiskey Rebellion. In fact, even the recently heralded Tax Payers’ Revolt seemed more promising in its illegality. Caroline, it seems, had explained to a reporter that the revolution he had in mind need not necessarily be bloody. Compared to the sort of thing being advocated in Paris, Berlin, Prague, and even Madrid that year, Caroline’s recommendations were extraordinarily mild. He apparently envisaged a sort of persuasive conversion of “right wingers” by “left wingers” until the whole nation has a change of heart rather idealistic to me, but then that is exactly the way Christianity began in the Roman world. His views compared favorably with the more pessimistic predictions of Bertrand Russell, who is regarded by many as an intellectually competent philosopher: Some ideals are subversive and cannot well be realized except by war or revolution. The most important of these is at present economic justice. Political justice had its day in industrialized parts of the world and is still to be sought in the unindustrialized parts, but economic justice is still a painfully sought goal. It requires a world-wide economic revolution if it is to be brought about. I do not see how it is to s be achieved without bloodshed or how the world can continue patiently without it. It is true that steps are being taken in some countries, particularly by limiting the power of inheritance, but these are as yet very partial and very limited. Consider the vast areas of the world where the young have little or no education and where adults have not the capacity to realize elementary conditions of comfort. These inequalities rouse envy and are potential causes of great disorder.3 Anyway, the public reaction to Caroline’s speech was predictable. It must have been like living through the Scopes monkey trial. The university community was divided like the French over Dreyfus. The egregious board of regents chairman, Frank C. Erwin Jr., came out publicly and said he was “going to do something about it.” An idle boast, of course, as we have solemn statements from everybody including the janitor that no outside political pressure was involved. Caroline, as we know, had said nothing which was not well within the protection of the Bill of Rights, a. document for which he must have a healthy respect as a useful protection against the many-headed. The Events of May Caroline’s clarion call brought no one to the barricades, but it did produce some sort of action: at least one tumbril rolled. His speech raised serious doubts in several minds about his philosophical competence; this was then scrutinized on the academic level, found wanting by a bare majority of his colleagues on the budget council, and a terminal contract was recommended and approved by the appropriate bodies. The long-sought-after Caroline, twice offered an assistant professorship at the University of Texas at Austin, in 1965 and 1966, was, after such a short space of time, less than one year in fact, discovered to be a burnt-out case. He was put on terminal notice after a mere eight months, an unusual event for an assistant professor, who normally would be continued for about three or four years, unless his failure were monumental. Some souls, however, offered vehement counter-arguments against this early severance. I found the arguments and counter-arguments all very confusing. Caroline’s teaching abilities were at first not in question, only his philosophical competence. Later it was argued students only thought he was a good teacher because they were immature. Specifically, Dean Silber dismissed students who praised Caroline’s teaching, saying: “You haven’t hit the high-water mark in teaching with Mr. Caroline. The reason you’re so impressed with Mr. Caroline is that you’re so ignorant.” \(On the other hand, this is somewhat at odds with the dean’s present stress on teaching evaluations by students. One can’t have it both ways: either students’ opinions are valuable or not unless of course the philosophy department attracts only second-rate or Again it was not Caroline’s radical political views that were in question, but that his way of expressing them and thinking them through showed evidence that he was philosophically incompetent. But then, to me, that would make him a bad teacher of philosophy, because, no matter how much emphasis there is on teaching styles in this university, I cling to the outmoded notion that someone incompetent in a subject is not a good teacher of that subject. Again, there was some question about his grading practices, his irregular behavior in the matter of a black student, Larry Jackson, and his not defending a colleague, Silber himself, against irresponsible charges of racism. 4 If these contested allegations were true, then Caroline was guilty of “gross neglect of professional responsibilities” and/or “moral turpitude,” but as Professor Louis H. Mackey of the philosophy department pointed out, “academic incompetence” is not just a lesser degree of turpitude. His champions would retain rum because he was a good teacher; because he was philosophically competent; because it was too soon to decide; because the evidence against him was insufficient; or because he was a good guy to have around. Certainly there seemed little enough justification for the blank assertion of the administration that the whole question revolved around his academic competence, when there were so many conflicting motives for voting one way or another. This is what leads to a suspicion of railroading, for although the motives of the negative half of the budget council were doubtless honest \(i.e., reasons for so voting, and sincerely regarded as grounded on fact, yet not all of these motives would be regarded as academically just or respectable grounds for terminating prematurely someone’s contract. Stirring up discontent among graduate students, for October 24, 1969 3
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