Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Niceness: Not A Cardinal Virtue, Argues Mean College Professor
Megapolis, USA: Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, Justice...ring a bell?
They are the four classical cardinal virtues, named as such because they are essential to living the life of virtue. Niceness, declares Philosophy professor Erin McLaren of RBCU, is not on the list.
McLaren states, "This arose as an issue when my students began an argument in class that niceness should be a cardinal virtue. 'It's the social lubricant, it often denotes respect for the other, and it makes life pleasant.' I responded that while it is a sweetness in an otherwise well-functioning civil society, unfortunately, niceness doesn't make virtue a reality. And then the ugliness started."
Senior Dana Thomson, self-appointed class spokesperson, said "What Professor McLaren was arguing was really threatening, to be honest. Since we've been five years old, we've been told that the essence of being good was to be nice to others. Think about it: we chastize five year olds by saying 'That's not nice,' not 'That's not temperate.' Clearly it is essential to the virtuous life...or else every American's childhood has been malformed. So we went to the Dean to file a complaint."
"...Which wasn't particularly just, temperate, prudent, or nice, although I suppose it did require some fortitude," continued McLaren. "The Dean, Harry Rottersdam, initially backed me in the classroom but suggested that I needed to be more prudent in raising controversial issues. I responded, with some vehemence, that this suggestion wasn't just. He rejoined with 'well, that's not nice' and forwarded the issue to the President, Fr. Raymond Cartinale."
Fr. Cartinale's spokesperson, Bob Greenwood, said "Fr. Cartinale would like the time to make a prudent decision based on the facts of the accusation. As this is Professor McLaren's only official complaint on record, any consequences would be temperate. And he in fortitude refuses to be bullied into a rash decision by any party. He plans to announce his decision next Friday and appreciates everyone's patience in this matter of justice. Thank you for your patience."
This reporter asked students in the RBCU cafeteria to respond to the President's statement. Tiffany Gilcrest read the written statement to her peers, and ended saying "Oh, that's nice." Everyone nodded vigorously.