Jason Stanley Epilogue
Just had to share this with you. After accusing another philosopher of child murder for criticizing a paper of his, the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University took down his Facebook page, it appears. You may be thinking, “That’s crazy! No Yale philosophy professor could possibly behave that way in public.” Well, yes, he did. Clearly, Yale has a problem child on its hands:
UPDATE: Jason Stanley responds in the comments section:
Very briefly about this particular situation: I am the father of two small children, and my partner is a high-risk physician with a very long work schedule. Our youngest child is less than two years old. On this day, my partner had gone to work early in the morning, and I was with both kids since they woke up. Buckner started posting comment after comment about one specific issue that is a political and economic hot potato, namely the true size of city pension obligations. My paper is about Flint and not Detroit, but I have a paragraph or maybe two about the issue of whether Detroit’s Emergency Manager exaggerated Detroit’s pension obligations. The most comprehensive report on the Detroit bankruptcy, from Demos, as well as previous calculations, suggested Orr did engage in massive exaggeration. Buckner helpfully pointed out that there are economists who believe that these accounts are because pension obligations have been miscalculated and really are much larger. I was reporting what other people said and basic facts (like the official figures before Orr’s EM administration). I ended up agreeing with Buckner that I should change the wording to make it clear that there are definitely those who think Orr is right (but I think Buckner agrees with me that the majority of people involved, including economists, go by other pension calculations than the ones Orr was using). But Buckner kept on going with invective. I pleaded with him several times, saying “I am with my children I can’t engage right now”, but his comments became increasingly hostile. This was weird since I don’t really disagree with him, and I didn’t have time to have a lengthy argument about different ways of calculating pension obligations (and it’s not central for my paper, which is on Flint, not Detroit). But the angry comments kept flowing in. At one point, our smallest child did something very dangerous that I almost missed, and after rescuing him from his predicament had a surge of fear that I almost overlooked that. I snapped at the moment and then typed that comment in. I deleted it almost immediately and unfriended Buckner, and then sent him an apology explaining the situation (it’s very strange to me that he was able to get a screenshot in what must have been less than 2 seconds). I am not really sure what the parameters of “unhinged” are. I love my children. They are my life. It was a frightening moment for me, and my hands were trembling. Maybe other parents are very calm in the moments immediately after such an incident. I am not. I did at that moment snap and blame it on Buckner’s series of ever escalating comments, which I had by that time repeatedly told him to stop because of my fear of just such an incident. I have not here argued that I am not unhinged. I’m just saying that this isn’t evidence of it.