Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How Hitler Creeped into my Ethics Class

To say that people have fumbled through another Tuesday of class could quite possibly an understatement. It has had its entertaining moments to say the least, and as I write this, that trend continues.

So far we've had the ever-irritating annoyance of some moronic child pulling the fire alarm, a professor who suggested that we had "mad it writely" as opposed to write it madly. There have also been several wisecracks from across the room, although that tends to fit the daily norm. But a conversation started thanks to the mentioning of Adolf Hitler has set aside this day from the typical Tuesday duldrums felt on this first day of class of the week.

To give it some context, the class was our first in a 7 class series on ethics. As you would imagine, this was the basic introductory lesson to give us all a little perspective, talking about the Ethics of Justice versus the Ethics of Care. One of the questions that came up for discussion was, and I am paraphrasing since I cannot remember it exactly: If your boss told you to do something and it hurt someone else, are you responsible for what happens to the people who are hurt? A legitimate question for a conversation on ethics.

Suddenly a hand was raised from the back of the classroom and the comment that set the tone for the rest of the day was made... 'Yeah, look at what happened with Hitler and the Holocaust!'
An interesting combination of stunned silence and uncontrollable quiet laughter followed the suggestion.

To be honest, it is a very legitimate issue to bring up in the context of the conversation. What threw everyone was the massive scale of the example used to kickstart the class dialogue. But I digress.

Several people followed with various comments, ranging from how way too large a comparison it was all the way to why it wasn't an appropriate subject matter. Me being a former World War II history specialist, I took the time to sit back and keep my mouth shut. Part of me really wanted to partake in the hilarious discussion that followed, but I thought that sitting back and enjoying was a better idea in this instance. One of the few where I can actually say that.

So the day continues with mishap after mishap. Thanks once again to Hitler, another collection of people are having a day that seems to lead to disaster. Well, not on that level...


Stephanie Colvert said...

Can you actually hear my wise cracks? Because I totally thought that I was quiet.. hahha.

And I thought the Hitler thing was a good example. Not all the comments made were ignorant. Some of us did discuss that even though they were told what to do by Hitler, they did have some control over their actions.

Stephanie Colvert said...

Oh.. and I am following you.. that way you have an easy quick link to my blog.. I know how much you love it ;P

Borderguard said...

Damn I wish I had been in your class today... our teacher tried to open up a conversation but no one really seems to be that passionate about Milton Babbit and American Serialism. And I was so ready for a good debate too....