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The Morality of Cursing “Go to Hell Carolina, Go To Hell”

Guest Post by Jing Song Ng

In less than three weeks, Cameron will be awash with bobbing blobs of blue: a stampede of hopping feet vertically propels faces encrusted with paint. Behold the enduring war cry: “GO TO HELL CAROLINA, GO TO HELL!” And golly, we feel great banishing our neighbors to the infernal pits. We gleefully rejoice when our team’s foul goes unnoticed. A twisted Tarheell ankle wrings out hoots of delight from the Crazies, even as the player’s face writhes in anguish.

Such is the ethics of parochialism: the practice of prioritizing the happiness of a select few over the happiness of the many.

For those not familiar with Cameron Crazies, check out this video of parochialism in action:

This communal frenzy is not morally bankrupt. There are three reasons why a good person could, or even must, have a parochial moral compass.

First and foremost, a good person has to be a person. As people, we thrive on our social relations, be it the narrative of an imagined community, such as America or Duke, or the biological ties which tether a father’s affection to his toddler. We cannot be shorn of special obligations. Caring for a select group of people who are an integral, inextricable part of ourselves can be construed as ethical self-regarding.

Next, what constitutes the goodness of a good person? Goodness cannot be divorced from what it means to be a person. Nourishing the social identities we have either chosen or been bestowed with forces trade offs. A dollar spent on pediatric care could have provided Malaria vaccines that would have preserved more quality/disability-adjusted life years. However, being good involves being parochially other-regarding, selectively diverting our limited time, money, and affections to those who help us meaningfully flourish as a social being.

Finally, a healthy dose of parochialism can help us make decisions. A person cannot digest all necessary information to make a utility-maximising decision in every circumstance. Thus, parochialism helps us choose and lends clarity to the consequences of ethically-knotted decisions.

But note the caveat: “a healthy dose.” Dragged to the extremes, parochialism can be unbridled racism or a callous disregard for people considered the alien “other.” The idea of a person as a social being also expands the horizons of one’s moral considerations. As we bump, rub shoulders with, and converse with the “other”, more people trickle into our social life. However, come the 13th of February, the Grand Canyon between two shades of blue remains vituperatively, and quite ethically, profound.

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Jing Song Ng (T’13) is a recently graduated Public Policy and Cultural Anthropology double major. At Duke, Jing Song was a dedicated member of Duke Debate and wrote a column for The Chronicle, “Jingapore Says.”

Beyond the ivory tower

At Syracuse University, the line between a public and private institution has become blurry.

Earlier this month, The Chronicle of Higher Education analyzed the chancellorship of Nancy Cantor, who has pushed the university’s benefits past the campus’ walls and into the town of Syracuse. At the university’s expense, it has embarked on many city projects such as refurbishing public areas and offering tuition to local high school graduates under Cantor’s tenure. Although she has encouraged faculty members to focus their research on the town of Syracuse, some professors have blamed Cantor for SU’s sliding reputation and budgetary shortfalls.

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Coaches vs. Professors (Salaries)

Due to the rough economy, Texas Tech University froze $3 million in faculty salary for the year 2011, and naturally, it is the perfect time for its administration to raise the salary of Tommy Tuberville, the head football coach, by 1/6th of that amount, guaranteeing him at least $2 million a year till the year 2015.

For the record, Texas Tech’s football went 8-5 last year.

But who knows? Maybe the man’s family is starving with his measly $1.5 million salary from last year. Don’t worry though, both Coach Tuberville and the athletic director declined to comment when inquired by the press.

The university president Bailey says he is “sympathetic,” but they are keeping a promise they made last year (what a man of his word! but don’t they have contracts for professors to honor as well?).

To expand more on the topic, here’s an interesting video featuring Coach Calhoun, the head basketball coach of the University of Connecticut, if you haven’t seen it yet:

Continue reading “Coaches vs. Professors (Salaries)”