Tarry for the Nonce

October 26, 2005

I Guess No One Wanted to Copy His Homework

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 5:18 pm

I did get a kick out of the collegiate argument posed by Andrew Freeman, purported columnist:

Plagiarism defeats the true purpose of education, which is to learn processes – how to research, how to write, how to conduct an experiment and broadly, how to think about complex ideas. The biggest reason plagiarism occurs is that most students are not intellectuals, and neither see nor care about the value of these processes. The goal for most of them is to acquire a degree or get good grades, and they see no other meaning in the work they do. In that vein, they have no respect for the standards that ideas and their origins are held to . . .

Plagiarism, and cheating in general, is ultimately a sign of something far worse for society. Journalists like Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair fabricated entire articles for respected publications. The Catholic Church allowed priests to molest children, moved them around and covered it up, not just in one city but across the nation. The nation was defrauded on a massive scale by businessmen, like Kenneth Lay of Enron, who amassed immense wealth while their companies fell. The President let his allies slime a war hero and lied to us repeatedly to promote a war that was never necessary.

All of these scandals start when someone decides that the goal he seeks to accomplish is so important that any method is justified in achieving it. People who do not care about the impact of their actions, from criminals to bishops, make the country a more miserable place. When my cheating classmates mature and enter the working world, I hope that lesson will be clear. If not, if there is no respect for ideas, no concern for the common good, then the scandals of today are but a prelude to the suffering we will face.

If you managed to slosh through the awkward parlance and grammatical lapses, I think he is attempting to say that plagiarism paves the way for child molestation, Republican domination and John Kerry vituperation. Wow. I could almost be impressed with the way Freeman manages to smoosh all his current political vexations into the box of his academic frustrations, were his arguments not so very sophistic. (Or, as Best of the Web observes, “Of course! Molesting children is just like liberating Iraq and being mean to John Kerry! UMass is doing a bang-up job teaching Freeman ‘how to think about complex ideas.'”)

One almost wishes that “intellectual” columnists of Andrew Freeman’s caliber would be content with plagiarizing better authors, rather than subjecting us to such poorly regurgitated ideology.

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3 Comments

  1. John Kerry vituperation….smoosh…political vexations…sophistic

    Holy Lexicon Batman!

    So would this guy have a problem with the GPL license? Afterall, what’s open source GPL, but a way to merely copy, and perhaps perfect, what others have done? Of course, I suppose the main difference is that with the GPL you have to include the license so others know that the beastly thing you’ve produced is not just your work…but who ever looks at the GPL anyway?!

    Comment by Andrew P. — October 27, 2005 @ 12:52 am

  2. So would this guy have a problem with the GPL license?

    Nah… It seems to me that he is just lamenting that more people now seem to value the ends above the means.

    Comment by Troy — October 27, 2005 @ 11:23 am

  3. He must be a purist…

    Comment by Andrew P. — October 27, 2005 @ 3:40 pm


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