Wake Forest Eudaimonia Institute

An Inside Perspective on Radicals’ Treatment of Wake Forest’s Eudaimonia Institute

Last fall Wake Forest University announced a $4.2 million donation to fund “the study of human flourishing” at the university’s newest institute—the Eudaimonia Institute (EI). Although it took people a while to pronounce this elegant Greek word correctly—the pronunciation is “yoo-dye-mo-NEE-uh”—the generous gift seemed to be a perfect fit with Wake’s mission.

The Greek root words in “eudaimonia” are “eu” (meaning good) and “daimon” (meaning a protective spirit). It turns out that the word “demon” (as in Demon Deacon) comes from the same root word as “daimon,” so the institute’s name fits especially well with the school’s identity. In Greek, “eudaimonia” means “good spirit” and Demon Deacon means “servant spirit”! Nice match.

But that’s not the way a lot of faculty members saw it. This wasn’t a good-spirited endeavor in their eyes. It was bad.

The Greek word for “bad” is “kako,” and the institute’s detractors knew it was bad because the main source of the gift had a bad name: Koch. “Koch” and “kako” even sound similar. (Actually “Koch” comes from a Germanic word meaning “cook.”)

Charles Koch, whose foundation donated the money to Wake Forest, is about as evil as they come, according to campus radicals, who soon educated the unenlightened by holding protest meetings and circulating a lengthy petition describing Koch’s vast plan to hijack higher education and spread his benighted ideas. Faculty and students soon learned that the multi-billionaire Koch is a libertarian. Or maybe even a conservative (which is obviously still worse).

Libertarians and conservatives are a rare species on campuses and it appears that although some college professors have apparently never actually met any of them, just reading about their goals is enough to make their hair stand on end. It seems that Koch’s big idea is to push something called “freedom.”

Don’t college professors tout freedom, especially academic freedom? This time they didn’t.

What do you do when freedom tries to invade your campus? The response was swift and clear—the petition, signed by almost 200 faculty members, impelled the faculty Senate to demand that the university administration return the tainted money and sever all ties with Koch’s foundation. The student government met as well and considered endorsing the Senate’s resolution, but ultimately declined to do so.

You may be perplexed by the reaction of these Wake Forest faculty members. Don’t college professors tout freedom, especially academic freedom? This time they didn’t. Instead, they turned their backs on the Eudaimonia Institute.

As a member of the Eudaimonia Institute’s Advisory Board, I heard reports that people who were affiliated with the institute were being ostracized and unfriended. During a college faculty meeting, angry comments and accusations were hurled at the director of the institute, philosopher James Otteson, and the faculty moved to deny credit to students for taking a course created by Otteson. (The course is taught in the business school, which has greeted Otteson and EI warmly, but credit was denied to non-business majors in the college who took this course.)

Why was this reaction to a grant to study human flourishing so hostile? I think I discovered the reason when I was invited to explain EI’s mission to Wake’s student government.

I explained that EI’s mission is genuine. It has begun to and will continue to study human flourishing from a wide range of viewpoints. Some of these viewpoints (those to the left of center) have increasingly claimed a monopoly on wisdom, knowledge, and understanding and have actively moved to push other viewpoints off campuses all over the nation and increasingly at Wake Forest. In a boat that is listing badly to one side, it is possible that EI will add balance and help right the ship by bringing in new viewpoints.

For saying that, I was told that my comments somehow confirmed the ideologically-biased mission of EI. Imagine that! You’re an ideologue only if you are open to opinions that aren’t firmly to the left of center.

After I spoke, I overheard a detractor speaking with some earnest student defenders of EI in the hallway. This faculty member had found a “smoking gun” in Koch Foundation statements, a smoking gun that said its mission is to promote freedom. How could you possibly object to the goal of freedom, asked the students. Isn’t our country founded on freedom?

The response said it all. “Freedom,” the students were told, is a code word to these people. When they say freedom they only mean less government regulation and lower taxes. This is, of course, a caricature of the range of freedoms that interest the Koch Foundation, but it is very telling. These ideas are verboten to campus radicals. Students, faculty, and the rest of the world should never be exposed to ideas about a smaller government and more freedom for people in their economic lives.

It is also deeply ironic, because so little of what EI will study is likely to touch on such mundane issues as taxes and regulatory overreach. EI is unique because it’s trying to look deeper—into the human mind, into the human soul, into the loving embrace of family members, and even into eternity. (Fittingly, one of the board members is in the school of divinity.) Raise up your gaze, will you! Do you think that money alone can make people and society flourish?

To their credit, the president, provost, other administrators, and board of trustees at Wake Forest rejected these calls to decline the Koch Foundation’s gift.

In April, EI held its first big event—a conference that did exactly as advertised by examining human flourishing. The keynote address bore the title “Eudaimonia Is Not Measurable Pleasure, But the Fruit of a Liberal Life.” (Remember that the root of “liberal” means “free.”) Other papers had titles like “Eudaimonia and International Politics,” “Desperation and Unfulfilling Lives in America: The High Costs of Being Poor in the Land of the Dream,” “Just Action and Eudaimonia in Plato’s Republic,” and “Happier People Are Less Likely to Be Unemployed: Evidence from Longitudinal Data in Germany.”

Perhaps the faculty enemies of the Eudaimonia Institute would drop their opposition to it if they looked at what it does, rather than where its funds come from.

Philosophers, economists, political scientists, and other scholars delivered papers—just as they do at every other academic conference. But the conversation was unusually interdisciplinary and participants from different fields spoke with each other, instead of past each other as is often the case.

Sitting in the audience, taking notes, were some high-profile detractors of the institute, organizers of the effort to shut down this very discussion. My sense is that they were surprised by what they saw and heard: ideas from across the political spectrum and a calm discussion of how to measure human well-being, how to conceptualize it, and how to further it. Some common ground was found, but the most solid terra firma was the very conversation itself—a genuine attempt to learn from each other, an authentic study of human flourishing.

Perhaps the faculty enemies of the Eudaimonia Institute would drop their opposition to it if they looked at what it does, rather than where its funds come from.

  • tdaly29

    Dr Whaples in on the Eudaimonia Institute Advisory Board. He is also Co-Editor and Managing Editor, The Independent Review, part of the Independent Institute
    which has received funds from the Charles Koch Foundation.

    For those wishing to read both sides of the issue you can read the letter to the editor of the Wake Forest Old Gold and Black at
    http://wfuogb.com/category/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/
    including a letter from Dr. Whaples.

    Dr. Whaples overstates his case when he calls his fellow faculty “radicals”. WFU
    is not Wesleyan or Berkeley. It is a conservative campus in one of the most conservative states in a conservative country. It hardly attracts radical professors, certainly not almost 200.

    Teaching at the school is the past president of the Koch funded Cato institute. It is receptive to conservative or libertarian ideas.

    • Jane S. Shaw

      If the school is receptive to conservative and libertarian ideas, why is it not receptive to the Eudaimonia Institute’s conservative and libertarian ideas?

      • Glen_S_McGhee_FHEAP

        Not some much “conservative or libertarian ideas,” but the means for spreading those ideas.

        Florida State University had controversy as well.
        ““FSU will allow [the Charles Koch Foundation] to review and approve the text of any proposed publicity which includes mention of CKF,” reads a memorandum of understanding signed between the university and foundation in 2013. … Among the proposed conditions: Teachings must align with the libertarian economic philosophy of Charles Koch, the Charles Koch Foundation would maintain partial control over faculty hiring and the chairman of the school’s economics department—a prominent economic theorist—must stay in place for another three years despite his plans to step down.”
        https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/10/spreading-the-free-market-gospel/413239/

        Or, maybe it is the Ayn Rand link?
        Den Uyl, Douglas J. and Rasmussen, Douglas B. “Life, Teleology, and Eudaimonia in the Ethics of Ayn Rand”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Virtue_of_Selfishness

    • jaypopecenter

      How dare the Martin Center publish an article titled “An Inside Perspective …” by somebody who is actually connected to the organization in question?
      The effrontery!

  • Jeffrey Fischer

    It’s sad to see this pattern replicated at university after university, as though the only diversity that matters involves skin color and/or gender and/or sexual preference. Diversity of thought is forbidden. The message that sends to students is terrible.

    Keep up the good fight.

    (As an aside, Dr. Whaples was the TA in the economic history class I took with Claudia Goldin at Penn in the mid-80s – a class I enjoyed very much, in no small part because Dr. Goldin was happy to entertain non-standard opinions on controversial subjects.)

  • Connor Gibson

    Koch and academic freedom – here’s everything this author left out, including this history and definition of ‘academic freedom,’ which the Koch contracts consistently violate.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Koch_Universities#Koch_and_Academic_Freedom

    • bdavi52

      Sourcewatch, we might note, is published by the Center for Media and Democracy. “The New York Times referred to CMD as a watchdog organization. The Washington Post described CMD as “a liberal organization that tracks the use of public relations by corporations and politicians.” A May 2012 article in Isthmus, an alternative weekly newspaper based in Madison, Wisconsin, referred to CMD as an “activist group”. A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel political columnist referred to CMD as “left-wing” and “liberal.” CMD was referred to as “uber-liberal” by the conservative news website Watchdog.org. CMD has been referred to as a “liberal advocacy group” by The Des Moines Register, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Wisconsin State Journal, and the La Crosse Tribune.” The Media Bias Fact Check group’s perspective is here: https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/center-for-media-and-democracy/

      The Koch Foundation, on the other hand, describes its Academic Giving Principles thusly:

      Academic Freedom
      Universities thrive when there is a diversity of ideas and scholarship is subject to rigorous and honest intellectual challenge. We are committed to the ideal of academic freedom and seek university partners who encourage civil debate.

      Academic Independence
      Students and scholars teach and learn best when free from outside influence. Scholars follow their research wherever it may lead, and schools conduct hiring, research, and curricula according to their standard grant policies.

      Donor Intent
      We fund proposed activities that match our commitment to advancing a better understanding of how to improve societal well-being.

      Public Benefit
      Successful grants benefit society, not a specific individual or special interest, by improving what we know about how people can live better lives.

      In the end, as we examine two sets of conflicting rhetoric, we can only look at the work done with the funding provided. The Eudaimonia Institute tells us that its purpose is “to explore the elements of and institutions that support eudaimonia, or genuine human flourishing. We are creating a community of scholars dedicated to developing an interdisciplinary understanding of what eudaimonia is, what the institutions are that support it, and what its chief obstacles are, all in the hopes of enabling more people to achieve eudaimonia.” Surely that seems reasonable? And certainly it is well in line with the stated Koch Giving Principles.

      Perhaps the CMD could benefit from, as Prof. Whaples suggests, looking at what the EI actually does??

  • bdavi52

    “Perhaps the…enemies…would drop their opposition to IT, if they looked at what it does?”

    Incredulity is too mild a word.

    Do we not know this enemy, already named but a mere few paragraphs earlier? These are the New Brownshirts, this generation’s Intolerant True Believers. And whatever contradicts dogma & doctrine, whatever asks questions and seeks answers, whatever stands in independent pursuit of Truth (with a capital “T”) must by definition be opposed because it could (and probably will) contradict the Revealed Truth, the one preached in every classroom, the one engraved on the stone tablets saying Diversity, Inclusion, Equality, and Social Justice.

    As reported in these pages back in March, the Anti-EI Force “asserts that Koch funding is a threat to academic freedom and transparency, faculty governance, and the academic reputation of the university. Faculty are also concerned about the “intellectual foundations” of the Koch Foundation.” Why? How? Because the Institute (prompted by the presumed ‘intellectual rot’, presumed to be found deep in the bowels of the Koch Foundation) is the Devil. As Hoffer explained: ““Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all the unifying agents. Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without a belief in a devil.” And obviously any effort not sponsored by, not staffed by, not reviewed and approved by those 200 True Believers COULD (and probably will) generate heresy.

    Stalin described it thusly: “Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.” And clearly any University effort funded by the Devil must be aiming at the Left Progressive SJW Agenda.

    I think it reasonable to suspect that the “enemies will not drop their opposition”, even if they looked at what it does. I suspect that if they truly “looked at what it does” the opposition would become that much more determined…

    ““In some … schools, students killed their principals and then cooked and ate the bodies to celebrate a triumph over ‘counter-revolutionaries’.” Zheng Yi, Chinese writer, speaking of the Red Guard.

    • tdaly29

      Now we have gone from “radicals” to Brownshirts. Good grief get a grip. WFU is not Wesleyan or Berkeley. It is a conservative campus in one of the
      most conservative states in a conservative country. It hardly attracts
      radical professors or brownshirts, certainly not almost 200.

      • bdavi52

        Call them what you like; dress them accordingly. It really doesn’t matter.

        In the end we have 200 highly-educated faculty — supposedly well-versed on the critical importance of both free speech and academic freedom as fundamental to the purpose of the Academy — who act with significant vitriol to shut down an entire program (and an entirely apolitical program at that), while shunning the leader of that program, and refusing academic credit to those brave enough to take the program in the face of the public shaming.

        This is intolerance, pure & simple. This is a rejection of freedom and an insult to the notion that the University is and should be all about the pursuit of Truth. What we see here from the 200 is an insistence on Universal Right Thought….and that is nothing but totalitarianism.

        ““they had come to a time when no one dared speak his mind, when fierce, growling dogs roamed everywhere, and when you had to watch your comrades torn to pieces after confessing to shocking crimes.”

        ““No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?”

        If Wake Forest doesn’t attract brownshirts, it evidently must grow them.

        • tdaly29

          This issue is not new, not invented by WFU, but involved over 30 colleges in 2014 according to Forbes, long before EI.
          Titled “‘UnKoch My Campus’ Protests Spread Across Nation”
          https://www.forbes.com/site

          • bdavi52

            Who said it was new?

            That the New Intolerance has infected many if not most of our Campuses nationwide is clearly not new. We can hear the hobnailed boots from here.

          • tdaly29

            There are many foundations an people giving grants to universities. Why are the Koch brothers the only ones have and “unkoch My Campus” movement? No “UnRockefeller”, no “UnFord”. Try to figure it out.

          • bdavi52

            As I said… the New Intolerance has infected many if not most of our Campuses nationwide is clearly not new. We can hear the hobnailed boots from here.

          • tdaly29

            You and JWJ should decide if it is the far left Communists or the far right Fascists you are fighting. You really ought to come to an agreement as to who is the enemy.

          • bdavi52

            The enemy, always, is Totalitarianism. The enemy, always, is intolerance. The enemy, always, is the Thought Police, with their hobnailed boots, stomping out different points of view with vary from the Orthodoxy. The enemy clearly is the State Bureau of Right Thinking.

          • JWJ

            “Why are the Koch brothers the only ones have and “unkoch My Campus” movement? No “UnRockefeller”, no “UnFord”. Try to figure it out.”

            The answer is that Rockefeller and Ford money money from the left to far left. The dominant left on the pretty much 70-90% of campuses is ideologically in tune with the source of Rockefeller and Ford money.
            Isn’t this simply obvious to you?

  • tdaly29

    Three points.

    1. No radical requests. The faculty called for only a few things; the creation of
    a joint University committee to devise a university-wide Conflict of interest Policy
    in accordance with AAUP guideline and for faculty representation on the University Gift Acceptance Committee and a review of that committee’s policies and procedures. Hardly seems like radical
    proposals. The Eudaimonia Institute Advisory Board were asked to participate in various aspects of the faculty inquiry, but they declined.

    2. . Protect academic freedom. Other “gifts” from the CKF to colleges require particular instructors teaching a particular subject with a specified syllabus. The
    Charles Koch Foundation’s leadership has be quoted as saying it has an “integrated” strategy that “leverages” university centers, think tanks, and the Koch grassroots political apparatus for political ends. As stated by 2 CKF leaders at a 2014 Koch Summit,
    (see https://archive.org/details/FreedomPartnersLeveragingScienceAndUniversities)
    CKF has built “a robust freedom-advancing network of professors that is producing research at university centers across the country.” This research serves as the “raw material” for CKF-funded think tanks to convert into legislative policy recommendations. Regarding the students taught in these centers, Kevin Gentry notes, “we’ve been able to produce twomillion or so grassroots.” The network professors “help these students see the message to fight for freedom.” So “not only does higher education act as a talent pool stream,” but these students go on to “populate our program, these think tanks, and grassroots.” Almost two hundred faculty at WFU believe that academic freedom should not be sold for twenty shekels of silver.

    3. End the debate on the WFU Eudaimonia Institute. Dr. Otteson has stated on this very site that there is no privacy provisions in the Charles Koch foundation grant, and that only the WFU policies prevent it from being shared with the faculty.
    See comments on https://www.jamesgmartin.center/2017/06/koch-funded-speaker-wake-tech/
    As also pointed out in the site – According to the Wake Forest University Gift Acceptance Policy. “Gifts..are divulged to others with the authorization of the Vice
    President of the University Advancement. Dr Otteson and Dr Whaples,, along with
    the Advisory Board, can end this debate and ask the Vice President for the
    ability to make the agreement public. Why not, Dr. Whaples?

  • tdaly29

    Three points.

    1. No radical requests.
    The faculty called for only a few things; the creation of a joint University committee to devise a university-wide Conflict of interest Policy
    in accordance with AAUP guideline and for faculty representation on the University Gift Acceptance Committee and a review of that committee’s policies and procedures. Hardly seems like radical
    proposals. The EI Advisory Board wereasked to participate in various aspects of the faculty inquiry, but they declined.

    2. . Protect academic freedom.

    Other “gifts” from the CKF to colleges require particular instructors
    teaching a particular subject with a specified syllabus. The Charles Koch Foundation’s leadership has
    been quoted as saying it has an “integrated” strategy that “leverages” university
    centers, think tanks, and the Koch grassroots political apparatus for political
    ends.
    (see https://archive.or/deta/FreedomPartnersLeveragingScienceAndUniversities)
    Almost two hundred faculty at WFU believe that
    academic freedom should not be sold for twenty shekels of silver.

    3. End the debate on the WFU Eudaimonia Institute.

    Dr. Otteson has stated on this very site that there is no privacy provisions in the Charles Koch foundation grant, and that only the WFU policies prevent it from being shared with the faculty.
    According to the Wake Forest University Gift Acceptance Policy.
    “Gifts..are divulged to others with the authorization of the Vice
    President of the University Advancement. Dr Otteson and Dr Whaples,, along with
    the Advisory Board, can end this debate and ask the Vice President for the
    ability to make the agreement public.
    Why not?

    • B

      Why has issue #1 never been broached until EI received a CKF grant? Why does it’s urgency seem contingent on the provenance of this particular gift?

      Putting aside the tendentious characterization of the “other ‘gifts'” in point #2, what conditions does this gift place on instructors and syllabi? I assume they are not mentioned because they do not exist.

      Which other grants to WFU from outside foundations, governments, and persons have received the scrutiny directed at this agreement? Have all other grant agreements been divulged to the faculty? Have you researched it before making this demand?

      It all reeks of dishonest motives by the 200 for the purpose of suffocating diverse thought and defending entrenched leftism. Any stick at hand, right tdaly29? Pathetic.

  • tdaly29

    Watching what the Eudaimonia Institute is doing?
    Number of colleges and Universities in the US, somewhere over 2,600. Number
    given grants by Koch brothers slightly over 300. Thus the odds of a random
    presenter being from a school receiving Koch donations, about 1 in 10.
    Not counting the two presenters from Wake Forest at the Eudaimonia
    Institute Conference, The ratio is 6 out of 9.

    One would guess this is not a random selection of presenters.
    Presenter University Koch Donation
    McClosky University of Illinois Yes
    Richards University of Alabama Yes
    Bobonich Stanford University Yes
    LeBar Florida State University Yes
    Montgomery University of SouthernCalifornia No
    Christenberry Indiana University Yes
    Fritts University of Wisconsin-Madison Yes
    Shea Saint Louis University No
    O’Connor University of Southern California No

    What happened to schools from the North East? Donald W.Harward, president
    emeritus of Bates College and has directed the Bringing Theory to Practice
    Project since its founding in 2003 with S. Engelhard Pingree. The project has
    resulted in a book Well-Being and Higher Education: A Strategy for Change and
    the Realization of Education’s Greater Purposes and many other resources and
    scholars. Why were none of the 35 authors of these well researched articles in
    the book on well being invited to speak? Perhaps they are not of the “right” beliefs?
    Also, the Koch sponsored BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism/ The Eudaimonia Institute , invited John Tamny, a senior fellow at the Koch sponsored Reason Foundation to give a presentation on The Wonders of Inequality.

    We are watching what the Eudaimonia Institute is doing.

    • kryon77

      Hey bdaly29,

      I’m watching what you & your friends are doing, you little fascist twat.

      Trillions of dollars, public and private, go to education in America, and of the private monies, left-leaning mega-foundations (e.g., Ford, Rockefeller) dwarf the funds contributed by donors such as the Koch brothers.

      That’s fine with me; in a free country, people can privately fund whatever ideas they want.

      But the Left is the opponent of liberty generally and free speech specifically; knowing that your ideas are false, you do your utmost to stamp out any honest multi-sided dialogue in any public forum – even when such a dialogue does not directly implicate politics.

    • bdavi52

      And this is different HOW from what what every sponsored conference tends to do? (particularly a debut conference called by an Institute which has only just begun).

      Do most conferences choose speakers RANDOMLY?

      Do we truly know that none of those contributors were invited to speak? ( I certainly don’t know who was and who was not invited.)

      Do we know that they, like you, have not already judged & condemned the program as being unworthy of their time?

      Have we examined not just the speaker’s pedigree (which you seem to strongly embrace) but the actual content of their talks? Have we looked, in other words, not just as what we THINK ‘people like that’ will do but actually at what they did???

      Do you truly find topics like, “Eudaimonia is Not Measurable Pleasure,
      But the Fruit of a Liberal Life”…or “Just Action and Eudaimonia in Plato’s “Republic”…. or “Desperation and Unfulfilling Lives in America: The High Costs of Being Poor in the Land of the Dream”…. or “Finding Love in the Ruins: Re-mystifying Human Flourishing in an Empirical Age”…. Do we find these discussions so overwhelmingly Hitlerian that we just can’t stand it???

      And even if the speakers were ‘pre-loaded’…even if the topics presented were deliberate shaped to match an political agenda (though we see little evidence of that in the program schedule…a la “Nature, Virtue, and Well Being”) do you truly believe that a single speech on the “Wonders of Inequality” somehow trumps the 10,000 speeches on the “Wonders of Equality” heard on countless campuses around the country?

      It would seem your time would be well spent actually looking at what the EI IS actually doing, as opposed to what you fear they might do.

      • tdaly29

        If you had bothered to go out to the Institute website you would see that the participants had to apply and were selected by the Institute. Nothing random about it.

        • bdavi52

          So you agree that most conferences do NOT choose speakers randomly? That’s great! We’re making progress.

          Now can you tell me who applied and who didn’t apply? Can you tell me who applied and was rejected or why they were rejected? I certainly don’t know. But until we know how Presenters (and we really should distinguish between Conference Speakers & Paper Presenters) were chosen (and why those not-chosen were rejected) we really can’t say anything about any political bias in the Conference now can we?

          And certainly — since neither of us attended — we cannot say what was specifically discussed or the tone of the discussion, but equally certainly we can scan the titles of the papers presented to try to litmus-test the politics of the presenters (as that would seem to be your inclination). So, as asked before…. do you truly find topics like, “Eudaimonia is Not Measurable Pleasure,
          But the Fruit of a Liberal Life”…or “Just Action and Eudaimonia in Plato’s “Republic”…. or “Desperation and Unfulfilling Lives in America: The High Costs of Being Poor in the Land of the Dream”…. or “Finding Love in the Ruins: Re-mystifying Human Flourishing in an Empirical Age”…. Do we find these discussions so overwhelmingly Hitlerian (or worse Kochian) that we just can’t stand it???

          • tdaly29

            Here, I will make it simple for you.
            1. If the people were selected randomly only 1 would be expected to be from a college that obtained a grant from CKF.
            2. 6 pf the 9 presenters were from schools receiving grants from CKF. This would not happen randomly.

            3. So these people where recruited. They were recruited and selected by EI. So an Institute funded by CKF selected people from colleges funded by CKF.

            4. If your goal was “to study human flourishing from a wide range of viewpoints. why was the majority of people from CKF funded colleges. (statistically this is highly unlikely)

            4. There were no representatives from the NE, even though there has be a long standing study in this area by Donald W.Harward, president emeritus of Bates College and many others. Why not?

          • bdavi52

            Here. Let me make it even simpler.

            YOU said, in your criticism of the conference, “One would guess this is not a random selection of presenters.”

            I responded, “And this is different HOW from what what every sponsored conference tends to do? (particularly a debut conference called by an Institute which has only just begun). Do most conferences choose speakers RANDOMLY?”

            You answered: “Nothing random about it. ”

            And I answered, yet again: “So you agree that most conferences do NOT choose speakers randomly? That’s great! We’re making progress.”

            Allow me to summarize this tiny to-do: You criticized the presenters at Conference on Eudaimonia for ‘not being randomly selected’. I noted that most conferences (particularly debut conferences) do NOT select speakers/presenters randomly. You agreed that they were not randomly selected. And I endorsed the fact that we were both now saying (or so I thought) that most conferences do NOT choose speakers randomly. Nor would we expect them to.

            And that brings us back, once again, to my question: Now can you tell me who applied and who didn’t apply? Can you tell me who applied and was rejected or why they were rejected? I certainly don’t know. But until we know how Presenters (and we really should distinguish between Conference Speakers & Paper Presenters) were chosen (and why those not-chosen were rejected) we really can’t say anything about any political bias in the Conference now can we?

            In closing, let me repeat, one last time:
            …Since neither of us attended — we cannot say what was specifically discussed or the tone of the discussion, but equally certainly we can scan the titles of the papers presented to try to litmus-test the politics of the presenters (as that would seem to be your inclination). So, as asked before…. do you truly find topics like, “Eudaimonia is Not Measurable Pleasure,
            But the Fruit of a Liberal Life”…or “Just Action and Eudaimonia in Plato’s “Republic”…. or “Desperation and Unfulfilling Lives in America: The High Costs of Being Poor in the Land of the Dream”…. or “Finding Love in the Ruins: Re-mystifying Human Flourishing in an Empirical Age”…. Do we find these discussions so overwhelmingly Hitlerian (or worse Kochian) that we just can’t stand it???

          • JWJ

            My goodness, tdaly29 does seem focused on your rhetorical question about speakers at pretty much ALL conferences not being chosen randomly.

            It would be interesting to see tdaly29 try and respond to your other questions.

          • DavidRHenderson

            It seems as if tdaly29 is arguing that the choice of speakers SHOULD be random. That would be amazing and a surefire way of not achieving anything on the Institute’s maiden voyage.

          • bdavi52

            That would definitely seem to be what he is proposing — as bizarre as such a thing would be. (not sure I’d really want to attend a conference with randomly chosen speakers…but each to his own, I guess!)