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US professor suspended and accused of advocating rape after lecture on Machiavelli is posted on YouTube
Karl Walling, a professor at Newport Naval War College in the US, has been placed on paid administrative leave after his comments during a lecture on Machiavelli and ethics were posted on YouTube. This is according to the education news site Insidehighered.com.
The anonymous posting on YouTube accuses Walling of advocating rape.
He had lectured on the title »Joseph Conrad and Niccolo Machiavelli on the Ethics and Strategies of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency.«
In the edited portion of the talk that was posted on YouTube, Walling speaks about Machiavelli’s views on the goddess Fortuna, as a symbol of the luck that can make leaders succeed or fail.
He cites Machiavelli’s view that a strong leader does not surrender to Fortuna, but seeks to assert control, even when Fortuna resists, with the words:
»What does a leader do when the bitch won’t put out?« and continues »Real men, real leaders do not take ‘No’ for an answer.«[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihjlV-16EPs width:525 height:380 align:center]
Comments on YouTube have criticised Walling’s choice of language, and he has since made an apology to the college.
But in a later interview, Walling says that he never advocated rape, and that the 3 minute, 40 second video is just one part of a serious academic lecture.
By leaving out the context before and after what was shown, his views were distorted, he says.
Walling also says that to understand what he was saying requires someone to understand his pedagogy, to have heard the entire talk and to understand a little bit about Machiavelli.
Indeed, the concluding portions of his talk which are not included in the video clip make it clear he rejects Machiavelli.
The closing words of the talk, not on YouTube were,»you can learn how to win from Machiavelli, but to deserve to win, that is a very different matter.«
The professor, who is no longer on leave, is now considering legal action against the person who posted the truncated version of his lecture on YouTube.
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