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    Liberal women, conservative men, and “anger management”

    Liberal women, conservative men, and “anger management”

    Yesterday I reported how the Dean of Widener Law School, Linda Ammons, had sentenced conservative law professor Lawrence Connell to a psychiatric evaluation and “anger management” therapy:

    Professor Connell will comply with all conditions and recommendations issued by the psychiatrist/psychologist, including, without limitation, appropriate counseling and anger management, prior to the lifting of the suspension and his return to teaching duties.

    Professor Connell’s alleged offense which necessitated this demeaning precondition was that Connell had circulated an email to students defending himself against accusations of racism and sexism by two female students, accusations which were false and defamatory and ultimately rejected by the faculty committee which examined the evidence.

    So defending oneself against potentially career-ending false accusaitons is a sign of mental illness, and requires “anger management” therapy, at least in the eyes of Dean Ammons.  Curiously, there is no indication that the female students who made the false accusations — and whose conduct in classes was disruptive and confrontational — will have similar preconditions placed on their continued matriculation at Widener Law School.

    The demand for “anger management” counseling seemed familiar.  Where had I heard that recently.  Ah yes, this is what came to mind (emphasis mine):

    During the Wednesday meeting, [Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh] Bradley urged the justices present to take a vote on whether [Justice David] Prosser should be forced into anger-management counseling. The threat was implicit — if they didn’t vote her way, she would be forced to “take the next step” against Prosser, which they took to mean filing a restraining order against him. The other justices balked, wondering whether they even had the authority to order Prosser into any type of counseling. Some thought it would be “demeaning” to Prosser to have to go to counseling when he had done nothing wrong. In the end, Bradley realized she didn’t have enough justices on her side and no vote was taken.

    How convenient is the use of the “anger management” paradigm.   No matter how outrageous the conduct of the female students in making false accusations, or of Dean Ammons in facilitating the accusations, it was the male conservative law professor who had the anger management problem.  No matter how outrageous the conduct of Justice Bradley in provoking a confrontation, it was the conservative male jurist who needed anger management therapy.

    The concept of “anger management” is valid; certainly there are people who need to learn how to control their tempers.  But the demand for anger management therapy also is subject to abuse.

    The way in which the demand was made by Dean Ammons and Justice Bradley played on stereotypes that women always are the victims, and when used against conservative men, the charge is particularly powerful because it feeds into feminist theology which is the controlling paradigm in much of academia and discrimination law.


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