Ethics, Democracy, and Groupthink: Julie Ponesse, the Ethics Professor Fired for Practicing Ethics

November 11, 2021

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Dr. Julie Ponesse taught Ethics at Ontario’s Huron College for over 20 years until being dismissed from her position for refusing to cooperate with Huron’s mandatory vaccine policy. She has since been outspoken in revealing the lack of ethics that has infected our government, and our society.

On groupthink…

“A group can’t have a benefit. A group can’t have a harm. It’s only the individual members or constituents of that group…The idea that ‘my life is valuable only insofar as it serves the group to which I belong’ and you put that together with the idea that people are incredibly afraid of being ostracized from that group I think it isn’t surprising that we’ve gotten to this place of compliance.”

On the responsibilities of the individual…

“Maybe they’re not evil in the sense that their thoughts are consumed with how to harm other people, but just going with the flow and being an integral part of the mechanism that allows that harm to occur is enough to bring about some of the most atrocious harms we have seen in history.”

On the violations of our rights…

“In Canada there’s a very high threshold to violate rights. My understanding is that rights in Canada are not considered inviolate in quite the same way as they are in the U.S. That doesn’t mean we can just limit them or ignore them whenever it serves our purposes. We have to have a very high threshold of evidence or reason to show when those rights should be limited and my argument is that I don’t think we’ve seen anything like a reaching of that kind of threshold.”

On democracy…

“As citizens of a democracy we not only have the right but the obligation to question our officials…whenever we feel they are asking something of us without providing evidence. A number of scientists challenged Doug Ford’s pandemic response team to a debate over a year ago now and no response. That to me is an incredibly worrisome symptom of a failing democracy.”


Dr. Ponesse’s excellent speech at the Faith and Democracy Series

Dr. Ponesse’s short announcement following her dismissal

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