Which brings us to this pearl of wisdom (via Alexandre Borovik):
This reminds me of a Russian joke. A teacher in elementary school is explaining long division on the board. Suddenly, a KGB officer walks into the classroom and listens in for a while. During break, he walks over and exchanges a few quiet words with the teacher. When class resumes, the teacher announces, "Class, we've received directives from above: from now on, division will be done like this..."
The content of mathematics is typically thought of as neutral. That is, to most, mathematics is considered a domain that is devoid of ethical-moral implications. One can use mathematics for whatever purposes one wishes, but the mathematics itself is not good or bad, it just is. If I am right and mathematics classrooms frequently teach powerlessness, then the notion that mathematics is essentially neutral needs to be revisited.
I've been maintaining for years -- I believe it's my original observation -- that some of humanity's greatest atrocities were committed when people mixed the rational and the ethical spheres of reasoning. The rational/scientific sphere deals with measurable quantities and exact facts. It is a tool, completely devoid of ethics and morality: it can help you cure cancer or build a bomb -- your choice. The ethical/moral/religious sphere deals with questions such as, "What is the right thing to do?" When religion encroaches on matters of science, we get the Inquisition. When rationality overrides morality, we get Nazi experiments on humans.
It is a common philosophical mistake to endow inanimate objects with moral characteristics. A gun is not inherently good or evil -- it can be used to commit murder or save lives. It's a tool, like a hammer or a ruler. Only conscious sentient beings can be judged on a moral scale and labeled as good or evil.
The author of that piece -- Kurt Stemhagen -- makes two fundamental mistakes. First, he conflates mathematical constructions with their real-world applications. Second, he attempts to impose a moral rubric on an inherently a-moral realm of reasoning. (Teichmüller was a Nazi mathematician who actively persecuted Jews. Should we boycott the study of Teichmüller spaces?)