February 9, 2005

Response to Academic Freedom Inquiry

I am a proponent of the Academic Bill of Rights. This is a piece of legislation that suggests universities around the country adopt the ideals of intellectual diversity and academic freedom. I wrote this in response to one of the bill's critics. This post has already been published here: http://cwslsplp.blogspot.com/ Here it is: "This post is in response to the earlier one concerning academic freedom. My friend wrote, "an academic bill of rights is censorship. Some censorship is good and some is bad." I submit to you that both of these statements are false.Indeed, there is a problem of political indoctrination in higher education. This stems not just from the lack of conservative profs ( I don't condone affirmative action of conservative teachers ) but also from the discriminatory processes reflected in the hiring of college professors. The problem is not so much that profs use the classroom as a bully pulpit to inappropriately bludgeon conservative figures and ideas, as it is the lack of intellectual diversity among the faculty. This lack of academic pluralism is due to the fact that left-wing academics consider their conservative brethren to be racist, sexist, homophobic, oppressive, imperialistic etc... and therefore shut them out of the academy by not allowing them to join the faculty if they do not toe the leftist party line. How to remedy the situation? We shouldn't support "hiring more conservatives" to achieve a balance. Rather, we should adopt the Academic Bill of Rights, which prevents discrimination on the part of faculty hiring committees against conservative profs. This ensures that no one will be hired or fired based upon their political beliefs, as is the case now. To read the bill for yourself, click this link http://www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org/abor.html On the latter point raised in the previous post, I must disagree with the idea that censorship is necessary. As a free-market proponent, I believe that society should not impose its idea of what is "admissable" or "politically incorrect" on individuals. If individuals choose to print something that is "offensive" or "immoral" then parents have the right not to purchase that product, and to speak out against the publishers. If enough people in society agree that something is inappropriate (for example, Hustler Magazine) then they will vote with their pocket book and the free-market will take care of the problem. The FCC and entities like it do not protect society from itself as much as they impose the will of the "big brother" state and the religious lobby. As for professors in the classroom, no one is calling on them to do anything but perform the duties they were hired to do. Namely, they should teach the subject that they are experts in by providing students with all viable ideas, methods and analyses that they possibly can. However, a Spanish teacher has no place spending an hour bashing the President or recruiting students for protests. Those types of activities should occur outside of the classroom setting, a place where the students are the consumers and deserve their money's worth."

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