Friday, February 21, 2014

Free speech under attack at Harvard

The unspoken Fascism below is that the Left will always know what is right and just so there is no need for any discussion.  And yet they also tell us that there is no such thing as right and wrong.  So the prospect is for people with very messed-up heads to rule us

In its oft-cited Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the American Association of University Professors declares that “Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results.” In principle, this policy seems sound: It would not do for academics to have their research restricted by the political whims of the moment.

Yet the liberal obsession with “academic freedom” seems a bit misplaced to me. After all, no one ever has “full freedom” in research and publication. Which research proposals receive funding and what papers are accepted for publication are always contingent on political priorities. The words used to articulate a research question can have implications for its outcome. No academic question is ever “free” from political realities. If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of “academic freedom”?

Instead, I would like to propose a more rigorous standard: one of “academic justice.” When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.

The power to enforce academic justice comes from students, faculty, and workers organizing together to make our universities look as we want them to do. Two years ago, when former summer school instructor Subramanian Swamy published hateful commentary about Muslims in India, the Harvard community organized to ensure that he would not return to teach on campus. I consider that sort of organizing both appropriate and commendable. Perhaps it should even be applied more broadly.

Does Government Professor Harvey Mansfield have the legal right to publish a book in which he claims that “to resist rape a woman needs … a certain ladylike modesty?” Probably. Do I think he should do that? No, and I would happily organize with other feminists on campus to stop him from publishing further sexist commentary under the authority of a Harvard faculty position. “Academic freedom” might permit such an offensive view of rape to be published; academic justice would not.



Amfortas said...

Just the place for Kevin Rudd.

Anonymous said...

What the "academics" enacts reminds me of the old poem:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

They should heed their own warning, especially about those they disagree. They think it will not happen again because they are now in power, they should heed another saying,

"We have found the enemy and he is us." - Walt Kelly

Anonymous said...

Nice comment Amfortas.
Surely this woman cannot be serious? The problem with the current speech oppressors is that either:
1. they have forgotten what it was like to be oppressed (and it wasn't that long ago)
2. they want vengeance for their previous oppression, or
3. they are just too busy revelling in their new position of power,
or maybe a combination of all three.