Monday, July 10, 2017

Jonathan Haidt gets it -- writing below

Those most vulnerable to being fired for expressing controversial views are the ever-growing numbers of contingent faculty—who also tend to be disproportionately women and minorities. Meanwhile, the better-insulated tenured faculty tend to be white men.

As a result, if progressives are concerned with ensuring a more representative faculty, if they are committed to protecting freedom of conscience and freedom of expression for women and minorities, then they need to be committed to protecting free speech across the board. Every attempt to censor Charles Murray or Milo Yiannopoulos makes it easier to mount a campaign to fire someone like Lisa Durden (who made controversial comments about holding an “all black Memorial Day celebration” that excluded whites). Progressives lose the moral high ground they would need to defend radical and provocative speech—which is unfortunate because they are arguably the ones who need free-speech protections most.

Americans tend to be politically to the right of most university faculty and students—and as a result the public is more likely to be shocked and offended by views expressed by progressive scholars than by academic conservatives, who are few in number, generally rather moderate politically, and usually cautious about what they say publicly. Politicians are also more likely to throw their weight behind campaigns against left-leaning scholars, given that Republicans control most state governments, and thereby the purse strings of most public universities.

And if progressive scholars face a constant threat from the right coming from off-campus, they also face a threat from the left on campus. Many of the student-led campaigns that have made national news in the last two years have targeted professors who, themselves, identify as liberal or progressive—but who managed to challenge or violate some tenet of the prevailing activist orthodoxy.

Progressives, therefore, have reason to celebrate the fact that conservatives and their allies seem to be rallying behind the cause of free speech on campus. They can take advantage of this moment to institutionalize more robust protections, clearer standards and policies, and a healthier civic culture that turns disagreements into opportunities for learning.

If progressives fail to embrace free speech, and if they cede this basic American value to the right, then, as Harvard’s  President Faust warned in her commencement address, any effort to limit some speech “opens the dangerous possibility that the speech that is ultimately censored may be our own.”



Anonymous said...

The progressive s of the left don't believe in free speech. They only believe in speech they agree wit, This has been proven so many times on university campuses in recent years. If the left can't support free speech then there should be no open speech on university campuses. There is no right to riot in the first amendment.

Bird of Paradise said...

The liberal left are just liberal left overs from the 70's and the infamous Weatherman Underground scum suckers like the infamous Bill Ayers and his ilk

Mark Liveringhosue said...

"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."

-Thomas Paine