Saturday, February 22, 2014

Academic Freedom, and other lies

Via Vox Day, a woman opines on the future of academia:
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.
Make no mistake. She's not talking about a future change in action, as if academic freedom reigns right now, but in the future it shouldn't. This is closer to the standard than all that talk of academic freedom. All she's asking for is to finally drop the mask. Instead of making up a bureaucratic excuse about why this or that 'research' or stance is unacceptable, she would like academics to be open about what they are doing. Don't obfuscate your censorship - stand behind it proudly.

If you're a Christian, particularly of an orthodox or conservative mindset, academia is not - contra ID proponents, even many Thomists - something you should be seeking to change the minds of, or win the approval of. It is something that should be, intellectually speaking, burnt to the ground and replaced. They have outlived most of their usefulness just the same way as nobility has.


Marc Lüttingen said...

Yes I think that honesty about any finding is required.

I would (for example) be extremely troubled if there WERE real evidence that blacks are less intelligent than other people, but I would have to reluctantly accept it for truth's sake.

The same holds true, of course, for the resurrection and the existence of immaterial things.

If someone says he is rationally (and honestly) convinced that the holocaust never happened, he should not be ridiculed, bullied and jailed but rationally shown he is wrong.

While I am a proponent of gay marriage, I strongly oppose political correctness forbidding people disagreeing with it to express their opinion.

The French government has tried to use this emotional propaganda for diverting the public attention from more serious unsolved issues (such as unemployment) and this has made many French people angry:


Crude said...

Well, it's total cultural warfare. The idea of allowing people who disagree is seen as counterproductive - they may one day have a case. Or, if you're of the persuasion that there are no truths, just collective emotions or the like, well... time to cater to this or that set of emotions.