Friday, February 11, 2005

Ward Churchill and Academic Freedom

The American Spectator had some interesting things to say about Ward Churchill and academic freedom. Link.
Ward Churchill is a faker and liar beyond caricature. But modern academia's notion of "academic freedom" is so hollow and useless that it extends even to him. Notice that the entire discussion about Churchill is framed in terms of "his rights," as if universities exist primarily to provide platforms for jobless grifters to feed students lies. Forming students in truth -- a very quaint notion at this point, I know -- is supposed to be the organizing principle of a university. So shouldn't ensuring that students aren't taught by liars be the first, not the last, consideration here?

Shouldn't the welfare of students determine the outcome of this controversy? To the extent that administrators even weigh this responsibility, they do so in the most shamelessly superficial manner. Struggling for a rationale to keep a barbarian on staff, they will say that exposure to odious ideas is a good learning experience, a rationale they never resort to when a reviled conservative's work is at issue.

In the face of a nihilist like Ward Churchill, self-respecting professors in the past would have said: either he goes or we go. Now before a barbarian like this, professors and craven university administrators are speechless. When they do finally manage a few words, the only phrase that dribbles out is "academic freedom," a rhetorical reflex triggered by tremors in the spine.

It is about time that the public at large starts to learn what is going on at universities, including so called "elite" ones. David Horowitz and Thomas Sowell have been writing about it for years, but they have mainly been preaching to the converted. There has been broad support for state and federal funds going to higher education with no strings attached. Might this change? By and large, university faculties are strongholds of 60s-style new-left Marxism. Ward Churchill is the rule, not the exception. Parents, who will be paying the tuition, should start reading up on what is actually taught at universities where their children are planning to apply. For those obscene amounts of money, your children deserve an excellent education.


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