Academics of the world unite!
Others we don’t particularly care for have nothing to lose
but their freedom!
I know this will shock some, but faculty at the University of Chicago are attempting to make economic liberals second class citizens.
The academic freedom of the University of Chicago’s new $200-million Milton Friedman Institute has been under attack for a few months by some faculty members who object to its existence, its namesake, its possible influence on policy, its influence on undergraduates, or all of the above and more.
The critics have their own right to criticize the Institute. But after their arguments were roundly criticized by persons on and off campus, some critics directly threatened the Institute’s academic freedom, not only by threatening its existence but also by calling for restrictions on its activities and communications. If these calls actually come to fruition, it will be a sad day for academic freedom at the university.
The critics have sounded the alarm, first, because the Institute is going to do research on policy —which is a very common thing for professors to do.
Second, the critics have argued that it would be improper for the Institute to reach undergraduates with its message —which is what practically every department does, outside the professional schools. The critics warn that “[a]mong the more worrisome details embedded in the proposal is [that] the MFI will also use its assets to recruit and mentor undergraduates”!
Third, the critics warn that donors are going to be allowed to visit with faculty and talk with them about their research. Any such restriction against this access would be a clear violation of freedom of expression.
Notice what is going on here. Some faculty at the university are demanding the right to define what is “acceptable” research and discourse. If you fail to live up to the ideologically determined “standards” you will be denied the ability to conduct research, teach undergraduates or interact with interested parties outside of the university. Talk about your red headed step-children!
Really, this is the sort of thing you would expect in an age of McCarthysim or a Stalin-era Soviet university. Evidently, being culturally ascendent at American colleges and universities is not enough for these “scholars.” Policies are to be enacted that will keep any other ideological perspectives from having a place on campuses.
It is an outrageous and totalitarian impulse that should shame anyone who calls themselves a liberal.
Unfortunately, we seem to be living in a post-shame society.