Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nerd News: A History Professor, "Social Justice," and Academic Freedom

Let's talk about actual versus putative academic freedom.  Remember history professor Thaddeus Russell?  Now meet history professor KC Johnson.  Absolutely infuriating -- and all too indicative -- quote from the piece:
"What was so offensive… was this argument that an individual faculty dissenter needed to be silenced to promote academic freedom."
By the way, the tag "nerds behaving badly" refers not to the history profs, but to their shameless critics and persecutors.  Academic freedom, like the right of free speech and expression, ought to apply as much to ideas you don't personally like.  Not that that sort of actual honorable behavior applies in academia, apparently!  (Haven't these nerds ever heard of Voltaire?)  And you wonder why on campus my co-renegades/heretics and I keep our opinions to ourselves, ugh.  Note, though, some hopeful signs that ideologically aggressive faculty are nevertheless incapable of suborning all their students.  As a large number of Russell's students supported him, see too the pushback of some students in the Brooklyn College case.  We're not ALL dumbly impressionable sheep.  (And in the endless wrangling of campus culture wars, people on both sides do tend to forget this.)  

By the way, the term "social justice," like the term "diversity," has become a linguistic idiocy that in fine Orwellian fashion means the dead opposite of what you think it does.

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