Monday, February 21, 2005

What Is the Point of Academic Freedom?

Just read:

Marketplace of Fear

New Proof That Man Has Created Global Warming

How Global Warming Research Is Creating a Climate of Fear

Ego, Testosterone, and the Academy: Why the Controversy Over Larry Summers Is Important

And that's only the teeny-tiny pointy tip of the iceberg -- as you know well, unless your only source of news is Dan Rather.

Academic freedom isn't an end unto itself, it's a means to an end, which is to debate the truth. Where there is no debate, the truth (or something approaching it) is unlikely to emerge, to the detriment of education, in particular, and human progress, in general. As I wrote here (apropos Ward Churchill's aborted appearance at Hamilton College): Educators are paid not only to educate but also to educate well. Maybe it's time for political-point-of-view quotas for professorships.

Favorite Posts: Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech