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Friday, June 17, 2005

From the academe

In today's Chronicle of Higher Education comes this article (sorry, reg req'd) that discusses an article about academic freedom that was published in yet another journal here.

Claiming that the government is investigating and persecuting certain professors for their academic stances, the author suggests:
Universities welcome radical ideas and "dissenting voices," he writes, because their mission is "not merely to convey information," but to "teach students to think" and "to challenge prevailing values, policies, beliefs, and institutions."

Without competing points of view, the primary mechanism by which universities ensure the quality of research cannot function properly, he adds. "There are few matters on which universities must stand on absolute principle," Mr. Cole concludes. "Academic freedom is one of them."

In principle, everything that is in the quotes is true. However, in practice there is very little tolerance for diversity on campus. Conservative and libertarian points of view are not common on campus. The liberal/statist view dominates and is dominant. Challenging our students to think would require students to be exposed to both sides of a debate, but all too often professors are only versed in one side - and that side is usually statist.

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