Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Academic Bill of Rights?

first_imgWhy would Nature claim that academic freedom is a threat to academic freedom?  In the April 7 issue,1 Emma Marris titled her news item, “Professors bristle as states act to mould lecture content – Academics are fighting right-wing ‘bills of rights’.”  The academic freedom the professors want is their own freedom to control lecture content, not freedom for other points of view to be heard.  Since the universities are predominantly Democrat (see 12/02/2004 entry), any intrusion into the status quo is viewed as a right-wing conspiracy.  One Florida opponent calls such attempts to bring a balance of viewpoints back into academia a “right-wing political takeover of the universities.”    David Horowitz, a former Marxist radical now turned conservative activist, has proposed an “Academic Bill of Rights” (see FrontPage Magazine description).  This includes the right of students to have their work graded on content and not religious beliefs, fair hiring practices for professors, tenure based on performance rather than beliefs, a call for professors to abstain from presenting controversial material unrelated to the curriculum, administrative neutrality, and balance in presentations on controversial issues.  Why should such apparently fair proposals generate such a negative reaction on campuses where Horowitz is making his case?    Marris gives her explanation: “Critics say that these ‘Academic Bills of Rights’, which are written to make sure that each side of an issue is presented in lectures at public universities, could in fact stifle academic freedom – and disrupt the teaching of science in contentious fields such as evolution and global warming.”  How could this be, when the intent is the opposite?  One opponent of the Academic Bill of Rights says, “It will waste a lot of time in the classroom because you will have to spend time covering a bunch of extraneous stuff – every crazy idea out there,” referring to alternatives to Darwinism.    In the same issue of Nature,2 Geoff Brumfiel defended the decision of pro-evolution scientists to boycott the Kansas board of education hearings.  The board wanted to hear both sides argue over proposed changes to standards that would include “language that is friendly to intelligent design,” but the evolutionists wanted no part in what they considered a “kangaroo court.”    David Horowitz, meanwhile, is taking heat at university campus lectures with his Academic Bill of Rights.  The American Association of University Professors called it “part of a larger pressure on higher education to politicize the agenda.”1Emma Marris, “Professors bristle as states act to mould lecture content,” Nature 434, 686 (07 April 2005); doi:10.1038/434686b2Geoff Brumfiel, “Biologists snub ‘kangaroo court’ for Darwin,” Nature 434, 550 (31 March 2005); doi:10.1038/434550a.Have you seen a worse case recently of the pot calling the kettle black?  The agenda is already politicized to the far left.  When you are at the south pole, everything appears north.  Horowitz is somewhere in the midwest latitudes calling for balance at the equator.  To those at the extreme south pole, his views appear radically northern.  That’s only because they fail to see their own extreme position.    Gene Edward Veith in World Magazine wrote about a shocking example of hypocrisy at the University of Colorado, where all the faculty rose up to defend leftist pro-terrorist radical Ward Churchill’s academic freedom, but were dead silent when award-winning professor Dr. Phil Mitchell was fired for quoting black critics of affirmative action.    The fact that Nature would slant this news item against Horowitz and give best press to his opponents shows that the establishment science enterprise, along with its positions on evolution, global warming, and stem cell research, is all tied in with leftist politics.  The Democratic Party is probably too conservative for most of them.  Any time the leading science journals have something to say about politics or ethics, it is usually predictably leftist.  Anything that threatens the left-wing totalitarian hold on academia, where you thought academic freedom was the highest virtue, is anathema to them, because, from their extreme position, balance appears far right.  Don’t ignore how evolutionism is tied in with this mess.  Even Charlie described his politics as “liberal or radical.”    Our hearts bleed for the professors who might have to spend time going over “extraneous stuff” for a change, if the Academic Bill of Rights succeeds.  Everybody knows that in any totalitarian regime, the most efficient use of time is to teach only the party propaganda.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img