The double-edged sword of "academic freedom"
Academic freedom is the shield many in academia use to protect themselves from criticism. More specifically, they use it to keep their jobs when they endorse some of the evilest ideas in human history, such as communism.
To them, academic freedom means they can hold whatever positions they want to hold, and those of us who aren’t slobbering, drooling Marxists are just going to have to come to terms with that.
However, like in so many other instances, it seems there’s a double standard at play. After all, academic freedom only seems to be a one-way street.
Administrations and faculties at University of California campuses are embroiled in a searing controversy over requirements that applicants for faculty positions and candidates for promotion prove their active support, without reservation, of what’s called “diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Candidates must submit “DEI statements” that, under UC’s policies, determine whether they will be considered for employment or promotions, regardless of their academic credentials.
While different campuses use slightly different “rubrics” for judging candidates on their DEI statements, they generally use a 1-to-5 scale to determine whether they should be allowed to advance.
The use of DEI statements began at UCLA four years ago and has become virtually universal since, sparking an intense debate in academic and legal circles over whether the UC system is, in effect, elevating political correctness over academic achievement and in doing so damaging the concept of academic freedom.
To its supporters, DEI statements and other evaluations are necessary tools to ensure that the university system overcomes its historic imbalance in students and faculty that favors whites and Asians over Blacks and Latinos.
But detractors see DEI statements as violating in spirit, if not in letter, university policies that prohibit using politics as a litmus test — policies that were introduced to counter Cold War-era efforts to weed out faculty members with leftist tendencies by forcing them to take loyalty oaths.
And yes, it is a violation of the very academic freedom they preach about when it’s one of theirs in the crosshairs.
It’s like they say, were it not for double standards, they’d have no standards at all.
Understand, I think academic freedom is actually important. Academics should be free to research, discover, and discuss without fear of losing their jobs. Without that, advancement stagnates, and it does so across the board.
Where I have a problem is when people think that they should be deserving of academic freedom while their ideological opposites shouldn’t.
Opposing gun rights is seen as an unmitigated good, but opposing affirmative action is worthy of losing tenure, to give an example.
That’s not how academic freedom is supposed to work, but it simply is what it is, unfortunate. That’s how it works in practice and there’s almost no chance of anyone outside academia changing it.
What we can do, at least for starters, is call out the hypocrisy when we see it. We can shout out precisely what they’re doing and refuse to let them hide it from the world.
Then, in time, perhaps we can have some of ours infiltrate academia, hopefully in enough numbers to change the tide of things.
Otherwise, the only other option is to just burn it all down.
Metaphorically, at least (for legal purposes if nothing else).