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February 5, 2005

A Radical Tool in Service of Reason

Ah, Ward Churchill. As much as I studiously avoid participating in the mass declaration of opinions in these rounds of topical jocundity — quick, everybody stake some ground! — there is a practical strategy to suggest. Rather than encouraging censorship through firing, those outraged that Churchill must be permitted to perpetuate the professional scam that is his professorial career should emulate another of the campus Left's favorite "remedies": extortion.

Offering two personal anecdotes concerning the political atmosphere in which American professors ply their trade, Rocco DiPippi suggests the same:

Firing Churchill, would only contribute to the squelching of the free exchange of ideas in the university setting. His firing would accomplish exactly what the left has been doing for years with its campus "speech codes" and "hate-speech" rules, that is silence opposing points of view.

The proper approach to countering anti-American hate-mongers like Churchill, is to pressure universities into hiring some more conservative teachers, who'll be more than willing to challenge those who hold beliefs similar to Churchill's. Better yet, force public universities into adopting a "politically blind" method of hiring.

In addition, teachers of all political stripes, should be forbidden from airing their personal political beliefs to their students during class time, when they've been hired to teach math or art or history or science or even political science. This should be part of every teachers employment contract.

I'd be wary of writing too explicit restrictions on subject matter into contracts. Furthermore, since I agree that ideological diversity among professors is a critical aspect of higher education, and since there's much disparity to correct, I would actively oppose "politically blind" hiring. But the first idea is a good one. Particularly at the University of Colorado, the school administration ought to face demands that more conservative professors be hired; creating a "conservative chair" in Churchill's department would be a nice touch.

Posted by Justin Katz at February 5, 2005 6:29 PM