Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Viewpoint diversity ... not 

Dave Kopel at the Corner makes an interesting point. The Organization of American Historians passed a resolution proposed by Historians Against the War. The original proposal stated
In view of the threat to free speech in the current climate, the OAH executive board affirms the centrality of dissent in American history and the necessity of open debate over important issues of public policy, including U.S. foreign policy, for maintaining the health of this democracy.
What the OAH actually passed was slightly different:
In view of the threat to free speech in the current climate, the Organization of American Historians affirms the centrality of dissent in American history, the sanctity of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, and the necessity for open debate of public policy issues, including United States foreign policy, in order to maintain the health of this democracy.
I'd think that a help -- the writer of the HNN article takes pains to point out it's not a real anti-war position, but the comments that follow this piece indicate otherwise. Consider this one:
It was an embarrassment to our profession, not because of the dominant opinion on the war, but because of the irresponsibility and hysteria of many of the remarks. There were a number of good, informative, and genuinely useful professional sessions at the meeting. It is a shame that it likely will be remembered for this ad hoc event, dominated by a group of aging leftists, who as Alan Brinkly correctly observed have stopped thinking coherently.
This point, that there was no opposition, leading to mushy thinking, occurs throughout the comments. Kopel correctly observes,
As university presidents fight before the Supreme Court to maintain campus "diversity" by discriminating against people of Asian ancestry, history departments and other humanities departments at many universities hire according to an intolerant code which leaves little room for intellectual diversity.