Thursday, June 19, 2003

Free speech and gun rights elsewhere 

Must be Australia day. Eugene Volokh points out that the gun control folks Down Under are just as good at bullying academics who disagree with them as the affirmative action zealots here. Gun Control Australia is quite put out with an economics lecturer (God, we're in the middle of everything, aren't we!!) named John Whitley.
Dr Whitley has associations with two extremist gun organizations and wants all students to carry guns so they can protect themselves.
I am still waiting for a gun-control advocate to show me a "gun organization" that is not "extremist".
But the economics lecturer is not content with a fully armed university, he wants all women to carry guns so they can resist attacks by males.
"Females, do you hear me!?! He wants to arm FEEEe-males!!!! What is the world coming to?" The suggestion is to either dismiss Dr. Whitley or "insist that the Adelaide University relocates to Alaska or, maybe Alabama."

We'll take them.

Prof. Volokh notes,

Naturally, the Australians have their own views on free speech, which differ from those of Americans. But under any definition of academic freedom, what Whitley is doing is within its core zone: He's arguing that a democracy should change its law, because he believes that the evidence shows the new law would be better for the nation than the old. Even if one accepts that certain kinds of legal change (e.g., advocacy of legalizing genocide) would be so monstrously evil that advocating for them is outside the boundaries of academic freedom -- a view that some democracies may take, though I think they'd be generally mistaken to do so -- it seems to me quite clear that advocating broader gun possession and gun carrying is far outside this narrow exception.