Monday, November 10, 2003

Miss Median strikes again 

Remember this professor? You have to admire her willingness to debate -- I love scrappers -- but it be nice if she could come armed with something more than a sneer. The discussion list (the soon-to-be SCSU-PRAVDA) has been very quiet, she says, but we wascally consewatives are weally well owganized.
The "conservative" student letter in this week's Chronicle follows upon an article about the "Accuracy in Academia" organization in recent weeks. Closely associated with the views from such students and organizations, the weekly Announce-List reminders from a very small
faculty group calling itself the "National Association of Scholars" should not go overlooked just because it expresses views from the margins of academia. Just as the NAS is announcing weekly meetings about "conservative students" suing universities all over the country, we begin to read letters from such students making "free speech" claims in our campus papers. And all these activities are carried out in a way that would past muster even if we had the most stringent "sanctions" in favor of "civility" in place. Yes, very interesting.

Anyone who wants to learn more about the aims of organizations that seek "affiliates" and provide "scholarships" to "conservative students" all over the country can simply read the websites for themselves.
Let's see, is that ten pairs of scare quotes? Hmmm. She can't even get our name right -- we advertise as the SCSU Association of Scholars.

Very small? I don't know why that matters; rights accord to groups great and small. That's why we call them rights.

And our "activities are carried out in a way that would past muster even if we had the most stringent 'sanctions' in favor of 'civility' in place." I bet that really pisses her off. If only she could live in a country that could outlaw us! Well, Miss M, they do. It's called "the Arab world". It's called "the USSR". It's called any place where freedom is shackled by well-meaning ideologues.

But then -- and I do love this part -- she closes her screed with this sentence.
This is a "public service announcement" and does not constitute an invitation for attacks, thank you.
That would be scare quote #11? And this is the problem: People construe free speech to mean freedom from being told they are wrong. If she wishes to speak in a public arena, and SCSU-DISCUSS is a public arena paid by tax dollars, then she also is subject to public reaction that in fact may be negative. And she will be by the usual suspects, such as these.

UPDATE (Monday evening): I've added some material at Liberty and Power.