Friday, May 06, 2005
A new intrusion of politics into the classroom comes in the form of state legislation entitled "Academic Bill of Rights." It is Orwellian name for a bill whose aim is to overturn the First Amendment on college campuses, restricting freedoms of speech, religion and association that are as basic to democracy as academic freedom is to scholarship.This is of course an abject lie. The bill is about protecting individual rights, not reducing them. The goals of the bill are supportable, even if I prefer a different means of achieving them than government intervention. This persistent use of the word Orwellian -- count the Google news hits! -- is the basest form of scaremongering.
Closer to home, our good friend Miss Median sent around to campus a hit piece in the LA Times by Saree Makdisi, who convolutes ABoR into some means of getting a pro-Israeli agenda onto campuses. Given Makdisi's a nephew of Edward Said, no surprise there. On the Claremont Institute blog, Ken Masugi highlights one of Makdisi's most outrageous claims, to wit,
The problem with all this is that the university is meant to be an insular environment. Those within its walls are supposed to be protected from outside political pressures so that learning can take place.Masugi calls this "a case of what�s ours is ours and what�s yours is negotiable." Sic semper Marxists.
Makdisi says it's just "almost Orwellian". So he's just almost hyperbolic.