Professors: Free Speech? Intellectual Diversity? No, thanks.

When you’re next scrutinizing that outrageous tuition bill from the institute of alleged higher learning your kids attend, chew on what Jonathan Turley – one of the few faculty bright-spots at my alma mater – has dug up for our reading, um, *pleasure*:

InThe Indispensable Right,” I discuss how academics are now leading an anti-free speech movement on campuses that challenges the centrality (or even the necessity) of free speech protections in higher education. The latest such argument appeared this month in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Two Arizona State University professorsRichard Amesbury and Catherine O’Donnellwrote that free speech concerns yield too much to the “right wing” and that free speech should not be given the protection currently afforded by universities and colleges. Indeed, they argue that free speech may be harming higher education by fostering “unworthy” ideas.

Amesbury teaches religious studies and O’Donnell teaches history at ASU. They wrote an article titled “Dear Administrators: Enough with the Free Speech Rhetoric! It Concedes Too Much to the Right-Wing Agenda.”

The two academics challenge the long-held view of the centrality of free speech and intellectual diversity to higher education. Notably, many of us have been alarmed by the erosion of both values on our campuses, but Amesbury and O’Donnell seem to worry that there is still too much protection for opposing views. Worse yet, they suggest that the free speech objections are often part of a right-wing funded agenda.[…]

Too much protection for opposing views ???? (Anyone else feel that chill?)  Ever wonder about the lustful leftist push to dominate K-12 teachers lounges, college campus Schools of Education, and college campus faculty?  They want that early access to our young skulls of mush so they can properly turn them out into the world to join the fight against capitalism, traditionalism — basically US.


Our contention is that calls for greater freedom of speech on campuses, however well-intentioned, risk undermining colleges’ central purpose, namely, the production of expert knowledge and understanding, in the sense of disciplinarily warranted opinion. Expertise requires freedom of speech, but it is the result of a process of winnowing and refinement that is premised on the understanding that not all opinions are equally valid. Efforts to “democratize” opinion are antithetical to the role colleges play in educating the public and informing democratic debate. We urge administrators toward caution before uncritically endorsing calls for intellectual diversity in place of academic expertise…

A diversity of opinion — “intellectual diversity” — isn’t itself the goal; rather, it is of value only insofar as it serves the goal of producing knowledge. On most unanswered questions, there is, at least initially, a range of plausible opinions, but answering questions requires the vetting of opinions. As some opinions are found wanting, the range of opinion deserving of continued consideration narrows.

As a threshold matter, what is so striking about this argument against intellectual diversity is that it is made at a time with little such diversity in most departments. Seeking a wider range of viewpoints on departments does not “concede too much to the right-wing agenda.” It acknowledges a growing problem across higher education, It is an educational agenda that has prompted many of us to raise the reduction of intellectual diversity.

We have already seen faculties purged of conservative and libertarian colleagues. We previously discussed how surveys at universities show a virtual purging of conservative and Republican faculty members.  For example, last year, the Harvard Crimson noted that the university had virtually eliminated Republicans from most departments but that the lack of diversity was not a problem.  Now, a new survey conducted by the Harvard Crimson shows that more than three-quarters of Harvard Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences faculty respondents identify as “liberal” or “very liberal.” Only 2.5% identified as “conservative,” and only 0.4% as “very conservative.”

Likewise, a study by Georgetown University’s Kevin Tobia and MIT’s Eric Martinez found that only nine percent of law school professors identify as conservative at the top 50 law schools. Notably, a 2017 study found 15 percent of faculties were conservative. Another study found that 33 out of 65 departments lacked a single conservative faculty member.[…]

That’s right folks.  We’re paying for the “troops” who and the re-programming that will spearhead the fight into the next generation to dilute and dissolve what has made American so great.