Strassel continues to highlight the liberal American Association of University Professors, Kansas Chapter, demanded the records of Art Hall who runs the Center for Applied Economics at the University of Kansas School of Business. Hall filed a law suit to stop students from demanding Hall turn over his personal emails over the past 10 years. Why target Hall? Apparently because he received a grant from the conservative Fred and Mary Koch Foundation and that Hall testified against green energy quotas. The irony here is that the AAUP defended climate change proponent, Michael Mann, against a conservative group’s demand for his records.
The concept of a university as a bastion of free thought and debate, where the learned and learning can intellectually experiment has largely faded into institutions that force a political line of thought. Today, students are told “truths” that are absolute and any deviation from the accepted thought is intolerable.
As we write in Vigilance The Price of Liberty, Herbert Marcuse was a political theorist and he was considered a Father of the “New Left” that originated in the campus protests in the 1960s. His essay Repressive Tolerance, argues that tolerance does not apply to right-wing political movements and writes of his term “liberating tolerance”:
Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left [emphasis added]. . .
They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.
If schools and other government institutions cannot program the thought Marcuse deems acceptable, then he demands that the rights of freedom of speech and assembly, protected by the First Amendment, be withdrawn for those thinkers that contradict his social policies.
Democracy demands tolerance of ALL thought, for if some thought can be banned then all thought can be banned. When debate is reduced to name calling of “science denier”, “raciest” or “sexist” then there is no debate. The foundation of freedom is freedom of speech, even speech that for some may be reprehensible. If there is a position noble and worthy then it can and must be intellectually defended.