Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Radical Professors

One of the great strengths of America's constitutional and academic systems is the latitude they give towards free speech. We allow people to advocate overthrowing the government, so long as the call is "abstract" and no concrete steps are taken to effectuate the call. We allow professors with such manifestly anti-American views to continue teaching, unhindered and unmolested, because that's what academic freedom means.

So when this George Mason professor seemingly promotes overthrowing the American government (and, perhaps, watering a tree with President Obama's blood), know one thing: he absolutely has the right to do this. He will and should face no official professional sanction for declaring himself an enemy of the lawfully constituted government of the United States. Whatever we think of a university system which is inhabited by such radicals must take second chair to our commitment to free speech and academic liberty.


UPDATE: The professor's post has been updated, removing the part about watering the tree of liberty with Obama's blood.


Joe said...

My question about that post is whether that's really how Thomas Jefferson used apostrophes.

Joe said...

Their school is named after a revolutionary, after all. (Your post may be slightly misleading, since he just hints at revolution under certain yet-hypothetical circumstances, rather than explicitly advocating it.)

PG said...

You may want to clarify that it's the professor who opted to edit his post (without saying he was doing so; always amusing for people mumbling about Stalinism and the like to try to disappear recent history), not that yours has been updated.

PG said...

As for the revolution, this reminds me of the kind of people who discovered Ayn Rand as adults and haven't actually read more than The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, who are now all "OMG she is like a prophetess who foresaw what Obama would do!"

In terms of government interference in the economy, what is happening now is practically libertarian compared to what FDR did in the 1930s and 1940s: wage controls, price controls, production limits, etc. Rand wrote her books to try to illustrate the results of actual policies. (E.g. the "Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog" law in Atlas Shrugged is not so far off from restrictions on price competition.)

Yet conservatism has so abandoned its Burkean roots that remembering such history is no longer expected of conservatives. Or perhaps they do remember, and just don't mention it because of the disadvantage of acknowledging that, oh yeah, the Republic survived it all.