Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A great thing about conservative . . . .

Posted by Craig Westover | 1:19 PM |  

Unlike the left of the political spectrum, who like to engage in a lot of irrelevant navel gazing, when the right looks inward, there's usually a purpose. Conservatives aren't afraid to question their own.

Case in point, King Banaian has some excellent observations today on the Academic Bill of Rights idea being floated by Michele Bachmann. King writes --
For truth be told, ABoR is actually a bad idea, and center-right bloggers who want to help keep Democrats a minority party for years to come would do well to keep clear of it.

The question for me comes down to this: Do you want judges and legislators deciding what is “appropriate knowledge of the subjects and disciplines they study” or do you want professionals? Obviously you want the latter, but it requires that we behave like professionals. We are reaping the whirlwind for allowing ourselves to be cowed by political correctness and cries of McCarthyism from evaluating whether faculty are behaving professionally. The courts have been very reluctant to impose their judgment of professionalism on us, but may only continue to do so as long as they see we can police ourselves. Having a statement like ABoR in the student handbook would be evidence that we can.

If we are to have the individual independence described in the document while consuming taxpayer resources to deliver higher education, there must be some mechanism that guards against abuse. If not faculty (or their unions) then who? Who will speak for protection of student rights? Whom would you prefer do so? Campus liberals may think students are protected, but we have ample evidence of conservative students at SCSU being attacked for supporting gun rights, Israeli self-determination, or traditional gender roles.

I understand conservative anger at campuses, but use of the law to get a good policy put in place is wrong. Conservative faculty need to think hard about how to get these protections for students put in place.

If we don’t do it, it’s going to be done to us. It is our job to police ourselves. It’s not the government’s job. But you don’t have to be a libertarian to realize that government seeks to expand its influence when it’s given half a reason to.
If conservatives want to live free to be conservatives, they must recognize that half the time they must acknowledge the right of someone to do somethg they might find morally reprehensible, offensive or that even defies common sense. Sometimes that takes more than a little courage.

King nails it. If conservative professors are too cowardly to stand up for conservative student's rights, then indeed, they will eventually find themselves on the receiving end of the subtle but albeit real censorship they seek to employ.