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January 24, 2006

Why Do Academics Hate Free Speech?

This has come up in Minnesota; a group - in this case, conservative UCLA alumni - are looking for stories of liberal bias among professors:

An alumni group is offering students up to $100 per class to supply tapes and notes exposing professors who allegedly express extreme left-wing political views at the University of California, Los Angeles.

One of the professors calls it McCarthyism.

To be fair, left-wing professors cry "McCarthyism" when the floor's pop machine is out of Tab. But, again, I digress:
The year-old Bruin Alumni Association says it is concerned about professors who use lecture time to press positions against President Bush, the military and multinational corporations, among other things. Its Web site has a list of what it calls the college's 30 "most radical professors."

"We're just trying to get people back on a professional level of things," said the group's president and founder, Andrew Jones, a 2003 UCLA graduate and former chairman of the student Bruin Republicans.

Let's recap: It's a private group, asking people to take private action for voluntary consumption by people who are interested.
Some of those targeted say it's a witch-hunt reminiscent of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's anti-communism crusade in the 1950s.

"Any sober, concerned citizen would look at this and see right through it as a reactionary form of McCarthyism," said education professor Peter McLaren, one of those cited by the association. "Any decent American is going to see through this kind of right-wing propaganda. I just find it has no credibility."

"Credibility" is for everyone to figure out for themselves. As to the (drearily inevitable) charge of "McCarthyism", theres' the little matter of McCarthy having been an agent of government; the UCLA alumni are private citizens. One might ask Professor McLaren what he thinks about the campus speech codes that have throttled thought and speech on campus; politics are a matter of record.

Which is fine; the First Amendment covers McLaren; it also covers his students.

Now, I could hardly care less about the goings-on on the nation's campuses, personally, although since my children are approaching college age, I'm certainly paying attention. Personally, I took a look at the graduate-school paper chase when I was still in college, laughed, and scratched it off my to-do list; I figured life would be more productive running on a Habitrail wheel. Other conservatives see it differently, no doubt.

But I don't see life from the academic's perspective. So someone tell me - why is it a problem to academics if a private group reviews professors' political biases for non-commercial, copyright-law-compliant, critical use?

I mean, doesn't the First Amendment apply to students and other consumers of the education system?

Posted by Mitch at January 24, 2006 06:11 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Ask King B. I defended the program in his comments and I thought he would bust a gasket worrying about wrongfully accused teachers.

Maybe he just had a bad day.

.

Posted by: nathan bissonette at January 24, 2006 08:24 AM

It's 100% about the money. If the groups were saying, "Hey, if you've got an example bring it to us," then there'd be no outrage. It's when it's, "Hey, bring evidence of liberal bias and we'll give you $100" that it becomes...sketchy. After all, if there's such rampant liberal bias and conservatives on campus are truly up in arms, why must there be money involved in this? Just for fun? Also, why so much interest in off-duty time?

Otherwise, really I don't care--I like Mark Kleiman's approach, which is to note he puts audiotapes of all his lectures up on line, and he'll be happy to provide copies for $100 a pop.

Posted by: Jeff Fecke at January 24, 2006 08:58 AM

What, no quote from James McCarville about trolling through the quadrangle with $100 bills?

Posted by: Night Writer at January 24, 2006 09:29 AM

Great post Mitch!

We look forward to hearing you speak about Liberal Bias at the SD63 Chili Dinner on February 7th.

I would like to invite all of your readers to join us for this discussion about how New Media is exposing Liberal Bias. For more information about the Chili Dinner, please visit out Web site.

http://www.sd63.org/chili.htm

Moonbats are invited, but you will have to make a donation to the Republican Party.

LOL

Posted by: Rob at January 24, 2006 09:37 AM

The inconvenient fact that "witch hunt" baiting lefty's fail to take note of is that while McCarthy surely lost control of his own ego, for the most part every one of the people he targeted were in fact communists, communist sympathizers or fellow travelers.

Remember, being called paranoid doesn't mean that no one is in fact watching you.

Posted by: swiftee at January 24, 2006 11:32 AM

Leave it to Mitch, he sees "Thought Police" and reacts with "GREAT!, now I won't have to think any more!"

Gee Mitch, you REALLY see no problem paying people to inform on teachers for speaking out against the administration.. I'm SURE it wouldn't have a chilling effect on free exchange of ideas. And, just an aside here and all, since when did identity politics become a hiring requirement? If you seriously want to suggest that colleges ALREADY use a liberal identity requirement, go PROVE that sometime, or are you merely about making unprovable allegations? If college campuses are bastions of intellectual analysis and consequently questions about stupid and unsound policies, it is the POLICIES that make them so, not the individuals. Apparently though, to you, the right thing to do is to blame the students and the teachers, for thinking.

Wow.. you're an amazing wit, perhaps next you'll tell us how the TIPS program, in the hands of this collosally screwed up administration, would be just peachy. I mean, they certainly aren't secretive, increadibly political, and vindictive....no, Joe Wilson wasn't retaliated against, we don't have secret wiretap programs collecting data on citizen to citizen contact INSIDE the United States without judicial assent, and certainly with Karl Rove at the helm, we'd NEVER see any sort of misuse of this kind of data...

You are a joke, and frankly, no longer worth the time to read.

PB

Posted by: pb at January 24, 2006 11:36 AM

Campus liberal bias is nothing terribly new. During the '72 presidential election campaign, I was taking my fifth level French course on a pass/fail basis to validate my high school French and fulfill my foreign language requirement at the main campus of the University of Minnesota. The instructor was a lovely and personable woman not much older than her students. Even though I was slacking off in the course, due to the pass/fail status, my average grade in progress was teetering between an A- and a B+. One day I walked in wearing an enormous Nixon campaign button. The instructor, wearing an equally huge McGovern button, greeted me with rage. After that, my daily grades never got above D-, something which puzzled the other students I compared notes with. They had the same answers and had the highest grades. I went to the campus ombudsman and he told me that I was screwed. Since my appeal would be to a body strongly controlled by the rabid left, I would surely lose. He had seen too many similar cases. He told me to take advantage of the policy put in place to favor McGovern volunteers who had been to busy for their studies and take a late withdrawal without penalty. I lost money and time, but I had no choice in the matter.

Posted by: Mark Folkestad at January 24, 2006 11:47 AM

"Gee Mitch, you REALLY see no problem paying people to inform"

As usual, Peeb, your intellectual laxity lets you down.

"Inform"...to whom? The government? I'm all opposed to it. Inform other students? All in favor of it.

"I'm SURE it wouldn't have a chilling effect on free exchange of ideas."

Er, why are professors' ideas exempt from lively discussion?

" And, just an aside here and all, since when did identity politics become a hiring requirement? If you seriously want to suggest that colleges ALREADY use a liberal identity requirement, go PROVE that sometime,"

King? You wanna take this one?

" or are you merely about making unprovable allegations? If college campuses are bastions of intellectual analysis and consequently questions about stupid and unsound policies, it is the POLICIES that make them so, not the individuals. Apparently though, to you, the right thing to do is to blame the students and the teachers, for thinking."

I'm going to ask you again - why are professors' ideas exempt from discussion by the students, in fora outside the professors' control?

Answer that. If you can. Which I know you can't.

"Wow.. you're an amazing wit, perhaps next you'll tell us how the TIPS program, in the hands of this collosally screwed up administration, would be just peachy"

Um, no. Now - and I do mean NOW - tell us how this program is "in the hands of the administration".

Now. Do it. Where is there any reference to government control?

Show us. Or are you just running off at the mouth again?

". I mean, they certainly aren't secretive, increadibly political, and vindictive....no, Joe Wilson wasn't retaliated against,"

Um, you're changing the subject.

Do you even realize that you're changing the subject? Just curious.

"we don't have secret wiretap programs collecting data on citizen to citizen contact INSIDE the United States without judicial assent"

Really?

You have EVIDENCE of non-FISA wiretaps on calls originating and ending inside the US?

Share it. NOW.

"You are a joke, and frankly, no longer worth the time to read."

How many times have you said that, Peeb? Two or three before this?

Shit or get off the pot, bigfella. Either get your "blowhard" jones on someone else's dime, or quit with the pissy dramatics!

Posted by: mitch at January 24, 2006 11:51 AM

Oh, but before you vamoose yet again, please show us the evidence of non-FISA-warranted intercepts of purely domestic calls.

AND, if you please, evidence that this purely private program is being run at the Bush Administration's behest.

Because - and I'll be charitable - I think your temper is writing checks that your brain can't cash.

Posted by: mitch at January 24, 2006 11:53 AM

PB-
How about the chilling effect on the free exchange of ideas that comes from 99% of all professors being radically liberal AND them having no accountability for their work thanks to tenure.

As a 2001 Grad of the U, I can second stories like Mark's where I constantly received lower grades in courses with objective grading like English lit and yet I had a 4.0 in fact based courses like math and newspaper editing.

Professors punish conservative students, especially the vocal ones, because they cannot handle someone coming in and challenging their precious world view.

There is nothing wrong with trying to keep these people a little more honest.

Posted by: CCK at January 24, 2006 12:12 PM

Mitch, My wife reads your blog and she is of the opinion that pb is mentally ill. I'm not certain if it's narcissism or a mental illness. What do you think?

Posted by: Kermit at January 24, 2006 12:32 PM

pb is going away...for good?! Woo-hoo!! I'm "increadibly" and "collosally" happy to never again have to scroll past a crap-load of crap to read worthwhile postings. Not this one of mine is worthwhile...but it's short!

Posted by: Colleen at January 24, 2006 12:34 PM

Nowadays, if I was teaching a college course (not that I'm qualified to teach any) that involved political ideology, I'd record all discussions, or anything else that might stray from my lecture outline, to get me in trouble politically--in trouble with the gods of political correctness. I'd do it just to protect myself. The danger I see, for honest professors, is that their words will be taken out of context, purposely, by the real college thought police--the cultural-revolution-like thought police of the activist left.

Posted by: RBMN at January 24, 2006 12:51 PM

>Gee Mitch, you REALLY see no problem paying people to inform"
>>As usual, Peeb, your intellectual laxity lets you down.

Ok, Mitch, yet another unsupported statement, but whatever makes yaí tick. You claimed you had no issue with the process.

>>"Inform"...to whom? The government? I'm all opposed to it. Inform other students? All in favor of it.

Well then, the laxity is yours, as you wrongly assume it wouldnít wind up in at least the RNCís hands to go and lobby, if not further. Regardless, it certainly would be incredibly intimidating.

"I'm SURE it wouldn't have a chilling effect on free exchange of ideas."
>>Er, why are professors' ideas exempt from lively discussion?

They arenít, and thatís so disingenuious itís kissing cousin to a lie. The point is NOT the free discussion of the positions of professors, itís intimidation and implementation of identity politics. Your calling a wolf a sheep, and it isnít even wearing a coat.

" And, just an aside here and all, since when did identity politics become a hiring requirement? If you seriously want to suggest that colleges ALREADY use a liberal identity requirement, go PROVE that sometime,"

>>King? You wanna take this one?

That would be because Mitch doesnít actually offer proof, he needs others. Regardless, you couldnít prove such policies exist precisely because there is no such proof. Is there an unwritten policy, who knows, but that isnít documented, ergo no proof.

" or are you merely about making unprovable allegations? If college campuses are bastions of intellectual analysis and consequently questions about stupid and unsound policies, it is the POLICIES that make them so, not the individuals. Apparently though, to you, the right thing to do is to blame the students and the teachers, for thinking."

>>I'm going to ask you again - why are professors' ideas exempt from discussion by the students, in fora outside the professors' control?

What youíve asked isnít the question, if it were simply STUDENTS asking why Professor Blowhard thinks Bush is an imbecile, free speech is no vice, but this is the ALUMNI association engaging in paid professional intimidation. Others, including conservatives, prominent conservatives quit the Alumni Association over this issue, but you appear blind, or more correctly, to be reflecting an opinion you should know full well is not the goal. Since you know (presumably and again, I donít think youíre stupid) that means what you said above is a distortion, aka a lie. You really care about students getting together? Hmmm.. seems like you just said you didn't care what happens on campus. What this smacks of is giving cover to intimidation.

>>Answer that. If you can. Which I know you can't.

Read above, apparently you know less and less each day, but that goes right along with professing to have never lied.

"Wow.. you're an amazing wit, perhaps next you'll tell us how the TIPS program, in the hands of this collosally screwed up administration, would be just peachy"

>>Um, no. Now - and I do mean NOW - tell us how this program is "in the hands of the administration".

Mitch, get bent, your conduct is petulant.

>>Now. Do it. Where is there any reference to government control?

>>Show us. Or are you just running off at the mouth again?

See above, oh Mighty Master of the Meglomaniacal command

If you for a moment believe that this Government, meaning this White House, wouldnít use this data at first opportunity, youíre painfully niaveí. But you doubtless donít believe that, rather, youíre counting on it.

". I mean, they certainly aren't secretive, increadibly political, and vindictive....no, Joe Wilson wasn't retaliated against,"

>>Um, you're changing the subject.

No actually, the subject is the potential to be retaliatory, to intimidate. This enables it.

>>Do you even realize that you're changing the subject? Just curious.

Youíre being an ass, do you realize youíre being an ass, Just curious. The subject is the danger of intimidation and itís potential use. That you canít see that subject, or rather willfully ignore it, is obvious.

"we don't have secret wiretap programs collecting data on citizen to citizen contact INSIDE the United States without judicial assent"
Really?

>>You have EVIDENCE of non-FISA wiretaps on calls originating and ending inside the US?

Itís not my evidence, itís a full admission of exactly such by the administration.

>>Share it. NOW.

Go stuff yourself, your conduct is repellant.

"You are a joke, and frankly, no longer worth the time to read."

How many times have you said that, Peeb? Two or three before this?

Gee Mitch, how many times have you commanded me to do something in your holier than thou attitude?.. and as I said.. youíre a joke.

>>Shit or get off the pot, bigfella. Either get your "blowhard" jones on someone else's dime, or quit with the pissy dramatics!

Take your own medicine, in terms of histrionics, commanding me to SHARE NOW, NAME IT NOW, my god, what a joke.
I responded to your nonsense (against my better judgement)..if you are willing to agree that all such conduct should be done ONLY BY THE STUDENTS, and no records of such discovery should/could/would be shared with PACS, political organizations of any form, and especially not the government, then I donít have any significant objection. Do you agree such limits should exist? Put your money where your mouth is, and then hereís another, I assume you donít have ANY issue with such discovery being done regarding conservative professors, and I assume you donít have any issue with it being required to conform to some sense of scientific analysis, or are we merely talking about a bitch session?

As for dimes if you donít like paying for it, stop.

Posted by: pb at January 24, 2006 01:12 PM

BTW Mitch perhaps you can highlight for me where I said the program would be under governmental control, do it NOW, right NOW, don't breath, I'd say don't think, but you already have that covered.

You see Mitch, one of the key differences between you and I is that I do not consider your posts worth much research, and so can post essentially immediately if I'm paying attention. You, on the other hand, appear so ill-informed that you need to go spend a few hours hunting up right-wing blog fodder. But the real lie of it all is that you recently said you essentially don't post during the day, instead just stopping by for a couple moments. This is a perfect example, you took the time to reply here, undoubtedly considerable time drafting your response, and yet still haven't been able to answer how throwing money at our health care system actually solves anything.

In the end, Mitch, you asked me to sh3t or get off the pot, and, because it's a slow day, you've now got sh3t all over you (sorry about that).. but your ridiculous "commands" imply a belief (on your part) that I don't know enough to respond coherently, when that's never been the issue, I both will respond quickly as I desire, and don't need much accumen to react to your blather. On the other, you seem incapable of doing anything more than parsing up posts with silliness like the above. A post where you actually ask your readership to accept the goal of this program is to "just allow students to talk", yeah, and my Aunt Sadie (ok, that's not her real name) is really Niel Armstrong.

That you would attempt to snow me is no surprise, the insult though is really to your readers, you think they are so stupid as to accept that this program is merely for "pure intellectual exchange." Do you REALLY believe that, are you truly that niave', or are you once again lying to your readers? You see, the administration being involved has NOTHING to do with Government control, just as the administration being involved in outing Wilson had NOTHING to do with the Government controlling Judith Miller, and everything to do with their being behind it. I don't think Rove is behind this foolishness, but I surely am not niave' enough to believe he wouldn't use it.

PB

Posted by: pb at January 24, 2006 01:34 PM

The danger I see, for honest professors, is that their words will be taken out of context, purposely, by the real college thought police--the cultural-revolution-like thought police of the activist left.

Posted by RBMN at January 24, 2006 12:51 PM

Look what happened to the president of Harvard last year when in a symposium on why women were underrepresented in science and engineering he had the nerve to ask the question "Maybe they think differently then men?"
He's still scraping the tar off.

Posted by: Kermit at January 24, 2006 01:35 PM

Hypothetical Mitch post, with PB ensuing commentary:

Mitch: I woke up today and took a deep breath. I like breathing. Breathing is good.

PB: Stop trying to sell us your crap, Mitch. You so obviously don't like breathing. Breathing is not GOOD, breathing is a NECESSITY, and as such you're talking nonsense when you say breathing is good, because when you're required to do something simply to survive, it's pure rote recitation ensures there's no enjoyment in the act. Once again, you're simply talking nonsense. And, you didn't wake up today. By saying you woke up you're implying that you had some sort of conscious control over whether you woke up or not, when in fact waking up is either a natural act that occurs once the body and mind have adequately rested, or it's an artificial wake up by means of an alarm clock. Once again, you're showing your complete lack of understanding and deliberately misleading your sycophants, which is a cool word I learned last week and simply can't use enough. I can't believe how uninformed you are, and frankly I feel like I should make the 900th threat to not come back here, because I'm so righteously self-important and all knowing that I just KNOW your sycophanting sycophants will miss me deeply. Alas, my as-of-yet unclassified personality disorder makes it impossible for me to stop commenting here ad nauseum, even though it's becoming painfully aware that I frequently don't quite know what I'm talking about and appear more confused than coherent about 80 percent of the time, which I do my very best to disguise by writing tons and tons of it, so people generally skip my posts in general. In summation, dogs have ears, cats have slit-like pupils, kittens are soft, and murder with a hatchet is a very tough crime to conceal.

PB

Posted by: Ryan at January 24, 2006 01:37 PM

Oh, Mitch, TIPS refers to the program proposed by John Ashcroft.. maybe you might want to check the program I was referring to before making an ass of yourself. It was ENTIRELY intended to be run be the Government.

Regardless, my point never suggested that the government controlled the Alumni Association, but thanks for pointing out you don't appear to know the difference between TIPS and this.

BTW CCK, as a person who pretty recently attended college, I'd have to say your comment that professors retaliate against conservative students is not something I observed, further, what empirical evidence do you have of this? I certainly saw a great deal of tollerance of other views unless they professed hate or attacked another student, but then again, I went to a private, conservative, liberal arts school where the average professor was well right of center. I felt a certain amount of back-pressure against my views, but they were respectful, and my grades were never at issue. Are you suggesting only conservatives would conduct themselves forthrightly?

RBMN, I would agree that I'd record every comment, because I'd be afraid of conservatives lying about my words as well as concerns about PC complaints (in equal measure btw). I don't know the law regarding such recordings, sometimes it's not legal to do so without consent of the student.

PB

Posted by: pb at January 24, 2006 01:46 PM

Peeb,

Oh, boy. It's like shooting pie plates at five feet.

"Ok, Mitch, yet another unsupported statement, but whatever makes yaí tick. You claimed you had no issue with the process."

Right. A private process. You (per usual) tack on a few other assumptions. I'm going to skip ahead a few feet in your screed to cut to the chase:

"if you are willing to agree that all such conduct should be done ONLY BY THE STUDENTS, and no records of such discovery should/could/would be shared with PACS, political organizations of any form, and especially not the government, then I donít have any significant objection."

Well, duh. Of course, you're the one who threw in the "Administration". My question was, and remains: "What is the issue with people publicizing things professors say". They have tenure, so they can't be fired for any but the most gross misconduct, so the charges of "chilling discourse" is rubbish.

"Well then, the laxity is yours, as you wrongly assume it wouldnít wind up in at least the RNCís hands to go and lobby, if not further. Regardless, it certainly would be incredibly intimidating."

Leaving aside the incredible paranoia - so what? You think that conservative activism isn't held against students on campus today? You think conservative professors don't face ostracism vastly worse than anything a group of students and alumni could dish out?

"The point is NOT the free discussion of the positions of professors, itís intimidation and implementation of identity politics."

So say you.

All campus "speech codes" should be revoked. All of them. And open criticism of professors should be allowed and encouraged; there's nothing about being a "professor" that should exempt one from being above criticism.

"Your calling a wolf a sheep, and it isnít even wearing a coat.

" That would be because Mitch doesnít actually offer proof, he needs others."

Wow - are you snorting coke or something? No, Peeb, it's because Mitch has a friend and colleague who is a conservative professor who has written extensively and authoritatively on the subject.

More authoritatively even than Peeb? Could be!

"Mitch, get bent, your conduct is petulant."

Peeb, you rant incessantly and abusively. To be "petulant", I'd have to have a reaction that goes beyond "tired bemusement". Which - don't flatter yourself - I don't.

Sarcastic? Sure. Dismissive? Sorry, but sometimes I do. Bored? Getting that way.

Petulant? Nah.

"See above, oh Mighty Master of the Meglomaniacal command"

Mommy?

"If you for a moment believe that this Government, meaning this White House, wouldnít use this data at first opportunity, youíre painfully niaveí. But you doubtless donít believe that, rather, youíre counting on it."

Ah. So now I'm part of an active conspiracy to stifle academic freedom?

And you yap about ME making unsupportable statements?

"Youíre being an ass, do you realize youíre being an ass,"

Mommy?

"Itís not my evidence, itís a full admission of exactly such by the administration."

Admissions of non-FISA wiretaps of calls from and to within the US? Hmmm.

"Go stuff yourself, your conduct is repellant."

I had a can of italian meatball soup for lunch - and *mamma mia*, am I stuffed.

Fine advice, that!

"Gee Mitch, how many times have you commanded me to do something in your holier than thou attitude?"

Ask that you support outlandish and visibly wrong assertions? Many. Many, many many many many.

"and as I said.. youíre a joke."

Of course I am. I admit it! I am a joke! Life is a joke, and it all ends sooner than later! Taking this stuff excessively seriously is a joke in and of itself! I didn't need the word of Peeb, underutilized middle manager, to reinforce that idea! I take myself less seriously than you or most of my audience does!

You should try it!

" commanding me to SHARE NOW, NAME IT NOW, my god, what a joke."

It's certainly become one, since I am long past expecting you to deliver!

"As for dimes if you donít like paying for it, stop."

Let me get this straight; am I "afraid of discourse", or am I supposed to stop?

Posted by: mitch at January 24, 2006 01:51 PM

BTW Mitch, from today's NY Times...

"At the same time, General Hayden acknowledged that some purely domestic communications might be accidentally intercepted. The New York Times reported last month that this appeared to have happened in a small number of cases because of the difficulties posed by globalized communications in determining whether a phone call or e-mail message was truly "international."

Is that sufficient proof that the administration in fact DID gather domestic information. I don't doubt it was accidental, but accidentally gathered information has a habit of 'accidentally' winding up in hands it's not supposed to vis.a.vis state license information.

Perhaps you may want to read more carefully next time. I didn't say they INTENTIONALLY spied on US citizen to US citizen communiques, though of course, if it were from inside to outside, they DID, rather I said they DID in fact gather domestic intel.

PB

Posted by: pb at January 24, 2006 02:43 PM

Peeb,

Let me take another tack on one of your points:

You think that monitoring for *unfair, unreasonable* bias on academics' part by a *private* group of students and alums is going to filter up to the desk of Karl Rove?

If you think the Administration (and by extension, the Federal Government) has made surveilling professors a priority, then:

a) Show us evidence!
b) show us why they'd need students and professors? I mean, doesn't the administration have access to better means than a bunch of kids with tape recorders?
c) Such a program would necessarily involve thousands of people. How do you think such a program could be kept secret? Not to mention isolated from the storm of criticism that'd follow its discovery (which would be inevitable, given the size of the project)?

Whilst showing us the evidence of this decidedly fanciful scheme, please compare and contrast with the organized anti-right speech codes and first amendment restrictions that already exist.

Posted by: mitch at January 24, 2006 02:46 PM

regarding admissions of non-FISA wiretaps, see above, sucks to be wrong, and you give yourself way more credit than you deserve.

As for taking a pot-shot at my career choice, better people than you have insulted me far more effectively, but it does point out what a cheap and low-class person you can be. Or was that where you were trying to "not be personal?"

By the way, when shooting pie plates, you might want to actually understand you're holding a gun. You see, you didn't know that I wasn't discussing Alumni in reference to TIPS, and you didn't know about the Domestic collections, but hey, keep shootin Duke, someday, maybe, you might hit something.


Seriously Mitch, can we please get past the stupid insults.. it's easy, but it's useless. It's occassionaly, though not often enough, funny.

You didn't ask me to support assertions, you commanded, that sort of conduct is hubris unbridled.

I asked you if you felt a program to pay students to inform on professors was really about free exchange of ideas? You've not actually answered, just obliquely insulted. I answered, much to my dismay, because once again, you obfuscate.

Do you REALLY think that the goal is free exchange?

I don't, and neither do many conservatives.

As for your friend, gee, my brother is a college prof too, shall I get him to comment on whether professors would get their ass handed to them for squelching dissent against liberal bias? That sort of nonsense is beyond silly.

Your 14 paragraphs of response contained about twenty words worth of discussion... but here goes..

"Ok, Mitch, yet another unsupported statement, but whatever makes yaí tick. You claimed you had no issue with the process."

>Right. A private process. You (per usual) tack on a few other assumptions. I'm going to skip ahead a few feet in your screed to cut to the chase:

That would be fine, were it in fact privately used. It won't be. In fact, your friend who writes about this problem is evidence it not only won't be treated that way, it already isn't. So as for assumptions, it appears mine may be actually grounded in this little thing we call historical perspective.

"if you are willing to agree that all such conduct should be done ONLY BY THE STUDENTS, and no records of such discovery should/could/would be shared with PACS, political organizations of any form, and especially not the government, then I donít have any significant objection."

Well, duh. Of course, you're the one who threw in the "Administration".

Actually, Mitch, I was referring to TIPS, your mistake, but whatever. I don't, based on their conduct around TIPS, believe anyone related to this administration should be allowed to come within a country mile of professorial political beliefs. As the country is repleat currently with various "litmus" testing proposals (perhaps you've heard of that?), I've even heard calls for such here, I guess I'm just a little skeptical it's quite so innocent as you propose.

My question was, and remains: "What is the issue with people publicizing things professors say". They have tenure, so they can't be fired for any but the most gross misconduct, so the charges of "chilling discourse" is rubbish.

Actually, that WASN'T your question, your question was what's wrong with a free exchange of ideas among students. That's not the same as publicizing thier views. Publicizing their views means they can be contacted by NON STUDENTS and intimidated for their words by NON STUDENTS, a needless distraction based on non-public speech, that is, unless you think publicizing what corporate officers conduct as long as not trade secrets, would be a good idea. The instructors are entitled to thier own intellectual property, and intimidating them for holding opinions unpopular with either the majority or minority is utterly unwise. If they are qualified to teach the subject, if they receive good evaluations on their ability to relay the information, and if they effectively do so, their words regarding the impact of unsound environmental policy are the words of experts in their fields, and they should be allowed to express them without fear of retaliation. THAT is what is wrong with such publication, beyond the infringement on IP rights. So since you ask, there is your answer, but you DIDNT actually ask that.

"Well then, the laxity is yours, as you wrongly assume it wouldnít wind up in at least the RNCís hands to go and lobby, if not further. Regardless, it certainly would be incredibly intimidating."

Leaving aside the incredible paranoia - so what?

Paranoia, sure, and you don't privately (along with Ann Coulter) describe McCarthy as having the right idea, and Scooter Libby and Karl Rove didn't out Valerie Plame because her husband spoke out against them, nor did they tarnish the careers of Paul O'Niell and Richard Clarke. If you trust this administration, which claimed all the justification it needed for Iraq was that Iraq hadn't accounted for WMD, and then said WMD was not the primary justification, well, more power to you, but I think there is sufficient evidence that this group doesn't deserve trust.

You think that conservative activism isn't held against students on campus today?

By the Professors, NO, not in sufficient significance to be relevant. But as for paranoia, talk about out there. Woah.

You think conservative professors don't face ostracism vastly worse than anything a group of students and alumni could dish out?

I think within their profession, at state universities, it is likely, in fact probable, that they do. Although as compared to being publicized to the generally whackjob public, no, I don't think it rises to that level of dealing with freakdom. Regardless, those professors are NOT faced with the prospect of death threats (or beatings) for thier views from their peers.

"The point is NOT the free discussion of the positions of professors, itís intimidation and implementation of identity politics."

So say you.

Yep.. so say I, and nearly all other commentators.

All campus "speech codes" should be revoked. All of them.

Agree.

And open criticism of professors should be allowed and encouraged;

Disagree.. misconduct by a professor is first, something which should be substantiated, just like as an employee you would be given such courtesy. Beyond that, expressing an expert opinion is not misconduct.

there's nothing about being a "professor" that should exempt one from being above criticism.

Of course not, and being President, doesn't place you above the law.

PB

Posted by: pb at January 24, 2006 03:11 PM

"You are a joke, and frankly, no longer worth the time to read."

Geez.

PB, you know, the really simple solution (one that was thought up by a COLLEGE DROPOUT, no less) is this:

If Mitch is such a joke and a big waste of time **THEN** **QUIT** **READING** **THIS** **BLOG**

See, blogs like Mitch's, because they are accessible without involuntary fee, have a neat little condition attached to them:

THEY ARE A DICTATORSHIP! IF you don't like what you read or how the blog author treats his commenters, **THEN** **QUIT** **READING** **THIS** **BLOG**. MITCH (and his donors) pay for this blog and its bandwidth exclusively. MITCH gets to decide what he wants to say, and what demands he wants to put on commenters. If he tells you to back up your outlandish accusations with some verifiable proof, then that is his God-given (and fiduciary) right.

And quit giving the rest of us headaches. Good God man, you really must have a mile wide sado-masochistic streak.

Posted by: Bill C at January 24, 2006 03:50 PM

Bill C.. I understand that most of you don't want to be bothered with opinions you find uncomfortable, but as that's the point of the topic, I guess I'll just have to press on anyway. Believe me, it has passed through my head on oh, about 5 times a day, that Mitch's blog is a waste. Most of my friends consider this blog collosally stupid, but my feeling is that he's better than this, and perhaps, by posting some sort of counter, his readers will at least see there in fact are reasons not to adhere to his views.

As for dictatorship, that's a good word, considering..

One, Mitch says that it's only my view that it is about intimidation, and then goes on to say, "so what if it is" and asks why shouldn't professors be subject to ridicule. So, in fact, it IS about intimidation.

Two, if it's about improper conduct toward conservative staff, then fight that conduct. Intimidation of alternate views is ENTIRELY antithetical to the learning process, such conduct deserves severe reprimand.

Three, but it's not about that, it's about injecting politics into EVERY facet of life, including whether a qualified professor can reasonably comment upon a subject, including the policy of the government on the subject. I say they can, they are admitted experts by the university or college. If their opinions are so falacious, then the students have the right and obligation to challenge them, directly and to the Dean, but placing their opinions in front of an ill-educated (worst case) population would result in nothing other than invective inserted into what should be academic pursuit.

Oh, and btw Bill, considering you can webhost for about $5 per month.. hmmm..

Beyond that, Mitch invites counter argument, or so he has said, so seemingly he wants counter argument. The problem I've seen is he really doesn't chose to address the issues raised. See he wants PROFESSORS who say things in a classroom to have thier opinions exposed and presumably either they or the school have to defend them against silliness like this, but he seems unwilling to actually engage in a real discussion. Witness above, comments from Mitch imply that it is only my opinion that it's about intimidation, then he goes on to assert it's right and proper to intimidate. That's not real discourse, it's intentional deception, followed by an admission that isn't direct. Real discourse would have been to say, from the first, it's about making liberal profs accountable, but instead, he makes assertions that it's about "free exchange" among private students.

That was dishonest, and is not discourse.

But Bill, it really isn't worth the time and I very much question the sense in talking, except the counter is violence. Not from me, no, but from folks who've commented here how much they simply would rather shoot people like me, people who disagree with them... oh, and college professors.

So yeah, I have an issue with publicizing the comments of professors, unless sufficient supporting documentation is also provided, the context of the words is made clear, and the professor is treated anonymously. They are NOT public figures. I don't have any issue with free speech, any student can say what they want, but paying for solicitations meant to intimidate is just flat wrong. That's not ALUMNI speech, it's Alumni propoganda in an attempt to mold education to thier will.

PB

Posted by: pb at January 24, 2006 05:13 PM

Well, it looks like we have a topic for Saturday! I'm sorry Nathan disagrees with me as well, but I think the bounty was a bad idea, and the uclaprofs.com site now reports that the buckos are off the table.

To whet the appetite, a couple of facts that aren't clear from Mitch's description of the program: First, UCLA is claiming it has a copyright to the material. Intellectual property rights on public university campuses is a morass, but it's pretty clear that either the university or the professor has the right. It's not necessarily public just because a tax dollar paid for it, or else I own a helluva lot of JOBZ businesses. There's a workshop here mandatory of all our students which has a great deal of liberal bias in it. I'd like to go in and tape it. I can't. They can throw me out.

Second, the alumnus heading BAA raised $24000 in part by promising to deliver this stuff. So he's potentially making a profit from delivering that which is not his. I don't know that I would call it non-commercial.

My solution is to a) end the bounty-hunting, which has now happened; and b) require students to get permission to tape from the professor, who probably has the right to give a limited right to the student. The school is claiming the student can't share it with outside people, but that case might be worth fighting in court.

Posted by: kb at January 24, 2006 05:17 PM

Uh, PB... when ARE you going to leave?

Posted by: badda-blogger at January 24, 2006 05:55 PM

If one doesn't wish to have one's views and comments widely disseminated, then one is better served by not providing them to a room full of people. If one wishes to get paid for saying things to a room full of people, then one should fully expect that those views and comments will not remain private, and will, in fact become public. If false staements are made as to what was said to a room full of people, well, that is why there are libel attorneys. There is no expectation of privacy in a public place, and a classroom is a public place, especially a classroom supported with tax dollars.

If you want your opinions to remain private, then keep your mouth shut. Alumni, many of who contribute to these schools and send children there, are well within their rights to find out what is being said in the classrooms which they help pay for, and if they are willing to pay students to obtain that information, well, it's still a mostly free country. If the faculty finds this intolerable, they can hang their own shingle out for a competing institution, and require the students to sign non-disclosure agreements, thus forbidding any disclosure of anything said in the classrooms.

Posted by: Will Allen at January 24, 2006 06:36 PM

Well, kb if somebody is actually selling tapes of a lecture, I could see copyright law being violated. If however, one is merely being paid to recount opinions expressed in a classroom, how is that any more of a copyright violation than an employee telling his boss that another employee is saying negative things about the company, with the disclosing employee being rewarded for it with a raise?

Posted by: Will Allen at January 24, 2006 06:47 PM

Careful, PB. Mitch knows Jack Bauer.

Posted by: Dan S. at January 24, 2006 09:09 PM

Wow, what a tempest. Here's a summary: liberals believe that taping anyone, anywhere without a warrent is bad, even if we're seriously threatened by terrorists. Except if the subject is a Republican, of course. Remember Newt Gingrich in '96? The Dems weren't howling about privacy being violtated, they were trying to disseminate an illegal wiretap very widely.

Somewhat more seriously PB, you might try and quote what the General said. He said that some domestic calls were intercepted, but when both ends of the call were domestic the results were thrown out. Given the routing of the phone networks it's very difficult to determine if something going through a foreign node isn't being routed back into the US, especially if it's a cell phone where you need to correlate the cell location with the call. Or don't you trust the government to purge things when they say they did? After all, they'd never keep records even when the law says they have to destroy them, would they (*cough* Clinton's gun purchase records *cough*)?

Posted by: nerdbert at January 24, 2006 09:17 PM

Will, if you look at the original offer (link at end of this comment) you will see that he offered $100 for "Full, detailed lecture notes, all professor-distributed materials, and full tape recordings of every class session, for one class." You could get smaller payments for "Full, detailed lecture notes and all professor-distributed materials, for one class: $50" and "Advisory and all professor-distributed materials: $10". The materials may well be subject to copyright and IP protection. It's much more than water-cooler gossip.

Posted by: kb at January 24, 2006 09:50 PM

Ooops, forgot the link: http://www.uclaprofs.com/studentshelpolder.html

Posted by: kb at January 24, 2006 09:52 PM

Let's clarify things a bit here (especially since Peeb has muddied the waters with his administration conspiracy theories):

The money makes me a little uncomfortable. And I do NOT necessarily think that the criticism should be used to attack peoples' employment; I have no problem with a professor *being* a liberal, or even a raving moonbat. Merely that people (and not just students) have the right to tell other people about it, and qualify it.

The left has been organizing responses to everything said, sung or felt on campuses for forty years. I'm not proposing anything NEARLY as intrusive. No, all I'm saying is that there's nothing about being a "professor" that exempts one or one's work from criticism on its own merits.

While, for example, a series of student blogs publicizing a professor's bias might make a professor uncomfortable, it's well within the bounds of vigorous discussion; it's merely not completely within the professor's control.

Part of the problem, perhaps, is that I have no reverence for the rules and traditions of higher academics. I am the Johnny Knoxville of post-graduate education.

Posted by: mitch at January 25, 2006 05:26 AM

Let's clarify things a bit here (especially since Peeb has muddied the waters with his administration conspiracy theories):

Actually, Mitch, it was your misunderstanding of my TIPS reference. Suggesting that this administration acts vindictively is hardly a theory, and the fact that the administration engaged (mistakenly) in domestic wiretaps is hardly a theory, it's factual.

The money makes me a little uncomfortable.

As it should, considering it gets dangerously close to violating RICO if used to engage in terrorizing those professors.

And I do NOT necessarily think that the criticism should be used to attack peoples' employment;

(Well, that response also could mean you necessarily don't have a problem with it either, this statement is a non-denial, denial).

I have no problem with a professor *being* a liberal, or even a raving moonbat. Merely that people (and not just students) have the right to tell other people about it, and qualify it.

Yes, they do have the right to tell them what a professor says, no issue there, and I concurred. The issue is HOW is it going to be used/published. If it is in fact a student, doing so on their own, fine. If it's instead a solicited, organized attack on one specific political profile, no, that's not okay, that's political campaigns waged against teachers by entities outside the university, and certianly will limit the range of discussion inside the classroom.

The left has been organizing responses to everything said, sung or felt on campuses for forty years.

So you say, but where is this proof? All campuses, or just a few? And are you suggesting young republicans haven't done the same? I wonder which is better organized, and better funded.


I'm not proposing anything NEARLY as intrusive. No, all I'm saying is that there's nothing about being a "professor" that exempts one or one's work from criticism on its own merits.

Well, that's incorrect, their words/thoughts are IP. Now they are shared in a semi-public forum, so I don't know, nor would I pretend to know, what that does to their IP. But suggesting that there's nothing preventing sharing of their IP is false.

While, for example, a series of student blogs publicizing a professor's bias might make a professor uncomfortable, it's well within the bounds of vigorous discussion; it's merely not completely within the professor's control.

Yes, it is within the bounds of speech agreed, and that's not the issue, and I suspect you know it. The issue is the goal is to insert politics into the classroom, not just an opinion, but actually engaging in retributive conduct, and intimidation of the university (as well as quotas apparently on needing more "conservative" professors, but apparently only conservatives who support the policies they want). Pretending this is about student blogs is deception. This is about going after supposed liberal teachers and this perception of immense bias. If, in terms of discussing their words, the opinion is represented in full context, and with consent, then outside opinion from the community should be welcome. If, on the other hand, a student mischaracterizes, or for that matter, lies about the words of the professor, what remedy do you have in your system Mitch. Universities are not public speech houses, they are places of learning, and you are attempting (apparently) to see to it that any discussion meets with a certain approval from a community that engaged in managing the day to day activities, or responsible to know the complexities of the subject. You cheapen the discussion to the least common denominator by injecting community ridicule. Essentially, what you propose invites making our classes similar to political campaigns, not filled with information, but filled with 10 second sound bites.

I have no issue with any student posting their interpretation of a professors opinion, but if that is gathered by an outside entity, and using their vast resources, engaging in political campaigning, broadly distributing those "impressions", it invites intrusion into the classroom to the point of dictating material to the most centrally accepted norm ONLY, for any other words, any critical thought, or exploration of options, would be subject to public ridicule. Free speech is not taken in this country by acts of the government, it doesn't need to be, instead, it is taken by the scorn of an apethetic society regarding ideas they don't have the time to address. That's not a slight on society, it's recognizing that radical opinion is not something they embrace in their day to day lives. It's what has lead to political correctness, and for someone who says he's anti-PC, THIS is precisely the same thing, castigate a professor for speaking outside the mainstream until he/she is afraid to speak any longer. The consequence goes deeper, because from the teacher the student learns, and they will pattern on that teacher, meaning outlanding commentary in general, pushing the boundaries of learning, generally, will be squelched. Exploration into scientific processes not seen as favored by the majority of society will be stopped because the public will speak out against it, and the legislatures will react (or, like in Terry Schaivo, the President will).

The issue is FAR more complex than your whimsicle post shares, and seeminly than you've considered, given that you didn't address how to prevent this "vocal minority" intimidation.

Finally, Universities are not under an obligation to become public campaigning halls. Despite your (what I would call) paranoia about liberalism dominating each nook and cranny, there are many many many conservative schools, and conservative voices. I concur there are more liberal- but that's based on impression, not emperical data. Whether or not there are, though, is not something we need to start policing, start "highlighting", unless you think we need to "highlight" the policy decisions of Hospitals, public utilities, or frankly decisions of an administration that claims executive priveledge regarding it's energy policy. There is FAR more reason to be concerned about the latter not being public, than a university saying that they feel the qualification of the professor entitles them to provide expert analysis on the subject. That the public at large may not agree with the expert is a perception issue, not a political one.


Part of the problem, perhaps, is that I have no reverence for the rules and traditions of higher academics. I am the Johnny Knoxville of post-graduate education.

Well, I think a lot of it has to do much more with a disdain for higher education, and it's tendency to be oriented toward scientific foundation. I don't mean a slight there, but often we fear what we don't understand, perhaps even holding it in contempt.

Posted by: pb at January 25, 2006 11:05 AM

Warrantless Surveillance. If you don't like it at the academic level, will someone please tell me where Bush intends to draw boundaries? Reminds me of the Blacklisting in Hollywood, or the Gestapo.
AUMF was a drastic measure for a drastic time. We have alot in place. Why take it a step further in this fashion when we have the ability to track terrorism anyway? We had it, we blew it off.
So now that we're paying attention, why make everyone vulnerable to anything at all?
The schools are hysterical about kids saying "I hate this teacher, I could just kill her", or an IMAGE of a gun - (absolutely true), Homeland Defense is being called in and its become a ridiculous mess.
Its a dangerous thing when you take away the checks and balances of our system. This country is beginning to feel like somebody elses.....

Posted by: carmelitta at January 25, 2006 02:30 PM

carmelitta fretted: "Warrantless Surveillance. If you don't like it at the academic level, will someone please tell me where Bush intends to draw boundaries?"
I think Bush did. He said we were tracking people in country who were contacting terrorists in other countries. with oh, around 300 million Americans (or not, that whole pesky immigration thingy, don't ya know) I don't think the NSA is going to expend a lot of energy tracking Aunt Ginny and the bridge club. Now Bill Haverberg, on the other hand, warrants close scrutiny...

Posted by: Kermit at January 25, 2006 06:32 PM

Okay okay....Aunt Ginny. Yeah. Well, then explain why we NEED this thing when we have other means which do the same thing basically? It makes no sense. The only thing that that FISA won't do, is give the gov a "blank check" (as O'Connor put it) to do whatever they want. As it stands, they have to answer to US. Follow some rules. Big deal. 72 hours is alot of time.
If anyone can come up with a solid explanation, I would, for one, appreciate hearing it.
Since when has the United States called their intelligence inadequate, and since when have they felt restricted. They do whatever they damn well please and are good at it. What happened at 911?
It was sloppy. So now they are paying attention. What would warrantless survelliance do for them that they don't already have anyhow?
You bet I fret. When the govermnent starts taking away my (okay they are implied)rights of privacy, I'm going to ask them to justify it without them dumbing it down.

Posted by: carmelitta at January 25, 2006 10:46 PM

Kermit,

That's the current limit, which still probably is illegal (basing that on independent opinion rather than from biased corners), but there is no guarantee they stop there.

The issue is when they start using normal citizens, then things get MUCH easier.

A story from 1956 Hungary, a woman opined (this was an autobiography of a survivor of the uprising), anyway, the author's grandmother as I recall, opined, "We don't ever see the Hungarian Flag anymore, I wish we would see the Hungarian Flag." She was sent to a camp for, as I recall, 6 years.

Totalitarianism doesn't happen overnight, it just sneaks up on you.

PB

Posted by: pb at January 25, 2006 10:46 PM

Okay okay....Aunt Ginny. Yeah. Well, then explain why we NEED this thing when we have other means which do the same thing basically? It makes no sense. The only thing that that FISA won't do, is give the gov a "blank check" (as O'Connor put it) to do whatever they want. As it stands, they have to answer to US. Follow some rules. Big deal. 72 hours is alot of time.
If anyone can come up with a solid explanation, I would, for one, appreciate hearing it.
Since when has the United States called their intelligence inadequate, and since when have they felt restricted. They do whatever they damn well please and are good at it. What happened at 911?
It was sloppy. So now they are paying attention. What would warrantless survelliance do for them that they don't already have anyhow?
You bet I fret. When the govermnent starts taking away my (okay they are implied)rights of privacy, I'm going to ask them to justify it without them dumbing it down.

Posted by: carmelitta at January 25, 2006 10:47 PM

Okay okay....Aunt Ginny. Yeah. Well, then explain why we NEED this thing when we have other means which do the same thing basically? It makes no sense. The only thing that that FISA won't do, is give the gov a "blank check" (as O'Connor put it) to do whatever they want. As it stands, they have to answer to US. Follow some rules. Big deal. 72 hours is alot of time.
If anyone can come up with a solid explanation, I would, for one, appreciate hearing it.
Since when has the United States called their intelligence inadequate, and since when have they felt restricted. They do whatever they damn well please and are good at it. What happened at 911?
It was sloppy. So now they are paying attention. What would warrantless survelliance do for them that they don't already have anyhow?
You bet I fret. When the govermnent starts taking away my (okay they are implied)rights of privacy, I'm going to ask them to justify it without them dumbing it down.

Posted by: carmelitta at January 25, 2006 10:48 PM

Okay okay....Aunt Ginny. Yeah. Well, then explain why we NEED this thing when we have other means which do the same thing basically? It makes no sense. The only thing that that FISA won't do, is give the gov a "blank check" (as O'Connor put it) to do whatever they want. As it stands, they have to answer to US. Follow some rules. Big deal. 72 hours is alot of time.
If anyone can come up with a solid explanation, I would, for one, appreciate hearing it.
Since when has the United States called their intelligence inadequate, and since when have they felt restricted. They do whatever they damn well please and are good at it. What happened at 911?
It was sloppy. So now they are paying attention. What would warrantless survelliance do for them that they don't already have anyhow?
You bet I fret. When the govermnent starts taking away my (okay they are implied)rights of privacy, I'm going to ask them to justify it without them dumbing it down.

Posted by: carmelitta at January 25, 2006 10:49 PM

Okay okay....Aunt Ginny. Yeah. Well, then explain why we NEED this thing when we have other means which do the same thing basically? It makes no sense. The only thing that that FISA won't do, is give the gov a "blank check" (as O'Connor put it) to do whatever they want. As it stands, they have to answer to US. Follow some rules. Big deal. 72 hours is alot of time.
If anyone can come up with a solid explanation, I would, for one, appreciate hearing it.
Since when has the United States called their intelligence inadequate, and since when have they felt restricted. They do whatever they damn well please and are good at it. What happened at 911?
It was sloppy. So now they are paying attention. What would warrantless survelliance do for them that they don't already have anyhow?
You bet I fret. When the govermnent starts taking away my (okay they are implied)rights of privacy, I'm going to ask them to justify it without them dumbing it down.

Posted by: carmelitta at January 25, 2006 10:50 PM

Except this is NOT about *government* eavesdropping on professors (Peeb's fever-swamp delusions aside). This is about a group of students publishing commentary on professors - say, via a blog. Period.

Peeb and Carmelitta's scenario is certainly plausible - and doesn't need any group of students (or, for that matter, any particular administration!) to carry it off.

But, again, the goverment angle is *irrelevant*. I'm as opposed to *illegal* government snooping as the next guy - I'm the libertarian (small l) after all, remember, unlike all of you who jeered at libertarians until John Ashkkkroft was sworn in... ;-) - but this is about *students* and *citizens* privately publishing critique.

Nobody has even tried to make a case as to why this, in and of itself (without the fever swamp delusions tacked on) violates academic freedom.

King and Ed and I will no doubt be debating this on Saturday, by the way...

Posted by: mitch at January 26, 2006 12:28 PM

Mitch, why is it every time you mention my name, you feel compelled to insult me? I certainly don't do that to you, so much for the "hostility" meter.

Mitch, you're nothing like a liberterian, you turn your back on government warrantless taps, declaring them legal when MANY, and in that EVERY independent, analyses have said exactly the opposite. Bush (aka Mr. pay attention to the polls) saw the polls were moving in his direction and started pushing the envelope. Now we find the government strong armed MSN, AOL and Yahoo to get access to search information (again without warrants), so I'm sure you're really worried.

The list of 'liberties' you concerned yourself with and complained about a while back, excepting Kelo (which nearly all liberals also object to), pretty well can be summed up in concerns about guns, and concerns about money. Please understand that some of us worry and understand that there simply ARE no property or personal rights without first securing free expression, free access to information, and freedom from the "reluctant" intrusion into personal liberty by a motivated government.

And finally Mitch, can you try really hard to NOT mistate what I said. I mean I even clarified it, I didn't say GOVERNMENT control, or even snooping, I said this Administration, based on it's actions regarding TIPS, and MANY other political hatchet jobs, can't be trusted to not use this to intimidate qualified professionals to toe the line. But, I guess to a "liberterian" like you, this Administrations callous conduct is "just deserts", and behaving in a dignified way is for saps.

All that has to happen with this program for it to become a rallying cry for some politician (btw, when did liberterians start trusting the government?), is for vocal fools to talk about how "it's OUR University, shouldn't we DECIDE what is taught", ignoring that they elect governors who appoint regents, they elect school board members, and mostly ignoring that not all opinion is going to fit comfortably within the least common denominator principle, nor should it if we want critical thought. Or maybe we're simply pursuing students who toe-the-line, don't engage in discussions that question authority. The point is, complex debate about mircobiology belongs in the classroom and research centers, not squelched to a predetermined point by a mostly disinterested public. Debate about teaching philosophy is the topic the public certainly should address, but do you REALLY think they are about to become experts on quarks, phase-shift, or super-string theory? Also, while any topic is free to be debated, if we use solicited, anecdotal complaints about bias to stiffle speech in the classroom, in the end it will only be our society and children, which lose.

To a liberterian, this risk is obvious.

PB

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