Sunday, January 20, 2008

Not so free speech

If we can not have free speech at a university, where in our democratic system will we have it? If ideas can not be discussed in an academic setting, free of bureaucratic constraint, what is the hope for the rest of society?

These questions spring to mind when I read this post by Roger Pielke concerning a recent directive issued at his home university.

Roger is hardly an extremist in the climate blogosphere but if his voice is subject to censorship, what hope is there for the rest of us? Conform or go home apparently.

Be free to speak and lecture, just as long as you say,preach and indoctrinate the correct, approved, consensus dogma and leave all the free-thinking, skepticism, independent learning aspects of education right out.

Just when you think Orwell may have over-stated things, administrative doublespeak fills in the void and doubt, and re-affirms the necessity for individuals to stand up, think and speak for themselves. Democracy is not a right, it must be fought for and defended against those forces in society that find its activities an inconvenience to their truth.

Follow up:
John Mueller has published this excellent commentary in the Canadian University Teachers Bulletin on the integrity of academic work and the insidious way with which ideology is presumed to taint some work but be inherently absent in others.

Of course his commentary won't count academically.

Increasingly academia cares little about the message and more about the noise it is presented with and generates.