Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Conspiracy Theories and the AAUP

KC Johnson at Minding the Campus not only attacks the AAUP's report defending politically controversial professors, but imagines that a post by Alex Klein at the New Republic somehow violates the AAUP's principles.

KC Johnson fundamentally distorts both the AAUP's report and the Klein blog. Absolutely nothing in the AAUP's work suggests that professors should be immune from criticism. What the AAUP rightly worries about are efforts to silence or punish faculty who express controversial views of any kind. Klein's blog likewise says absolutely nothing about seeking to punish the professors or ban the class in question.

Now, there might be some legitimate critiques of this class on the grounds that big money, rather than academic quality, has sustained and expanded it. But Klein doesn't say this. And the AAUP report doesn't, either.

It's sad to see otherwise thoughtful people like Johnson reduced to conspiracy theorists who imagine that the AAUP's fair-minded and even-handed defense of all professors, left and right alike, is a secret left-wing plot to prevent any criticism of an academic. The reality for anyone who actually reads the AAUP report is so plainly different that it requires a conspiratorial mind to distort it.

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