The American Association of University Professors put out a statement that probably would have made Neville Chamberlain throw up. It promised to "continue to fight violence with renewed dedication to the exercise of freedom of thought and the expression of that freedom in our teaching." What does that mean? That the professors of 1941 should have responded to Pearl Harbor by just logging more class time? Bradford Wilson of the National Association of Scholars, a group that has been struggling to restore intellectual integrity to the campus, called the AAUP statement "fatuous nonsense," "basic Marxist claptrap" and "anti-American in its basic thrust."
John Leo smears the AAUP's immediate response to 9/11 as a statement that "probably would have made Neville Chamberlain throw up." If you look at the actual statement (which was a personal statement by the president and general secretary, not an official statement by the AAUP), it's nothing like that.
Leo wonders about the AAUP's defense of freedom of thought in response to 9/11, "What does that mean? That the professors of 1941 should have responded to Pearl Harbor by just logging more class time?"
What does Leo propose that the professoriate should have done after 9/11? Imprison Muslim in camps? Mount machine guns on the roof of a campus building? Launch a team of professors to seek out and kill Osama bin Laden? Support the invasion of random countries on false pretenses?
It seems perfectly wise that professors (and everyone one) should have responded to the act of irrational mass murder on 9/11 with a commitment to rationality and freedom of thought. Not one word in the AAUP statement suggests that they think the American government should have done nothing in response to the "immense violence" of 9/11--it was strictly limited to what professors ought to do.
The reactionary responses by Leo and Bradford Wilson of the NAS to these reasonable ideas were deplorable, but perhaps understandable considering the wave of fear and anger inspired by 9/11.
But 10 years later, Leo actually seems proud to have falsely smeared the AAUP as "anti-American" because it stood up for freedom of thought after 9/11. Personally, I don't see anything American about attacking the patriotism of people who defend free speech.