Why Liberty U. May Be a Better Place to Study than Duke

Jerry Falwell, Jr. may have and still does support Donald Trump, but I doubt he’d let happen what Paul Griffiths, a very smart Roman Catholic scholar, is now experiencing for not submitting to sensitivity training (thanks to Rod). Griffiths’ description of the consequences of the politics of identity is a reminder that we have more to fear than Donald Trump:

These disciplinary proceedings are designed not to engage and rebut the views I hold and have expressed about the matters mentioned, but rather to discipline me for having expressed them. Elaine Heath and Thea Portier-Young, when faced with disagreement, prefer discipline to argument. In doing so they act illiberally and anti-intellectually; their action shows totalitarian affinities in its preferred method, which is the veiled use of institutional power. They appeal to non- or anti-intellectual categories (‘unprofessional conduct’ in Heath’s case; ‘harassment’ in Portier-Young’s) to short-circuit disagreement. All this is shameful, and I call them out on it.

Heath and Portier-Young aren’t alone among us in showing these tendencies. The convictions that some of my colleagues hold about justice for racial, ethnic, and gender minorities have led them to attempt occupation of a place of unassailably luminous moral probity. That’s a utopia, and those who seek it place themselves outside the space of reason. Once you’ve made that move, those who disagree with you inevitably seem corrupt and dangerous, better removed than argued with, while you seem to yourself beyond criticism. What you do then is discipline your opponents.

If only liberals were liberal.

4 thoughts on “Why Liberty U. May Be a Better Place to Study than Duke

  1. Stanley Fish–Academic freedom was understood by many to be a carte blanche ticket, I can do anything I like in my classroom, I don’t even necessarily have to hold every class that is in the schedule, I don’t have to stick to the syllabus as the catalog prints it and as the students who entered the class read it, etc, etc. Academic freedom has also been invoked as the reason for bringing one’s politics directly into the classroom and attempting to sphere one’s students into some ideological direction…. What you should be free to do within certain constraints is the academic job. But if you’re not doing that academic job because you decided to trade in the academic job for a political job, or a therapy job, if you’re not doing that then you should have no freedom at all because you’re no longer performing as an academic. …Many in the 1960’s who saw their immediate revolutionary hopes fail or not completely succeed transfer those hopes to the academy where they felt perhaps that although we can’t win the political battle in the fashion we had hoped to win it, we can win nevertheless by producing generations of students who will do the kind of work we believe should be done in and for society. So it was the rhetoric of unfreezing the long held prejudices, biases, and commonplace traditions of the ivory tower.

    mcmark–In the world of Falwell and Fox News, what’s good for influence is good for business and is politically correct…


  2. The folks at Wheaton must include Falwell Incorporated as “evangelical”. Trump’s speech on Saturday marks his third address in Lynchburg, Virginia will be the second graduation speech at Liberty by a sitting president, following George H. W. Bush’s to the Class of 1990.

    “Evangelicals have found their dream President.”

    Trump’s rating was 80 percent approval among white evangelicals who attend church at least once a month

    President Mike Pence will also be offering commencement addresses at a pair of religious schools later this month:
    —The University of Notre Dame and Grove City College, a Christian liberal arts school in Pennsylvania.

    Catholic Notre Dame traditionally asks the new President to serve as commencement speaker in his first year, but opted to invite Pence—who has a Catholic background but now attends evangelical churches—instead



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