Monday, February 07, 2005

Well, when you put it that way....

Prof. Richard Posner says Leftiversities weaken the Left:

Today in the United States, most of the leading research universities are dominated by persons well to the left of Larry Summers, and they don't take kindly to having their ideology challenged, as Summers has now learned to his grief.

There is nothing to be done about this, and thoughtful conservatives should actually be pleased. As John Stuart Mill pointed out in On Liberty, when one's ideas are not challenged, one's ability to defend them weakens. Not being pressed to come up with arguments or evidence to support them, one forgets the arguments and fails to obtain the evidence. One's position becomes increasingly flaccid, producing the paradox of thought that is at once rigid and flabby. And thus the academic left today.

3 comments:

Dan said...

Did anyone other than myself catch Alan Dershowitz in Lerner this afternoon? He spoke about the whole MEALAC business. I'm not a fan of the man (or anyone else who claims to speak for all of American Jewry) but his oratory rocked. It was taped so you should be able to catch it on CTV. I highly recommend checking it out- the atmosphere was quite tense.

A highlight:
Two students were holding up a sign in front while Dershowitz spoke. The sign read "Torture Defender: Not Welcome!", in reference to Dershowitz's position that in a world in which torture is used by all sides, if it is used by Americans it should require a special warrant from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and presidential approval. He pointed them out at one point, alluding to the seeming contradiction of students who claim to be for academic freedom also saying opposing viewpoints shouldn't be "welcomed." "I'm not paying them to make my point, I swear," he said. Very funny stuff.

Adam Scavone said...

I like his torture plans. Arlen Specter grilled some academic types about "imminent threat" scenarios (should we use torture or shouldn't we if there is an imminent threat and we are reasonably sure suspects in custody have relevant information?) during the Alberto Gonzales hearing and they weren't exactly convincing.

I haven't thought Specter's hypothetical or torture more generally all the way through but my hunch is that the Dershowitz President/Chief Justice might make some sense.

Clara said...

Word up -- he went to summer camp with my grandmother.

Sorry I missed the lecture. I heard him a year or two ago when he debated someone (possibly Fletcher).