no obvious academic import
October 18, 2006 1 Comment
Does everyone already know about this?
“As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.”
– Dave Barry
Marquette student Stuart Ditsler put that great quote on his office door. Go Ditsler! He’s a PhD candidate in philosophy, so I assume he has an office as an instructor to undergraduates.
On September 5, his department chair sent him an email stating that he had received several complaints and therefore removed the quote!
The chair wrote, “While I am a strong supporter of academic freedom, I’m afraid that hallways and office doors are not ‘free-speech zones.’ If material is patently offensive and has no obvious academic import or university sanction, I have little choice but to take note.”
Now, I try hard not to call someone a moron just because I disagree with him, but how else do you describe a professor who thinks the anti-Federalist tradition has “no obvious academic import”?
If this were the 1990s, I’d guess the prof’s politics were left-wing. After all, President Clinton said, “You can’t say you love your country and hate your government.”
(Thanks to Anthony Gregory for his great LRC piece today reminding us what the Establishment Left sounded like only last decade.)
But in aught six, I’m more inclined to guess that anyone who finds the Barry quote “patently offensive” is a right-winger.
Let’s make that assumption for now. Conservative prof.
Here’s what I suspect. If some commie had posted a quote on his office door about how the capitalist class constitutes a “dangerous, powerful, and relentless” common enemy , a conservative philosophy professor — someone who, we are assuming for the sake of argument, would find such a sentiment “patently offensive” — would nevertheless recognize Marxist class-warfare rhetoric as having “obvious academic import”. Just my guess.
Apparently 2+ centuries of anti-Federalist sentiment doesn’t count.