Conservatives denounce dissent
Mark.Scarberry at PEPPERDINE.EDU
Tue Nov 13 12:47:38 PST 2001
I thought free speech included the right to criticize the speech of others.
The excerpt of the Boston Globe article includes nothing that would indicate
the conservative group is seeking to have the government punish those whose
statements are not, in the conservative group's view, patriotic enough.
Mark S. Scarberry
Pepperdine University School of Law
mark.scarberry at pepperdine.edu
From: Lynne Henderson [mailto:hendersl at IX.NETCOM.COM]
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2001 11:38 AM
To: CONLAWPROF at listserv.ucla.edu
Subject: Fwd: Conservatives denounce dissent
Lest free speech issues be seen as only confined to reactions to
conservative speech, here is an edited article from the Boston Globe
Tuesday, Nov 13
Conservatives denounce dissent
By Patrick Healy, Globe Staff, 11/13/2001
A conservative academic group founded by Lynne Cheney, the wife of Vice
President Dick Cheney, fired a new salvo in the culture wars by blasting 40
college professors as well as the president of Wesleyan University and
others for not showing enough patriotism in the aftermath of Sept. 11.
''College and university faculty have been the weak link in America's
response to the attack,'' say leaders of the American Council of Trustees
and Alumni in a report being issued today. The report names names and
criticizes professors for making statements ''short on patriotism and long
Several of the scholars singled out in the report said yesterday they felt
blacklisted, complaining that their words had been taken out of context to
make them look like enemies of the state.
''It's a little too reminiscent of McCarthyism,'' said Hugh Gusterson, an
associate professor of anthropology at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. He was named in the report for his comments at a campus peace
rally where he made a connection between American suffering after Sept. 11
and the suffering in war-torn Afghanistan.
The report lists 117 comments or incidents as evidence that campuses are
hostile to the US government and out of step with most Americans who,
according to polls, support the war in Afghanistan. ''Indeed,'' the report
says, ''the message of much of academe was clear: BLAME AMERICA FIRST.''
> > > > >snip
Anne Neal, an author of the report and council official, said that while she
is sure many professors and students support the US government, they are
afraid that if they speak out, liberal colleagues might shout them down.
''For the most part, public comments in academia were equivocal and often
pointing the finger at America rather than the terrorists,'' Neal said.
''It's hard for non-tenured professors to speak up when there's such a
chorus on the other side.''
Among the scholars named in the report, however, several said yesterday the
council was carrying out its own political agenda: painting higher education
as a bastion of political correctness and trying to silence any criticism of
the Bush administration.
''These kinds of attacks will only discourage professors from speaking out
and opening up dialogues about what's happening overseas, and why,'' said
Kevin Lourie, a professor at the Brown University School of Medicine.
Douglas Bennet, the president of Wesleyan, was named for a Sept. 14 letter
to the Wesleyan community. The letter condemned the terrorist attacks, but
the council singled out one passage in which Bennet voiced his concern that
''disparities and injustices'' in American society and the world can lead to
hatred and violence, and that societies should try to see the world
''through the sensitivities of others.''
Bennet complained that the report's authors took his comments out of
context. He said that he strongly supports the Bush administration's
response to the terrorist attacks and that an American flag has hung on the
door of his house since Sept. 11.
This story ran on page A7 of the Boston Globe on 11/13/2001.
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