I Just Signed An Open Letter. This is Why:

Last week, professors, lecturers and academics across the country began signing the “Stanford Academic Freedom Declaration.” It is an open letter that calls on universities to restore free speech, academic freedom and institutional neutrality. The open letter asks universities and professors to adopt and implement the “Chicago Trifecta” — the Chicago Principles on unilateral free speech, the Kalven report that requires institutional neutrality on political and social topics, and the Shils report, making “academic contribution the sole basis for hiring and promotion.”  It is picking up metaphorical steam: several hundred new signatures have been entered since I first saw the document last night. One of them is mine: I qualify as a former adjunct professor of legal ethics.

Stanford economist and co-author John Cochrane is the first name on the list and presumably launched the letter. He told College Fix:

The larger hope is to bring back academic freedom on campus and in the academic enterprise more generally. Only with robust academic freedom, the ability to investigate ideas and bring out uncomfortable facts, does scholarship bring about new and reliable knowledge, especially on crucial issues to our society.

Who knows if this will have any impact or persuasive power? I am dubious about the use of such protest tools, but at least this one causes no harm even if it like the lonely tree falling in a forest. Trying to ensure that the letter has no effect is, of course, the mainstream media, which so far, at least, hasn’t deemed the effort newsworthy for a week. In the meantime, several news sources have devoted space to the fact that in China, a massive flock of sheep has been walking in a circle for 12 days straight. Priorities!

I’m grateful for the opportunity to do something proactive about this problem, which I view as an existential threat to American culture and society. Boycotting the recent class reunions of my college and law school was mandatory for me but also the equivalent of Grandpa Simpson shouting at clouds. My  Harvard reunion book essay explaining my position did attract a few kudos in the mail, all of which opined that there were many other class members who felt as I do but were afraid to make their views public.

Wow. Harvard apparently has graduated a lot of weenies. But I knew that.

I’ll be circulating the letter to my friends and associates who can sign it. It’s awfully open, which mean that if someone wanted to muck it up with fake names, gag names and other graffiti, they could. Right now, I’m the last name on the list, number 1,241. It will take about a hundred times that to make a ripple, I know.

It’s worth a shot.

7 thoughts on “I Just Signed An Open Letter. This is Why:

  1. “In the meantime, several news sources have devoted space to the fact that in China, a massive flock of sheep has been walking in a circle for 12 days straight. Priorities!”

    I heard about that!

    A better comparison would be regarding what kind of publicity a petition signed by over 1000 academics to have a former slaveholder’s name removed from a university or college get? Or to prevent Ben Shapiro or Candace Owens from speaking on campus?

    We all know the Left considers Free Speech to be a euphemism for Nazispeak so the media has its marching orders to ignore as necessary.

  2. I just posted this on Facebook…

    Here is an open letter that I can get behind, it’s regarding academic freedom and freedom of speech and how they are rapidly declining in academic institutions, including universities, professional societies, journals, and funding agencies. What’s happening on our college campuses directly and indirectly impacts the next generation(s) of leaders in the United States of America and abroad. The current climate of undermining freedoms including free speech will have far reaching effects for many years to come if we don’t somehow put a stop to it now.

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_vTk2EPGqe_4pjj9KntQLKAKO8ZqfL0Pquj89TlazYA/edit

    Freedom of speech is a fundamental core of freedom in the United States of America. It is fundamental that We the People can freely speak our minds without the fear of retaliation from the regressive 21st century cancel culture raining down intimidation, persecution and destroying lives simply for having dissenting views. The movement to silence opposing viewpoints instead of having open debate with each other is grounded in totalitarianism and an existential threat to American culture, society and the building blocks of the United States of America.

    Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin who said that “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”. Freedom is a core foundation of liberty. Apathy and silence will be used as enabling justification tools for the kinds of suppression we’re seeing, so if you don’t stand up for freedom now the anti freedom advocates will see that as condoning their activism. Don’t rationalize what’s clearly anti-American with an “ends justifies the means” outlook because someday the tables may be turned and it might be opinions like yours that are targeted.

    Here are a few related definitions of liberty that I found online.

    —————————————-
    The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.

    Freedom from arbitrary or despotic control.

    Freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.
    —————————————-

    The culture, society, institutions and government of the United States of America should be the pinnacle of freedom and promotion of liberty throughout the world, not a willing participant in the suppression of those core foundations. Our actions speak volumes to the rest of the world, let freedom and liberty be the core of those actions.

    Please consider standing up for freedom and liberty and adding your support to this open letter.

    Please consider promoting this Open Letter to the best of your ability. Spread the word far and wide with whatever communication tools you have at your disposal.

  3. Pingback: Open Letter: Stanford Academic Freedom Declaration – Society's Building Blocks

  4. Jack wrote, “Who knows if this will have any impact or persuasive power? I am dubious about the use of such protest tools, but at least this one causes no harm even if it’s like the lonely tree falling in a forest.”

    Without the effort there can be no ripples…

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