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Op-Ed: The False Choice Between Academic Freedom and Critical Theory Bans

Op-Ed: The False Choice Between Academic Freedom and Critical Theory Bans

“fundamentally incompatible not only with the idea of academic freedom, but with the ultimate goals of seeking and conveying truth”

People are reaching their limits. This is an interesting piece from Richard Lowery. He writes at Cannon:

The false choice between academic freedom and critical theory bans

State politicians are finally stepping up to exercise appropriate oversight of K-12 education under unrelenting pressure from parents who have learned what Texas and many other states have allowed to replace education in our public schools. Unfortunately, there remains extreme hesitancy to tackle the upstream problem of the co-opting of higher education toward mindless activism instead of rational inquiry. Legislators seem frozen by a fear of interfering with the academic freedom of state universities. This fear is completely unfounded, and in fact the only way to preserve academic freedom within state universities is direct intervention to eliminate the “critical theory” paradigm from such institutions.

That’s because “critical theory” and “social justice” in higher education are fundamentally incompatible not only with the idea of academic freedom, but with the ultimate goals of seeking and conveying truth, which should be the cornerstone of any university.

What are these approaches? Essentially, they hold that the goal of teaching and research is to promote predetermined activist goals and that suppression of dissenting ideas is a preferred means to promote the activist goals. These two immutable axioms are why a ban on this approach is in fact conducive to academic freedom rather than the reverse; no institution can seek truth and attempt to provide students with the best understanding of reality available while also holding to these two supposed principles.

Going in a bit deeper, we can see that there are at least three important reasons why intervention is needed to restore universities to the mission for which they were set up and funded in the first place.

Read the whole thing.

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