1/ The shameful incident at Stanford Law School happened because SLS, like so many other academic institutions, has become an ideological echo chamber. Such incidents can be prevented, but only by enhancing viewpoint diversity, especially among faculty and administrators.
2/ The core of the problem is that Woke students, being constantly confirmed in their beliefs and not having them regularly challenged, come to suppose that they are self-evidently true to any reasonable and decent person, and that anyone who doesn't share them must be a bigot.
3/ Suddenly hearing someone challenge their beliefs, or even knowing that someone is present on the campus who challenges their beliefs, is perceived by them as an outrage, a personal assault, an attack on "our" community and its most cherished values.
4/ Because ideological dogmas have hardened into orthodoxies, critics of those dogmas are regarded as heretics--and heretics, by questioning beliefs and challenging values that are sacred in the minds and hearts of the faithful, do "harm." They deny the gods of the city.
5/ And not only to they "deny the gods of the city," they threaten to "corrupt the youth of Athens." The fear is that heresy will spread, that students will be led astray into "harmful" beliefs. It seems urgent to the faithful to stop this from happening--by any means necessary.
6/ None of this has to be. If students regularly encountered and engaged not only fellow students but also faculty representing a range of beliefs, including perspectives that strongly challenged their own, no one would be shocked to hear dissent. Learning would happen.
7/ Does achieving viewpoint diversity require giving "preferences" or "extra points" to conservatives (or other dissenters from campus orthodoxies) in faculty hiring? Not at all. Just stop discriminating in favor of some people or against others based on ideology or viewpoint.
8/ What Cornel West and I said in this statement (later joined by several thousand others) in 2017 remains the advice I would give today to anyone who wants academic institutions of any type to be the best they can be:

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More from @McCormickProf

Nov 19, 2022
1/ I wish more liberals (as we used to call them) would recover and stand up for what was best in their tradition--understanding the value and importance of maintaining a culture in which people think for themselves and say what they think, and defending people's rights to do so.
2/ Because I defend the free speech and academic freedom rights of people with whom I disagree, I sometimes find myself being classified as a "liberal," though I'm not one. I'm a conservative. But that's where we are these days.
3/ What's even odder these days is that because someone like @JohnHMcWhorter defends the free speech and other rights of people with whom he disagrees, he is sometimes regarded as a "conservative," though he IS a liberal. He's a liberal who is true to the faith of his fathers.
Read 5 tweets
Sep 26, 2022
1/ Good commentary by my Princeton and Academic Freedom Alliance colleague Keith Whittington on a troubling "guidance" to University of Idaho faculty enjoining them to remain "neutral" in classroom discussions of abortion and other controversial issues.
2/ I certainly think faculty may not require students to agree with them, or remain silent in class discussions if they disagree with them; and it’s important for faculty to give students opportunities to express their views, whether or not they are in line with the professor’s.
3/ Prohibiting professors from expressing their views (where a topic is properly under discussion in a course) is, however, unacceptable. I say this as someone whose teaching style is not to set out and argue for his own views.
Read 6 tweets
Sep 21, 2022
1/ In this age of ideological partisanship, we need to recognize that, whatever our beliefs, there are reasonable people of goodwill who think differently--even on the most profound and consequential questions. Let's not demonize honorable people for arriving at different places.
2/ To recognize and honor the intelligence and goodwill of people who reach conclusions, even on the great moral questions, which one believes are wrong, even tragically wrong, is not to embrace moral relativism or indifferentism. Nor is it to cease being a person of conviction.
3/ In this vale of tears, all of us are wrong about some things, and none of us can be certain we are not wrong about some very important things. A seemly intellectual humility should be among the virtues we recognize and practice on the basis of firm moral conviction.
Read 8 tweets
Aug 28, 2022
1/ St. Paul's Church in Princeton has beautiful stained glass windows--all rich in symbolism. A favorite of mine reminds us of Jesus' Jewishness and the Jewish roots of Christian faith. It recounts a story from Christ's infancy in which he is presented in the Temple in Jerusalem.
2/ In the Temple, Jesus is recognized by the elderly Simeon, a man of great righteousness (and also by the elderly prophetess Anna). Note the Temple menorah, the Star of David, the knife on the platter (representing circumcision), and the caged doves (used for Temple sacrifice).
3/ Note, too, the scroll and the quill pen (representing written revelation, especially the five books of Moses), and the canopy--reminding us of the wedding *chuppa* (representing a Jewish home).
Read 8 tweets
Jun 6, 2022
A valuable thread by Aaron Sibarium for students who've been admitted to Harvard and Yale law schools and are choosing which to attend. The right answer--it's not close--is Harvard, at least for those who value intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity and reject groupthink.
In addition to the conservative Harvard law profs Aaron mentions, there are Henry Smith & Allen Ferrell, plus profs who aren't easily classifiable (e.g. Ruth Okidiji, Scott Brewer, Richard Parker) plus independent thinking liberals and progressives like Jeanie Suk & Janet Halley.
It's not that Yale Law School doesn't have some superb faculty members. Profs Amar, Stith, Shapiro and others genuinely present competing viewpoints in a fair-minded way. But that's not a substitute for viewpoint diversity. Nor is the general environment hospitable to dissent.
Read 4 tweets
Jun 3, 2022
1/ It seems that the credibility of the Washington Post is taking yet another hit because of the misconduct of Taylor Lorenz. I won't pile on. On the contrary, I want to praise columnist and editor Ruth Marcus--someone whose moral & political opinions are quite distant from mine.
2/ A colleague and I recently submitted an op ed piece to the Washington Post defending the authority of Congress to enforce the 14th Amendment equal protection rights of unborn children by prohibiting elective abortions. It was accepted and given to Ruth Marcus for editing.
3/ Ruth Marcus is firmly on the side of legal abortion and undoubtedly fiercely disagreed with every word of our essay. And yet, she worked with me in a professional manner, honestly helping to make our essay as strong as it could be. This was integrity in action. Brava to her!
Read 5 tweets

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