Who needs a list of progressive professors?

Turning Point USA has a new list out of progressive professors. The list has already begun to be attacked as signaling the rise of a new era of McCarthyism where academics will be prosecuted for anti-American discourse.

I agree that the list should be attacked in so far that it tries to define what is acceptable discourse in academia. Academia should be a place where ideas, no matter how absurd or controversial, can be discussed and this list doesn’t help that goal.

There may be a limited place for safe places. Recently I’ve been willing to accept ‘safe places’ in those cases where individuals genuinely cannot handle certain ideas being discussed. There’s no point in, for example, attending the university’s Jewish student club and claiming that the Holocaust didn’t happen. There’s no point in going to a support meeting of transsexuals and claiming they’re going to hell. Etc etc. Emphasize on the limited though. I am willing to hold my tongue in support group settings, but that’s it.

That said the list, and the response to it, are funny in several ways.

Turning Point USA crafted the list to indicate professors who have been documented attacking conservatives. One professor barged into a Republican student and shouted profanity. I can see a point in the list if it listed only those professors who had a reputation for encouraging an environment of hostility – there is a different between being able to discuss radical ideas and yelling fire in a theater. I’m not so clear why Holocaust deniers are listed though. I don’t agree with such individuals, but if they only express the ideas I see no reason to avoid them. If Turning Point USA is serious about promoting a culture where conservative ideas can be freely discussed in academia it must be willing to protect the Holocaust deniers. Does Turning Point USA not realize the absurdity of trying to, on one hand, create a safe place for Judeo-Christian conservatives, and promoting the right of conservative ideas to be discussed in academia

What I find funny about progressives talking about the need for universities to tolerate their own ‘radical’ speech (what’s radical about wanting more government?), they themselves are intolerant to conservatives. Consider this: I’m a double minority – an illegal alien libertarian. Which of these two identities do you think is more cumbersome in academia?

After the election of Trump several members of the academic community assured me that I would be protected if need be. Yesterday the President of the University of California system released an op-ed defending the undocumented student community. Earlier today she announced that the UCs, including its police force, would refuse to cooperate with any deportation efforts.

In comparison as a libertarian I am often advised to keep quiet about my political views. At minimum I should try to avoid researching things that make it clear that I diverge from the rest of academia in political thought. Otherwise I will have a hard time getting my research published or be cut off from the social networks needed in the job market. On occasion I have found myself ostracized socially for voicing dissent on things like the minimum wage or affirmative action. I’m not alone in this.

In an ideal world I should be able to be an illegal alien, a Holocaust denier*, homosexual, and a devout Muslim** without feeling the need to suppress my view points. Academia should be a safe place for ideas no matter how radical.

Thoughts, comments?

*I’m not a Holocaust denier.
**I’m not a Muslim either.

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2 thoughts on “Who needs a list of progressive professors?

  1. What I have found is that, in liberal societies, conservatives and anybody to the Left of Hillary Clinton aren’t really interested in an ideal world, or even a world where people with different ways of thinking can co-exist peacefully and economically.

    What they want is a world where their point-of-view is The Law of the Land, and anybody who doesn’t follow it is necessarily a criminal. Anybody who doesn’t adhere to it is socially and financially ostracized from society-at-large.

    I have come to this conclusion by looking at the way these two factions relish their victimhood. Pretending to be a victim, or claiming to be one as Dr Yancy does in that NYT piece you linked to, gives affluent and relatively free people a chance to feel righteous and indignant, a very human response to what is still a world that could care less about humans. This victimhood in the political sphere has filled a gap where religion and the supernatural once reigned supreme.

    The major problem I see with a public list of anti-American professors is the same one I see with safe spaces: these political tools will eventually be adopted by the other side also seeking a non-ideal world (check out what this Leftist professor did to her students after Trump’s election; where was the safe space for the Trump supporters?), and because of this safe spaces and public shaming will then leak out into the social realm. Once they burrow their way into the social sphere, these tools will then make their way into the legal realm and, if they are enshrined into legislative acts, I fear what the final product will look like.

Please keep it civil

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