Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Academic Freedom Isn’t the Only Freedom that Matters


I’m posting this week’s Pope Center Clarion Call a couple of days late because I was down in South Carolina giving an address I entitled “The Conventional Wisdom on Higher Education: Not Just Wrong, but Harmful” at the Economics Club of Columbia and the Bastiat Society in Charleston. Southern hospitality lives!

The subject of the piece is academic freedom and in it, I take issue with the rather alarmist position of Matthew Finkin and Robert Post, authors of For the Common Good: Principles of American Academic Freedom. What they regard as ominous, threatening developments (such as complaints from taxpayers that state universities are wasting their money) I see as normal and democratically healthy friction at the edges of academic freedom. The authors evidently regard academic freedom as a fragile glass figurine that might easily be crushed. I think it’s much tougher than that.


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