In his latest column, George Will alerts us to the progress in free speech made by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and identifies a dangerous cultural divide in academia today.
Will’s version of the two cultures argument (pace C. P. Snow) is that engineering schools and departments are more likely to breed rational people who respect truth. Praising Purdue University for adopting the University of Chicago statement of free-speech principles, he says that “freedom of speech, by which truth is winnowed from error, is most reliably defended by those in whose intellectual pursuits the truth is most rigorously tested by reality.” In contrast, he says, those who abuse free speech come mostly from humanities departments.
Would it were not true!
You can also read an overview of the state of free speech on campus in today’s Pope Center article by Robert Shibley.