The Becker-Posner Blog, Free Speech in American Universities

Here is the link.  Interesting post.

Briefly, here are some of the reasons discussed as to why parts of our universities may be further left than much of the general population:

1.  A lack of understanding of the often counter-intuitive principles of economics and open markets; that two parties in a trade can benefit despite pursuing mutual self-interest, for example.   A whole body of thinking exists that contributes to the success of our society of which some in our universities remain ignorant.

2.  After Joseph Schumpeter, intellectuals who do not take part in business tend to believe that a socialist-communist sytem would allow them to be more influential, and so often have a deep need to embrace such ideas, (or find themselves in departments where such ideas are embraced.)

3.  A certain idealogical hostility toward capitalism that can’t really embrace socialism (because of its dismal record) but also can’t criticize “capitalism” head-on moves instead to criticize private systems’ treatment of any oppressed class.

Universities seen through an economic and legal analyisis, at least….

…though, to me,  the argument that free speech is ultimately threatened by the push to make freedom absolute is nothing new.   Sooner of later such thinking is going to have a wider impact, and consequences. 

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2 thoughts on “The Becker-Posner Blog, Free Speech in American Universities

  1. Rob. Thanks for reading.

    It seems tough to enforce any sort of rule that relies on an aesthetic argument for much of its force. Aesthetics is a matter for endless debate and one in which (in my current thinking) no conclusion can be reached, only compromise.

    However there does seem to be a spirit of the rule which attempts to:

    …not give any group such a prominent position because Yale has hundreds of groups with a message to get out (not including the peripheral interests of alumni, professors and the community at large.)

    Free speech seems to be at play here, but I don’t see much benefit in trying to cast the argument in broader political and social terms.

    So, maybe compromise with Yale administration, and hash out the argument with them?

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