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Archive for Saturday, December 24, 2005

Free speech

December 24, 2005

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To the editor:

Does anyone ask why so much "freedom of speech" is given to Fred Phelps while "freedom of speech" is denied to Paul Mirecki? Whatever happened to freedom of thought? Academic freedom?

Doug Vickers,

Lawrence

Comments

BrianR 8 years, 7 months ago

No kidding, talk about Christian-bashing, Phelps does it with every breath. Phelps gets twice the press coverage and it's bad coverage for Kansas.

However, Phelps probably doesn't have a fat-faced, fundie, wacko real estate agent stalking him.

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Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

Mirecki had and still has the right to say whatever he wants. And others have the right to voice their opinion about what he says.

"Academic freedom" is not a right, it is a privilege.

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Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

Mirecki it appears does not have the right to speak his mind while off the clock without affecting his job. In spite of what he may think about a matter so long as he conducts class in a manner that is not narrowed to personable beliefs is perfectly acceptable. Being pullled as department chair is unreasonable.

The KBOE christian right majority for instance is looking to imposing personal beliefs into our system which is where I draw the line. At that point there is need to relieve them of their public position. I don't give a damn what they personally believe simply don't bring it to the job which they have done. The majority of Kansas lawmakers are spineless.

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mefirst 8 years, 7 months ago

Good point, Doug. Lynn Cheney and others in the right wing are making it their life's mission to undermine, and eventually eradicate academic freedom. Some of the first people in China's cultural revolution to be killed under Chairman Mao were university professors because their free-thinking ways were a threat to his dictatorship. Just like free-thought is a threat to the Bush administration and everyone who benefits from Bush's presence in the White House--you know who you are.

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Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

"Mirecki it appears does not have the right to speak his mind while off the clock without affecting his job."

First, he was not "off the clock," he was serving in an official position as a faculty advisor.

Second, none of us who have a job of with even a modicum of responsibility say anything and everything that comes to our minds. We all self-censor. It is a social skill that even most (but not apparently all) academecians acquire.

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 7 months ago

Throughout history, populist revolutions on the right and the left have always first targeted academicians and intellectuals.

Academics and intellectuals make good targets for populists because of their low numbers and their often-controversial (i.e. unpopular) thoughts, words and writings.

Maoist China, Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Pinochet Chile, Caesarian Rome, etc. all made intellectuals and academicians their first targets.

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 7 months ago

Godot:

You said "...none of us who have a job of with even a modicum of responsibility say anything and everything that comes to our minds. We all self-censor. It is a social skill that even most (but not apparently all) academecians acquire".

Since when have you ever censored yourself? Your intemperate tantrums belie your words written here.

You also said: ""Academic freedom" is not a right, it is a privilege."

First, your quotations around academic freedom make me think it is something that you don't think is real or necessary; your contempt for it is clear.

Second, the fact that people like you want nothing less than to stifle all that doesn't conform to your narrow sensibilities is exactly the reason this freedom is so important.

If you want your viewpoint heard in academia, by all means do the necessary work to earn a PhD and then take a job in the academy.

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Speakout 8 years, 7 months ago

I have to agree with yourworstenemy. Thinkers are always hounded for not thinking as others want them to think. It is time for all to realise that an academic's job it to find a new path or one that is unusual in order to find the TRUTH. This is why lots of academics are quiet and away from the crowd. They don't belong in the "in" crowd. We leave that to those who have never had an original thought and who follow every fad and fashion. I give you those who wear their hats backwards, tatoo themselves, boys who wear earrings and pierce everything they can think of to be "in". I give you girls who follow the fads of showing their navels, pierces their private parts, etc, etc and why? To be part of the "in" Crowd.

Dare to be different and you are hounded like you have commited a crime. Dare to be different and the rest of the conformists get threatened and run out of the room. How many people in this life have conformed to the lie, half-truth and falsehood? How many believe in what others tell them to believe so they can be part of the crowd? Is this what we want of our professors and teachers? Do we want them to espouse the mundane and the obvious without teaching their students to think?

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Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

YWN and Speakout, just keep posting. The more you post, the more you make my point.

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Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

To Speakout, do you condone Mirecki's behavior as an academic advisor? Do you condone the language he used in all, not just one, but all the ones over a three year period that revealed language that was prejudicial against a particular religion and that advocated agression toward people who espoused that religion?

That is the matter at hand here, you know. It is not that he "believed" something, it is that he was using his privileged position as a tenured professor, and all the acoutrements of that position, while using state funded resources, to advocate against a particular religion.

As a professor, you can think and believe and say and write whatever you want, until you cross the line that separates inquiry and objective analysis from political activism and take that into the classroom.

Just as I expect students of state funded educational institutions be spared religious indoctrination, I also expect that they be spared political indoctrination.

Lets call that separation of state and state.

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wonderhorse 8 years, 7 months ago

Godot

"To Speakout, do you condone Mirecki's behavior as an academic advisor?"

He was not an academic advisor to the group. Any of the groups on campus needs someone on the faculty or staf at KU as an "advisor" (read, 'godfather' or 'uncle'). This does not neccessarily have anything at all to do with academics. We do not know how Mirecki behaves as an "academic advisor," and won't unless one of his masters or doctoral students talks about it.

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 7 months ago

Godot,

It is obvious that you want no one to say or think anything with which you disagree.

When they do, this is considered "political indoctrination".

The problem, Godot, is that you consider the objective and unhindered search for answers and insight "politcal indoctrination". The very concept of academia and academic research to you is "political indoctrination".

Godot, facts and objective analysis are not "political indoctrination", but you and many like you consider it so because it sometimes goes against your dogma.

As for Mirecki speaking his mind: I assume you have a job, so what business/company/agency are you representing when you express your views here?

Your heel-clicking desire for "separation of state and state" is nonsense. I think what you desire is that nothing conflicts with your dogma.

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Terry Jacobsen 8 years, 7 months ago

Ok. Just for clarification. I've been in Mirecki's class. He is not neutral, nor does he teach with sensitivity toward all views and religions. He bashes in class, just like he did on the web postings. He was just more casual about it.

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