When professors stifle freedom of thought

From Denyse O`Leary (O’Leary for News) at MercatorNet:

Duke theology professor Paul Griffiths created a firestorm recently by criticizing time-consuming racial equity meetings that, in his view, detracted from research, teaching, and study:

It’ll be, I predict with confidence, intellectually flaccid: there’ll be bromides, clichés, and amen-corner rah-rahs in plenty. When (if) it gets beyond that, its illiberal roots and totalitarian tendencies will show.

He was promptly accused, in response, of “racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry.” Yet in the entire correspondence, which he recently published, he says nothing that could reasonably be construed that way. It also came out that he had been subject to a kangaroo court for months over his objections to the meetings. Dr Griffiths resigned yesterday. A recent graduate wrote in response to the news:

In a discussion about the racist incidents with some other Div School students, I said that perhaps the way we were responding to the incidents was hurting rather than helping, because after every incident the black students would make public announcements about how hurt and afraid and rejected they felt, and then everyone would hatch plans to re-educate the whole university on issues of racism. I suggested that instead perhaps we should respond to the perpetrators like we would a bully, with strength and confidence and even defiance, to show them they didn’t have power over anyone. You would have thought I had suggested we start a chapter of the KKK. They made it clear I was a horrible person in denial of the harsh realities of racism for suggesting such a thing, and I learned to keep my mouth shut.

This is a clear example but not the only one. Rule by authoritarian mobs with a vested interest in promoting intergroup conflict is morphing into our future as a society.

See also: The war on intellectual freedom How political correctness morphed into a monster.


The war on freedom is rotting our intellectual life In a world governed by naturalism, power is its own justification. That is the single hardest thing for opponents of rampant political correctness to grasp.

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  • PaulW

    “The war on freedom is rotting our intellectual life In a world governed by naturalism, power is its own justification.”

    Power *is* it’s own justification: from this standpoint, in answer to variations of the question, “Why?” the answer is always simply, “Because we can.” And the only effective response to this exercise of power, of force, is superior force – shout louder than one’s opponents. Is this truly what our society’s intellectual life has degenerated into?

    • Waffle

      “Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
      Won’t be nothing
      Nothing you can measure anymore
      The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
      has crossed the threshold
      and it has overturned
      the order of the soul ”

      (The Future, 2nd stanza, Leonard Cohen)

  • El Martyachi

    I don’t believe this is a battle that can be won on the current ground. If, at least in US, the political institutions can facilitate a widespread retreat from the progressive education machine, maybe one day the academy will wake up to find they’re the masters of nothing, kinda like what happened to the CCCP.

  • Watchman

    “political correctness morphed into a monster.”
    Sorry. Political correctness started out as a monster and has just got worse over time as the socialists/communists have gained power over the years and were able to punish those transgressing their politically correct language demands.