Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Bad Form, Old Chap

By: Michael Akerman

Recently, a professor named Ward Churchill at the University of Colorado wrote an essay, in which he proceeded to piss off every single American. If you've been keeping up with the blogosphere, you know the story: Dr. Churchill claimed that the victims of 9/11 deserved to die, and were not innocent victims, but "little Eichmanns (Nazi war criminal)" who served as puppets to the US Government's evil plans of peace, prosperity and freedom.

Dr. Churchill (instead of keeping his mouth shut) recently said that more 9/11 style attacks may be necessary.

The controversy over this guy is not whether we should all hate him (answer: yes), but whether he should be fired from his professorship for his statements. Volokh, Instapundit, and innumerable others have claimed that firing him would set a dangerous precedent that would surely bring about the destruction of the (academically offensive) Academic Right.

However, these esteemed bloggers are almost invariably professors themselves, and look at this situation through the subjective eyes of a sympathizer. There is little doubt that, in any other profession save, perhaps, journalism, Dr. Churchill (who slanders that esteemed surname) would have been tossed out without his hat the minute he uttered such statements! The argument is raised, however, that academic freedom is paramount for professors, whose jobs are to present their views in an unfettered manner. Additionally, there is the consideration of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

While these concerns are true, the traditional (and morally correct) interpretation of the First Amendment is that the freedoms allowed must be weighed against society's wellbeing. And this is the sticking point!

You see, Dr. Churchill's (I honestly hate using a title of respect for him) views are, indeed, dangerous. In fact, his sacking is more justified due to his professorship! Opinions like these, especially in the mouth of a teacher, are misleading, deforming, and dangerous, as they effect the malleable minds of the youth (don't kid yourself and think that collegiate minds aren't malleable).

The hippie movement of the Vietnam era was an effect of this. The more extreme variations (attacking soldiers, violent protests, etc.) of hippiedom were invariably misinterpretations, distortions, or outright misrepresentations of relatively harmless opinions from authority figures. Yet Churchill is all the more dangerous. He doesn't advocate violence and disrespect: he advocates the death of fellow citizens!

Churchill will never act on his views; his students may. It is hardly worth the risk of this man spawning a fringe movement while we cower before the thinnest shadow of the risk of corruption. Someone must rid academia of this most evil of men (there, I said it. Churchill is Satan walking).

Besides that, I would urge Churchill's supervisor to consider that it looks very much like they are endorsing, or at least accepting, these wrongheaded opinions. After all, they are paying for them!

By my hand,
~Michael Akerman