Free Speech and Self-Censorship in the Academy
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Most fair-minded observers would concede that American colleges and universities are not especially receptive to conservative ideas. This is by now a familiar tale with a fairly long history.1
Perhaps because of the difficulty of obtaining a fair hearing for their views, some academic conservatives have struck alliances with those who identify themselves as libertarians. The emergence of organizations such as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) seems to be part of this trend.
Keith Whittington’s new book Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech, can be evaluated from this perspective.2 As its title suggests, its spirit is libertarian, and conservatives—and other academic minorities—are likely to see the book as a helpful resource in getting their views heard. Because of its careful analysis and sensible recommendations, Speak Freelyshould be recognized as a signal contribution to an important national debate. My only misgivings about Whittington’s...