The hard-core left just does not believe in the concept of individual freedom, as is evident wherever that ideology has had its way (in the former Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Cuba, etc., etc.). So it shouldn’t be surprising that the concept of academic freedom as it applies to conservatives is under interrogation.
An author in the Harvard Crimson has sparked a controversy by arguing that academic freedom should give way to academic justice. We shouldn’t tolerate professors, visiting speakers, or even students defending opinions we know to be unjust. As far as I can tell, she means opinions that contradict fundamentally what the late Harvard professor John Rawls described in A Theory of Justice. Rawls’ theory isn’t just a theory, it’s the theory. Inquiry about the perennial question of what justice is—the kind of inquiry we see displayed in Plato’s Republic—has come to an end. The question has been answered! Now’s the time to make justice reign in the academic community and soon all of America by casting out those who are too obstinate or stupid or evil to see what we can all now see with own eyes, what well-intentioned people can’t help but know.The one example given of the teaching of injustice at Harvard given by the Harvard student is Harvey Mansfield. Nobody thinks the uncannily accomplished Mansfield is stupid. So he must be some combination of obstinate and evil. One key piece of evidence of his evildoing is his tendency to vote Republican. He is, a recent studied show, the only member of the Harvard faculty to do so. Devotion to “diversity” doesn’t mean having a faculty or student body with the ideological diversity of our country, a place where more or less half the population unjustly votes Republican.
Now, as Ross Douthat notes, those who dissent from the dominant views on abortion or marriage or contraception are regarded as unjustly rejecting the modern liberation of the woman from repressive intolerance. And we can’t tolerate the intolerant. The intolerant, these days, are using religious freedom as a “cover” for their injustice.