Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A belated note on Ward Churchill

I didn't write about the controversy over faux-Indian professor Ward Churchill because it didn't seem like anything special to me. C'mon, a far leftist professor thinks Americans are comparable to Nazi's, that our capitalist structure is to blame for genocide, and that we deserve and caused 9/11--and this is news, how? Churchill was the stereotypical tenured radical. People on the right should give thanks everyday that people like Churchill exist. They are the most effective recruitment a Republican could hope for.

I do not think that Churchill should be fired for what he said. He had tenure, and as Jeff G. at Protein Wisdom points out, this should be respected, because, in theory, this is what tenure is all about: being able to say unpopular but possibly very true or revolutionary things without having to worry about repercussions. If Churchill is fired over what he said, this would probably redound to the ultimate detriment of libertarian and conservative professors, who, as Jeff points out in the post above, often say very unpopular, un-P.C. things, by the standard of academia. FIRE has also came out in support of Churchill's academic freedom.

But if Churchill is fired over misrepresenting himself as an Indian or for shady scholarship (there have been questions raised in this area too--see "faux-Indian" link above), then that would be hunky-dory. But the free speech rights of people with even the most deplorable opinions have to be protected in order to best protect the rights of everyone else, as I noted here.


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