The shoe’s on the other foot and academics don’t like it

As Winston Churchill famously observed, too many people see free expression as a one-way street. Academics, who are as often as not in the vanguard in attacking free expression, hold a similar attitude to ?academic freedom?.

Academics in the humanities especially, increasingly act as a kind of Congregation for the Defense of the Left-Wing Faith. Even the dumbest orthodoxies are uncritically celebrated and promoted. At the same time, heretical speakers and research are ruthlessly banished from the academic sphere.

But, as per Churchill?s observation, when the shoe?s on the other foot, academics squeal like pigs. Quote:

Outrage erupted across academia yesterday when it was revealed a federal minister had quietly ?vetoed 11 humanities research grants without providing any reasons and without publicly declaring the decision at the time.

Worth more than $4 million, the grant applications had been through a rigorous peer-review process and recommended by the Australian Research Council. End of quote.

So what? The minister is still perfectly entitled to exercise ministerial discretion in his portfolio. After all, the minister is the custodian of tens of billions of taxpayers? dollars. Quote:

The then federal education minister, Simon Birmingham, did not turn down any science or technology grants, and yesterday he tweeted: ?I?m pretty sure most Australian taxpayers preferred their funding to be used for research other than spending $223,000 on projects like ?Post orientalist arts of the Strait of ?Gibraltar?.?

Other applications, from scholars at a range of Australia?s largest and most respected universities, included ?Rioting and the literary archive?, ?A history of men?s dress 1870-1970?, ?Music heritage and cultural justice in the post-industrial city?, ?Legal secularism in Australia?, ?Prints, metals and materials in global exchange?, ?Soviet cinema in Hollywood before the Black List 1917-1950?, and ?The music of ?nature and the ?nature of music?.

?Unless Senator Birmingham had really good, solid, academic, intellectual reasons (for the veto), it really does amount to political intervention,? said the president of the Academy of ?the Humanities, professor Joy Damousi. End of quote.

Not wishing to waste scarce funds on left-wing academic circle-jerking seems like a really good, solid, intellectual reason.

The hypocrisy of these mostly taxpayer-funded crybabies really is breathtaking. Quote:

?Suppressing research in the humanities without explanation and on no basis that anybody can see, is something to be condemned and not to be repeated,? she said. End of quote.

The basis is quite obvious: the ?research? was a waste of scarce taxpayer?s money.

Much of this waste stems from the progressive shift of universities? focus from teaching to research. Academics are forced to meet KPIs of set quotas of research every year. The result is the proliferation of low-quality, useless rubbish: research for the sake of just being seen to do research.

Combined with the near-complete dominance of the left-wing groupthink in humanities departments, the result is an endless river of doctrinaire nonsense. Quote:

[Labor senator Kim] Carr added, concerned arts, history and literature ? fundamental to civilised society. ?One of the projects is actually a study of the closure of the General Motors plant in Elizabeth, looking at how an industrial suburb deals with industrial closure and the role of music in that.?

The chair of Universities Australia, Monash University vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner, said the grants were ?hard fought for, hard won and go only to the best applications and the best people?. She said Senator Birmingham had decided, with no explanation, to secretly reject the applications. She compared it with recent debate on freedom of speech on campuses, and the push for a university to agree to a course funded by the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation. End of quote.

This is self-serving, deceitful rubbish. No university was ?pushed to agree? on the Ramsay Centre. They were offered a lot of money from the estate of a philanthropist. However, the same academics who happily (and sometimes secretly) accept truckloads of cash from China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia exploded with fury at the very thought of a Centre for Western Civilisation.

This is just one of the high-profile recent cases that illustrate the dogmatic intolerance ruling academia ? especially in the humanities.

In Canada, teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd was hauled before an academic star-chamber for the ?crime? of exposing students to critical views of ?progressive? gender orthodoxy. Scholar Bruce Gilley?s peer-reviewed paper ?A case for colonialism? was expunged for offending ?post-colonial? orthodoxy. A paper on gender differences by mathematicians was forcibly retracted after a furious campaign by academics. A professor at the University of Sydney led a violent, anti-Semitic protest which stormed a visiting lecturer?s presentation. An academic screamed threats at a journalist attempting to cover a student protest.

These people can dish it out, but they can?t take it.

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