Thursday, August 03, 2006

Academic Freedom

The recent case of Kevin Barrett, an adjunct faculty at U. of Wisconsin/Madison raises some challenging questions about academic freedom. Apparently, Barrett, who lectures on a part time basis on the subject of Islam, has given talks (outside the classroom) in which he sets forth his theories that two airplanes crashing into the World Trade Center, and the resultant fires, could not have caused the buildings to collapse. He believes that actually controlled explosions did the fatal damage. Further, he holds that the Pentagon was not hit by a plane, since it is one of best protected buildings in the country in terms.
OK--so his views aside, predictably, pundits and politicians are now falling all over themselves calling for him to be relieved of his teaching a course on Islam. So much for academic freedom.
Whether the events of 9/11 were in fact
"an inside job," as Kevin Barrett claims, or whether the events are as the 9/11 Commission found, one thing is certain. If we bridle people who express their views, we have already become a totalitarian state and whether we win the "war on terror" or not, we have lost what it means to be a free nation.

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