It’s time for some big experiments
Freedom of association means that companies can hire whomever they want. Private companies absolutely may fire their employees for what would be protected speech elsewhere. I just try to caution them against doing that for philosophical & democratic reasons. A thumb on the scale, however, for “everybody has a right to their opinion“ might be enough to prevent some of the worst abuses we see in the book, I’m under no illusion that will that it will encourage Goldman Sachs to hire someone they may believe is a genuine antisemite.
Shouting someone down is not protected speech it is mob, censorship. Non-disruptive protest is protected speech, but as soon as it prevents the event from going on, threatens, violence, or prevents people from attending, it’s not protected, and, indeed, schools should punish the disruptors/threateners/blockaders.
Very important conversation but I am waiting impatiently for some attention to K-12! Blue state children are getting indoctrinated at their most impressionable ages and will already be woke jihadis when (or if, many Americans don't) they go to college.
Great ideas for reform but HOW is any of this to be achieved against a backdrop of the Left's strangled hold on virtually all the permanent levers of administative power?: https://grahamcunningham.substack.com/p/invasion-of-the-virtue-signallers
"It would need to be an unashamedly sledgehammer legislative approach and pursued with Machiavellian sleight of hand. It might include:
- ending the decades-long absurdity of left wing proselytising organisations being actually funded by the taxpayer.
- a clear-out of the kind of senior academics who have so cravenly caved in to spoilt-brat ‘radicalism’.
- a complete clear-out of the multi-billion ‘diversity’ bureaucracy racket.
- a complete overhaul of teacher training (that has long been allowed to become a training ground in progressive ideology)."
- an end to public sector security-of-tenure unrelated to performance."
Greg, I'm about halfway through your book and really enjoying it. I have some thoughts/questions that maybe you address later but this piece got me thinking about it. I'd consider myself a free speech absolutist, but I'd be curious to know your views on a couple things. Like, for example, what to do when freedom of speech clashes with freedom of association. Sure, a person is allowed to speak freely about issues they care about, but isn't their employer/dean free to sever their association with that person if they don't like the speech they are hearing?
Further, is heckling a speaker not also a form of freedom of expression? Where do we draw the line? I'd be curious about your insights in these areas.
What cannot be measured can not be managed.
As a FIRE Ember Club member, I got my copy of the book before everyone else. It's excellent.
I would be interested in your take on Bryan Caplan's "The Case Against Education" which encapsulates the idea that, in most cases, education only serves to credential, not educate. I agree that we need to massively reform higher ed, but should we also reduce the need for higher ed, since most students don't retain newly found knowledge?
I teach at a state university that rates well on the FIRE survey. I teach a class that gives me lots of opportunity to hear from students on the topic of commerce. It’s always surprising to me how reflexively anti-capitalist they are. These are smart honors students, but they sometimes make absurd arguments to support their positions. I think the state of critical thinking is poor. I also think students have internalized the danger of expressing just any idea to which their reasoning might lead them.
Colleges have been illegally discriminating against hiring Republican professors. All colleges with less than 30% Republican, or Democratic, professors should lose tax exemption status.
Too many criminal college decision makers to prosecute, but cutting off illegally earned benefits does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Elite universities won't go away, but what keeps them elite is their ability to signal intelligence and commitment to work from re theirgraduates to employers. Take that signal away and a lot of the problem goes away too. That is already happening to some extent. But things like making IQ tests expressly legal as a hiring criterion would help as well.
Just about every five answer multiple choice test has at least one and usually two answers that are clearly of the "throw 'em up against the wall" type and are throw aways.
Make the test too hard and the "customer" test taker will complain.
An A as the average grade is ridiculous.
Large sections with multiple choice exams, either online or in person, are unlikely to do much to improve critical thinking or writing skills.