Wednesday, September 06, 2006
What We're All About
Read this post by Callimachus, discussing the parallels between poltics surrounding the Iraq war and the Civil War. I find this an apt comparison.
The comments at The Housing Bubble Blog's recent post are even better than usual. Check out the stuff about auctions and second lien arbitrage. I'd like to explain something about auctions. Their results are always worthy of note, because they accurately depict the current market, often in a slightly exaggerated fashion. But auctions aren't a tactic used only in declining markets. Auctions in rising markets sometimes generate a premium for sellers. For example, last year at the height of the Miami condo frenzy, there were often auctions.
Regarding civil freedom, most particularly freedom of speech, I have three links for you. Edgy Adji wants to purge the Iranian universities of wrong-thinkers. Seriously! Many liberals in the west are engaged in the same pursuit, with a slightly different flavor. For example, this article discusses incidents in the UK in which police are attempting to stop any public expression of disapprobation toward homosexuality. They're progressing from intimidation to charges:
Mr Green faces a court appearance today charged with using 'threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour' after his attempt to distribute the leaflets at the weekend 'Mardi Gras' event in Cardiff.Meanwhile, the screams regarding the fascism of the Bush administration never abate. And finally, a physicist at the University of Wisconsin is speaking out about their professorial fruitcake:
A spokesman for the police said the campaigner had not behaved in a violent or aggressive manner, but that officers arrested him because 'the leaflet contained Biblical quotes about homosexuality'.
The decision to prosecute Mr Green is the latest in a series of police initiatives aimed against those who have expressed public disapproval of homosexual behaviour.
In recent months incidents have included a Metropolitan Police warning to author Lynette Burrows that she was responsible for a 'homophobic incident' after she suggesting on a BBC Radio Five Live programme that gays did not make ideal adoptive parents.
Another warning about future behaviour was delivered by Lancashire police who visited the home of a Christian couple after they complained about their local council's gay rights policies.
The Met Police in London also investigated former Muslim Council of Britain leader Sir Iqbal Sacranie after he gave an interview saying homosexuality was harmful. However, no prosecution followed in that case.
Barrett, a Muslim convert, was recently cleared by the college to teach a course this fall titled, "Islam: Religion and Culture." Like many Muslims, he contends the 9-11 attacks were an "inside job" carried out by Bush administration officials and not Islamic terrorists.Several comments on this one:
"He's a fruitcake," says Marshall F. Onellion, a physics professor at the University of Wisconsin. "He has no education in any engineering or science area pertinent to how, or whether, buildings fall down when hit by airplanes. Since he can't evaluate the evidence presented, he shouldn't have an opinion" that will influence students.
University officials, however, are persuaded that Barrett can teach Islam objectively.
In a July letter to Barrett, Wisconsin provost Patrick Farrell wrote, "I have accepted your assurance that you could control your enthusiasm for your personal viewpoints on the top of 9-11 and present them in class in an objective and balanced time frame and context."
- Academic freedom and tenure are still important, otherwise this person probably wouldn't be able to express his opinion.
- Academic freedom does not include the freedom to teach nonsense in the classroom, especially when that nonsense is utterly unrelated to the course material or your field of expertise.
- See my prior post about the extreme idiocy of some of the contentions used to support Barrett's claims. U of W's failure to deal with Barrett appropriately is to me proof that academic freedom is greatly endangered at the institution. Obviously academics who understand the subject are largely afraid to speak up!
Needs to be discussed further- especially the nature of intimidation, today.
In part this is a matter of definitions. Disagreement should not be passed off as intimidation. Threats should be clearly identified as intimidation. We should make a clear distinction between the two.
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