How to deal with antisemite professors

Terrorism and tenure is based upon an interview with David Horowitz, who wrote a new book, “The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.”

He found professors, who support Marxism, anti-semitism, destruction of Israel, terrorists, and various crackpot conspiracy theories.

The big question is how to deal with those professors while preserving the values of academic freedom, freedom of expression, nourishing new ideas which go against the established opinions? How to avoid imposition of intellectually stifling censorship? How to prevent those professors from participating in tenure-granting committees? Who decides which opinions are objectionable and should be censored?

One possible solution, proposed in the interview, is to publicize those professors’ opinions and embarrass them. The drawback is that also other unorthodox opinions, which are not as politically dangerous, and are worthy of scientific research (such as cold fusion or antigravity devices), are subject to this risk.

A better solution may be to hold those professors to the principles of academic freedom.
It stands to reason that an anti-semite professor would not allow Jewish students and academics to gain tenure in his department, if he is in control of its admission and/or tenure setting committees. He would not encourage people having opposite opinions to come to his department as guest researchers or to lecture about their anti-anti-semite research.

So, it may be a good idea to set up international review boards (more than one board, and they are to operate independently) which review admission, tenure, research funding and guest lectureship policies in departments controlled by professors from the above list. Those review boards would then publicize their findings of the degree of adherence of those professors to the principles of academic freedom. Any professor found not to practice the principles of academic freedom, can be stripped of protection granted him by the same principles of academic freedom.

It also stands to reason that because those professors boycott academicians with opposite opinions, the quality of their scientific research is lower.

Professors with dangerous opinions, but who strictly adhere to the principles of academic freedom, should be left alone. The quality of their research can be relied upon, because they are not afraid to be confronted by people with opposite opinions, they can defend their findings (obnoxious as they can be) by objective evidence, and allow their students to hold opposite opinions as long as those students can defend their opinions using the scientific method. This would protect, for example, professors who support evolution in a Creationist (or Intelligent Design or FSM) county; or professors, who support the rights of homosexuals in an anti-homosexual country.

What about professors, who are true scientists in one area of endeavor (such as physics) but hold dangerous opinions in another area of endeavor (like an anti-semite nuclear physicist, say)? If they discriminate against, say, Jewish students and colleagues, then by definition the quality of their research is a bit lower, because they suppress opinions of people only because of irrelevant labels.

Author: Omer Zak

I am deaf since birth. I played with big computers which eat punched cards and spew out printouts since age 12. Ever since they became available, I work and play with desktop size computers which eat keyboard keypresses and spew out display pixels. Among other things, I developed software which helped the deaf in Israel use the telephone network, by means of home computers equipped with modems. Several years later, I developed Hebrew localizations for some cellular phones, which helped the deaf in Israel utilize the cellular phone networks. I am interested in entrepreneurship, Science Fiction and making the world more accessible to people with disabilities.