Monday, March 31, 2014

Is the Social Justice Left Abandoning The First Amendment Revisited

I am going to talk about the " Religious Left " and the First Amendment hopefully later today. However I wanted to update my last post A Liberal Academic Concerned " Social Justice " Left Is Threat To First Amendment and Expression .

In that post I link a Academic from the left that has great concerns that social just folks from the left are not giving the First Amendment the attention and respect it deserves. That prompted his discussion was rather outrageous criminal conduct by a University of California, Santa Barbara Feminist Studies Prof on a pro life protester . This was conduct , to make matters worse , that she got her students involved into to some degree

 The Professor so far via her social media seems not to get what she did wrong . Now we have the University of Santa Barbara issuing a statement that leaves a lot to be desired. Free Speech advocates were not pleased . See Free Speech Advocates Unsatisfied with UC Santa Barbara Vice Chancellor’s Mixed Messages .

To say the least that the tones of the University's  response is troubling .

Returning to the Professor in the Feminist Studies Department  that seems wonder what all the fuss is about her actions, there was an interesting post on this subject at the Volokh Conspiracy .See The UC Santa Barbara Department of Feminist Studies . 

To quote a part of that post :

.....In principle, having a Department of Women’s Studies may make good sense for an academic institution. Traditional department boundaries — history, psychology, anthropology, sociology, law, and the like — are often useful, because each field has its own intellectual toolkit that is often worth teaching separately. But at the same time, the department boundaries often make it harder to effectively study a particular subject area. The role of women in society, for instance, is an important question that is raised in many different fields of study. Having a department that’s focused on that subject rather than on a particular academic discipline could be useful, though, as with all such things, it could be implemented poorly.

 But a Department of Feminist Studies, it seems to me, by definition limits itself not just to a single subject of study, but to a single ideology or closely connected bundle of ideologies. It means that the department is guaranteed to exclude faculty and even students of other ideological views. (Ideologically skewing happens to some extent in lots of contexts already, but here it seems to be baked into the definition of the department in a particular sharp way.) And it puts the university’s scholarly imprimatur on one ideology — and perhaps even just particular versions of that ideology — to the exclusion of its rivals. 

 It means that other views are automatically defined to be outside the department’s area of focus — the possibility that there are women who aren’t feminists (or who disagree with most of the modern academic feminist movement on questions such as abortion) who are worth studying and whose arguments are worth considering is defined away. Ideological homogeneity and lack of engagement with contrary views is always a danger in many human institutions. But a department of feminist studies seems to be tailored to maximize these dangers.....

I think this well put . I also wonder if this dynamic we describe here is seen various important religious faith communities in the United States. More on that in my next post