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On the other hand, cases of abuse of regulation of the academic freedom should not lead to the idea that it must be absolute. Academic freedom is not in the same category as free speech. If regulations are abused (by neocons or whoever) then they should be improved, and the community should act against these abuses. A more practical solution than conferring absolute academic freedom on grounds that otherwise it might be abused.
(let alone that absolute freedom, just like absolute constraint, is in itself abusive)
Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
If someone tries to publish an ideological screed in an academic journal, it gets rejected on the grounds that it doesn't contain new information and/or isn't topical to the journal.
These discussions of academic freedom in the popular press are not about such restrictions - because those restrictions already exist. They are about allowing non-faculty and non-students (i.e. politicians, pundits, belief tanks, etc.) to judge when the restrictions are violated and impose sanctions over the head of the appropriate academic authorities.
Peer review isn't perfect and doesn't always work as advertised, but that's hardly a reason to let the chattering classes (which I note tend to contain far more ideologues than most university departments) do an end-run around it.
Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
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