Skip to comments.Academic diversity: Moving to the Center [U of Chicago profs' hissy fit over Friedman Institute]
Posted on 06/25/2008 10:12:32 AM PDT by Caleb1411
There's a splendid controversy brewing at the University of Chicago--at least we'll consider it splendid so long as it has a happy ending, which now seems likely. The U of C may be best known these days as home to the law school where Barack Obama used to lecture on constitutional law (twice a week!), but in simpler times it was most famous as the academic perch of the great free-market economist Milton Friedman, who died in 2006.
So when a prestigious university wants to name a research center after its most celebrated (Nobel prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom, etc., etc., etc.) professor, who could object? Well, lots of people--less celebrated professors mostly. Last week 101 full-time faculty members sent a letter to the university's president, Robert Zimmer, protesting the newly endowed Milton Friedman Institute, an on-campus think tank that will welcome visiting scholars doing research in economics and law. The committee that proposed the center, including three Nobel-winning economists, expects to raise $200 million for a permanent endowment.
President Zimmer met with a group of the objecting profs, but so far he's refusing to back down, as might be expected of a college president who suddenly finds himself within sniffing distance of $200 million. He and his allies insist that the Friedman center will have "no particular ideological slant," and we believe him. It's hard to imagine it will have anything as pronounced as the ideological slant of the vast majority of the school's other departments, where the standard-issue, off-the-shelf liberalism of the American professoriate holds sway.
Yet the profs show no sign of backing down either. Their letter last week was a loopy masterpiece of its kind, objecting that allowing the Friedman center on campus will reinforce "a perception that the university's faculty lack intellectual and ideological diversity." An interesting objection, isn't it? A university where all but a handful of professors are on the cultural and political left risks losing its "ideological diversity" if it endows a center named after a non-leftist. It's been a while since we've seen such a lovely expression of the topsy-turvy worldview of the people who teach our sons and daughters. . . .
The University of Chicago and the University of Virginia were regarded as the top two law schools in the country for conservative thought.
Conservatives were still outnumbered in their ranks, but the showing was impressively strong. The Federalist Society had strong ties at those two schools, and Scalia taught at UVA.
I don’t know how long that trend will hold, though. Some of the new hires at UVA in particular were leaning a bit to the left. .
President Zimmer should take up the professors’ challenge and go on an effort to diversify the other University departments. Bunch of fascists!
A bunch of sissified,pencil-necked fools who think they’re really, really smart (they aren’t) and superior (nope) to the unwashed rabble outside their cloistered environment.
ronald reagan, margaret thatcher, pope john paul, ayn rand, milton friedman
the end of an era.
and now the commie scums reclaim public life.
Milton was the man in my economics courses in college.
.....I’d love to see a college president go into one of these a**holes offices and tell him “you’re fired and security is now going to escourt you off campus”....when the wuzz says “I got tenure” the answer is “so what?”....when the prof sues, the school gets a change of venue to a working class town where the jury[many of whom have been laid off themselves]will hear these self entitled wimp profs. try to explain why they alone in American society are deserving of a six figure job for life....let’s see them explain that to a guy with a wife and three kids who just got “downsized”
This is strictly by the book(s):
How much you want to bet that Barack’s terrorist buddy Ayers and wife Dohrn were two of the hundred?
Well, these three do, according to a Chicago Tribune story:
"It is a right-wing think tank being put in place," said Bruce Lincoln, a professor of the history of religions and one of the faculty members who met with the administration Tuesday. "The long-term consequences will be very severe. This will be a flagship entity and it will attract a lot of money and a lot of attention, and I think work at the university and the university's reputation will take a serious rightward turn to the detriment of all." . . .
"I don't think any institute of any educational institution should be so strongly aligned behind a single ideological program," said U. of C. music professor and department chair Robert Kendrick. . . .
"For many people who travel around the word, the university has had a pretty bad reputation that is tied to the Chicago School and economic principles that Milton Friedman advocated," said Yali Amit, a U. of C. statistics and computer science professor. "We don't think it's a great idea to strengthen this reputation."
Diversity? If they are serious about intellectual diversity the
faculty should reflect the political diversity of America.
Perhaps 33% democrat ,33% republican and 33% uncommitted.
As it stands today I’ll bet U of C is 90% left socialist.
Sure, for people who travel to North Korea and Cuba.
If you travel in academic circles where the academics are non too strenuous he's right. The rest of the world considers the U of C economics department to be a bright beacon in the otherwise murky, fetid marsh of academia.
What I don’t get about this tempest in a teapot is how naming this new center for Friedman does anything more than acknowledge his imprint on economic theory that is already contained within the university’s eponymous “Chicago school of economics”: “a school of thought favoring free-market economics practiced at and disseminated from the University of Chicago in the middle of the 20th century”. (From Wikipedia)
Perhaps if the school considered naming the new center for John Maynard Keynes, the antithesis of Friedman and the Chicago school, then the perturbed professoriate could be mollified...but I doubt it.
I’ll see your Professor Richard Posner and raise you a Cass Sunstein. ;-)
Historical evidence speaks with a single voice on the relation between political freedom and a free market. I know of no example in time or place of a society that has been marked by a large measure of political freedom, and that has not also used something comparable to a free market to organize the bulk of economic activity. - Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom, 1962.
Economic freedom is an essential requisite for political freedom. By enabling people to cooperate with one another without coercion or central direction, it reduces the area over which political power is exercised. - Milton & Rose Friedman, Free to Choose, 1980.
"The discipline of colleges and universities is in general contrived, not for the benefit of the students, but for the interest, or more properly speaking, for the ease of the masters. Its object is, in all cases to maintain the authority of the master, and whether he neglects or performs his duty, to oblige the students in all cases to behave to him as if he performed it with the greatest diligence and ability. It seems to presume perfect wisdom and virtue in the one order, and the greatest weakness and folly in the other. Where the masters, however, really perform their duty, there are no examples, I believe, that the greater part of the students ever neglect theirs." - Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776.
"If the teacher happens to be a man of sense, it must be an unpleasant thing to him to be conscious, while he is lecturing his students, that he is either speaking or reading nonsense, or what is little better than nonsense. It must, too, be unpleasant to him to observe that the greater part of his students desert his lectures, or perhaps attend upon them with plain enough marks of neglect, contempt, and derision." - Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776.
What will probably happen is that the new school of economics will be staffed with lib profs who will endeavor to destroy and subvert the theories of Milton and Rose Friedman. Only socialists and Marxists will be allowed to lecture. If a conservative does make it on the venue he will be facing a hostile panel of lefties in the lecture equivalent of a lynching.
I dont know why they are whining, despite its name they will just take it over and pack it with leftists anyway. Just like the Ford Foundation.