The London Libertarian

The London Libertarian

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Commentary and debate on politics, economics and culture from a libertarian perspective. To Libertarian Alliance Website >

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academic freedom

EducationPosted by Jan Lester Thu, April 03, 2014 12:01:26

academic freedom Though somewhat contested in its details, this is more or less the idea that *academics ought to be able to research, teach, publish and otherwise communicate whatever subjects, theories or theses they choose.

If this is intended to mean without any *aggressive compulsion or *censorship by the *state, then that is indeed a *freedom or *liberty. However, any academic pursuit based on a *tax-*extorted subsidy or an aggressively imposed *monopoly of tertiary education is an illiberal academic *license rather than a freedom. And the overwhelming majority of academics are in fact exercising this illiberal license while presenting it as academic freedom.

To the extent that the state is the major employer or tax-funder, and this extent varies considerably, an academic institution has no right to proscribe or prescribe anything. Its sole *duty is to stop taking such funds. Though given that the institution will remain a *criminal *organization, it is somewhat less illiberal that its rules reflect the *free market as far as possible. This is impossible to determine in any detail. However, to the extent that a *university or other academic institution is instead *honest, then *contractually prescribing or proscribing certain topics for *religious, *moral, *commercial, or any other reasons does not infringe the freedom of the academic in any aggressive way, though the academic will be less ‘free’ in an unlimited personal sense.

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