Quote of the day—Glenn Reynolds

Hypothesis: “Academic freedom” was constructed as a notion in order to protect communists and other leftists who worked in education from responses by non-leftists. Now that it’s no longer needed, because leftists are thoroughly in control of those institutions, it’s being discarded.

Glenn Reynolds
March 5, 2021
[It certainly seems to fit the available evidence.—Joe]


19 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Glenn Reynolds

  1. Here is a quote from a leftist view that provides some background.

    “The start of the tenure movement paralleled similar labor struggles during the late 19th century. Just as steel and auto workers fought against unsafe working conditions and unlivable wages, teachers too demanded protection from parents and administrators who would try to dictate lesson plans or exclude controversial materials like Huck Finn from reading lists. In 1887, nearly 10,000 teachers from across the country met in Chicago for the first-ever conference of the National Educator’s Association, now one of the country’s most powerful teachers’ unions. The topic of “teacher’s tenure” led the agenda. ”

    So yes, it is historically accurate and is also being disregarded today because leftists do not want to even hear about alternatives (‘safe places’ anyone).

    PS. I’m surprised by this statement: In 1887, nearly 10,000 teachers from across the country met in Chicago. That would be a large gathering even by today’s standards. In 1887, they had boats, trains, streetcars, horses, and their two feet.

    • I perhaps rushed to judgment. That quote came from an article critical of tenure because it is difficult and expensive to fire “unqualified” teachers. http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1859505,00.html

      It starts with the statement: “It’s been called the holy grail of the teaching profession — academic freedom plus job security all rolled nicely into a union contract. But to Michelle Rhee, superintendent of Washington D.C. schools, tenure just means trouble.”

      So yes, a movement is taking place to eliminate tenure, but the reasons? I’m still inclined to agree with the QOTD.

      • If there were a free market in education “we” wouldn’t be talking about tenure. One would simply choose the best available service at the best price, or, finding the available services inadequate, one could develop one’s own, and absolutely no one else would have anything whatsoever to say about it.

        But no. Now we have to fight about it because we’ve made it into a public institution. We lost this fight many generates ago, almost right from the beginning, and so there’s absolutely no point in complaining about it now!

        • Lyle,

          How did we get ourselves into this mess? Baby steps towards tyranny.

          How are we going to get ourselves out of this mess? Baby steps, but this time maybe a little further away from tyranny.

          Utopia comes from Greek words meaning “no place.”

          • Yes, baby steps toward tyranny, but why?

            A number of years ago we had a cat and dog that liked to run after popcorn. We would first toss some to the cat and then to the dog. As long as we kept given each their turn all was well. But, if we favored one, the other one would grow antsy and feisty – it was not fair. They understood the notion of fairness. And I’ve seen this same behavior with other animals.

            My theory is that the notion of fairness goes back into the mists of time and is part of the ancient brain common to animals.

            And why do we seem to gravitate towards what we call tyranny? It is the result of decisions to be fair. To primitive man, our lifestyle would be tyranny. So I think that tyranny is relative to the memories of our past and changes with each generation.

            Our argument with the leftist is all about what is fair or not fair. And it is a word that we and they like to use. After all, we call ourselves conservative because we do value tradition.

          • Chet,

            Because tyranny offers easy solutions to difficult problems.

            “Follow me, do as I say, and all will be well. Everyone has to. Or else! End of discussion.”

          • Yep, the left not only wants easy, but they also want quick and easy. That’s a good example of why we have so many disagreements with them over what is fair.

            Today it is equal-outcome – and by golly come hell or high water – we will have equal-outcome, unless you have white privilege.

            And the way they have framed it if we object or complain then it just proves that we have white privilege.

          • No, “equal outcome” is just the newest lie used to sell totalitarian control. There’s no reason to believe that those pushing for the totalitarian control have any expectation they will actually deliver what they advertise; it’s just another fraud they are playing on the gullible.

    • NEA wasn’t called that in 1887, which makes me wonder about that bit of history. The other odd thing is that it isn’t mentioned in the history page of the NEA website.

      I wonder if the original motivation of the tenure push was the same as the original motivation for the push for minimum wage — the desire to exclude blacks from these positions.

    • Do consider that the are unofficial ways of pressuring folks out of a tenured position. Consider the experience of Dr. Kevin MacDonald after he wrote about the people who shall not be named.

  2. Yep. That’s a good quote. It’s nice to see some people beginning to comprehend Left-Speak. Same goes with “tolerance” and “inclusiveness”. Their only purpose was to tolerate and include papists and communists long enough for the enemy to build a secure beachhead within our culture and society.

    But we fall for this stuff every single time it’s tried, no matter how often the evil intent behind it proven to us. Even if today all leftist/papist doctrines were totally exposed as fraud, we’ll fall for it again tomorrow, even first thing in the morning.

    They use beautiful words like science, reason, fraternity, unity, tolerance, Christ’s love, acceptance, tradition, values, compassion, forgiveness, charity and common cause, and we buckle and fold like wet noodles, eager to jump on the enemy’s bandwagon of counterfeits and falsehoods, and join in with the process of our own destruction! We hand over every precept of any value, freely granting it to them so they can corrupt it and turn it to evil.

    One of our biggest problems, one of the main reasons we can be relied upon to fall for these tricks, is we’ve convinced ourselves, with their help, that to be a leftist is to be stupid. In fact the leftist commanders in chief are among the most intelligent and learned on earth (yet we can’t help but try educating them). Also we’ve put down our Bibles in favor of any secular texts we can find as plausible alternatives.

    If all of that could be proven to us, with all evidence required to pass any reasonable doubt test, we’d be incapable of accepting it. It would be an intolerable shock to our ego for us to admit to ourselves that we’re being out-smarted and out-maneuvered at every turn, even herded like pigs to the slaughter. No, we’re the smart ones and so it simply cannot be. We’d rather poke fun at leftist “stupidity” even as they’re succeeding against us right in front of our faces every day. “Ha ha hee hee– Look at the idiots!”

    At this point any and all true American patriots in the fashion of the champions of old, “spouting off” about God and God-given liberty under God’s law, would be, will be, are being, put down as enemies by both “sides”. We simply won’t have the old successful arguments, and cannot accept them, and so it’s over.

    Until you can say, “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not of these things there is no light in them”, and mean it, get used to being out-smarted, out-maneuvered, cancelled and overrun by the enemy. It’s a done deal. Signed, sealed and delivered.

    Once again it has to be pointed out that all encroachments upon our nation’s principles land purely and exclusively on our shoulders. The enemy is historically a well known, readily discoverable constant, as is the remedy against him. All that changes throughout the centuries is our level of tolerance for said enemy and our level of acceptance of said remedy. And THAT is why tolerance and compromise must be upheld as among the highest social and political (but mainly, and you don’t know this because you don’t look at it; doctrinal) virtues!

    Also see open-mindedness

    • It had nothing to do with what you wrote (other than the number of links).

      Four or more links in a comment will cause the comment to be put in the “Pending” folder by the anti-spam filter until I approve it. It may take a while before I notice it. If you think this might have happened to you send me a text message (or even call if you want) at 208-301-4254. It sometimes takes me a long time to check my email so if it’s important to you then use the text message route.

  3. Want a PhD? You have to tell another PhD. what he wants to hear.
    Which can equal the educational inbreeding we have today. The system won’t stand much more of it. Already we see the value of an education, as well as the authority given to degree holders going down like the Hindenburg. C-Rats, (Communist Rats), destroy everything. Their own nests also.
    Tenure was a good thing. If one can maintain it’s use for the proper reasons. But like all things human, It was doomed from the start. Communism is just an accelerant.

  4. Interesting commentary. Some 50 years ago, I was the indirect beneficiary of tenure being sought for its originally intended purpose. What happened then is an example of why removing tenure is so important now to the leftists and their cancel culture dogma. My father had a PhD and was a college professor who loved his job. However, when his time in position came to the threshold for granting tenure, he was told by the Department Chair that there were several of his opinions that were troubling if he were a truly a “thinking scientist”. It was suggested that he continue on a year to year contract for at least the next year so the department could have time to “evaluate” his ideas. There was no discussion of his effectiveness as a college level instructor or specific complaints from peers or students. Just his opinions that someone didn’t like but was not willing to discuss them directly with my father. Realizing that not granting tenure at this juncture with these proposed restrictions was essentially telling him to move on, my father sought counsel and as a result wrote a letter directly to the university president laying out the issues. The end result was that the university granted tenure to my father immediately. He remained employed in a job and at a school he really loved and our family was not troubled with major changes and challenges. Were these same issues to arise today, there is no question that the left’s desire for conformity of opinion would result in someone in my father’s position to lose their position with no recourse.

    There has always been the positive and negative sides to granting tenure to teachers but I look at it in the same way that we should be looking at the 1st Amendment. You may not always like or agree with what someone has to say, or what their religious beliefs are, but they are entitled to believe and say what they want and you can know that you cannot be forced to accept or believe what they say. Part of the beauty and also frustration of living in Liberty. When tenure for teachers is lost, so will a significant portion of our Liberty be gone!

  5. Powerwagon:

    Can you detail how you think the situation would be different if they dispose of the tenure track for teachers? It seems to me that the current “cancel culture” attack against teachers pretty much negates the benefits of tenure, as teachers are still being driven out of schools for ‘wrongthink”, or just the suspicion of it.
    I’m wondering if tossing it might actually be beneficial in that bad teachers, whether communists or not, might be more easily removed by the public. As things are now, and for quite some time, it’s nearly impossible to toss a teacher for any reason, due to the stranglehold of tenure and the unions. Teachers should have the threat of dismissal for cause always hanging over them, just like any other employee. I recognize that tenure isn’t exactly the same as the union, but it still gets treated the same, from the public’s view.

    • Will,

      It seems that the effectiveness of tenure for protecting freedom of thought and expression by teachers has been compromised for some time. The inability to remove ineffective, incompetent and/or just lazy teachers has been a problem since before the experience of my father. That said, tenure is of value in this culture war only so far as the affected person has the desire and/or the resources to fight the oppression. In most cases of canceling teachers, the leftists create an exceptionally hostile work environment and because it is the from the accepted narrative side, there is little assistance in defense from school and government officials. Indeed, many of these same officials are leading the cancel effort. If you have ever had the experience of working in a truly hostile environment, then you know that it can be impossible to perform acceptably. Couple that with at least a modicum of self respect and it becomes time to cut your losses. The cancel culture counts on this reaction.

      To your specific question, I don’t think removing tenure for teachers will make any difference unless the public, in general, becomes much more active in promoting and defending conservative principles. In fact, removing tenure will also remove a significant barrier to the cancel culture. There would be really no legally supported and accepted protection for academic freedom of thought and expression. You could try the hostile work environment defense, but good luck with that when the leftists are controlling the narrative and paint everything they disagree with as the harbinger of an inevitable total collapse of some sort. Most conservatives have a live and let live attitude. Unrealistically, they expect leftists to respect that, which never happens. The leftists simply view it as weakness and push harder. Another reason that conservatives avoid confronting leftists is that it is like wrestling with a pig. You are both going to get dirty but the pig likes it. Maybe the best solution is to make bacon more available? (Sarcasm intended!)

      The problem with removing a teacher for cause lies in who gets to determine what the cause is or what cause is worthy of dismissal. Again it all goes back to who is making the rules and driving the culture in general. Fairness and equity have become impossible terms to define in this current environment.

  6. The one thing Reynolds never gets is that academic freedom and tenure, in their modern configurations, don’t have anything to do with politics. Tenure is simply a job security device making it almost impossible to eliminate faculty members even if student demand and research funding for whatever they are doing completely evaporates. Add in union contracts and you can remove the almost in front of impossible. Academic freedom is about parking spots and not having to teach 0800 classes.
    The only way to fix this is for the whole institution to crash and burn. Defund Higher Education

Comments are closed.