Freedom of speech

Sydney, Australia, where this blog is being written for a few more days, is seized with a controversy regarding Dr Tim Anderson, who ” lectures in economics and international politics, has sent a scathing series of tweets and social media posts over the past few days saying President Trump authorised “vanity terrorism” missile strikes in Syria to “prove he was better than Obama”.

What is important, to me, is not Dr Anderson’s downright silly views ~ so one ever said academics had to be smart ~ it is that his university is standing behind him, saying that “while it does not endorse Dr Anderson’s views, it allows its academics to freely comment on issues “in their area of expertise”.

Contrast that with e.g. the University of Toronto’s rather mealy mouthed defence of Prof Jordan Peterson and McGill’s handing of the Andrew Potter fiasco.

Now, I can only hope that the University of Sydney will, equally, support e.g. pro-Israel speakers.

Freedom of expression ~ limited, always, in many ways ~ is one of our core liberal values and our universities are the institutions where , we must hope, liberalism is nurtured.

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