The Limits of Free-Speech Dogma: Questioning Decades-Old Conservative Wisdom

“My most ‘illiberal’ claim is that all societies necessarily have standards. Even the freest of speech regimes has limits.” This is the claim of Michael Knowles in Speechless: Controlling Words, Controlling Minds, a fascinating new book that attempts to do away with some common conservative dogmas, and raises important questions about free speech, liberty, and … Continue reading “The Limits of Free-Speech Dogma: Questioning Decades-Old Conservative Wisdom”


Oklahoma University Thumbs its Nose at Oklahomans — With ‘So Few Repercussions’

“I don’t understand how a state as red as Oklahoma can have such an obsessively woke state university with so few repercussions,” law professor and New York Post columnist Glenn Reynolds recently marveled. He’s not alone. I don’t understand it, either. Nor do many Oklahoma taxpayers I’ve talked to. The question is whether OU’s regents will … Continue reading “Oklahoma University Thumbs its Nose at Oklahomans — With ‘So Few Repercussions’”


Safe Spaces: Balancing Academic Freedom and Wokeness

The following is adapted from an address given at a Martin Center luncheon on July 15, 2021. Finally, I come to my main argument: Safe spaces. I want to come out in favor of safe spaces. Not everywhere, or for all purposes, but in general I think there should be a strong presumption in favor … Continue reading “Safe Spaces: Balancing Academic Freedom and Wokeness”


Curiosity Is Important, But Colleges Are Suppressing It

No one needs curiosity more than the young, but our educational system is doing its best to suppress it. The kids are being bored out of their minds. Of course, that’s nothing new in our K-12 schools. As older Americans recall the time they spent in classrooms, they’ll also remember how they were bored, and … Continue reading “Curiosity Is Important, But Colleges Are Suppressing It”


Advancing the Radical Agenda at UNC-Chapel Hill with Sneaky Language

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of articles. Part I can be found here. The phrase “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” is a loaded one; it does not signify noncontroversial principles, as might be assumed, but instead describes a radical political agenda. Throughout academia, programs and standards based on DEI are proliferating at a … Continue reading “Advancing the Radical Agenda at UNC-Chapel Hill with Sneaky Language”


How the College Board Mangles the Teaching of History

The College Board is a not-for-profit company that has a great deal of influence over American education. Its Scholastic Aptitude Test (the SAT) is the most widely used test for assessing the college readiness of students, and its many Advanced Placement exams allow students to show that they have learned subjects well enough not to … Continue reading “How the College Board Mangles the Teaching of History”


Scholastic Gag Orders: NDAs, Mandatory Arbitration, and the Legal Threat to Academics

In this Martin Center policy brief, Scholastic Gag Orders: NDAs, Mandatory Arbitration, and the Legal Threat to Academics, Stephen Baskerville explores how non-disparagement agreements (NDAs) and mandatory arbitration (MA) provide a veil of legally enforced secrecy, shielding administrations from negative publicity, professional censure, and legitimate oversight, as they cleanse their faculty of ideologically heterodox professors.


The Ways in Which Colleges Legally Silence Troublesome Scholars

Radicals on campus do more than just “cancel” speakers. Failure by administrators to stand firm alters the atmosphere at colleges as well as, eventually, our system of government. The most profound consequences may come less from ideological zealots than from our own cowardice to oppose them. Some colleges now respond to ideological intimidation not by … Continue reading “The Ways in Which Colleges Legally Silence Troublesome Scholars”


Leaving the Blight of Higher Education: Part I–Farewell, Students

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series. In May of 2020, my wife and I took our retirement after more than 30 years of teaching college, the last 20 years of which we spent at what I will call Upstate Consolation University, a mid-tier state college somewhere in the Northeast. My wife … Continue reading “Leaving the Blight of Higher Education: Part I–Farewell, Students”


To De-Politicize Art Schools, Students Need to Fight Back  

It has never been harder to teach artistic individualism in America. A religious devotion to the causes of social justice dominates the ideas of professors in the academy, and David Randall’s report “Social Justice Education in America” has made clear that their evangelical zeal for teaching students the merits of intersectional political activism is topped … Continue reading “To De-Politicize Art Schools, Students Need to Fight Back  “