In my last post, I discussed the case of Steven Salaita, who had a job offer from the University of Illinois that was then revoked because his tweets on Israel were deemed to be uncivil and extreme. Cary Nelson defended the University of Illinois decision thus:
When Salaita tweets “If you’re defending Israel right now you’re an awful human being” he issues a judgment about his future students that would justify them believing they would be academically at risk in expressing pro-Israeli views in class. When he gives us this definition–”Zionists: transforming ‘anti-Semitism’ from something horrible into something honorable since 1948″ he crosses a line into hate speech. When he retweets a suggestion that a well-known American reporter should be met with “the point of a shiv” he crosses a line into inciting violence.
In accordance with Nelson’s dicta, I presume the following individuals would be not hireable at the University of Illinois.
1. Denis Diderot: “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” (Professor Diderot has crossed a line into inciting violence.)
2. Friedrich von Schlegel: “Religion and morals are symmetrically opposed, just like poetry and philosophy.” (Professor Schlegel has issued a judgment about his future students that would justify them believing they would be academically at risk in expressing pro-religion views in class.)
3. George Orwell: “As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents.” (Professor Orwell has issued a judgment about his future students that would justify them believing they would be academically at risk in expressing pro-socialist or pro-Christian views in class.)
4. Mary McCarthy: “The average Catholic perceives no connection between religion and morality, unless it is a question of someone else’s morality.” (Professor McCarthy has issued a judgment about her future students that would justify them believing they would be academically at risk in expressing pro-Catholic views in class.)
5. Samuel Butler: “The seven deadly sins: Want of money, bad health, bad temper, chastity, family ties, knowing that you know things, and believing in the Christian religion.” (See #3)
6. The Prophet Micah:
Hear this, you leaders of Jacob,
you rulers of Israel,
who despise justice
and distort all that is right;
who build Zion with bloodshed,
and Jerusalem with wickedness….
Because of you,
Zion will be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.
(See #1. Also, maybe, hate speech.)