You could listen to Chancellor Wise on civility…

…or you could listen to John Maynard Keynes:

Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thought on the unthinking.

H/t Paul Krugman


  1. msobel September 14, 2014 at 10:47 pm | #

    You don’t think they would give Keynes tenure do you?

  2. Utpreksha September 14, 2014 at 11:34 pm | #

    I rather liked the letter posted at academe blog from the 1964 Berkeley Free Speech Movement (FSM)

    ” It is precisely the right to speech on subjects that are divisive, controversial, and capable of arousing strong feelings that we fought for in 1964. . . From the roof of the police car blockaded in Sproul Plaza, we heard a song written by a UC graduate (BA, MA, PhD) Malvina Reynolds that summed up our feelings toward the UC Administration and others who were then trying to reign-in the civil rights movement. The song was titled, “It Isn’t Nice”.

    “It isn’t nice to block the doorways, it isn’t nice to go to jail!

    There are nicer ways to do it, but the nice ways always fail.

    It isn’t nice, it isn’t nice, you told us once you told us twice

    But if that’s freedom’s price, we don’t mind.” ”

    • BillR September 15, 2014 at 7:15 am | #

      Not an inspiring sight 50 years after FSM:

      “Political silence, total silence,” said Chris Hebdon, a Berkeley undergraduate. He went on to describe how various student groups gather at Sproul Plaza, the center of student activity at the University of California, Berkeley. These groups set up tables to recruit and inform other students, a practice know as “tabling.”

      “Students table for Darfur, no one tables for Iraq. Tables on Sproul Plaza are ethnically fragmented, explicitly pre-professional (The Asian American Pre-Law or Business or Pre-Medicine Association)…the same place Mario Savio once stood on top a police car is filled with tens of tables for the pre-corporate, the ethnic, the useless cynics, the recreational groups, etc.”

    • weshamrick September 15, 2014 at 10:48 am | #

      The bit taken out of the Berkeley student’s remarks is also pretty insightful, especially for an undergrad:

      [q]Never have I seen a table on globalization or corporatization. [b]Students are as distracted and specialized and atomized as most of their professors.[/b] It’s vertical integration gone cultural. And never, never is it cutting-edge. Berkeley loves the slogan ‘excellence through diversity,’ which is a farce of course if one checks our admissions stats (most years we have only one or two entering Native Americans), but few recognize multiculturalism’s silent partner—fragmentation into little markets.[/q]

      For “distracted and specialized” read: “won’t make trouble for administrators.”

      • Ligurio September 15, 2014 at 12:11 pm | #

        This is why identity politics is actually harmful to left politics overall, while admittedly helpful in winning the occasional ‘cultural’ battle.
        Union-busting expropriators of the labor of the poor–Starbucks, for example–are celebrated because they recognize same-sex marriage.

        To the extent that anything like a “left” exists on colleges at all, it is a left that defines itself in terms of sexual or ethnic identities rather than in terms of economic justice. This plays directly into the neo-liberalism of the Democratic Party, of course, just as much as it plays into the neo-liberalism of the Republican Party. For so long as the working poor are fighting each other on the issues of gay rights and abortion–the two major ‘cultural’ wars of the last forty years–they will never achieve class consciousness, and hence never really pose a political challenge to the oligarchy.

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