Our problems remain epistemological.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Capitalist Creed?

I'm all for free markets, but this story looks really quite bothersome. Colorado Christian University didn't renew the contract of Andrew Paquin because he didn't seem supportive enough of the university's revised mission, one that included a commitment to free markets. Apparently, he had the temerity to assign in class works by Peter Singer and Jim Wallis. Both of those guys are deeply wrong in their policy prescriptions (and, at least with Singer, his fundamental moral claims) but a student who is taking a class on views of economic justice and the like ought to be acquainted with their views. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

But just to be fair, though, it might be worth noting that someone who was teaching in your typical liberal arts college and assigned works by, say, Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell (and taught in a way that made it clear he agreed with them), he would certainly be in grave danger of not securing tenure. But inasmuch as we think that unfair (and we should) so too should we think this.


Tom Van Dyke said...

Another thing being that Colorado Christian is quite forthright in its mission and prejudices, whereas the mainstream academia holds itself out as bastions of honest inquiry.

They could rectify the problem by dropping "liberal" and fessing up to being purveyors of a leftist arts education.

Hunter Baker said...

Boffo point, Tommy.

David S. Bloch said...

I'm not overly bothered by this. I don't require universities to be mouthpieces for government orthodoxies, but I'm also not at all offended when the occasional university recognizes that it exists only as an epiphenomenon of the tremendous expansion of freedom of inquiry engendered by free market economics.

Moreover, and with due apologies to Francis Fukuyama, I think there's a fair case to be made that the concepts underlying very basic free market economics have won the intellectual fight. There's plenty of ferment within the free-market camp, but neo-Marxist/non-capitalist economics now occupies much the same pseudoscientific zone inhabited by proponents of Intelligent Design.

Besides, I don't think Prof. Paquin's career prospects will be harmed in academia writ broad by his decision to teach Singer against the wishes of his institution. Hell, he'll probably end up at Princeton next year. . . .

Evanston2 said...

David, nice drive-by cheap shot at "proponents of Intelligent Design."
How about sticking to the topic (academic freedom vs. university "mission")?