A Chilling of Discourse

54 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2005

See all articles by David Barnhizer

David Barnhizer

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University

Date Written: March 11, 2005


I argue that the key consequence of the collectives of multicultural, postmodernists, radical feminists, critical race activists, sexuality advocates and others working for radical change is not only the politicization of knowledge in what is after all a realm of politics we call law, but the incoherence of knowledge and the loss of the quality and integrity of our pursuit of knowledge through scholarship. One result is that much of the scholarship and teaching found in the humane and political or noncumulative disciplines such as law are forms of self-interested propaganda in which honesty is muted or excluded and truth-seeking and balance are subordinated to predetermined political agendas.

The dominant premise of this essay is that we have established a culture of argument, condemnation and subtle pressure within our academic institutions that is chilling honest discourse about fundamental social concerns in ways that destroy the ideal of the university as a center of open communication in which freedom of discourse in teaching and scholarship are paramount. Academia - which ought to provide solutions and linkages - has itself become a vehicle of intolerance. I challenged such behavior when it was being done by an orthodoxy that used its power to inhibit free thought when I first came into the law school world, and I challenge it here when the identity and ideology of the actors have been reversed and a newly dominant orthodoxy is imposing its will on others.

Keywords: scholarship, teaching, philosophy, ethics

Suggested Citation

Barnhizer, David R., A Chilling of Discourse (March 11, 2005). Cleveland-Marshall Legal Studies Paper No. 05-101. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=684255 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.684255

David R. Barnhizer (Contact Author)

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University ( email )

1801 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
United States
216-687-2315 (Phone)

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