Enough. I've read and re-read all the material on the Barrett case and then discussed, thought some more, and discussed again. In the end, we're going to act locally because our unease coming out of this just won't ease. As the father of an inbound freshman who completed SOAR and is a month away from moving into the dorm, we're pulling the plug on UW here, and actively calling back some of the schools we turned down. Yes, it is because of this Barrett class, not this one nut alone, but of the even scarier indifference and lack of systemic accountability involved throughout this process. It really is a truth teller as to what is in store for us the next 4 years, and so, we are opting out. My wife and I are both highly educated and of a fairly liberal bent ourselves, but clearly this 9/11 incident has legs and is indicative of a deeper core cancer at this institution.Here's what I said to Telemacchus back in the comments:
If you really feel that way, you should write to Farrell and others. I suspect they are reading this. (They are a bit inept if they are not.) But you should write. Write an op-ed or a letter to the Cap Times, the State Journal, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. And the Isthmus. Taking the strong action you describe is quite meaningful. You should want it to be felt.Is having the quote on Instapundit more powerful?
Telemacchus goes on, beyond what Glenn quoted:
How shameful that UW, a former great school, has allowed the winds of the far radical left to blow into and take root in the fertile fields of the Wisconsin heartland. Remember shame? It was once a useful social tool for folks to police their own ranks, clearly a lost concept here at UW. For all the swirl here, this dilemma does lend itself some of the more old fashioned solutions. Resignations are in high order here. Names must be taken. Asses must be kicked. And we will move on.Please note that I am not endorsing all these statements. I believe the University of Wisconsin is a great institution. It's a huge place, people! Even if Barrett represents a problem that's bigger than one part-time instructor's despicable plan to teach an idiotic conspiracy theory, it only relates to part of the university and not, for example, to the sciences. Yet I understand the urge to punish the university for something you find so offensive and the decision to steer clear of a place that feels wrong to you. The university, in not firing Barrett, cites free speech values, but Telemacchus is also speaking. Free speech is a marketplace, and to choose a different university is to act in that market. I was encouraging students to shun the class as a way of participating in the marketplace of ideas. Shunning the whole university is a much stronger move.
I worry about the extremity of the "old fashioned solutions" Telemacchus advocates. His idea that this is a problem of "far radical left" politics should make us all wary of backlash. There is a huge difference between teaching ridiculous bogus science in a religion course and teaching humanities and social science courses with what is or could be perceived as a political slant. How is what Barrett is doing left-wing politics? You could say that no one on the left is openly complaining about him, but that doesn't mean they like or even accept what he is doing. Why would anyone who cared about left wing politics want to be associated with Barrett? He's obviously wrong! It would only make your beliefs seem like a load of lies and idiocy. I think people on the left and the university are simply trying to isolate and endure him as he passes through the system in his one semester. Do you hear any university lefties praising him? Do you hear anyone here praising him? I think not. You're only hearing the most minimal statements, all designed to encapsulate him so that he can pass through the system doing the least harm. These bland statements are like the milk you're supposed to drink if you swallow vitriolic acid. Refusing to fire him is like following the do-not-induce-vomiting advice. I think they are right that firing him would do more damage than passing him through the system.
But they do need to figure out how to avoid drinking any more vitriolic acid.
IN THE COMMENTS: Mary asks how we know Telemacchus is not a fictional character telling a fictional story. I acknowledge that I had the same question. I invite Telemacchus to email me and identify himself.