August 8, 2006

Comparative freedom.

Over at PhiBetaCons, David French is comparing the way the University of Wisconsin is treating Kevin Barrett with the way it treated a Catholic student group. It's a complex comparison, and I'm not saying I agree with French. The student group's speech entails discriminating against other students, and Barrett, by contrast, has given assurances that he will allow diversity of opinion.

12 comments:

Sean said...

Well, calling something "discrimination" is hardly the end point for analysis. After all, the Alliance Defense Fund asserts that the university is discriminating against Christians. Leaving aside the rather meaningless rhetoric and examining the merits, a rule that says that Christian organizations can't limit eligibility for officerships to Christians seems like a pretty silly rule.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, I'm not trying to take a position as between the UW and the student group, just saying the comparison to the Barrett case is not exact.

Jim said...

The simple answer to the problem: privatize all universities. As long as we have state-run universities we will have to endure the endless controversy over what the state gives its imprimatur to.

If the gummint ran google, you can imagine we'd have an emasculated google and similar endless controversy over whether or not to allow discussion of flying saucers, conspiracy theories, imaginary religious figures and darwin-knows what else.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I'm just wondering why any non-Catholic male would care to join the K.C.'s. Is there some K of C mafia that gives KC students a leg up?

I'm sort of surprised they didn't raise that as a sex discrimination case. Women can't be Knights, Catholic or not.

paul a'barge said...

"why any non-Catholic male would care to join the K.C"

To destroy it.

jeff said...

Ruth,

That's not the point. Unless, oh, the Gay Abortionist League wanted to take over the club, raid the treasury, and then do all sorts of embarassing things under the KofC banner. Very hypothetical situation, and I personally haven't heard of anything like that happening.

The real point is that the liberal academics don't like the fact that these clubs exist in the first place and will therefore use whatever tactic they can in order to abolish them.

Simon said...

Uh...I think that PBC is a little off the mark if they're saying that CLS v. Walker HELD "that universities could not use their expansive nondiscrimination policies to prevent religious student groups from using religious principles when selecting members and leaders." As I pointed out at the time (sadly, I made the mistake of doing so at ConfirmThem, which has evidently deleted all comments prior to its wholly unnecssary redesign), that case was an interlocutory appeal as to whether the district court was right to deny a stay, so it would seem to me that thusfar, all Walker stands for is the proposition that CLS is sufficiently likely to prevail on the merits that a stay should be awarded.

Joan said...

I'm wondering at your decision to use compare instead of contrast, which would seem more apt in this case.

I agree with French. From a "free speech" perspective, it seems that UW isn't very consistent.

PatCA said...

Speaking of religion, it's very interesting to me that the one group we have not heard from on the Barrett is the Islamic lobby. To my knowledge, anyway. Why is that? Do they agree with Barrett; does his theory serve their purpose?

Tom Faranda said...

They de-recognized the K of C? This is an absurdity. How much do these people get paid to make these sort of decisions?

Tom Faranda

Daryl Herbert said...

Complex? It's simple, the University went out of its way to give Barrett extra and is now going out of its way to hush things up. On the other side, it went out of its way to attack Christian student groups.

It didn't have to do any of these things, it chose to.

Robert said...

I'm a member of the KC's on campus (although, admittedly, not a greatly involved one) and I can't believe they derecognized the group!!! That just HAS to be retaliation for the UW Roman Catholic Foundation's use of due process to get their funding back.

Hilariously enough, I don't the Knights even *take* money from the UW student body; the fundraising efforts bring in so much that we give thousands to charity each year. This is probably the one group that UW's derecognition as an RSO *wouldn't* hurt.

However, it's a good fight in principle, and at the end of the day the ninnies who make these half-baked decisions will be shamed again.