As Amor Mundi Readers know, I am a founding member of the Academic Freedom Alliance. This week the Alliance sent a letter to MIT protesting the disinvitation of University of Chicago Professor Dorian Abbot. Professor Abbot had been invited to give a prestigious lecture in his specialty field of climate and planetary science.
A new study by the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats (CPOST) has some startling conclusions. Twenty One Million Americans or 8.1% of the population—more than one quarter of all adults—are “insurrectionists” who believe that the last election was stolen. Sixty three percent of Americans believe that “African American people or Hispanic people in our country will eventually have more rights than whites.”
Laura Ford writes that we may be witnessing a major epochal shift in which after nearly 300 years of supremacy, liberalism and the “gestalt of liberal compromise” is being supplanted as the dominant philosophy of the age. The shattering of the liberal consensus is above all visible on college campuses in the United States where it is being challenged by social identity movements that Ford argues are analogous to pre-Christian forms of religiosity.
Anne Applebaum turns to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale of Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter to gain perspective on the chasm between the complexity within social and political interactions and the “rapid conclusions, rigid ideological prisms, and arguments of 280 characters,” by which mobs of the elect try and convict ideological deviations in the public sphere.
The editors at the Journal of Free Black Thought asked John Wood Jr. to sign a public letter “The Letter of Dream Coalition 828” to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Wood Jr. declined and this has led to an exciting and thought provoking exchange between Wood Jr. and the lead author of the letter Andrew Gutman.
Elliot Holt picks a poem on the first day of every month and reads it every day that month. He reads it aloud. Often he memorizes the poem. For Holt, this daily meditation on the same poem for a month allows him to move from reading the poem to embodying the poem.
Three leading mathematicians Percy Deift, Svetlana Jitomirskaya, and Sergiu Klainerman argue that the United States is falling behind in mathematics and other fields in large part because of its rejection of a pedagogy based on merit. The three mathematicians embrace efforts to improve math education for all and claim that this is the best way to support non-immigrant black and hispanic citizens.
Alexei Navalny was poisoned and almost murdered by Vladimir Putin and the Russian government. Languishing in a Russian prison, Navalny has a front row seat to witness the depravities of the Putin regime. The real danger of contemporary authoritarians, Navalny argues, is corruption.
Rebecca Gordon asks about the ethics of teaching in Universities where students increasingly graduate with immense debt and few meaningful prospects. She notes that “The average number of doctorates earned over the last decade is almost 53,000 annually. In other words, we're talking about nearly 530,000 PhDs produced by American higher education in those 10 years alone.