James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Walter Block's Achievement

Four years ago, Austrian economist and UNLV professor Hans Hermann-Hoppe received a "non-disciplinary letter" from the school condemning remarks he said in the classroom about homosexuals that a student perceived as derogatory. Hoppe fought back with the help of the ACLU, and the letter was removed from his file.

This year, Austrian economist and Loyola-New Orleans professor Walter Block was condemned by the school's diversity task force based on a second-hand report of allegedly gender-and racially-insensitive remarks he made in a speech and Q & A given at another school. Block's fighting back relentlessly.

Will the Task Force rescind their condemnation? Will the University apologize to Block?

I doubt it.

And even if they viewed a repeat performance of Block's speech, I doubt they will repent. The one member of the Task Force who did show up appeared to be plenty angry with what Block said.

And here's the reason: to use facts and logic to point to causes, besides chauvinism and bigotry in the free market, that explain wage gaps between males and females, or between blacks and whites, is often automatically interpreted as blaming females and blacks, or suggesting they are inferior. Also, university profs are generally quite egotistical (even those who serve on Diversity Task Forces), and generally will refuse to admit, to themselves or to others, that they're wrong.

(Block, as it turns out, "blames" marriage and children for the gender gap, and points mainly to past and present government policies for the racial gap.)

But while I think Block won't win this one, I think he, along with Hoppe, have achieved unseen future victories against the PC Police. Their relationships with Lew Rockwell and the Mises Institute certainly helped their causes go national.

These "unseen future victories" will be when the PC Police declines to act, or is afraid to act because of fear of national backlash. They will be more inclined to research not just one's academic paper trail, but their popular articles and friends on the web.

So I congratulate Prof. Block for fighting this fight. The cause of academic freedom (and economic freedom) is stronger for it.

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