How outrage mobs silence academics — and what we can do to stop them

When the protection of academic freedom is compromised, scholarship and greater society suffer the effects.

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  • Social media has made it easier than ever to succumb to mob mentality and let our worst instincts and impulses run rampant. Outrage mobs pose a new and unique threat to professors' academic freedom.
  • Although expressing moral outrage can feel good, bad actors can use outrage mobs to further their own specific agendas, leaving careers ruined and productive discourse even further out of reach.
  • University leaders should stop caving to outrage mobs and start standing up for academic freedom, both for students and professors.
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Protect the religious rights of Muslims. They are your rights, too.

We should care about constitutional rights for all, says lawyer and religious freedom scholar Asma T. Uddin. If they are denied for some, history demonstrates how they may be at risk for us all.

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  • Islam is being challenged as a religion in America today. Opponents claim it is not a religion, but a dangerous political ideology.
  • Lawyer and religious freedom scholar Asma T. Uddin challenges that view and explains why it is a threat to the religious liberty of all Americans, not just Muslims.
  • In U.S. history, Catholics, Jews, and Mormons have all been "denationalized" as Americans and persecuted for their beliefs. This destructive precedent is a threat to all Americans, across all belief systems.
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How academic freedom strengthens the bonds of accumulated knowledge

As humans, we teach each other. But do we take for granted our freedom to do so?

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  • Humans are unique in that we learn socially and actively teach each other lessons of survival.
  • Freedom of expression allows accumulated knowledge, that which is passed down through generations and across cultures, to flourish within and benefit society.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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Without academic freedom, we might never see the truth. Here’s why.

Sometimes, academic expression can make people uncomfortable. But this tension is a feature, not a bug.

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  • The way we communicate is dictated in part by the setting that that communication takes place in. You're supposed to tell your doctor everything; on the other hand, you wouldn't tell your business competitor much at all.
  • In academia, communication is supposed to be somewhat provocative. The reaction to a provocative idea can't be to silence the one expressing it, but to approach it from the other side of the argument. One way to think about this is that if you don't understand the other side of an issue, then you can't claim to understand the issue.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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