Niall Ferguson hopes that the new University of Austin will unite traditional wisdom with new technology in a spirit of free enquiry:
At COSM 2021 yesterday, prominent historian Niall Ferguson talked about his decision to sign up with the new University of Austin, founded in explicit opposition to rampant political correctness and censorship on university campuses, which is beginning to affect quality scholarship.
In response to a question from the floor, Ferguson, author of Doom: The politics of catastrophe (2021), outlined the seriousness of the problem.News, “Historian supports new anti-Cancel Culture university” at Mind Matters News (November 11, 2021)
Well, it’s just been announced this week that we’re trying to create a new university, University of Austin, committed to the fundamental principles of, of academic freedom of free inquiry. And the reason we have to do this is that we see so many limitations on, on free inquiry and academic freedom at the established universities.
Not only do 66 percent of students say it is acceptable to shout down a speaker to prevent them from speaking on campus, that result is up four percentage points from last year.
Another key finding is that nearly one in four students say it’s acceptable to use violence to stop a campus speech — up 5 percent over last year’s survey — with some elite colleges bringing that figure to as high as one in three students accepting of such violence.Katelynn Richardson – UNLV, “Overwhelming majority of college students say shouting down a speaker is acceptable: survey” at The College Fix (September 23, 2021)
The problem may have worsened during the COVID lockdown, which was Ferguson’s slated topic.
He has few illusions about the difficulty he and a disparate group of Cancelled or embattled professors, media figures, and university presidents who have expressed a degree of commitment to the idea face. These figures include Bari Weiss, Panos Kanelos, Arthur Brooks, Sohrab Ahmari, Andrew Sullivan, Heather Heying, Geoffrey Stone, Peter Boghossian, Kathleen Stock, Joe Lonsdale, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ferguson told COSM 2021 …
Takehome: At COSM 2021, he noted that proposed faculty had spent the last 48 hours dealing with a tidal wave of Twitter hate. So, he said, they are over the target…
Note: The University of Austin would, of course, still face the hurdle of accreditation in a hostile environment and, quite possibly, refusal to public academic research by anyone associated with it. That could prove more significant than the hatestorms on Twitter.
You may also wish to read: In Big Tech World: the journalist as censor, hit man, and snitch. Glenn Greenwald looks at a disturbing trend in media toward misrepresentation as well as censorship.