Manifesto for academic freedom at European universities
A few days ago, well-known professors from all political backgrounds in Germany denounced the increasing loss of academic freedom in research and teaching in a manifesto and joined forces in a network. The real question is, how could restrictions on knowledge possibly have come this far? Prof David Engels, a Professor of Roman History in Brussels and the Poznan West Institute (Instytut Zachodni) commented on the new manifesto.
Published: February 15, 2021, 9:53 am
The success of Western civilization is largely due to its irrepressible thirst for knowledge, an urge that goes back well into the Middle Ages, prof David Engels has argued. Even then, the universities often clashed with the church, but were given the opportunity to convince in public disputes through arguments, not authority. That was the first steps on the way to the modern concept of research.
However, this freedom is now threatened everywhere in the West, for two reasons, says Engels. On the one hand, the famous “March through the Institutions” has increasingly turned teaching and research institutes into bastions of anti-conservative thinking, in which people and positions with different orientations can hardly be heard and are even actively excluded.
On the other hand, a leaden mood of political correctness has invaded in the West, in which it is no longer a question of prejudice-free discussion, but rather what is “right”. It is clear from the start what the “wrong” position is because it is enough to label the opponent as “rightwing” in order to permanently discredit him or her and to avoid the necessity of any discussion and thus also the risk of having to admit one’s own mistakes. The notion of “a lot of opinions, little knowledge” which everyone had complained about two decades ago has now become “one opinion, little knowledge” Engels added.
“The consequences of this development are enormous. As a scientist, it often means academic suicide to express views that have been commonplace for the past two to three millennia, but are now decried as “conservative”, “controversial” or even “new” right. Breaking out of the given left-green framework can not only result in Antifa visits, court actions or the hindrance of qualification work, but also prevent prospects of promotion, appointment, civil service or the third-party funding that has now become indispensable.
“At the same time, under those conditions, the youth is growing up and becoming used to political conformity from the start and feels it is normal not to be bothered with allegedly ‘hurtful’ opinions or inconvenient facts in their ideological ‘safe space’, while at the same time they are encouraged to denounce and defame those who think differently – mostly to the applause of the quality press.”
Issues which a decade ago could still be regarded as a surreal marginal opinion has now become a binding doxa thanks to the left-green hegemony over education and the media. From gender pronouns, Fridays for Future, children’s book censorship, the increased banning of classics from the “decolonized” canon in favor of “postmodernist”, “feminist” and “anti-racist” literature to lowering all performance requirements and a ridiculous grading system in which “feeling” or “individual progress” count: The “woke culture” has found its way into Europe, especially in Sweden and Germany – with catastrophic consequences if one compares the steady decline European schools and universities compared with East Asia.
It is therefore very much to be welcomed that renowned researchers from all disciplines have joined forces in the “Scientific Freedom Network” with the common concern of defending the freedom of research and teaching against ideologically motivated restrictions and excessive identity politics while helping to strengthen a liberal scientific climate.
The manifesto states: “We observe that the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of research and teaching is increasingly being placed under moral and political reservations. This is an attempt to standardize research and teaching on an ideological level and to use it politically. Anyone who does not play along must expect to be discredited. In this way, pressure to conform is created, which increasingly leads to scientific debates being nipped in the bud.”
Specifically, the network intends to “counteract all attempts to restrict the academic work of university members through mutual assistance, analysis work and the organization of public debates. The only limits to this freedom are the constitution and the law”.
It is to be hoped that the “Scientific Freedom Network” will have the success it deserves since such initiatives are more important than ever. “In order for the project to go beyond a tactically successful battle of retreat, it is just as important not only to demand freedom, but also to work actively on the promotion of conservative young academics and teachers – because what is the point of guaranteeing a free discussion framework when all participants are still share the same opinion?’ Engels concluded.
All rights reserved. You have permission to quote freely from the articles provided that the source (www.freewestmedia.com) is given. Photos may not be used without our consent.
Consider donating to support our work
Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.
Keep your language polite. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in, for example, Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.
If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violations of any law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.
If your comments are subject to preview by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.
We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.
CLIMATEThe United States' government scientific organization, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), predicts zero sunspots from 2031 to 2040. This is an extreme situation that has not occurred in as long as humanity has been counting sunspots, and it leads us into uncharted territory in terms of our solar system. However, this prediction aligns with the warnings of the world-renowned solar researcher Valentina Zharkova for many years, who indicated in 2019 various signs of this catastrophic phenomenon, including the extreme hailstorms we have seen in Europe and the world this summer. The forecast and various observations this year give cause for very significant concern. In this unique analysis, Free West Media explains why.
EUROPEAN ELECTIONSOn Saturday, August 26, representatives of six European nationalist parties gathered in Budapest. The meeting was initiated by the Hungarian party Mi Hazánk and took place in the national parliament. Representatives of the parties signed a joint declaration that not only reaffirms the parties' friendship but also their unity on a range of complex political issues. A surprisingly clear and radical manifesto was established. The hope is that this cooperation will lead to success in the EU elections and eventually result in the formation of a group in the European Parliament. For Swedish nationalism, this meeting marks a success as Sweden, for the first time, has a party represented in a leading nationalist cooperation in Europe. Free West Media was present at this historic event.
Sweden will have to wait a bit longer for NATO membership, according to Turkey's Justice Minister Jilmaz Tunc. First, Sweden must extradite the "terrorists" Turkey wants and stop the desecration of the Quran.
The Russian attack helicopter Ka-52 is considered one of the world's best and has struck fear in Ukraine, where it has hunted down tanks and other armored vehicles, often beyond the range of many light anti-aircraft systems. However, it has met its match in the Swedish air defense missile system RBS 70, which has quickly led to significant losses for the Russian helicopter forces.
Alternative for Germany (AfD) held a party conference on July 29-30 to select candidates for the upcoming EU election next year. EU Parliament member Maximilian Krah, belonging to the party's more radical, ethnonationalist faction, was appointed as the top candidate. The party's two spokespersons delivered powerful speeches criticizing the EU's failed migration policy and trade sanctions that isolate Europe and Germany from the rest of the world. They argued that it's time for the EU to return a significant portion of its power to national parliaments. However, they have dropped the demand for Germany to exit the EU.
The rising popularity of AfD has raised strong concerns within the establishment. Despite lies and demonization in the media and isolation from the overall political establishment, the party continues to grow. Certain representatives of the party are accused of becoming increasingly "extreme," and in an unusual move, the influential weekly newspaper Der Spiegel demanded that AfD be "banned."
What is happening in the Netherlands? It is often difficult to follow events in other countries, especially when distorted by system media. We give Forum for Democracy (FvD) the opportunity to speak out on the political situation in the Netherlands and the staunch resistance they face in trying to save the country.
After a criminal complaint in Belgium against the President of the European Commission, the so-called SMS-case, now takes a new turn. The judge responsible for the investigation will likely gain access to the secret messages exchanged between Ursula von der Leyen and Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, at least if they haven't been deleted.
Arktos has distinguished itself by publishing groundbreaking philosophers and social critics. Now, the publisher's international distributor has abruptly terminated the cooperation, and more than 400 already printed titles cannot reach their audience. There is strong evidence that the distributor has been under pressure, something that has also happened in Sweden. We have spoken with Arktos founder Daniel Friberg about the ongoing struggle for freedom of speech in a shrinking cultural corridor.
The Catholic bishops of the Scandinavian countries presented an open five-page letter criticizing transgender ideology on March 21, just before Easter. The document primarily expresses care and advice and was read aloud in Catholic churches in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland. Cardinal Anders Arborelius, Bishop of Stockholm, is one of the signatories of the document.