10/26/19 – Self Censorship

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Honest and open debate of controversial topics may be under assault.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

Portland State University professor Bruce Gilley had an article published in an academic journal.  The article withstood the scrutiny of double-blind peer review, a rigorous process to safeguard against sloppy research and analysis.

The paper dealt with a controversial topic: colonialism.  Gilley wondered if it’s time to rethink attitudes.  Can a case be made there is good colonialism?

It’s topics like these that inspire rigorous academic debate.

Sadly, Gilley and the academic journal became victims of political correctness run amuck.  Thousands signed a pair of petitions [here & here] demanding a retraction.  One petition included racist taunts of white privilege.

“The “editor … received serious and credible threats of personal violence,” according to the journal.

Following the uproar, fifteen members of the journal’s board resigned claiming the article didn’t meet academic rigor.  Not true, said the journal’s publisher.

Faced with mounting criticism, Gilley requested the article be withdrawn.

It’s hard to know who’s being honest and who’s caving to political correctness.

Maybe Gilley’s thesis is wrong.  But not debating it may be the biggest tragedy of all.

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