This is a Hot One. Lengthy setup, but I promise, there is a Punch-Line.
I will say flat-out that I oppose ideology-driven legal fishing expeditions into the email accounts of professors at public institutions of higher education. Hence I agree with this imbecile from Power Swine!
Take the case of Douglas Laycock, a law professor at the University of Virginia and a leading expert on religious liberty. Laycock supports gay marriage. At the same time, and quite consistently if one is an old-fashioned liberal, he is sympathetic to the right of those with religious objections to gay marriage to be exempt (within reason) from state laws conferring certain gay rights.
Laycock expressed this position in a letter (signed by other religious liberty scholars, as well) to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer....
GetEQUAL has also recruited a University of Virginia law student (Greg Lewis) and an alum (Stephanie Montenegro) to send an open letter to Laycock asking him to consider the “real-world consequences that [his] work is having.” And they have submitted a Freedom of Information Act request seeking e-mails between Laycock and various conservative and religious liberty groups.
Lewis claims that he and Montenegro aren’t trying to smear Laycock or to undermine academic freedom; they just want a dialogue.
Nonsense. You don’t start a dialogue with a professor by circulating nationally a letter of denunciation and issuing a FOIA request.
I concur. If you sincerely want to engage in Academic Discussion, you ought not engage in scurrilous denunciation and demands for public reckonings!
You of course know where I'm going with this. Here is PowerSwine on the attempt of the Virginia Attorney General to vilify scientist Michael Mann:
Michael Mann’s infamous “hockey stick” graph, which purported to show steady temperatures on Earth for around a millenium until the 20th century, is the source of much of the misguided hysteria that surrounds the global warming movement. Mann achieved the hockey stick through mathematical errors or mathematical tricks, take your pick. Recently Virginia’s Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, filed a Civil Investigative Demand for documents from the University of Virginia relating to the work done by Mann while he was at the University. Cuccinelli wants to know whether taxpayer funds were used to help Mann perpetrate a hoax.
Cuccinelli’s subpoena has been greeted with howls and protests from warmists and others who view inquiry into a scientist’s work as an infringement of academic freedom–the freedom, that is, to make stuff up, hide or falsify data, and thereby impose trillions of dollars of costs on consumers, all while being supported by taxpayers. (In other contexts, this is commonly known as “fraud.”)
So, PowerTools Freedom:
When a powerful government official launches a preposterous and obviously ideological assault on a scientist, demanding emails, that is Freedom.
When a private group, unabashedly ideological, asks the government to provide emails, that is Unfreedom.