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Murray Sperber Update

There's a tremendous article in the last issue of the Atlantic - Mark Twain
is on the cover - about how Indiana professor Murray Sperber is recovering from
his Knight-mare.  The poor guy really went through hell. The police have
essentially coached him on survival skills, his family was harassed, and he's
had to live with death threats. They went to the extreme of publishing his
classes under other professors names so that he wouldn't be too much of a
target.  To remind you, or to inform you if you didn't know, the reason he
had to do this is because he spoke out against former IU coach Bob Knight, and a
lot of people were doing whatever they could to shut him up. It didn't work, but
it did take a toll.

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It's sick, but unfortunately it's not uncommon on campuses anymore. 
Theoretically, you should be able to say what you think, there of all places,
but in the last 20 years, campi have grown increasingly dogmatic and intolerant,
to the point where there's really not much difference between that dogma and the
dogma of the 13th century Catholic church.

We have an enormous respect for Sperber's strength through this, and
obviously sports touches a nerve which isn't often touched by academics, but
still, you hear of enough horror stories of people who are bullied into
conformity, who are kicked out of school for having unpopular opinions, and God
forbid a professor speak his mind without tenure.  Or with, at some
schools.

It's just more of the same, although the impulse for repression is sports
rather than ideology.  We long for the day when a university can be a place
for free people to think freely, without fear of athletic supporters or of
zealous ideologues who will brook no dissent.  Sperber's problems came from
challenging athletics, of course, but the mechanisms for repression is
well-understood at most schools now.

It's not exactly the way we'd like to see a meaningful blow struck for
academic freedom, but given the shaky state of the American university, we'll
take it.  Here's to Murray: a guy who took a stand, stood his ground, and
didn't give in even when they were threatening to kill him. 

We would like to mention, again, that Bob Knight, a man with a clear
understanding of history, who knows who died for what and why, and who clearly
understands the underpinnings of Western Culture and the importance of academic
freedom, never once opened his mouth to defend Sperber's place in the society
for which  he professes such great reverence. You might say that, well, why should he? Well, because he has so frequently talked about the importance of the American way, and the nobility of this nation and so forth. Freedom of speech is at the heart of it, and Bob Knight could have done something truly noble and selfless. We know he does a lot of great charity work, which is great, but he sort of hung his principles out to dry in our opinion.