Friday, November 01, 2002

An Honest Concern for Free Speech

Friday, 1 November 2002

Janet Albrechtsen's use of the rhetoric of free speech to defend the right of right-wing academics everywhere to hound their opponents out of public life has come in for a lot of serious attention elsewhere in the blogosphere. John Quiggin and Don Arthur are rightly critical of Albrechtsen's defence of Campus Watch while the members of the Australian's op-ed claque demonstrate their usual reflexive approbation of conservatism's favourite pin-up girl (sorry Bettina). I often get the impression that some of these bloggers aspire to having a few column inches of their own on the op-ed pages of the Oz one day, and I wish them well. A limited talent for booing people off the stage may not be much use if your ambition is to star at La Scala but it's clearly no impediment to a successful career in journalism or politics.

A fair bit of the comment on Janet's spirited defence of Daniel Pipes' right to play the honourable and socially essential role of amateur informer and denouncer has referred to the Media Watch coverage of her playful inventiveness when it comes to background research. I don't know if this (admittedly very dated) citation of Janet's research skills has had a previous outing in the OzBlogosphere - if not I'm going to claim it as a cognitive achievement of the type poo-pooed by the likes of Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos and Feyerabend.

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