Saturday, June 11, 2005

Institutions and the Right

All across the nation, we see the Right focusing their attacks on institutions that they see as un-Christian or un-American or too liberal. Axis of Evel Knievel writes on a story about how creationists have forced the Tulsa Zoo to have displays teaching creationism. We see these attacks against colleges, the ACLU, and other institutions that stray from Right wing orthodoxy. In this case, here we have an attack against a scientific institution that undoubtedly has Darwinist leanings, though I'm sure they're not beating the poor oppressed Christian community of Oklahoma over the head with them.

The question I have is what is going to happen with these kind of attacks. Are institutions going to just cave or will there be a point where some brave institutional leaders will stand up and say that this is unacceptable and I will close the place if we are forced to teach creationism/stifle our liberal professors/censor free speech/etc. Looking at examples from past times that witnessed the rise of totalitarian and/or repressive governments, it's hard to see very much confidence in the ability and will of institutions to stand their ground. On the other hand, the United States in the 21st century has a lot longer history of free speech than say Germany in the 1930s or Italy in the 1920s or any number of South American nations at any time. So maybe there is hope that somewhere in the US, some brave museum director or college president will try to hold the line against the Right. Unfortunately though, the Right are a bunch of bullies and it's hard to stand up to bullies. The Right knows this and are pressing their advantage wherever they can.