Education: What Is Academic Freedom?

Is academic freedom in the U.S. really in danger? Absolutely, says rising young (36) Historian Russell Kirk (The Conservative Mind)—but not alone for the reasons that most teachers seem to think. In his latest book, Academic Freedom (Henry Regnery; $3.75), Kirk points an accusing finger at the teaching profession itself. Some of freedom's most earnest champions, he writes, are actually gnawing away its roots.

One reason for this. Kirk holds, is that many a teacher does not begin to understand the true basis of academic freedom. It is not, as Philosopher Sidney Hook insists, a...

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