Kirstein Publishes Book Chapter on Academic Freedom Since 9/11 in Matthew Morgan Series on “The Day that Changed Everything.”

The Impact of 9/11 and the New Legal Landscape: The Day that Changed Everything?

Peter N. Kirstein contributed a book chapter “Challenges to Academic Freedom since 9/11” in Matthew Morgan, ed., The Impact Of 9/11 And The New Legal Landscape: The Day That Changed Everything (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).  It appears in the third volume of a massive six-volume analysis of the impact of 9/11 on the United States.  Kirstein’s chapter analyzes through case law such as the landmark Sweezy v. New Hampshire (1957) and Keyishian v. Board of Regents (1967) and seminal case studies the historic ascendancy of academic freedom as a quasi-constitutional right. It directly assesses significant violations of it on university campuses across the United States. Personal biography is intertwined with numerous developmental aspects of academic freedom in America from the early twentieth century with emphasis upon the post 9/11 witch-hunts that have been virtually ignored in the historiography of the period.

In addition to Kirstein, some of the other chapter contributors are Alan Dershowitz, Frankfurter Professor of Law, Harvard Law School and Aziz Huq, former law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and lecturer in law at the University of Chicago Law School. Susan N. Herman, president of the American Civil Liberties Union endorsed the work: “For the past eight years, the fog of 9/11 has been as dense as the proverbial fog of war….This superlative collection of scholarly and personal reflections should help to clear the air, so that we can truly begin the process of assessing the damage we have done and reconstructing our laws.” Stuart Gottlieb, Director of Policy Studies, Yale University MacMillan Center also endorsed the book: “This volume brings…issues to life, and illuminates the importance of the stakes involved.  This thoughtful set of essays can only serve to help us better address these daunting challenges more effectively.”

I praise the editor Matt Morgan, a Bronze Star decorated veteran from  the Afghan war, for publishing my chapter in the same volume as Mr Dershowitz. In my chapter, I am quite harsh of Mr Dershowitz’s vilification campaign against Norman Finkelstein and amazingly he contributes a chapter on the issue of deterrence v. prevention in dealing with so-called “terrorists” or are they anti-imperial, anti-Zionist freedom fighters? In any event I had often wondered whether Mr Dershowitz would publicly attempt to prevent my publication or take his marbles and go home and not write his chapter. I am sure he is aware of my blogging during the  Finkelstein persecution for controversial ideas inquisition which disgraced DePaul University and the academic profession with such an unseemly persecution of a person’s scholarship.

One of Mr Dershowitz’s friends is an Israeli professor, convicted of libel in another case, whom I have tangled with due to his unprofessional, cowardly and despicable uncivil charges against American professors whom he disagrees with. The authors of this book were well aware of the entire volume as we were given proofs of the entire work. While Mr Dershowitz appealed unsuccessfully to the Terminator, California Republican Governor  Arnold Schwarzenegger, to censor Dr Finkelstein’s, Beyond Chutzpah which was published by the University of California Press. such action was not replicated in my case. Of course, he might not know who I am but I imagine he does and at least was intriqued by the chapter’s title.  He may have read it and read about himself prominently displayed as an antagonist and enemy of academic freedom. Perhaps he realized that a public display of censorious angst would have been indefensible but I will stop speculating and merely confess to a delicious irony to be included in the same anthology as the Frankfurter Professor of Law. Perhaps Mr Dershowitz should acquaint himself more fully with his endowed provenance. I quote Justice Felix Frankfurter’s academic-freedom affirmation opinion in the landmark Sweezy v New Hampshire (1957) case. Unfortunately the person who benefits from all the lavish splendours of a Harvard-endowed chair is the antithesis of academic freedom, fairness and frankly basic decency.

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