Sunday, January 11, 2009

13th General Meeting of the National Association of Scholars

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) held its 13th general meeting at the Washington Marriott this weekend. I just returned. Steve Balch, who founded NAS in 1987, did an outstanding job in organizing the conference and attracting speakers, who included Ward Connerly, Victor Davis Hanson, Herb London, Greg Lukianoff, Anne Neal, Abigail Thernstrom and Congressman Thomas Petri. The conference had many high points, to include Ward Connerly's and Victor Davis Hanson's two talks each (all of which were phenomenal). For me, the most poignant discussion was that of Greg Lukianoff, director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Greg outline a litany of abuses involving speech codes since 2007. It is depressing that today's colleges and universities continue to suppress speech.

Also excellent was the debate between Peter Wood of NAS and Cary Nelson of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which represents the left-wing viewpoint. Wood got the better of Nelson, but Nelson is to be complimented for his integrity in participating in the debate and the entire conference. I was glad to see that the AAUP was interested enough to send a speaker.

Steve Balch is retiring this year, and he deserves considerable praise for founding and making the NAS a vibrant reality.

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