I take this from David Leonhardt’s NYTimes op ed piece of, Dec. 14, Opposition to Health Law Is Steeped in Tradition
“The opposition stems from the tension between two competing traditions in the American economy. One is the laissez-faire tradition that celebrates individuality and risk-taking. The other is the progressive tradition that says people have a right to a minimum standard of living — time off from work, education and the like.”
And then this I take from Stanley Fish, also from a NYTimes op ed piece, We’re All Conservatives Now, of December 20. Fish is writing about the left/right opposition among academics, on the one side the conservative David Horowitz and friends, and on the other, the left leaning Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, Ward Churchill, and many others.
Fish says, “Both sides can’t be right, can they? Well, actually, they can.”
And Fish is correct. For isn’t it true that often the opposing points of view, of which both he and Leonhardt are speaking, in Washington and in the University, arise from the failure of the opponents to see that the other side is, as it were, just the other side of the very same coin, just another and valid way of looking at the same thing.
The same thing being in the one case the role of government —is it too big, is it not big enough? In the other case the thing in dispute being the freedom of the professor in Academia —are there limits on his freedom to teach what and how he wants, are there no limits on his freedom?