The Fight for Liberty

The campus PC police and the culture of fear in academia.

[This article is reprinted from the National Association of Scholars.]

Jamie Glazov, editor of Frontpage Magazine, has recently published a loving tribute to his father, Yuri Glazov (1929-1998). Glazov tells how his father sacrificed his career and good name as an academic (he was a scholar at the Soviet Academy of Sciences and a professor at Moscow State University) to challenge the corruption and oppression of the Soviet Union. For denouncing Soviet human rights abuses, Yuri Glazov was persecuted by the KGB, blacklisted from employment, and nearly sent to Siberian labor camp.

Miraculously he was able to escape the Soviet Union and move his family to the United States and then to Canada, where he taught Russian studies until his death of cancer. He never gave up the fight for freedom in Russia. Today, Dalhousie University, where Glazov taught for twenty years, honors his memory by granting an award in his name:

the Professor Yuri Glazov Memorial Award will be given annually to a student who shows an outstanding capacity to combine civic duty and charitable service with a love for the humanities.

As one who has lived in and visited Russia many times—albeit after the fall of Communism—I can attest to the dark Soviet cloud that still haunts this beautiful, broken country. Yuri Glazov’s courage to stand up to injustice even though it meant endangering his career, his family, and his life, was a response to what he knew to be true—that human life had dignity, and that freedom was worth fighting for. Liberal education in all times and in all places should foster such beliefs.

Today even in the land of the free and the home of the brave, a culture of fear exists in academia for those who dissent from politically correct orthodoxy. We don’t have the KGB to contend with, but the campus PC police can often be just as menacing. We draw attention to Glazov’s life in hopes that our friends on campus will draw boldness from his story and will have the courage to stand up for the pursuit of truth and freedom, even in the face of persecution.