(from the National Association of Scholars):
The fossil fuel divestment movement, currently active on more than one thousand college and university campuses, is an attack on freedom of inquiry and responsible social advocacy in American higher education. It emerged from a single campaign at Swarthmore College in fall 2010 and has grown into an international movement orchestrated by Bill McKibben’s activist group 350.org.
The fossil fuel divestment campaign is more than a foolish distraction from environmental conservation. It represents an affront to academic freedom and the purpose of higher education, and an assault on the heritage of American political theory. Advocates of fossil fuel divestment sidestep real debates about energy and environmental policy and scorn discourse as needless delay. The campaign smears opponents and bullies dissenters. It treats colleges and universities primarily as instruments of political activism and only secondarily, or even thirdly or fourthly, as places that exist to cultivate the character of an inquiring mind and to pursue truth.
The fossil fuel divestment campaign also denies the merits of an American-style representative democracy. The central premise of the campaign is that the political system is so indissolubly wedded to the fossil fuel industry that government action on environmental policy is illegitimate. That premise casts anyone who disagrees with divestors as a mercenary of the fossil fuel industry and litters with political landmines the grounds for legitimate debate. It asserts that mob rule by street-marching activists is better than representative democracy, and that the tradition of civic debate is a hopeless waste of time. This report offers a history and analysis of the fossil fuel divestment movement, concentrating on American colleges and universities. We offer a perspective that cuts down to size the inflated images the divestment movement has cast of itself. We also offer the most extensive encyclopedia of college fossil fuel divestment campaigns published to date. CONTINUE READING HERE