Smeared by gay-rights activists

Laycock, whom I know only slightly but whose work I have taught for decades, is on the merits a supporter of same-sex marriage. So am I. What he refuses to do is subordinate his views on every issue to the attainment of that single goal. In this he is correct, and professors who behave otherwise are betraying the norms of the scholar’s craft. Certainly the academy includes many whose opinions move with the prevailing winds. They deserve the opprobrium they receive. If the wind is master of your thoughts, your mind will drift off course.

Happily, Laycock has gained support from across the spectrum, including several professors and commentators who disagree with him on the constitutional boundaries of religious freedom. It would be nice to imagine that practitioners of this modern McCarthyism will slink away in shame. Probably they won’t. They have too much in common with the McCarthyites of the 1950s who sent my great-uncle to prison. For those who prefer a world in which nobody holds unfashionable views, intimidation will always be preferable to argument.