My Father, My Hero

June 13, 2008

Since joining FIRE, I have rarely mentioned my relationship to FIRE co-founder Alan Charles Kors, wanting to be judged by both my colleagues and readers on my own merits. With Father’s Day around the corner, however, I have decided to shed my usual reserve to say a few words about this great man who has inspired me to devote my life to the cause of freedom.

Last week, he was honored with a Bradley Prize both for his scholarship in European history and for his work on behalf of free speech and freedom of conscience on university campusesa cause on behalf of which he has selflessly and tirelessly worked for the last two decades. It is truly inspiring to see what a difference one person can make to a cause. His workparticularly in founding FIRE and guiding it through its early years, but also working behind the scenes in countless caseshas changed the nature of the debate about rights on campus. Where university administrations used to censor students brazenly and without fear of rebuke, these censors are now on the run, trying to hide what they are doing from a public that increasingly demands accountability for these abuses. While FIRE’s goal is obviously to eliminate this censorship altogether, there is no question that the climate on campus is a different one than it was when Alan Charles Kors first brought this problem to the public’s attention.

I attended the ceremony for the Bradley Prizes last week, and I was thrilled to see my father greeted with a hero’s welcome. He has always been a hero to me, and I was touched to see that he is a hero to others as well.

Happy Father’s Day to my father and to all the other dads out there.