Sweden Moves To Protect Academic Freedom After Professor Quits Covid Research Due To Harassment

We have been discussing erosion of free speech and academic freedom protections at colleges and universities around the United States. Most faculty have been conspicuously silent as their colleagues are attacked, suspended, or even fired for taking opposing views on systemic racism, police brutality, or movements like Black Lives Matter. In Sweden, the response has been quite different after Professor Jonas Ludvigsson, announced that he would stop all further research on Covid-19 after a campaign of abuse and harassment following his study on the low threat that the virus poses to children and teachers. The country is ramping up protections for academics to combat such cancelling campaigns.

Ludvigsson researches and teaches clinical epidemiology at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. His research is consistent with studies that have long found a low risk to students and teachers.  This research was highlighted during the Trump Administration in a call for the resumption of classes but largely ignored by the media. The argument for reopening schools, particularly for young children, was portrayed as political and “not following the science.”  Commercial rans that calls to returning to the classroom was tantamount to “murder.” However, the science has been overwhelmingly supportive of such reopening.  Indeed, Catholic and other private schools in many states never closed without surges in the virus.

Ludvigsson looked at children from age 1 to 16 during the first wave of COVID-19 and found that only 15 children went to the ICU, for a rate of 0.77 per 100,000. Moreover, in the 1-16 age group, there was only a slight increase from the four-month period before the pandemic to the four-month period following the period.

Such studies contradict the media narrative and the position of teacher unions, including many which continue to oppose a return to the classroom despite the science. Accordingly, Ludvigsson was attacked and hounded out of further research.

The response of the country however has been different from the response in the United States. Various academic leaders and groups are pushing for legislation designed to protect academic freedom. They are citing a Swedish government study in 2018 found “21 out of 26 universities said that there is a risk that researchers will be exposed to harassment, threats and violence.”

The response in the United States is strikingly different. We have been discussing efforts to fire professors who voice dissenting views on various issues including an effort to oust a leading economist from the University of Chicago as well as a leading linguistics professor at Harvard and a literature professor at Penn. Sites like Lawyers, Guns, and Money feature writers like Colorado Law Professor Paul Campus who call for the firing of those with opposing views (including myself).  Such campaigns have targeted teachers and students who contest the evidence of systemic racism in the use of lethal force by police or offer other opposing views in current debates over the pandemic, reparations, electoral fraud, or other issues.

Faculty have largely stayed silent as campaigns target these professors and teachers. While some may relish such cleansing of schools of opposing voices, many are likely intimidated by such campaigns and do not want to be the next targeted by such groups. We have often defended the free speech rights of faculty on the left who have made hateful comments about whites, males, and conservatives. Yet, there is an eerie silence when conservatives are targeted for their own views. Sweden has shown how this is a global issue but that the response outside of the United States has been markedly different.

85 thoughts on “Sweden Moves To Protect Academic Freedom After Professor Quits Covid Research Due To Harassment”

  1. Sweden one the most advanced countries in the world was a leader in ditching socialism about 20 years ago. They banned public welfare leaving it to the churches. After a rising problem with rape by immigrants from the middle east they are cleaning up their immigration program instead of supporting victimizers of women like the socialist democrats in the USA . the humorous part is when asked to name socialist countries that work the usa left wingers routinely put Sweden at the top of the list along with a number of others who are NOT socialist. What they are is best described as market capitalist with a conscious social conscience ….. to list four traits the Democrats in the USA do not have .

    Constitutional Centrist

    1. Sweden has the highest tax rate in the world, around 60%! Most of taxes goes to educational, healthcare, and social security.

  2. New studies show this assumption as false. I have had personal experience with a child with COVID. My nephew son, who is 12, contracted COVID from a home school teacher. He got so sick he couldn’t stop throwing up. He was taken to the emergency room, had to be isolated of course and given IV for dehydration. The rest oh his family then came down with COVID and two had to also go to the emergency room.

    The reason children seem to have a lower rate of infection than adults is because there are more adults, they aren’t going to work every day, they aren’t out in society partying, shopping, etc. They also are more likely to be infectious but not have symptoms than adults.

    From a Harvard study: But more recent studies raise concerns that children could be capable of spreading the infection.

    Though the recent studies varied in their methods, their findings were similar: infected children had as much, or more, coronavirus in their upper respiratory tracts as infected adults.

    The amount of virus found in children — their viral load — was not correlated with the severity of their symptoms. In other words, more virus did not mean more severe symptoms.

    1. The reason children seem to have a lower rate of infection than adults is because there are more adults, they aren’t going to work every day, they aren’t out in society partying, shopping, etc. They also are more likely to be infectious but not have symptoms than adults.

      Get back to us when you know what the word ‘rate’ means.

      The ratio of COVID deaths to other deaths since March of 2020 is over 0.1 for all ages over 45. It is 0.01 for those under 25. This is not a mortal threat to the young and few have severe bouts of it.

      1. Yes, children are unlikely to die from COVID but they can spread it to adults. As a kid I got mumps, chickenpox, measles and as a result I have a hearing loss. I also have nerve damage from shingles. I knew kids that got polio. This virus can attack the brain and other organs. We do not know the long term effects.on children, even if they are asymmetric. I believe children can go back to school if with proper safety protocols like in certain Asian countries. But to send kids back to school like before COVID I believe is a recipe for disaster. Also, it would be easy to test teachers and children with the cheap self test antigen test which gives results in 15 minutes.

              1. “About 5% of all live births are to women over the age of 38.”

                So, very roughly, around 1.8 million

    2. My God, the slew of BS you emitted there was astonishing. We use data to make these decisions, not stories.

  3. The Major Teachers Unions profess on a constant basis to follow the science. Most of their member have Bachelor of Education Degrees in one or more disciplines, Social Science, Math and Science, Health Science just to name a few. Yet these supposed educated individuals have limited understanding of what science is. Science is defined as the observation, identification, experimental investigation, theoretical explanation of phenomena, dealing with a body of facts or truths, systematically arranged displaying operation of general laws of the particular field of science. The unions and their members cast aside Scientists in the Medical field, statisticians and other fields of science, but profess they have superior knowledge of the Educational Sciences. Charlatans, who are pertinacious and unyielding refusing to actually follow the science of the current pandemic calamity to the bitter end.

    1. Good post. Why in the world are we following this scientist?

      Meanwhile, Fauci has been one of the most inconsistent individuals on the coronavirus of the past year. Vaccines and masks aside, Fauci flip-flopped on schools, as outlined by independent journalist Jordan Schactel, demanding schools be closed then open based on local infections then primarily online then back in-person if community infection rates are low then closed in-person. Then he claimed he always said schools should be open.

      On protests last summer, such as the militant Black Lives Matter protests excused and encouraged by leftist reporters and politicians, the nation’s preeminent COVID authority told House lawmakers, “I’m not in a position to determine what the government can do in a forceful way,” then demanded church choirs shut their mouths

      “Choirs should refrain from singing,” Fauci said. “When you sing and you project your voice, the aerosols of the virus come out.”

      Fauci has been critical of governors who rebuke his demands while propping up leftist governors who obeyed them, much to their expense.

      “We know that when you do it properly, you bring down those cases. We have done it. We have done it in New York,” Fauci told PBS in July, touting Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the next six months before legacy media finally picked up on the governor’s nursing home scandal, the severity of which Cuomo covered up.

      But the numbers don’t lie. New York is home to the highest death rate in the country.

      1. NYC had the 1st large outbreak, and before we had knowledge or equipment..It was also a super high density urban population. Of cousre the death rate was high.

        1. NYC had the 1st large outbreak, and before we had knowledge or equipment..It was also a super high density urban population.

          What it lacked, that you’ve failed to acknowledge, is the basic commonsense that you don’t order Covid-positive elderly patients to be admitted into nursing homes. The infrastructure that was made available to isolate Covid-positive patients was not fully utilized. Defending the NY state management of this “pandemic” is not something you should be proud of.

          1. I am not defending everything NY did, and mistakes which were willful should be so judged. Clearly you are not allowing for the fact that NYC was our 1st major outbreak – brought on by arrivals from Europe – and we had neither knowledge based on experience or equipment to deal with it, especially in the largest urban environment in the country.

    1. The Democrats are definitely egging it on AND WITH OUR TAX MONEY! Joe’s establishment buddies will be in the gulag with the rest of us in ten years if they don’t stop this corruption, but do they see it?

      1. Diogenes, you are correct, but Democrats don’t generally look at history. When they do the history they read is specifically written to enhance the idea that America is bad and racist, white people are supremacists, and color counts more than character. There is more to the left’s fraudulent history, but suffice it to say that if they actually read accurate history they would start worrying about their own necks.

        Maybe anonymous knows that and that is why he hides under total anonymity.

  4. The Swedes are a disciplined and highly-intelligent nation, and while they venture too much into silly, sweet notions, they do learn from their mistakes.

    The American left is not Sweden. The American left is a blatant fraud of liberalism. The American left is a violent and vindictive tribe, driven by a queer mix of self-loathing and third-world bigotry.

    Globalization and immigration are out of control and poisoning America’s liberal heritage. I wish the Swede’s more luck than we’re having here.

  5. Why can’t the federal government require a “non-cancel culture” policy for all schools that accept federal funding?

    Kind of like Title IX for faculty.

  6. Good.

    If the angry children (students and, professors, and administration) who run American universities are mature enough to run their institutions, then let the government (another incompetent) step in.

    Universities are a public asset and most of them get taxpayer money (either grants, subsidies, or through student loans).

    Let them conform to the society that feeds them.

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