In all the reccent comment by or about Bertell Ollman, the vowed Marxist professor who wants to head the government department at the University of Maryland, almost nothing has been said about the two meanings of academic freedom -- in one to which he appeals and the one to which any genuine university must adhere.

A popular but fallacious meaning of academic freedom is that all ideas (including differing versions of verifiable scientific facts) are of equal merit and should compete freely. Genuine academic freedom -- the freedom to teach and learn -- should not be confused with a fatuous tolerance that refuses to distinguish authentic scientific inquiry and empirically established facts from closed ideological systems that imprision the mind and shut out new truth.

By his proud admission, Ollman has already found the Truth. His Truth happens to be the morally and politically bankrupt ideology of Marxism, which has been discredited by reason, logic and experience. For him, hard facts that "contradict" his Truth are not facts but rather "bourgeois" notions that must be ignored, distorted or wished away.

Marxism claims to be not only a science but the science. More ominously it claims to be the religion -- a total world view that explains the whole nature and destiny of man. In its idolatrous pretension, it turns the Western moral tradition upside down. Our tradition is not a closed system but is ever open to experience and revelation.

It has been well said that appointing Ollman to head the department of government would be like appointing the president of the Flat Earth Society to head the Department of Geography. It would subvert academic freedom properly understood.