OPINIONSrnFree Speech or True Speech?rnby Kenneth R. Craycraft, Jr.rn”Prejudice renders a man’s virtue his habit: and not a series of disconnected acts.rnThrough just prejudice, his duty becomes a part of his nature.”rn—Edmund BurkernThere’s No Such Thingrnas Free Speech . . . and It’s arnGood Thing, Toornby Stanley FishrnNew York: Oxford University Press;rn332pp.,$2S.OOrnFew names are more notorious in therncontemporary academic and culturernwars than that of Stanley Fish. Amongrnconservatives, he is mockingly dismissedrnas the representative of all that is evil inrnthe modern university: a man for whomrntexts mean whatever the reader wantsrnthem to mean and who is hell-bent onrndestroying the canon of Western literaturern—and thus Western civilization itself.rnIn most critical accounts, Fish isrnpresented as either a sophistic buffoon orrna cancer on the academy, and he has recentlyrnbeen portrayed as both in DineshrnKenneth R. Craycraft, ]r., is an assistantrnprofessor of theology at St. Mary’srnUniversity in San Antonio, Texas.rnD’Souza’s Illiberal Education, a bookrnthat sets the context for several of the essaysrnin There’s No Such Thing as FreernSpeech.rnBut conservatives do themselves andrnFish a great disservice by not attendingrnto his real arguments, either to meetrnthem when they are wrong, or, as is probablyrnmore often the case, to learn fromrnthem when they are right. Fish’s challengesrnto some of the sacred tenetsrnof conservative political and culturalrntheory are among the most powerfulrnthat have been made, and they must notrnbe left unchallenged. For instance, hisrndefense of affirmative action and minorityrnset-aside programs in the universityrnis among the most convincing I havernread. For conservatives to meet his challenge,rnthey must come up with newrnarguments, as he effectively disarms thernusual ones by not pretending that affirmativernaction is not a type of discrimination.rnBut Fish is at his best, both philosophicallyrnand rhetorically, when he is attackingrnliberalism. And while his critiquernof conservative thought is strong,rnhis critique of liberalism is devastating.rnThe late Christopher Lasch was sometimesrnreferred to as a conservative’s favoriternleftist. Stanley Fish ought to bernconsidered not just a conservative’s favoriterndeconstructionist (whatever thatrnis), but as one of his most powerful alliesrnin laying to waste the sacred cows of liberalrnpolitical and moral theory.rnIt is first important to understandrnwhat these terms mean. Chapters threernthrough seven of this collection of essaysrnwere written for a series of debates withrnD’Souza on university campuses afterrnthe publication of Illiberal Education arnfew years ago. And while the best essaysrnof Fish’s book come later, the debatesrnwith D’Souza set the proper context andrngive us a sense of how Fish understandsrnhis own cultural criticism. While commonrnopinion would see these debatesrnas Fish’s critique of conservatism, it isrnactually D’Souza as a liberal that Fishrnattacks. Fish at times even soundsrndownright Burkean in his critique ofrnD’Souza and others whom Fish callsrn30/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn