It was Dr. Robert Stadler who had once corrected a student: “Free scientific inquiry? The first adjective is redundant.”
This is from p. 178 of my paperback version of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. When I read it recently, I thought of Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes for Health, plotting to shut up Jay Bhattacharya, Martin Kulldorf, and Sunetra Gupta after they published the Great Barrington Declaration. Here’s a link to the emails. I also thought of Fauci’s “a lot of what you’re seeing as attacks on me quite frankly are attacks on science” line in a 2021 interview. When you criticize a scientist, you might be attacking science but what Fauci didn’t seem even to countenance is that you might actually be criticizing his thinking and wanting him to give more than sound bites to justify his conclusions.
More generally, we are seeing in academia a strong attack on intellectual inquiry. Various people are afraid that they they’ll say the wrong thing and lose even tenured positions. James Sweet, the head of the American Historical Association, apologizes for some thoughtful comments on the 1619 Project, for example.