Nine of the 16 selections in Professor Jones' anthology are distinguished expositions of the concept of freedom of inquiry as not forth by diverse persons and institutions from 1605 (Francis Bacon on "The Advancement of Learning") to 1915 (The University of Wisconsin's message on a bronze tablet.) But the remaining seven articles--also vigorous statements of this crucial freedom--cover only the last three decades.
This chronological bunching is highly significant. It, of itself, suggests two historical developments: First, that the fears and suspicions which followed the two World Wars have offered the most intense and sustained challenges to intellectual freedom that the nation has suffered. Second, that educators have become increasingly articulate on this subject.
Jones introduction deals mainly with recent attempts in this country (rather than in Germany or in Russia) of a majority to retain the unpopular utterances of a minority. The anthologist, in a well reasoned statement, rejects "arbitrary classifications of citizenship" according to membership in parties or groups Communist, Republican, atheist, or what-have-you. One must judge "men rather than platforms," Jones says, and "Ideas considered pragmatically (rather than) ideologies."
Jones' most important contribution to the argument for intellectual freedom is a long-needed clarification of the "confusion between the verb 'to teach' and the verb 'to indoctrinate,'" a confusion which made worse recent Massachusetts anti-Communist legislation.
Jones points out: "Teaching is not indoctrination. To analyze a theory is not to accept it, or to say that it is right, or to turn the teacher into a master and the students into intellectual slaves."