"Academic freedom" sounds like special pleading. Democracy among other things is the ongoing struggle for freedom of expression - a freedom that extends to all members of society regardless of their occupation. That freedom is conditional. It carries with it responsibilities, one of which is to respect and protect the freedom of others. The moral justification of the academy is not the guardianship of its own "academic freedom", but the pursuit of freedom and equality as common goods. Perhaps academics need to get out more.
Jon Nixon, Kendal.