In his essay Academic Virtue, ( Laphams Quarterly Fall 2008) Stanley Fish proposes a regimen "to make the educational experience everything in general and nothing in particular." His main concern is with ideology entering the academy and feels it is doing the job it is paid to do if "neither the university as a collective nor the faculty as individuals... advocate personal, political, moral or any other kind of views except academic views. Isn't the university primarily a place for the unfettered expression of ideas? The answer is no."
We can sense here a sincere defense of pedagogy, but based on a romantic and nebulous notion of academic virtue exemplified by being "conscientious in the pursuit of truth". This is well and good in the rarefied atmosphere of theory but a university is also a community and his prescribed ban on "engaging your students in discussions designed to produce action" is at once condescending and telling. It reinforces the notion that students are simple receptacles, both naively susceptible and without their own ideology. If this is true it is the fault of education and a demand for change, not a reason for perpetuation of the same "ideal". Seen in another way, discussions designed to NOT produce action are another subtle form of reinforcing and reproducing the status quo. I believe most students at the university level can smell such a "design" a mile away and can are capable of choosing to act or not.
It may sound like the height of rationality to restrict the university to a narrow task, "to produce and disseminate (through teaching and publication) academic knowledge and to train those who will take up that task in the future", but it is asking us to take at face value the notion that "academic knowledge" is a standardized, normative, apolitical body agreed upon universally. This is patently false. Claiming a total lack of bias in ones choices ( "I can assign whatever readings I judge to be relevent to the course's topic. Those are pedagological choices") is to engage in the self-deceptive idea that "relevant" is not in itself a term loaded with ideological implication.
Tell me your politics and teach me what you want. Invite challenge and let learning happen. The world outside of academia is filled with hucksters claiming to be non-ideological and apolitical. A student should be prepared to deal with them.