The New York Times has a disturbing article today about secret funds given to researchers by Big Tobacco with lots of strings attached. The whole article is worth a read, but this little paragraph makes it absolutely clear why tenure and academic freedom are not trivial things:
A tenured scientist at Virginia Commonwealth, who would not be interviewed for attribution because he said he feared retribution against his junior colleagues, called the contract’s restrictions, especially the limitations on publication, “completely unacceptable in the research world.”
I guarantee junior, untenured faculty, even if they’re disgusted, are keeping their mouths shut. This is why tenure is so important. Without it, there’s no way to call out those who can fire you.