Monday, April 03, 2006

Leftist Academia Whine-A-Thon

Who else would be eager to provide a platform for a major whining about attacks on liberal academia and its indoctrination of University students than Al Guardian 'Silence in Class' . Gary Younge downplays the ultra-leftist positions held by many American university professors. A better sympathetic ear to plead their case cannot be found. For example, Younge never mentions the rebuttals to the recent "Israel controls the world" paper by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer. For him, it is an example of 'McCarthyism.'

Among the unfairly attacked professors, Paul Gilroy, formerly at Yale:

As chair of African American studies in Yale, Paul Gilroy had a similar experience recently after he spoke at a university-sponsored teach-in on the Iraq war. "I think the morality of cluster bombs, of uranium-tipped bombs, [of] daisy cutters are shaped by an imperial double standard that values American lives more," he said. "[The war seems motivated by] a desire to enact revenge for the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon ... [It's important] to speculate about the relation between this war and the geopolitical interests of Israel."
"I thought I was being extremely mealy-mouthed, but I was accused of advocating conspiracy theories," says Gilroy, who is now the Anthony Giddens professor of Social Theory at the London School of Economics.
[Yeah, let him stay in Londonistan. Social theorist? Whatever.]

Peter McLaren:

Shortly after the $100 offer was made, Jones mounted a website, uclaprofs.com, which compiled the Dirty 30 - a hit list of those he considered the most egregious, leftwing offenders. Top of the list was Peter McLaren, a professor at the UCLA's graduate school of education. Jones branded McLaren a "monster". "Everything that flows from Peter McLaren's mouth and pen is deeply, inextricably radical," wrote Jones. "In keeping with the left's identity politics he has been a friend to the gay community."

McLaren was shocked. "I was away when the story broke and when I came back there were 87 messages waiting for me. I was surprised a list like that could be created in these times. I thought, 'Wow, somebody's out there reading my work fairly carefully.'" The main impact, he says, was to try to insulate those close to him from the fallout. "I had to take down lots of things from my website - family pictures and contacts with other people. I didn't want other people to pay the price."



He finally gets around to David Horowitz as the troublemaker. On the bright side, some good website press for CampusWatch, JihadWatch,ProfessorsWatch and MediaWatch, although I wonder if Robert Spencer would agree with the statement that Horowitz is 'involved' with JihadWatch.

And on the other side of the trenches has been the rightwing firebrand David Horowitz. Horowitz, who had Jones on his payroll but fired him after the taping controversy, was raised by communist parents and was himself a marxist as a teenager. He is involved with Campus Watch, Jihad Watch, Professors Watch and Media Watch; he was also connected to discoverthenetworks.org, which targeted Gilroy. A few years ago he founded a group, Students for Academic Freedom, which boasts chapters promoting his agenda on more than 150 campuses. The movement monitors slights or insults that students say they have suffered and provides an online complaint form. Students are advised to write down "the date, class and name of the professor", get witnesses, "accumulate a list of incidents or quotes", and lodge a complaint. Over the past three years Horowitz has led the call for an academic bill of rights in several states. The bills would allow students to opt out of any part of a course they felt was "personally offensive" and force American universities to adopt quotas for conservative professors as well as monitor the political inclinations of their staff.


He then summarizes Horowitz's The Professors - "The book is a sloppy series of character assassinations, relying more heavily on insinuation, inference, suggestion and association than it does on fact." Gee, don't hide your bias.

But later on, he admits there is a leftwing problem on campuses:

Nobody denies that bad leftwing lecturers exist. As Russell Jacoby argued in The Nation, "Higher education in America is a vast enterprise boasting roughly a million professors. A certain portion of these teachers are incompetents and frauds; some are rabid patriots and fundamentalists - and some are ham-fisted leftists. All should be upbraided if they violate scholarly or teaching norms. At the same time, a certain portion of the 15 million students they teach are fanatics and crusaders." It is not their work as professors Horowitz does not like; it is the ideologies they espouse, whether in or outside the classroom.


At least all the bitching about the left extremism that has dominated our campuses is bringing the problem out into the open for the public to inspect and judge.

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