Horowitz in Pennsylvania

by Henry on November 23, 2006

According to Scott Jaschik at _Inside Higher Ed_, David Horowitz’s ‘Bill of Rights’ movement has just suffered a “stinging defeat”:http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/11/22/tabor in Pennsylvania. Some of the juicier highlights below:

Horowitz said that he was furious about the “breathtaking audacity of this theft of the report by the Democrats and the unions,” and that a “cabal” of faculty leaders had convinced “weak-spined Republicans” (who controlled the committee) to go along with the “theft.” … In the end, though, the panel on Tuesday stripped away what he had been citing as points of victory. The final report kept the language saying that it couldn’t find evidence of problems with students’ rights. … because the final vote on the report was unanimous — on a committee controlled by Republicans — the committee made it more difficult for Horowitz to blame his problems on liberals. … In getting the Pennsylvania House of Representative to create a panel to study these issues, Horowitz won his major legislative victory last year, so the report’s outcome has been highly anticipated. Last week, he said he viewed Pennsylvania as a model for what he hoped to accomplish elsewhere and that he would be working to create similar panels in other states next year. … Asked how he could claim victory when the legislative panel had worked so hard to identify student victims, and failed, Horowitz offered more stories of students who were being hurt. He said that he had spoken to a dance student who was upset about her paper’s grade and that he had encouraged her to file a grievance. She didn’t want to. Horowitz acknowledged that there was no political issue in the paper, but said her reluctance to go through the grievance machinery showed the problems that students face. … Horowitz, asked why he couldn’t document more of the cases of students being hurt — the basis of his movement — said: “Why do I have to run around the country finding these kids?”

{ 35 comments }

1

abb1 11.23.06 at 5:19 pm

Hey, maybe he could help this guy?

2

Ginger Yellow 11.23.06 at 6:52 pm

“Why do I have to run around the country finding these kids?”

That’s what we’ve been asking for years, David.

3

Hiram Hover 11.23.06 at 8:34 pm

Why do I have to run around the country finding these kids?

Nice try, David–more like, why do I have to sit at home making these kids up?

One of the more embarrassing moments for Horowitz–at least until he got utterly shafted in the final report–came when he testified to the PA committee back in January. Asked about two of the stories of classroom bias that he liked to cite, Horowitz had to admit that he couldn’t substantiate either one, whimpering “I can’t investigate every story.”

4

bi 11.23.06 at 10:57 pm

Hiram Hover, you don’t understand. Everyone has the constitutional freedom to make things up from thin air. Do you hate freedom?

5

Jay C 11.23.06 at 11:00 pm

More importantly, this latest piece of news does raise the vital question of just WHY, in the name of all that’s whatever, does ANYONE pay any attention whatsoever to David Horowitz, or give his brain-dead “crusades” against “campus bias” the time of f— day ?

The man is a joke and a disgrace: why does anyone even bother?

6

blatherskite 11.24.06 at 2:31 am

I, for one, am glad people bother. It seems that some of these rightwingers never give up. You think you’ve stopped them and they try again, with a slightly different approach or new lingo or better PR. (Intelligent design, anyone?)

I say to those who are doing it: keep pointing out how discredited Horowitz is, repeating old examples and finding new ones, and drive a stake through the heart of his foolishness. Then, when it reanimates, re-stake it.

For those who believe there are better targets, well there probably are. Go after them too.

Let ten thousand debunkers bloom

7

sharon 11.24.06 at 3:05 am

jay c, because people in high places have been taking notice of him. That has not been a joke, even if it has been a disgrace. The political tide has turned – this report is evidence enough of that. Give it a year at most and we’ll all be saying ‘David Who?’ He’s a fool. But in the last couple of years he’s been a dangerous fool.

8

Alex 11.24.06 at 5:20 am

Horowitz – never was a man better named..

9

dave heasman 11.24.06 at 8:39 am

Geoffrey Chaucer, having been elected to Parliament, is spending most of his 4/- per day on bokes.

This :-

” The Doctours: The C and I Moost Dangerous Scholastic Thinkers in Europe
by Archbishop Thomas Arundel”

is one he bought recently

http://houseoffame.blogspot.com/

10

neil 11.24.06 at 9:24 am

Can’t someone else do it?

11

Fitz 11.26.06 at 4:35 pm

I have certainly had my share of biased professors, however I expect such bias in any individual mind. What of greater concern than what our academics say to our students; is what they say to one another.

I don’t even consider academia to be worthy of the title. Its more like a political patronage machine, a apparatchik.

12

bi 11.27.06 at 1:10 am

Judging from Fitz’s fact-free rantage, I’m guessing that Fitz’s professors are biased towards fact, and that’s wrong.

13

Fitz 11.27.06 at 12:20 pm

I would think I would need a longer post to be considered “ranting”. As far as facts go- well, is someone suggesting that our universities are bastions of right wing thought?

I’m afraid I have been to college and graduate school. One can see for themselves the phenomena so many accept as mainstream “fact”.

14

Kevin 11.27.06 at 1:20 pm

What of greater concern than what our academics say to our students; is what they say to one another.
Its more like a political patronage machine, a apparatchik.

fitz, if this is representative of your ability to communicate in English – after attending both college and gradutate school – the political bias of your professors should be the least of your concerns.

15

Henry 11.27.06 at 1:27 pm

I didn’t think that they made trolls like fitz any more …

That said, as Kevin notes, the professoriat clearly owes you a collective apology – we haven’t done our job very well.

16

bi 11.27.06 at 1:30 pm

Fitz:

When you make a claim, the onus is on you to provide the evidence to support your claim.

17

Fitz 11.27.06 at 3:58 pm

The dangerous thing about political correctness is not what is said, it’s what’s not said. By this I mean the courses in history, religion, philosophy, military affairs, and such, that are never taught or taught poorly. The social science studies that never take place, the books that are never written. It’s a bit hard to quantify what has not come into being.

One can start at the opposite tact. This past Sundays New York Times included a article on the phenomena of fat studies. I consider the entire gamut of women’s, black, ethnic, studies to be a politicized sphere of meager intellectual value. It’s chief reason for existence is to act as a political patronage system of the left. This goes in turn to all the literature, social science, history, & legal off-shoots of that realm. In this understanding all the gender journals, women’s studies departments and so fourth act as keepers of the current orthodoxy. Indeed rationale’s of such long standing (entire) departments seem never to stray from their “corrective” function.
Contrary opinion is thwarted under the weight of reputation, careerism, and peer pressure.

My family law department was occupied by three lesbian polyamorysts (this representing the entire department) I had a libertarian professor tell me he obtained twice as many responses for his applications for an adjunct position when he removed a single article he had done for a conservative publication. I have been told to remove gender specific language from term papers. I was shut down (and up) in a feminist coarse on the Victorian England for brining up the ratio of male to female deaths on the titanic.

They call them disciplines for a reason. One need only look (and this would be the better way to prove “bias” in my view) at the number of journal and scholarly articles published on certain subjects. You must be “relevant”, you see. It’s almost odd to be discussing it with such an air of vehement denial. My candid conversations with professors and graduate students always seemed to reveal a “ya its bad” response.

As far as solutions: I don’t subscribe to the Horowitz approach. Its to academia’s own conscious (if you subscribe to such notions) and sense of intellectual integrity to make the corrections. If you find yourself having to search far and wide to find someone to argue the conservative side in a debate (or bring in an off-campus speaker) or have trouble finding academic advisers for certain campus undergraduate clubs & organizations. Well its up to the academy itself. Like most problems it can only be solved through self-policing, that requires honesty, a capacity for self criticism, as well as candor and a open mind.

P.S. If all dynamics are power dynamics, than education IS indoctrination.

18

Fitz 11.27.06 at 7:47 pm

I would further add (addressing the point of the ‘Pipeline”) that young conservative minds have a hard time finding mentors in the modern university. Mentoring is extremely important, both for its initial inspirational quality as well as follow-through. The importance of recommendations and the ability to get published would also be a strong factor.

19

Maynard Handley 11.27.06 at 8:23 pm

“It’s a bit hard to quantify what has not come into being.’

But it is, apparently, very easy to claim that it exists, that it is awful, and that it is significant.

Let me give you an example. The government should be paying me millions of dollars to raise my genius children. What, you say, you don’t have any children, let alone geniuses. Well, “it’s a bit hard to quantify what has not come into being”, but I assure you, I *strenuously* assure you, that they would be geniuses, well worth millions of dollars of government subsidy.

Now as for black, women’s etc studies. WTF do you care what happens in those course if you did not take them? Aren’t conservatives all about live and let live?
If you consider them “to be a politicized sphere of meager intellectual value” why did you take a feminist course on Victorian England?

If you have genuine complaints about your education, give us specific details, not vague stories in which you are (no surprise) the hero.
For example, so what if your family law professors are lesbians or polyamorous. The point is, give us specific details in which you felt they did a poor job of teaching the course they contracted to teach (as opposed to, perhaps, the course you took because you didn’t know what you were doing). And, give us proof that this poor teaching was a consequence of their being lesbian polyamorists. I am pretty damn sure you can find in the accounting or chemistry or statistics departments of your university boring, poorly-rated courses taught by hetero white males; but I assume you are not going to claim to us that these courses were boring BECAUSE the teachers were hetero white males.

20

Fitz 11.27.06 at 8:35 pm

Maynard

My point is not that the courses are uninteresting but rather that they are vehicles for maintaining leftist scholarship in particular areas, and act as citadels for keeping any dissenting views from coming to the fore.
Well, to be fair… (& I do try and be) some of the work is indeed interesting. However, that same interest could be maintained and explored further as a emphasis in another more traditional department, (ie) History, Sociology, Anthropology, Literature ect. I see no reason to have created entire departments for women, blacks, queers except in an effort at what is called a “corrective” to what are viewed systemic social problems. (Racism, sexism, homophobia)

These fields (among others) act as keepers of orthodoxy. With little published (or can get published) with contrarian opinion. The level of proof I am expected to produce seems no further than your local “women’s” studies class. I would be rather happy myself with a Kingdom like male studies or orthodox studies or traditionalist studies. From this perch one could dominate the discipline. (as they have done)

21

bi 11.27.06 at 11:51 pm

To repeat what Maynard said, with emphasis:

“If you have genuine complaints about your education, give us specific details, not vague stories in which you are (no surprise) the hero. For example, so what if your family law professors are lesbians or polyamorous. The point is, give us specific details in which you felt they did a poor job of teaching the course they contracted to teach (as opposed to, perhaps, the course you took because you didn’t know what you were doing). And, give us >b>proof that this poor teaching was a consequence of their being lesbian polyamorists.”

Yes, Fitz, so far you’ve shown nothing solid except vague personal anecdotes, just-so stories, and more unsubstantiated claims.

But wait a minute…

“P.S. If all dynamics are power dynamics, than education IS indoctrination.”

Wow! I’m so impressed! Who needs any facts about actual professors teaching actual students in actual colleges, when he can simply whip out this sentence? Fitz hates facts, and he’s proud of it!

22

StJoe 11.28.06 at 12:37 am

I am a bit confused by Fitz stance about women’s, african-american, and queer studies. Are they bastions of leftism, or are they simply “correctives” to be abandoned once equality is achieved?

Maybe they are bastions of leftism, but they contain important critiques of the liberal tradition that are simply not available anywhere else. What other departments are as well-suited to criticize a constitutional tradition that was consistent with the countenancing of slavery, segregation, and institutional sexism under its rubric of equality?

These departments aren’t just interest group “correctives” — they are sources of scholarship that rejects the liberal tradition as misconceived and wrong to its core. The reason traditional departments cannot fill this critical role is they are usually the very institutions being critiqued.

It seems odd to criticize these departments as leftist — they are sources of thought that seep their way into the American left. Economics departments create scholarship that is delivered and received intact to the right and the center-left. But I don’t see that as a criticism, either. There’s no neutral, objective, pure and glowing academic discipline that can absorb the insights of these critical studies, although many disciplines deceptively cloak themselves in objectivity and neutrality. It’s simply wrong to think of traditional disciplines as neutral, and gender or african-american studies as somehow biased. All scholarship will have some political valence because … well, it exists in our unavoidably political world.

23

Maynard Handley 11.28.06 at 12:38 am

Fitz, consider someone, for example, like Ivan van Sertima.
Is he insane, or is he a genius?

I personally find many of his claims extremely unlikely. BUT the fact is that he also points out some very interesting things; things that strike me as quite plausible and thought provoking.
For example, his stuff about Africans influencing meso-American culture strikes me as pretty unlikely. But his claims about African heads on Carthaginian coins or in Egyptian artwork strike me as undeniable. And surely the field of history is richer for having someone like him pointing out some very definite holes in history as it was written in 1950? Likewise, are we not all better off for someone like Howard Zinn telling us the history not only of white cowboys but also of hispanic cowboys, not only of male politicians of the 1890s but also of female garment workers?

It strikes me that the appropriate stance to take on this sort of work is not to rant about how he is furthering some sort of racist agenda or something, but to look at the work for what it is. I’d be far more impressed with a conservative minded historian taking on van Sertima and his evidence as a matter of attempting to get at the truth, than hearing one more rant about how awful it is that anyone ever try, god forbid, to show that Africans attained respectable levels of civilization at earlier times.

Sure some of what these people publish is garbage. Some of what the English department publishes is also garbage. Ditto the B-School. Even some of what the Chem and Physics departments publish, while probably factually correct, really isn’t filling any particular need and will be filed away never to be read again.
But that’s how the system works. We allow people, who appear to be smart, to think and write about what interests them, and the occasional gem justifies the dreck.

You could, if you were serious, quantify this in some fashion, however poor, and show us that the African-American studies department produce 1/10th as much “worthwhile” information as the English dept which produces 1/10th as much “worthwhile” as the Chem dept, and we could then start to discuss the validity of your metric and your findings.
(Along with discovering that the football team produces precisely 0 times as much information as any dept and therefore, according to your lights, should be canned).

But, given the way you’ve approached the problem so far, heavy on anecdote (your personal experience) and light on data, I see this as unlikely to be a direction you’ll pursue.

24

djw 11.28.06 at 12:50 am

If you read the comments in this thread:
http://lefarkins.blogspot.com/2006/11/berube-talking-dog-interview.html

You’ll see that Fitz is simply cutting and pasting posts, rather than engaging in conversation. Something to think about as you consider whether he’s worth your time to engage.

25

bi 11.28.06 at 1:00 am

djw:

Wow. Just wow.

Well, that means I can now declare this officially: thou, Fitz, art a lamer.

26

josh 11.28.06 at 3:09 am

It was such a quiet thread, too — and then came the troll — and then came the feeding of the troll …
Anyway. I tend to think that(even leaving aside the cutting-and-pasting thing) the best response to Fitz’s comments is no response at all. Still, since others have actually taken the pains to point out the problems with much of what fitz has said, I may as well chime in for completeness’s sake. So, what about this claim that conservative students lack mentors in the modern academy? There seem to be several problems with it. First, it assumes that ideological agreement is necessary to mentorship — which in turn reflects (it seems to me) a classic case of ideological reductionism, whereby students and professors are viewed simply as conservatives or leftists, or at any rate these ideological identities are taken as the most important facts about them. It may be an irrelevant consideration for fitz, but the realities — at least the realities I’ve experienced — belie this picture (though no doubt it does hold some places, for some people). I’m a liberal; as an undergraduate I was mentored by faculty who were to the left of me, and my principle mentor — who was most responsible for me continuing on to pursue an academic career — was a conservative. As a grad student now, I share a mentor with Marxisant radical democrats and Christian conservatives. No one seems bothered by this.
Of course, there are students who look to their mentors to agree with them and confirm them in their own beliefs (indeed, this describes my relationships with other mentors of mine pretty well, to be honest). That’s fine. If youre a conservative student looking to be mentored by a conservative professor, you’ll probably be able to find one. Maybe s/he won’t be in your particular department (as an undergrad, I don’t know that this matters that much). And maybe his or her support won’t carry as much weight in getting jobs, if s/he is regarded as a kook. But there are plenty of well-regarded conservative academics, and at least some of their students seem to succeed well (at least in my own field and in the US; the story is probably different)
As for this non-fitz-made-point:
“Aren’t conservatives all about live and let live?”
Philosophically, at least, I think that’s the liberal position (which not all liberals practice, of course). The conservative approach, at least traditionally, was more to insist on (the imposition, if need be, of) fidelity to tradition and Truth. Which makes the Horowitz campaign in the name of students’ rights and intellectual diversity all the stranger.

27

bi 11.28.06 at 3:52 am

josh:

Me, I think the best response is to point out repeatedly that Fitz’s claims of Academic Oppression are based on nothing but his own butt. As I like to say, the onus is on him to prove his case, and since he’s not done so, there’s no need to even answer to his charges. The burden of proof always lies in the person making the claim: it’s true for Horowitz, and it’s true for Fitz.

28

C.L. Ball 11.28.06 at 2:26 pm

After being asked for ‘facts’, fitz brought up “Fat Studies,” which no one rushed to defend or address, of which that bastion of right-wing orthodoxy The Chronicle of Higher Education wrote: “The field takes its cues from queer studies and disability studies — subjects pursued primarily by activists who feel they have been discriminated against because of their identity.” fitz can be forgiven for thinking that academia works like a political patronage machine if The Chronicle describes identity-based studies as fields dominated by aggrieved activists.

fitz didn’t say the topics shouldn’t be studied — he objected to creating isolated disciplines for them. I agree only to the extent that comparative studies of various identity groups would suffer when scholars are isolated disciplinarily. For example, a scholar of social movements housed in a Latin American Studies dept. has less incentive to compare LA social movements to African or Asian ones if the research is less likely to appear in LA Studies journals, and if that is how tenure and promotion will be judged. But geographical or cultural pigeonholing of this type occurs in traditional departments as well, so this is not a compelling reason to avoid identity-specific departments.

Re maynard’s post, Howard Zinn was in the Political Science dept. at BU, even though he was a historian by training; he did not need a identity-based dept. to write A People’s History…. In short, Zinn’s genius was his decision to avoid elite-centered history and focus on the participation of multiple identity and class groups.

Horowitz’s campaign is exaggerated and one-sided, but that doesn’t mean that bias doesn’t exist. I have colleagues who have no compunction about railing against Bush at the start of class. But no one is downgrading the GOP students.

Let’s not forget what the PA report states: systems to rectify inappropriate bias in academia exist, and most think they function well. There is no need for the ABoR. Political biases in grading and promotion are rare. Reporting systems could be improved by allowing students to report concerns of bias to a neutral party.

29

Fitz 11.28.06 at 3:22 pm

Bi-guy (& others part 1)

“proof that this poor teaching was a consequence of their being lesbian polyamorists.”

I never said they were poor teachers, I said they maintained orthodoxy…

The “proof” of their Lesbian/polyamorist activism/scholarship can be seen in the fruits of their labor.

AMERICAN LAW INSTITUTE PUBLISHES PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW OF FAMILY DISSOLUTION

http://www.ali.org/ali/pr051502.htm

LAW COMMISSION OF CANADA REPORT: BEYOND CONJUGALITY

http://www.cga.ct.gov/2002/rpt/2002-R-0172.htm

Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision For All Our Families and Relationships

http://www.beyondmarriage.org/

They make no secret of it….

The want to De-privilege the Privileged (traditional marriage)
And privilege the de-Privileged (any thing but traditional marriage)

(yes I believe there is a direct causal connection between lesbian/feminist/polymorist law professors saturation of family law dept and universities & Judicial rulings and legal movements as exemplified above.)

30

bi 11.28.06 at 3:40 pm

Fitz s3z, “(yes I believe […])” Aha! If Fitz believes something, then there’s no need to prove it! Nice.

Before going off spouting even more half-baked claims about Academic Oppression, will you have the decency to at least go back and substantiate some of your earlier claims. For example, you say

“young conservative minds have a hard time finding mentors in the modern university”

Wow. What a sweeping generality, stated with such great conviction. But how did you determine it to be true? What methodology did you use? (I imagine Fitz going through the list of professors and saying to each one of them, “Dear Sir, I’m a student in this department and I hate fags. Will you be my mentor please?”) Anyway, care to elaborate on how you arrived at your conclusion?

31

Fitz 11.28.06 at 4:06 pm

But I just answered you r last query?
All three links provide a detailed list of prominent academics.

Its time for your “counter-point” were you say “nope, you three lesbian/polymorist professors don’t represent the mainstream of thought on this subject in our Universities”.

At this point you whip out multiple professional organizations and prominent academics who are against deconstructing the institution of marriage.

32

abb1 11.28.06 at 4:35 pm

There is no entry for “polymorist” or “polymorism” in wikipedia. Therefore this is not a word.

33

Uncle Kvetch 11.28.06 at 4:49 pm

The “proof” of their Lesbian/polyamorist activism/scholarship can be seen in the fruits of their labor.
AMERICAN LAW INSTITUTE PUBLISHES PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW OF FAMILY DISSOLUTION

Clicking the link, one finds this:

“With this innovative and groundbreaking new volume, the Institute completes more than a decade of work on the legal consequences of family dissolution, including those involving domestic partners. These Principles cover such vital issues as the allocation of custodial and decisionmaking responsibilities for children, child support, distribution of marital property, compensatory payments to former spouses, and the legal effect of agreements between the parties.”

Can anyone find the slightest hint of evidence of “Lesbian/polyamorist activism/scholarship” in this?

Me neither.

Can anyone find evidence on the linked page that said publication represents “the mainstream of thought on this subject in our Universities”?

Me neither.

Keep trying, fitz. We need the entertainment.

34

Fitz 11.28.06 at 8:40 pm

Uncle & Critics

Apparently you’re not familiar with the American Law Institute. It is the most influential & premier professional organization for family law in the United States. The proposals in PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW OF FAMILY DISSOLUTION included (famously) three distinct proposals: each of which brings the law further away from its traditional foundations.
One includes polygamist/polyandrous & “polyamoris”t family formations. The others recommend collapsing the distinction between cohabitation and marriage law.

http://www.ali.org/

Here is their web site.

I understand the “keep trying” is some type of snipe that says I have not “proved” my point.

Nonetheless I feel undeterred. It’s evident that the contemporary Academy is influenced by specific trends popular on the left. The connection between the make up of my Law Schools family law department and current decisions in the Massachusetts & New Jersey Supreme Courts as well as the (influential) professional organizations and activists I provide links to above satisfy my criteria.

The difficult thing about the charge “prove it”- is the question – “to who’s satisfaction?”

35

bi 11.29.06 at 12:22 am

“young conservative minds have a hard time finding mentors in the modern university”

Fitz, here’s the kind of proof that’ll do the job: all you need to do is to show cases of actual conservative students having actual trouble finding mentors in an actual department, and contrast them to the number of actual students who don’t have this trouble.

Instead, you keep harping on your 3 lesbian professors. Which means your methodology is effectively as follows:
*See 3 lesbian professors.
*Perform a thought experiment — yes, a thought experiment — where you imagine yourself asking each of them, “Dear Sir/Madam, I’m a student in this department and I hate fags. Will you be my mentor please?”
*There’s also a libertarian professor? Heck, write that off as an experimental error.
*Bingo.

That’s one cool methodology, I say.

Comments on this entry are closed.