I was surfing the blogosphere the other day and came across an eye-catching sentence on a blog called “Folkbum’s Rambles and Rants,” which describes itself as being “A Small Squeaky Cog in the Vast Leftwing Conspiracy.” Actually it was two sentences that caught my eye and they went like this: “Do we also have to start rounding up the college professors and putting them in camps? David Horowitz is this close to being that explicit.”
In the course of my campaign for academic freedom on college campuses, I’ve grown used to malicious, mendacious and unprincipled attacks from leftists in general and Democrats in particular, people who generally like to preen themselves as “liberals” but haven’t had a tolerant impulse in years.
For proposing an Academic Bill of Rights that would defend “intellectual diversity” and codify students’ academic freedoms (while still supporting the academic freedom of professors) I have been called a Maoist, a Stalinist, a McCarthyite, an Orwellian, a thought-controller, a witch-hunter and a fascist. Members of a socialist organization at the University of Hawaii actually held up signs saying “No academic freedom for fascists.”) All these attacks originate with a left that can’t put together a coherent thought before launching into a witch-hunt of its opponents (cherchez la raciste, la sexiste, l’homophobe.)
If students are being graded politically and forced to parrot leftwing clichés to satisfy their professors, the left’s first defense is to deny the reality. There’s no evidence, except Horowitz’s word. He made it up. Large memory bases of the Internet are already stocked, for example, with the Brock-inspired lie that I made up the case of a final exam in a criminology course, which required Colorado students to either make the case for gay marriage or that the U.S. war in Iraq was a criminal action. On the other hand, if I or some legislator sponsoring my Bill puts out a call for student testimonies of professorial abuses to establish our claims, the left jumps into the op-ed pages of the principal metropolitan newspaper in the area (always wide open to them) to cry “witch-hunt!” All across the country we’ve been attacked by irate professors claiming we’re turning students into informers! I don’t these people decrying the Enron employees who came forward to describe the abuses of their superiors as informers.
But Folkbum’s suggestion that I am out to put professors into camps certainly raises the bar a bit. This is the first time I believe that my modest proposal to hold academics to their own academic freedom guidelines while extending them to students has been called “Nazi.” Where could Folkbum have come up with this idea?
As it happens, the link from my name leads to a site created by John Podesta, Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff, and George Soros’ current point man at the Center for American Progress. Podesta’s site, called Think Progress is one of many that Podesta has launched from his 501©3 cum Political Action Committee. The link from my name on Folkbum takes the reader to a page on the Podesta site which is part of its regular feature “Radical Right-wing Agenda.”
You might think about that little piece of information for a moment. An Academic Bill of Rights, whose principles are drawn entirely from the academic freedom principles articulated by John Dewey and Arthur O. Lovejoy for the American Association of University Professors, is characterized by Podesta and his hirelings as a “Radical Right-wing Agenda.” How far we have slid in the intervening years.