The Academic Bill of Rights: Not Exactly McCarthyism


Mr. Reeves is the author of A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy. His latest book is America's Bishop: The Life and Times of Fulton J. Sheen (Encounter, 2001).

One of the most obvious facts of life is that America's colleges and universities are dominated by the Left. This is easily documented by the examination of campus catalogues, lists of speakers invited to campus, studies on faculty political affiliations, positions taken by faculty governments, and by book lists. Some liberals even admit the bias on campus, arguing that there is a sort of necessary correlation between reason, justice, and leftist political, social, and moral positions.

What is less understood, at least by the general public, is the intolerance that haunts American campuses as the result of the partisanship, especially in the social sciences and humanities. While more research is needed on this topic, examples abound of the persecution of conservative professors and students, the confiscation and destruction of conservative literature, and the harassment of the few conservative speakers invited to campus. It is widely known that in many disciplines, such as history and literature, conservatives are rarely hired or granted tenure.

Why most faculty in the social sciences and humanities are on the Left is a fascinating topic that can't be dealt with here. But it is sufficient to say that liberals virtually own higher education in America. Now preferring to call themselves "progressives" and "moderates," thousands of zealous faculty members see themselves on a mission to liberate the country from ignorance, fanaticism, and oppression. They see conservatives (especially the Christian variety) as the enemies of all that is good. Which means that the Right has no place in academia, at least outside the schools of business and engineering.

Activist David Horowitz, once on the Left and now on the Right, has recently upset the cozy consensus on campus by writing and defending what he calls the "Academic Bill of Rights." It should not be very controversial, for it is an endorsement of the venerable concept of academic freedom in America, for both faculty and students. It is a document that seeks to secure intellectual independence on campus by opposing ideological or religious tests for faculty hiring and promotion, calls for balanced courses and reading lists in the humanities and social sciences, advocates free speech on campus, and seeks the restoration of research free of ideological restrictions. (Have you read, say, the Journal of American History in the last two decades?)

The Academic Bill of Rights might be adopted by the governing board of a college or university or perhaps even by a state legislature, concerned with the quality of public higher education. It is a statement of principles, designed to reopen the university to diversity at its highest level: A diversity of ideas. As Colorado State Senator John Andrews put it recently, "…political pluralism, open debate, and tolerance of all viewpoints aren't the property of any party. They are simply the American way."

Quite naturally, the Left opposes anything which threatens its hegemony. The reaction of late has reached hysterical proportions, with charges of McCarthyism (the most overused and badly understood term in our political lexicon) and Nazism being hurled at Horowitz. It is said that he is trying to create quotas for the employment of Republican faculty members (this from the people who champion quotas and goals on the basis of skin color), that he would infuse science courses with superstition, and that he sanctions "mind police" to strip the faculty of its convictions. Horowitz has issued effective denials. As to quotas, for example, he replies, "I hold that quotas at our universities are never justified for any reason. Discrimination is always wrong, no matter whether it's based on race, religion, or political belief." The Bill of Rights would actually bar campuses from setting out to hire more conservatives. Academic merit would be the sole consideration.

It's about time for governing boards and state legislatures to begin pondering the value of the ideological straightjacket limiting our college and university campuses to a single point of view. Even if the Academic Bill of Rights is only a statement of principle, without any enforcement mechanism, it will have established a mission statement worthy of a free people in a free country.

Read the document for yourself. The preamble reflects a century of statements by the American Association of University Professors--forgotten in recent decades. David Horowitz, it seems to me, is merely reminding us of the values of intellectual freedom. If that seems subversive to the politically correct, the case made by Horowitz is all that much stronger.

Related Links

Jonathan Rees, "The Conservatives' Misguided Plan to Force Balance in Colorado's College Classrooms."

This article was first published by the National Association of Scholars and is reprinted with permission.

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Jonathan Dresner - 10/27/2003

Mr. Thomas,

The Torah is not just a theological text, but an historical record. Would a history of the first millenium of Christianity be peaceful, gentle?

In Frank Herbert's Dune series some of his characters have the ability to access the memories of their ancestors, and he points out that it isn't necessarily going to be a pleasant experience because we are the descendants of the victors, the offspring of the people who did what they had to (and more) in order to survive, thrive, procreate and survive some more. If you go back far enough, nobody has truly clean hands, and no tradition is truly immune to supremacist thinking. The question is: what are we responsible for?

If Rabin's assassin read Maimonides, then he gravely misunderstood him; I don't really understand how anyone could read "Guide of the Perplexed" and take that sort of interpretation. Maimonides is not considered authoritative by modern ultra-Orthodox, who are very suspicious of rationalization and logic, and much more closely tied to textual literalism and faith; in other words, I'm sure that Rabin's murderer was inspired by the original unfiltered text and by a very contemporary ethnic paranoia, rather than by medieval philosphy. Maimonides is much more popular, I think, with Liberal Judaism, where his Aristotelean logic and emphasis on ethical realism have more resonance.

F.H. Thomas - 10/27/2003

Agreed that we are both learning, God grant it continue.

"Name of the Rose": I have read it 5 times, the last 4 after having done the research necessary to understand its many arcane references. It and Davies' "Europe, a History" are the most frequent books in my luggage, although "Brunneleschi's Dome", "The Tain", and Donne's "Complete English Poems" are in there at the moment, also for rereads.

"Your dismissal of Maimonides' "mayhem, racism, and bigotry" ignores at least three important facts. First, he was not making this stuff up himself, but distilling and discussing what was in the texts."

Actually, we may be * close * to agreement on this one. I was referring to the Torah, not M.M. himself. All that "slaying", "putting to the sword", etc. of "men, women and children" etc. is pretty vicious stuff for a religious text, even after you get past the original Moses killing all the firstborn. I agree that Maimonides was to a large extent simply passing this somewhat murderous tradition through.

"Second, Maimonides lived in Islamic Spain, where Jews were not in a position to "eradicate" anyone..."

Agreed, but I get chills about M.M. "casting Jewish traitors into the pit of destruction." I liked Rabin, but I am pretty sure that the young zealot who killed him had considered M.M.'s prescriptions. Sometimes old incitements are very topical.

"Third, can you cite any theologian or philosopher in this period who was a universalist?"

Agreed, but one may consider those who are identified as Aristotelian, such as Erasmus, or for that matter al Jebir, as at least having universalist aspirations. I find no universalism in M.M. To the contrary, his quoted prescriptions suggest the opposite: ie Jewish separation, enforced if needed by murder.

And to mention the "Name of the Rose" again, remember that the entire conflict in this 1327 scenario concerned a secret copy of Aristotle's missing philosophy, "On Comedy", putatively acquired from the Arabs. Certainly Eco's fictional monks were obsessed with what "The Philosopher" had to say, else there would have been no plot.

"If you want a truly challenging and interesting history (this is something I reread), I highly recommend Karen Armstrong's "A History of God"".

Thanks. Got a copy on order.

My "European" characterization:

I was picking up on the Roman concept that Greek culture was THE high European cultural expression, later amplified during the early development of Christianity and monasticism in Ireland, the mideaval philospher-theologians, the renaissance, enlightenment, and on to today.

Thank you again for your comments. At its best, this forum can be as positive and instructive as Socrates dialoging with the Sophists in the marketplace.

Jonathan Dresner - 10/27/2003

Mr. Thomas,

By the way, in case there was any doubt, this is the kind of exchange that I prefer. We're not in agreement, nor will we resolve anything. But we're both learning, I think, and we are clearly both engaged in the issues, and anyone else reading this would learn something as well.

I didn't get anything like that with Stephen Thomas. In all the exchanges I've had with him, only one has come close. I don't agree with you any more than I do with him (on average, I think) but you make it possible to have an exchange across disagreement in a way that he does not.

Jonathan Dresner - 10/27/2003

Mr. Thomas,

What do you mean by "European"? My father says that "he who defines the terms wins the argument." (Then there's Humpty Dumpty's line....) Aristotle was a Macedon-born, Athenian-educated Greek whose perspective included a great deal more of Africa and Persia than the wastelands of Europe. What do you mean by "European"? If you mean "rational", then I'm afraid it's well after Aristotle's influence has waned in Europe that rationality begins to win the day. If you mean "more influential in Europe than elsewhere" you still have to deal with the fact that Aristotle is transmitted to Europe in the medieval era through the Islamic and Jewish philosophers who kept the tradition alive for almost a millenium after the Christian Emperors of Rome shut down the Academy.

Maimonides was not a political thinker (at least not primarily), nor was he a modern-style supremacist, which is clearly a projection of a modern literalism onto a supremely metaphorical writer. Your fascination with anti-Gentile Jewish writings would be more interesting if it were more balanced with an understanding of the actual history of Jews and Judaism.

At best, we can agree to disagree, but I can't see this argument being any more resolved than that.

F.H. Thomas - 10/26/2003

Thank you for your comments, which are, as always, both interesting and informative.

I regret that your evaluation of Mr. S. Thomas' conceptual underpinnings is essentially antagonistic. May that be reconciled.

Let's talk Aristotle:

Re: "Aristotle was not some egalitarian idealist, either, and he did take certain things on faith (where do you think his first principles came from?) Maimonides is squarely within the Aristotelean tradition in his definition of God as the "unmoved mover" and his logical constructions. His acceptance of the Torah on faith is no different from the Islamic Aristoteleans' acceptance of the Quran or the Christian Aristoteleans acceptance of the Gospels."

Good, but somewhat lacking.

Aristotle is "European" because he did not posit a supreme being (or beings) as first principles, but rather a construct of his own logic, however developed.

Agreed that his idealism was less egalitarian. However, it was more idealist. I do not think it shares much with Moises ben Maimon, except that it would posit a republic of equity, within classes, and Maimon a state of subjugation of non-Jews to Jews.

May we repair this breach, Dear Jonathan, in the name of peace?

Jonathan Dresner - 10/26/2003

Mr. Thomas,

(Yes, I've read Name of the Rose. It's a good book, much better than average. But it's not one of the books I want to reread when I have time.)

(Stephen Thomas' essay was mostly a rehash of things he's hashed on several other boards, contains some fascinating internal tensions, but is as unresolved as Mr. Thomas' psyche, and the theological challenge at the end would only have been meaningful if it was the start, not the end, of his participation. Saying what you think and leaving the discussion is not an exchange, really. I'm glad you like his writing and his thinking, but we're going to disagree on that.)

Your dismissal of Maimonides' "mayhem, racism, and bigotry" ignores at least three important facts. First, he was not making this stuff up himself, but distilling and discussing what was in the texts. Second, Maimonides lived in Islamic Spain, where Jews were not in a position to "eradicate" anyone, but where he had a pretty good idea of the difficulties faced by Jews under the rule of Christians, which did start as a Jewish heresy. Third, can you cite any theologian or philosopher in this period who was a universalist? No, they were all engaged in the shoring up of their own beliefs against the arguments (and sometimes physical attacks) of the other traditions.

Your definition of Aristoteleanism is too narrow, at least in conventional usage. Aristotle was not some egalitarian idealist, either, and he did take certain things on faith (where do you think his first principles came from?) Maimonides is squarely within the Aristotelean tradition in his definition of God as the "unmoved mover" and his logical constructions. His acceptance of the Torah on faith is no different from the Islamic Aristoteleans' acceptance of the Quran or the Christian Aristoteleans acceptance of the Gospels.

If you want a truly challenging and interesting history (this is something I reread), I highly recommend Karen Armstrong's "A History of God" in which she traces the theological development of the monotheistic traditions, particularly the interactions between them.

F.H. Thomas - 10/26/2003

Nice to hear from you, and thanks again for your "constitution" piece.

We may continue to disagree regarding Mr. S. Thomas' essay IN THIS THREAD. I thought his comments immenently sincere and edifying, following earlier dicing with Messrs. Luker and Greenland, in which stronger opinions were exchanged.

I liked both his brief essay and your own, and regret that you cannot bring yourself to grant him that much.

Re: your other points on heritage.

First, I was speaking ironically ("blissfully bigoted"), as I am sure you now understand.

Second, I am not sure that Maimonides falls into the category of Aristotelian philosopher. Not only does he not meet the basics of positing first principles and deducing from there, but he takes much of the Torah on faith, which is anathema regarding any religious book, to an Aristotelian.

I also believe that too much of the mayhem, racism, and bigotry of the Torah found their way into his codification of it. Examples: (Maimonides, "Mishnah Torah", English ed, 1990):

"Accordingly, if we see an idolater being swept away or drowning in the river, we should not help him. If we see that his life is in danger, we should not save him." p 187

This is incitement of third degree murder, don't you agree?

"It is a mitzvah, however, to eradicate Jewish traitors, minnim, and apikorsim, and to cause them to descend to the pit of destruction, since they cause difficulty to the Jews and sway the people away from God, as did Jesus of Nazareth and his students, and Tzadok, Baithos, and their students. May the name of the wicked rot." p 184

This passage sounds more like the Taliban than Aristotle.

Aristotelian universalism is unalterably opposed to ethnic and religious bigotry and violence such as this. I would further note that Maimonides' prescriptions would make him a felon in every modern society including Israel. In the case of the US, he could be liable for hate speech as well. Did I misunderstand your point on this? I think I must have.

Third, re: modern lit: I take your point on Sholom Aleichem, although for me, regardless of ethnicity, Prof. Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose" is numero uno for the twentieth century, as much for its wonderful treatise on mideaval history as for its literary high art.

Thanks for your comments.

Jonathan Dresner - 10/26/2003

Mr. Thomas,

I'm not really sure what you are refering to. I did have one exchange with Stephen Thomas, on the nature of B-school education, in which he flatly denied that I had made any points worth considering. And there was that last post by him, challenging Dr. Luker and myself to examine our scholarship and our relationship with God (having little else to use, rhetorically, he tried the faith trump); we both responded, but Stephen Thomas never provided a reply, which suggests to me that the initial challenge was empty of real content.

I don't consider this a particularly satisfying exchange. And I don't have a particularly strong bigotry for Ashkenazi Jewry: I grew up with Ashkenazi tunes for prayer, and Ashkenazi folktales, and for modern literature you can't beat Sholom Aleichem; but for poetry, including great liturgy, you have to go to the Sephardi, and for philosophy the Islamic-influenced Aristotelean Maimonides still hits the mark more closely than the "purer" Chasidic tradition.

I don't believe I have any points of "blissful bigotry" outside of my deep and abiding faith in the superiority of History over every other social science, and my constantly renewed awe at the perfection of my son. Any other beliefs of superiority which I hold are troubled and complex, and I do wish you would refrain from comments that suggest otherwise.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/25/2003

I see that you are correct -- that S. Thomas referred to Dr. Dresner as "ignorant" on another thread -- I'm not sure that that excuses him one bit. Where is the "respect" you keep demanding of people with whom you don't agree? You shouldn't confuse identity with bigotry. I haven't seen any bigotry on one side of this exchange -- the other has gloried in it, romanticized it. Dismiss what I say as "PC" if you wish. The shorthand letters are no substitute for critical analysis.

F.H. Thomas - 10/25/2003

I appreciate your comments about Prof Dresner, who is never more eloquent than when he discourses on his Askenazi heritage, about which he is surely as blissfully bigoted as I am about my Scotch-Irish one.

Regarding Mr. S. Thomas, I believe you are citing another thread. I find no fault in what he says here, or how he says it.

I suggest again that you eschew the whole PC ad hominum thing. Good sir, kindly allow the better angels of your nature to predominate. I assure you that you will have a greater audience if you do. We are here for discourse, and to learn from academic disputation. That only takes place in an atmoshere of respect.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/24/2003

Professor Thomas,
This is wacky, as usual. Go back and read S. Thomas's post that you call "temperate." It accuses Dr. Dresner of being "ignorant" and unable to "cut it" in discussion with S. Thomas. You call that "temperate"? You gladly baptize unwilling infidels. Dresner's reply is, indeed, temperate. He is a remarkably patient and clear-minded man.

F.H. Thomas - 10/24/2003

I appreciate the relatively tempered tone of your comments.

Regarding "benediction", I don't "bless" them all, just the ones that deserve it. The tenor of this exchange was getting a little heated until Mr. S. Thomas' tempered comment and Dr. Dresner's tempered response. Heat, if the Antibellum US Congress shows us anything, is less conducive to learning than respectful dialog.

Regarding God, we may disagree as to what 20th-century truck has been driven through the tiny religion loophole in the Constitution, but we cannot argue about what is in the Constitution itself - there is too little of it.

I would also remind you that that same Supreme Court which has served the interests of liberals so well in this century, also served the interests of slaveholders in the last.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/23/2003

Professor Thomas, I appreciate your felt need to pronounce a benediction on each of the discussions on this board, but your reference to my comments here is truly loopy. You may think that the Constitution authorizes us to elect a god, I don't.

F.H. Thomas - 10/22/2003

I very much appreciate the comments in the above thread by Mr. Stephan Thomas, and the response by Prof. Jonathan Dresner.

These comments are notable as coming straight from the heart on both parts, (though well-seasoned by the brain). Perhaps I misunderstand, but I sense real engagement here, on a number of interesting and provocative levels.

Respectfully, to Mr. Luker, I note that our Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

The only thing which is forbidden is making a "law concerning the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" on the part of Congress.

Every other act regarding religion, or its free exercise, on the part of every other branch of government, is by extension permitted to the said branches, the states, and to individuals.

Josh Greenland - 10/19/2003

Yes, and this country had William Dudley Pelley's Silver Shirts.

Paul Harvey - 10/18/2003

Mr. Reeves has no response -- in a private email to me, he says my view of the academic world is "entirely wrong," and says nothing about Owens and Andrews's violation of the Academic Bill of Rights. I replied to him that I could not be "entirely" wrong, since I had never personally been in a history department (that's 5 of them) that fit his description, and since my own current department has a major over-representation of professed Christians in it, not to mention the fact that I am right about Andrews's attempt to stifle Ashrawi. Indeed, if we followed the Bill of Rights and if the ABOR is tied to state funding (as Mr. HOrowitz so desires), we would be more or less required to exclude Christians from consideration if/when we have any more job searches (although after a 1/3rd cut in state funding over the last two years, I don't imagine any job hunts will be happening for, oh, a decade or so).

INcidentally, Mr. Horowitz's meeting with our governor and 24 state legislators over the summer was supposed to be a secret, until the Bill of Rights could be sprung as a surprise in the legislative session--but the press caught whiff of it and reported on it. So much for transparency and accountability, not to mention the state's "sunshine" law of oppenness in government meetings.

Also, it bears meantioning that Horowitz also managed to score a meeting with Elizabeth Hoffmann, president of the CU system (and, by the way, a Republican and an economist of sterling academic reputation -- so much for the blacklist theory). I can hardly think of a single other instance in which an out-of-state polemicist like HOrowitz got the President's extremely limited time. And, according to a spokesman for PResident Hoffmann, the meeting went "very well."

As for HOrowitz's speaking fee, he would be REALLY angry if he knew how much Giuliani, Dole, Lynn and Dick Cheney, and any number of other people were paid. Their fees make Cornel West's look like chump change. So, Mr. Horowitz, why are you aiming so low as to compare yourself with West and Davis -- you should be crying and whining because you didn't get 6 figures for your speech, as Dole did for his less-than-memorable 20 minutes worth of reminiscences.

Our governor will soon be attending (if news reports are correct) Horowitz's "Restoration Weekend." I look forward to Mr. HOrowitz castigating Governor Owens there for the governor's egregious violations of Rule # 3 of the Academic Bill of Rights, with Mr. Horowitz's usual vituperation and rhetorical harping. Oh, and let's not forget the Governor's attempts to ramrod through his crony into the presidency of Colorado State University, perhaps Mr. Horowitz could ask about that as well.

Jonathan Dresner - 10/17/2003

Mr. Greenland,

Yes, some of Mr. Thomas' posts are trolls. But that doesn't mean that his views and his means of expressing them should either be dismissed outright or go unchallenged. Nor does it mean that a perfectly reasonable discussion can't go on around them.

Frankly, though I'm not sure what else there is to say on the subject of the article that hasn't already been said, either here or in response to Reeves' (and others) earlier articles on the subject. If you have thoughts on the matter, by all means express them.

Jesse Lamovsky - 10/17/2003

William Manchester, in The Glory and the Dream, mentions a 1930s-era Mexican fascist group known as the "gold-shirts", led by one General Nicholas Rodriguez.

Josh Greenland - 10/17/2003

Jonathan, I thought Ralph was referring to cops when he mentioned blue shirts. But in regard to colored shirted movements, the fascists of the 1930s and 40s seemed to have appropriated every common color you could think of except white and red for clothing of one or another of their national movements. Two 1930s fascist movements wore blue shirts that I know of, in Ireland (under Eoin O'Duffy) and Portugal.

Josh Greenland - 10/17/2003

"Yes, Stephen Thomas is annoying, insulting, even offensive. But if you can draw him out, he's also self-contradictory, shallow and bitter."

If that's the case, then why bother to draw him out??

"Nothing annoys him more than a substantive and effective rebuttal,..."

Since that he's self-contradictory and shallow, why bother to annoy him?

"In other words, being polite and vigorous in our responses is precisely what he doesn't want,..."

Being ignored is what he doesn't want. He doesn't want to shut everyone up who disagrees with him because he likes to disrupt worthwhile discussions and to have everyone wrangling with him over some witless, provocative remark that he's made. He's a typical Internet troll.

"Nothing annoys him more than ... a liberal who isn't intimidated by his attempts to be a bully."

I'm not intimidated, I'm bored. I thought we had the beginnings of a good discussion about so-called "Academic Bill of Rights," but like in the Arnold Victory forum, ST has gotten everyone squabbling about his mindgames.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/16/2003

Dr. Dresner, That is very well said. The fortunate accident that we live in a democracy probably shouldn't condition our understanding of God. We elect Hardings and Buchanans to be our president; we do not elect the ancient of days or the alpha and the omega to be lord of the universe. To think otherwise is surely one of theological liberalism's degenerate tendencies.

Jonathan Dresner - 10/16/2003

(I'm really only doing this out of respect for the use of the plural "Messrs.")

Mr. Thomas,

It's funny. For almost a century now, American Liberal Jews have been moving towards a view of God as above gender, beyond father or mother, truly transcendant. This doesn't change the fact that God is loving or that God is just. It doesn't diminish God (nor does it diminish males or fathers, or women for that matter). [Note: this concept of God beyond human category actually goes back a very long way in Judaism, at least to Maimonides and perhaps beyond; what's really happening is a clarification of the liturgy.] This really is a step forward, I think.

There is a movement within American Judaism, Reconstructionism, which seeks to reinvigorate the community by "reconstructing" a modern practice based on the fundamental, "timeless" values of Torah, Talmud and long practice. Reconstructionism has been instrumental in bringing an egalitarian practice to the fore, including the revised liturgical language.

But one of the early decisions of the founder of Reconstructionism, Mordechai Kaplan, was that the concept of God as Lord or King was antithetical to a modern democratic society, and so the Reconstructionist liturgy has also eliminated (most of) those references. This bothers me. It seems to me, actually, that in a democratic society the metaphor of God as King is even more appropriate: God is an all-powerful figure, not limited by politics or answering to anyone of lesser stature. We are the subjects of God, not citizens in the Republic of God. OK, maybe it's my Conservative upbringing (there's almost nothing harder than learning a new set of prayers, is there?), but the metaphor speaks to me.

But it's only a metaphor. If the metaphor of God as Father speaks to you, fine. If the metaphor of God as Heavenly Hall Monitor gets you through the days and gives you hope, take it. If you need a salvific figure, rather than a judge, God is capable of being seen in that form, too.

Of course, my willingness to believe that there are multiple paths to God and multiple metaphors for our relationship with God may be interpreted as a sort of theological weakness. It is not. It is rooted in far firmer foundations and faith than a God that can only take one form.

Jonathan Dresner - 10/16/2003

No, Mr. Thomas, that's not the list of things you shouldn't say. That's the list of errors in your thinking. I have no problem at all with you saying those things, even if they are shallow misunderstandings.

What I object to is insults, unwarranted slurs on intelligence, character and motives, turning disagreements into referenda on an entire person, placing yourself in the position of the only repository of truth and justice, of venting rage on those who challenge your proclamations without answering their points. You don't treat the people on this board with anything like the respect they deserve. That's what I object to.

So, disagree with me all you want. You're wrong, that's ok. Believe me, I can handle that. But it's ok to stop and think before you post something, "is this the best way to make my point, or am I just going to make someone angry?"

Stephen Thomas - 10/16/2003

"As to Mr. Thomas, the blues is not a singular art form nor is it the end all or be all of American culture or creativity and furthermore what does it have to do with Horowitz's Bill Of Rights?"

I did not suggest that blues is "the end all or be all of American culture or creativity," although it might be pretty close. The history of the blues is about as good a place to start understanding the true and intimate cultural history of America as any place you might want to go. That history contains within it a story about an interracial community that extends back in American history for over 150 years. And, yes, blues is a singular art form... it is the source of all American popular music.

I referred to the current truncated history of the blues as an example.

The strident criticism of Mr. Horowitz has been almost entirely the result of his criticism of the proponents of perpetual black victimhood and the proponents of reparations. The reality of black experience, and especially the reality of black/white contact and relationship is at the very core of this controvery. Mr. Horowitz discusses some issues about the black community that are strictly taboo. Among these issues are the realities of crime in inner city black neighborhoods, and the realities of interracial crime.

Mr. Horowitz is a fiery figure, and intentionally so. He is demanding that those taboos end. He believes, as I do, that ending these prohibitions will benefit blacks and whites. I am skeptical about his ideas about legislation, because I am skeptical about the ability of law to solve problems by fiat.

I do not believe that Mr. Horowitz represents a departure from common sense. I read his website with some frequency, and I think that his attempt to broaden out his stance into a full fledged political platform is pretty weak. There is a tendency in politics to try to broaden a narrow stance into an explanation of how everything in the world works, and I think Mr. Horowitz has fallen into that trap.

Mr. Horowitz, however, presents no threat to the college kids of America. They should hear what he has to say. They will be none the worse for it, and they might be a little smarter as a result.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/16/2003

This white Southern, evangelical Christian man has danced to "Sweet Home, Alabama" and "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" more times than I can count. Sorry you feel your father was defamed by feminism. Mine wasn't.

Stephen Thomas - 10/16/2003

I didn't assume any of the things you suggested.

This discussion began with your indignant insistence that Mr. Horowitz's presence on campus presented some sort of indecent threat.

Mr. Horowitz presents no such threat. I have read his work, and while I have some serious disagreements with him, I don't see his ideas as presenting a threat to anybody. In fact, they are rather sensible. Whether they work as policy is another matter.

The horrible game that men have been playing with one another in response to feminism transcends party. Men have been playing the fool for 30 years, deceiving themselves into believing that they are acting out of some sort of logic, when in fact they are acting out of chivalry. I was a feminist as a young man, until I realized that feminism defamed my good father.

I am quite happy with my life. I came after you because you played the fool's game that men have been playing with one another throughout the feminist era... judging another man's relationship with women from a position of total ignorance. Feminist women have been using that as a whip to destroy men and I am fed up with men taking the bait.

My family is also southern and evangelical. I long ago stopped playing the game of being the guilty white southern man. And my advice in this regard is to listen repeatedly to that great redneck national anthem: "Sweet Home Alabama." And I quote.

In Birminghama they love the governor
We all did what we could do
Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you?

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are blue
Sweet home Alabama
I'm coming home to you

Linnea Goodwin - 10/16/2003

It is time that we all voices to have equal opportunity in the academy but not to the exclusion of common sense. There are right and left wing historians that have agendas and they carry them into the classroom and all of us have been subjected to them. As to Mr. Thomas, the blues is not a singular art form nor is it the end all or be all of American culture or creativity and furthermore what does it have to do with Horowitz's Bill Of Rights? We need to consider a even handed appraoch in the classroom and on the tenure committees. That's what this dialogue should be about. How to teach both sides of the coin so that students and your colleagues are not at war or alienated.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/16/2003

Mr. Thomas,
I have no doubt but that much of what you say here is true. One of the reasons it may ring true with me is that I believe you've said all of it here before. I read it then. If you agree with Dr. Dresner that a mixed-economy probably works to the good of most of us and if you agree with me that a vital faith fulfills deep human need, where is all the anger and bitter hostility coming from? You don't like modern feminism? It's probably here to stay. You don't like people claiming that they are victims? Read Horowitz and yourself.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/16/2003

Mr. Thomas,
Your ad hominem attacks on me are so wide of the mark that I can't imagine who you think you are aiming at: a) I am unemployed (so much for job security); I am a Southerner (so much for my targeting them); I am a Republican (when did you last meet a really far-out left wing Republican?); and I am an evangelical Christian (if that's the halo-effect you attack me for, believe me, righteousness is elsewhere, not resident in me). Your attacks on others are probably an index of unhappiness with yourself. I do recommend that you process your bitterness and hostility somewhere in private. It's not a pretty sight.

Stephen Thomas - 10/16/2003

It's hard for some folks to believe, but there were white folks in the 1950s who lived side by side with blacks because they were poor. I was one of them. Blacks have been my friends, enemies, co-workers, combatants, competitors, lovers, etc. for all my life. So, listen to me carefully, please, when I tell you that nostalgia for the civil rights movement and the determination to perpetuate a civil rights movement is now the problem.

I'll try to illustrate this to you. I tried to watch Scorcese's tribute to the blues, and I couldn't. The reasons will surprise you. Blues is dying as a commercial music form just about everywhere outside of the midwest and small areas of the deep South. The reason is that the kids reject the preaching. You cannot sell blues as a segregated artifact of the civil rights movement. That lecture has been killing the blues as a commercial art for for 30 years.

The reason the left cannot drag itself out of this morass is that it cannot bear to acknowledge the true roots of the blues... cooperative playing between white and black musicians. And there is an even deeper reason. The blues did not originate in the civil rights movement. It had a long history that preceded, and that history is not one that white liberals like to acknowledge. Blues was born in whore houses, gaming houses, shotgun shacks and bars and race records. I rather prefer this truthful history of the blues, but is doesn't fit within the liberal notion of black dignity.

Americans are good people. The purpose of the civil rights movement was to give blacks an even shot. Americans decided to accept this and act on it. Give them credit. Stop searching for an evil, racist America that does not exist. I know this, because I come from the backward redneck stock that the left so loves to hate. Rednecks are wonderful people. Just like all Americans, they won't tolerate injustice.

Black folks are really getting it together. I live in one of the most exciting integrated communities in America, and I like what I see. Black women got the message 20 years ago. If you want to work hard, get an education and play by the rules, there is a good job for you. Black men are getting that message, after a long period of resistance. I am meeting every day black men who are educated, religious, well read and urbane. They always existed, but assimilation is succeeding now on a large scale.

It's going to take a while, but the Democratic Party is going to start losing its black base of support. The hatred of God that dominates the Democratic Party does not sit well within the black community, and sooner later the Democrats will destroy themselves with this. And this is a good thing.

The era of the victim is over, thank God. Why in the hell is it supposed to be a good thing to be king victim?

American society is headed in a very positive direction. What is needed now is indeed civility, and the first step toward that is to stop screaming "racism, sexism and homophobia" at people who don't share your view of the world. Usually, the people who scream the loudest about this are most guilty.

The civil rights era should be commemorated and remembered and documented. But it cannot be rerun endlessly just because you are so fond of the drama, or because you cannot adjust to a new era with a new set of good guys and bad guys.

As a man who believes in God, I have no need to answer this question. But, I challenge you to answer it. What if the emotional need for God the father is an expression of basic human need? What if the failure to satisfy that need condemns people to bitter and unhappy lives? The issue here is learning to tell the difference between what sounds good and what actually works for humans. I challenge you to consider this.

Stephen Thomas - 10/16/2003

Your speech and writing indicts you. Keep blabbing.

You are not concerned about my irrelevance or my incivility.

I drew blood, because I nailed you. The pompous halo you wear has become an atrocity. And, just in case you think you know who you are talking with... think again.

I worked in the civil rights movement and I walk the walk. I have lived most of my adult life in black/Asian/white/Latino integrated communities in Chicago, San Francisco and New York. I am a blues musician and I've been working with black musicians (including legendary musicians whose names would floor you) all my life. I am married to an Asian woman, and I employ a black woman in my band. Your willingness to ascribe horrible motives to other people is nothing more or less than your way of trying to insure your job security.

I nailed you. The left has been experiencing this problem for a long time. Don't think I don't know about it either. I've lived in leftist communities my entire adult life. The weasel game demands a constant expansion of the concept of "victim", whether the purported victimization is racial, sexual or otherwise. For 30 years now, pompous leftist oafs have been using charges of bias for self-serving, stupid purposes.

And you are Exhibit A.

Stephen Thomas - 10/16/2003

Here it is:

1. Feminism is a lie
2. Nobody is a victim of "oppression" in America
3. The left has made its fall guy white, hetero men from the midwest and the south.
4. Marxism is a criminal ideology as experience has proven

It's 1950 all over again. These are the "dirty" words of the PC left.

And, Mr. Dresner isn't really concerned about civility. He just can't cut in in competition with me. I understand that you'd like me to stop pointing out your obvious ignorance.

You'd be better served by making yourself smarter.

Jonathan Dresner - 10/16/2003

Mr. Smart,

While your concern for Dr. Luker's reputation is noted, almost anyone who reads Mr. Thomas' posts will agree that Mr. Thomas has earned just about everything said about him so far. I'm particularly impressed by Dr. Luker's reference to "blueshirts": I didn't think anyone outside of Chinese historians really noted Jiang Jieshi's own fascist-inspired paramilitaries. Unless there's another blueshirt movement I'm not aware of, then I'm really impressed.

Jonathan Dresner - 10/16/2003

Mr. Thomas,

You know, there *are* certain things that decent people don't say, at least not in a civil and productive discussion. And you are an impolite and unpleasant person, and Mr. Greenland in entirely within his rights to suggest that we ignore you.

Wesley Smart - 10/16/2003

I said it above and I'll say it here again. Mr. Luker: Ad hominems reduce your credibility to the zero point and spoil the reputation you build with your otherwise interesting insights elsewhere.

Jonathan Dresner - 10/16/2003

Business does not operate in a vacuum. Why shouldn't Business students be taught about the relationship between the economy and the environment (aside from the obvious canard that "the market will find a solution")? Why shouldn't economists consider the social costs (ultimately borne by the economy in the form of government remediation) of labor market flexibility? Why is profit (or share value, same thing) considered the most important, perhaps the only, output of a corporation? Why don't business schools discourage merger-and-acquisition tactics, after decades of scholarship showing that mergers do not enhance efficiency, rarely develop synergy and actually decrease value for shareholders? Why are businesses run like military institutions?

Are business school students taught about the nature of the industrial working environment before the union movement got started? Do economists study the rapid industrialization that took place in the early years of communist government in both Russia and China, or the benefits of state-sponsored universal education?

No, these departments are narrow-minded, blinkered, more ideological than scholarly. Sure, there are exceptions. My own institution is considering (note: only considering) developing programs in sustainable tourism. But it already has a program in the business and economics of tourism and hospitality: is that the unsustainable kind, and if so, why do we teach it? No, we have to bring in new faculty, and establish a new curriculum, to introduce the concept of environmental and social responsibility to business students.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/16/2003

Mr. Thomas, You want Mr. Greenlund, Dr. Dresner, and me to "shut up" so you can be the pc police. Right? You and Horowitz look good in blue. Or, is it brown?

Stephen Thomas - 10/16/2003

Mr. Greenland isn't really concerned about "pulling the discussion off topic."

Mr. Greenland is a PC cop. As I said in a previous response to him, he reminds me of the prim Catholic girls of my youth. There are, according to him, certain things that decent people don't say.

Mr. Greenland is the problem that Mr. Horowitz describes and seeks to resolve. We don't need the PC cop to circumscribe our thoughts and words. If you don't like what I have to say, don't read it, and let others make up their minds for themselves.

This, in many ways, is precisely what Mr. Horowitz is trying to say.

Jonathan Dresner - 10/16/2003

Mr. Greenland,

Yes, Stephen Thomas is annoying, insulting, even offensive. But if you can draw him out, he's also self-contradictory, shallow and bitter. Nothing annoys him more than a substantive and effective rebuttal, and a liberal who isn't intimidated by his attempts to be a bully. In other words, being polite and vigorous in our responses is precisely what he doesn't want, and eventually he'll either get tired, grow up (the least likely possibility, though he [or someone using the same name] has posted civil and substantive posts on other issues) or do something so stupid that he gets kicked off the website.

It is possible that I'll get tired before he does. We'll see. And Ralph Luker is no pushover, either.

Josh Greenland - 10/16/2003


Jonathan Dresner - 10/15/2003

Mr. Thomas writes "And what makes you think that I subscribe to libertarianism? In point of fact, I think that the American compromise is a pretty good one. Beginning with the New Deal, we've attempted to ameliorate the negative consequences of free market capitalism with a patch work of social welfare programs. I think that this has been pretty successful and I have no interest in seeing that system overturned."

I didn't say that you were a libertarian, but that libertarianism is one form of radical free-market capitalism to which I was refering in my earlier arguments.

And your comments about the "American compromise" are right on the point I was trying to make: that free-market capitalism is too simplistic, radical and harmful a program for real life. Nonetheless, it is the operating ideology of economics departments (which see regulation and social welfare programs as "distortions" in an otherwise perfect market) and in business schools (where taxation and regulation are described as sucking the life out of a society that would be better off run by businesses than by governments or communities).

Maybe you don't see it, but it is there. It was there in Reagan's "government is the problem" rhetoric, it is in the drive for privatization of government services, it is in the dismantling of environmental agreements as "restraint on trade" and in the WTO's attacks on social programs with economic consequences. It's all around us. If I sound paranoid, fine: the problem is real and it is getting larger, not smaller, with time.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/15/2003

Mr. Dresner is correct, except that I think he concedes too much to Mr. Thomas. 19th century liberalism is the ideology, with its profoundly individualistic assumptions. Its political form is liberal democracy, with its inclination to "one person, one vote." Its religious form is evangelical Protestantism, the notion that individual selves, not communities, are the subject of redemption. Its economic form, as Dresner suggests, is laissez faire capitalism, with its assumption that the individual's pursuit of his or her own self interest produces the greatest good for the community.

Wesley Smart - 10/15/2003

Ad hominem attacks are not particularly helpful for anyone on any side of this. You do yourself a disservice, Mr. Luker, and taint yourself with the mud you would criticize Mr. Thomas for slinging. It is best to ignore direct attacks like this as ignorant, which they are.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/15/2003

I see no point in continuing this. What white, male, heterosexual victims are you defending?

Ralph E. Luker - 10/15/2003

How kind of you to put it in simple terms. You might want to check with my fellow historians, Christine Heyrman and Glenda Gilmore, to see whether they believe that your devastating critique of me is on target. I plead guilty to being a self -- if you don't want to be Welcomed To My World ..., I'd recommend that you not go there. The internet is an open highway.

Jonathan Rees - 10/15/2003

Anybody interested in another perspective on how Mr. Horowitz has been treated by the Denver media, might try looking here:


If the link is hard to follow because it's too long, the column is by the editor of the Rocky Mountain News, published in the October 4th issue of the paper. I think this key quotation is very useful to this discussion:

"Horowitz makes the mistake of blaming others for how he's perceived rather than accepting responsibility himself. He is, by his acts, a polarizing force. Yet he acts as if he's somehow Mr. Sweetness and Light, a poor victim, when in fact he is [italics] engaged in a war with liberals."

Jonathan Rees

Stephen Thomas - 10/15/2003

I'll try to state it more clearly, so that even you can understand.

You are not a feminist. You are not particularly concerned about black people. You have little concern about anything except your own glorious, exalted self.

The issues that attract you are merely pretexts for announcing your holiness to the world. And the method that you use to do that, which is to attack other white, hetero men for not sharing your enlightenment, is disgusting.

You are an absurd and dangerous poser, Mr. Luker.

Stephen Thomas - 10/15/2003

Yes, you really should think of something to say.

I'll continue to explain the function of the academic weasel, of which Mr. Luker is as good an example as you can find.

Mr. Luker won his halo by portray other white, hetero men as villians. He liked this role because it enabled him to portray himself as the enlightened one, and when he was young the women loved it.

Attacking other white, hetero men is now Mr. Luker's livelihood. Of course, you'll notice, he always excludes himself. Mr. Luker needs to find new victims of civil rights to continue to justify his own existence. This is the behavior of the weasel. It explains Mr. Luker's fondness for feminism. He is one of the "good" men who did not abuse women.

I am not digressing. I'm discussing motivation. Mr. Luker is a poser. Only by continuing to discover villianous opponents of the poor victims of this world can he continue to wear halo.

And Mr. Luke, why don't you have any shame about the baseless, vicious accusations against other men that seems to be your source of employment?

Stephen Thomas - 10/15/2003

"Radical capitalists, libertarians and their fellow travelers, want to reshape society to be more purely capitalistic, and less constrained by things like environmental and worker protection regulations. That is an ideological position, one that clearly dominates in business and economics schools and into which students are rigorously and thoroughly indoctrinated without any alternatives offered or considered."

Whether business and economics schools do what you say is extremely unlikely. I have degrees in a humanities field and in a technological field. I work in business and economics. Mostly, people simply don't seem to be concerned with indoctrination or politics in these fields. They are simply trying to make money.

You are stretching a bit too much to make a point here. I suspect that you are offering an "equivalency" argument here. In other words, you are justifying the indoctrination in Marxism that is rampant throughout the humanties because it is offset by the purported propaganda of business and economics schools. Pretty nonsensical argument.

Reminds me of the snide remark common among leftists which goes like this.

I say: "I have no ideology."

You say: "That's an ideology."

Let's assume business and economics schools are doing as you say. At least they are teaching theories that are proven to work. The Marxist indoctrination is a lesson in a theory that was a stupendous failure in delivering either the economic goods or human happiness and dignity.

I seriously doubt that business and economic schools are doing as you suggest, but I wouldn't know, since my education is in the humanities and technology. But, I do work in one of the largest publishing companies in the world, and I know our CEO and our execs. It may surprise you to know that they are almost entirely liberal Democrats. This is pretty common.

And what makes you think that I subscribe to libertarianism? In point of fact, I think that the American compromise is a pretty good one. Beginning with the New Deal, we've attempted to ameliorate the negative consequences of free market capitalism with a patch work of social welfare programs. I think that this has been pretty successful and I have no interest in seeing that system overturned. Patch work is the best way for humans to do things. There is a limit to all things, however, and I am pretty convinced that we have reached that limit.

Love that "fellow travellers" bit. A good rhetorical conceit in its attempt to make those who just like the world the way it is seem as if they were ideologues. It's nonsense, but good try.

Jonathan Dresner - 10/15/2003

Mr. Thomas,

Why is Mr. Luker the focus of this attack? He didn't write the article, and he's not the only critic of the article or the "Academic Bill of Rights" on this board.

Why do you insist on making these discussions personal instead of dealing directly with the issues? I have seen you deal with issues in a substantive way, but your offhand snide dismissal of the very intelligent and complex Dr. Luker is a very, very poor way to convince anyone of anything except about your own character.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/15/2003

Professor Thomas, I wish that you had something in you of which you did not have reason to be ashaamed.

Jonathan Dresner - 10/15/2003

Mr. Thomas,

You're correct when you say that Capitalism is not an ideology (though it sure sounds like it when you listen to some of its most ardent practitioners), but Free-Market Capitalism, the idea that markets should be "ideal", i.e. free of legal and social constraints, represents a radical political position. Capitalism doesn't exist in a vacuum, but within political, legal and social frameworks that shape its nature. Radical capitalists, libertarians and their fellow travelers, want to reshape society to be more purely capitalistic, and less constrained by things like environmental and worker protection regulations. That is an ideological position, one that clearly dominates in business and economics schools and into which students are rigorously and thoroughly indoctrinated without any alternatives offered or considered.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/15/2003

I have refused to answer Professor Thomas's e-mail which was of the same quality as this post. He demeans HNN everywhere he touches it and embarrasses himself with everything he writes. What is the point of such vicious slurs?

Stephen Thomas - 10/15/2003

Now I do, too.

Mr. Luker wants to re-run the Civil Rights era of the 1960s eternally. He wore a halo then, and he believes that the incessant re-run allows him eternal rights to the halo.

So, all of reality must be shoe-horned into Mr. Luker's favorite era. This pretty much explains everything the man has to say.

There is a similar phenomenon in music, in that most people are incapable of listening to any music besides that which defined their adolescence. Mr. Luker, likewise, is entranced with political nostalgia. He knew who the good guys and bad guys were in 1965, and the alignment is never allowed to change.

In short, his mind long ago turned to concrete. Brain death seems to have occurred somewhere around 1967.

Now, I understand why Mr. Luker is so much in favor of continuing to expand "civil rights" movements. He doesn't understand anything else, having insisted that reality stand still 40 years ago. This is a common feature of life in leftist communities. Mr. Luker is simply addicted to re-runs. The world is not allowed to change in ways that take the halo off his head.

Stephen Thomas - 10/15/2003

If Mr. Luker's ignorant comments are typical of those who have academic credentials, then I'd rather read those who do not have them.

Mr. Luker is the predictable leftist loony. He even buys into the absurd nonsense that middle class and upper middle class white women have a political grievance. In short, he's a weasel.

Mr. Luker is pretty "snotty" himself.

And, here's what I mean by a "weasel." Mr. Luker is a pretty good example of the man who tries to advance his own career by defaming other men. (That's what support of the insane feminist agenda really amounts to.) Mr. Luker's support of the phony history that is feminism makes me wonder whether he is fit to teach a class of young people.

Mr. Luker is teaching lies, and vicious lies at that. He's teaching that other man (besides his holy self) abused women. This is the transparent and damnable method that the weasel man uses to advance his career in academia. It's why I left. Unlike Mr. Luker, I have some self-respect.

Not Mr. Luker. He plays the game. Disgraceful waste of a human mind. You'd think he'd have some sense of shame.

Stephen Thomas - 10/15/2003

"Free-market capitalism is a political position (a very radical one, I might add) in addition to an economic model (a very unrealistic one, I might add), and by no means the only approach to economics or business available today."

Mr. Dresner is quite simply wrong here.

Capitalism is a system that evolved through thousands of years of human history. It is not an ideological system. To suggest that it is an ideology, like Marxism, is nonsense.

People started trading in human pre-history. That natural inclination to trade is what created capitalism. Capitalism is most definitely not an ideology.

Herodotus - 10/15/2003

Business is most often treated as a professional school. You can suggest that they should hire a Marxist or anyone who professes a desire to see a non-free market capitalist system emerge, but students preparing to work for a company that functions in the free market capitalist system would be loath to waste their time in B-school studying something utterly useless to them.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/15/2003

Mr. Horowitz,
Paul Harvey did not say that you were trying to prevent Hanan Ashrawi from speaking at the University of Colorado. It was your allies in the state, "including Senator Andrews and Governor Owens." Would you make clear to them that you favor her being allowed to speak there?
Whatever your appraisal of your accomplishments, $5000 strikes me as an overly generous fee for your appearance anywhere. As you point out, one of the reasons that you are not well received by faculty members is that you haven't bothered to acquire academic credentials as Professors Davis and West have done. Moreover, the tone of your own post is evidence of why self-respecting people might avoid you. Does "snotty" really elevate the tone of campus debate? Yes, I object to it.
Count yourself fortunate to live in the United States where 200 college communities have no better sense than to guarantee you the same freedom of speech that they do to people who disagree with you. Any "hate speech" directed your way is entirely welcomed by you as grist for your self-serving mill.

David Horowitz - 10/14/2003

Dear Professor Harvey,

I did not see your post on HNN or I would have responded to it. I was not engaged in any effort to stifle Hanan Ashrawi at the University of Colorado; I am pro-choice and don't fit either your caricature of conservatives generally or of me in particular. Your picture of the University of Colorado makes sense only by excluding such ideological departments as Women's Studies and Black Studies, and is hard to square with the absence of conservatives and Republicans on your faculties, and my own experience in speaking at CU (Boulder) three times without ever making contact with a professor. I assure you if my name were Cornel West or Angela Davis or any number of anti-American Marxists, there would be faculty greeting committee for me. I have worked for decades to earn $5,000 a pop as you put it -- about a third of what leftists with half my achievement make when they come to your school. Your resentment of my fee speaks tomes about your objectivity in these matters. I have spoken at more than 200 universities but on only three or four occasions have I been invited by the adminsitration or the faculty and only half a dozen by official student bodies. At Emory the left tried to force the College Republicans to return the money the student government provided because my speech strayed into terrority they had banned. I would consider all these facts (and I could bore you with many more) indications that a blacklist of sorts against conservatives exists.

The little demonstration outside my speech at Metro involved the student body president, the leader of the faculty senate and a regent of your university. 100 members of the faculty itself had demonstrated and attacked me and the academic bill of rights in their demonstration. How do you define a hate campaign? I was not rude to members of the audience. You are drawing on character assassination written by particularly unscrupulous columnist. The person you are referring is a professor who opened remarks by saying that since I had no Phd and wasn't a professor nothing I said had credibility. I referred to this "introduction" as "snotty." Do you have problem with that?

And what precisely do you mean by "baiting people" into attacking me? I actually did not even open my mouth before I was attacked first by Peggy Lowe in the Denver Rocky Mountain News, then by a lead editorial in the Denver Post, then by leaders of the Democratic Party in your state and by five or six columnists in your major papers, all of whom totally misrepresented the Bill of Rights and my positions as the Rocky Mountain News finally admitted. To be identified as the cause of these attacks on me is to add insult to injury.

The conclusion of your letter has no bearing on anything I have said or done. The fact that one student had a decent ride through your university proves nothing. I wonder what you would say if I produced a black person who said they were never discriminated against and used this as evidence that there was no discrimination.

David Horowitz

Ralph E. Luker - 10/14/2003

My friend, Paul Harvey, is at the center of a struggle for the freedom of inquiry and of speech, for a diversity of opinion in Colorado that Reeves claims to defend. According to Reeves,
"As Colorado State Senator John Andrews put it recently, '…political pluralism, open debate, and tolerance of all viewpoints aren't the property of any party. They are simply the American way.'" Harvey cites an example of Senator Andrews commitment to "pluralism, open debate, and tolerance of all viewpoints: "... the so-called defenders of the "Academic Bill of Rights" (including Senator Andrews and Governor Owens) were recently engaged in attempting to coerce and intimidate Colorado College and CU-Boulder into dis-inviting Hanan Ashrawi, who came to speak last year as part of symposia that included a large variety of speakers from all perspectives ...."
Could we get from Tom Reeves a simple response to this contradiction? Or, would he prefer to hold onto his rant?

Gus Moner - 10/13/2003

Why is politicising education evn an issue? It's time the argument moved to the intrusion of various ideologies into laic education, and its implications.

Paul Harvey - 10/13/2003

I forgot to add in my previous response: there is no systematic evidence at all for Reeves's absurd allegations about the intolerance for Christians in social science/humanities departments. Oh, I guess he forgot to include George Marsden, Mark Noll, Martin Malia (at Berkeley, no less! -- and very influential in my own grad. school education), John McGreevy, and a couple of hundred or so people who aren't household names but ordinary academics stationed throughout the country in history/religious studies/political science/English/etc. departments--including lots of grad. school colleagues of mine. My own department, at Horowitz's current bete noire, the University of Colorado, consists of about 1/2 professing Christians. That's higher than usual for American life generally much less then university, I will admit, but I guess HOrowitz forgot to "survey" us when he was coming up with his "statistics."

Woody Wilson - 10/13/2003

Thanks for exposing Reeve's whitewash. Horrorwitz made a splash a couple of years ago with huge ads in student papers denouncing "reparations for slavery" - a position which few, if any, historians have ever spoused. (Maybe the National Review and Commentary refused to publish that installment of his periodic hot air blasts ?)

The academic bill of rights linked to in Reeve's writing here is indeed noncontroversial, but attempting to use pious platitudes to smash that anachronistic strawman, "the Left", is a waste of everyone's time.

Jonathan Dresner - 10/13/2003

The "Academic Bill of Rights" specifically targets the Social Science and Humanities disciplines, including insisting on "balance" and "diversity" in readings and teaching. Why exclude business and natural science from the list?

Evolution is described by its opponents as a political and religious position; no less are cosmological theories of universal origin attacked. Free-market capitalism is a political position (a very radical one, I might add) in addition to an economic model (a very unrealistic one, I might add), and by no means the only approach to economics or business available today.

Economics is no less "unsettled" than other social sciences. And the essence of scientific progress in the natural sciences is the unsettled and uncertain nature of theory and model. Why should students in business or chemistry be subjected to a hegemonic discourse any more than students in "liberal arts"?

And if scholars in those disciplines can be trusted to make decisions for their students, why can't scholars in the social sciences and humanities be trusted to filter some of the bad ideas and sources out? That's their job, isn't it?

The "Academic Bill of Rights" is not a value-neutral thing, as Reeves has repeatedly portrayed it. It protects disciplines dominated and distorted by conservatives while attacking liberal scholars as somehow less honest or fair or intelligent. Until the hypocrisy is removed from the proposals, it isn't worth considering.

Paul Harvey - 10/13/2003

Horowitz's efforts lately have been focused in Colorado, where the so-called defenders of the "Academic Bill of Rights" (including Senator Andrews and Governor Owens) were recently engaged in attempting to coerce and intimidate Colorado College and CU-Boulder into dis-inviting Hanan Ashrawi, who came to speak last year as part of symposia that included a large variety of speakers from all perspectives (including such noted extreme leftists as Robert Kaplan :)) So the real violators of the academic bill of rights have been its proposers and defenders.

Most departments I know of at CU are not "dominated" by any particular viewpoint except mostly for very moderate viewpoints arising from Socratic skepticism. There are certainly many departments "dominated" by conservatives, including at my own university (CU-Colorado Springs). By contrast, there is not one single department "controlled" by "leftists." My own history department is entirely typical: we are mostly hopeless moderates, and more engaged in doing our own history work most of the time than worrying about propagandizing. This seems to me entirely typical.

Horowitz speaks across the country for $5,000 a pop, all the while claiming that conservatives are "blacklisted," and at my own university conservative speakers show up all the time (including our own dear state legislator, who once said he opposed abortion even when a woman was "raped by someone of another race."). I myself am hosting next week the Holocaust historian Christopher Browning. What his politics are I don't know, neither do I care.

Horowitz baits people into arguing with him, and when they do he makes ridiculous cries about being a victim of a "hate campaign," such as he recently alleged at a speech at Metro State in Denver (this in reaction to a small protest held outside his speech -- and when someone challenged his views in the audience, he consistently responded with verbal abuse and insults).

Recently, after a letter to the editor challenging views expressed by a radio talk show host which were similar to Reeves's, I was deluged with hate mail from conservatives at CU (as well as radio listeners throughout the state), all of whom claimed to be the "only" conservative in the entire system. They all claimed to be victimized and unable to express their points of view. I told them my colleagues in the Economics Department expressed their points of view (which tend towards fairly standard conservative economics) all the time, and recent appearances by Robert Dole and Rudolph Giuliani brought no outcries about the "politicization" of the university.

INcidentally, one of my students, a 25 year veteran of the Army, wrote a recent editorial to the local paper explaining how he had perceived no left-wing "bias" or propagandizing at CU, despite HOrowitz's allegations.

Give me a break, I'm getting tired of this rant.