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Feb 18, 2004 2:32 am


The Absurd, the Potentially Good, and the Excellent ...



Tim Lambert finds that John Lott has done a whole puppet show over at Amazon.com and it is"Punch and Judy". Lott's puppets disagree with each other. Casts a different light on the whole art of sock puppetry. Sort of like Cliopatria, but only sort of ...

Those"Presbyterian Peacemakers" at Wooster and"Jewish Troublemakers" at Volokh are at it again, but Bernstein and Randy Barnett need to talk with each other about the privileges of free speech in the classroom and its responsibilities.

Noting their absence from David Horowitz's FollowTheNetwork.Org, a database of the Left, Kieran Healy at Crooked Timber asks"What are we at CT? Chopped Liver?" I was curious about the database, which dumps religious zealots like Osama bin Laden in with secular academics like Michael Walzer, and looked up the historians who made Horowitz's cut. The group includes the usual obvious suspects (Columbia's Eric Foner and Ira Katznelson; NYU's Robin Kelly and Mary Young; and BU's Howard Zinn), the"radically reformed" (CUNY's Ronald Radosh), and the dead (Northwestern's Robert Wiebe). The outliers were Northwestern's Gary (sic) Wills and Alaska's Kenneth O'Reilly. Wills has as deeply textured a conservative sensibility as one might find anywhere and, while O'Reilly may be"on the left," he is hardly one of the"most wanted" lefties among us. As deeply infested and infesting as we are, thousands may search in vain, as Kieran Healy and I did, for our names. The closest I came to immortality was a former student who now teaches at Yale. Thanks be to G_d for former students.
Update: Horowitz took down his Left Wing Hall of Fame, but here's a mirror of it.

Mirror, mirror on the net
Who's as looney as they get?
Yep. Young David Horowitz is also in his database. Thanks to Atrios, Crooked Timber, and the Volokhs who keep me updated on the absurd.

Cliopatria welcomes American University's Allan Lichtman's blog to HNN's roster. Lichtman specializes in quantitative methods and 19th and 20th century American political history. He has published Prejudice and Old Politics: The Presidential Election of 1928; Your Family History; Ecological Inference; and The Keys to the White House. He edits Lexington Books' series, Studies in Modern American History. Lichtman writes a column for the Montgomery Gazette and has given expert testimony in over 60 voting rights and redistricting cases.

Over at Liberty and Power, St. Lawrence's Steve Horwitz praises Tim's"A Pox on Both Houses ..."."... the single best thing I've read yet on the bias in academia question," says Horwitz."All I can say is ‘I wish I'd written this.'" How often have I muttered that over Tim's posts. There, I've said it out loud and I'm glad.

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Jonathan Dresner - 2/17/2004

Well, there's two problems with students as arbiters of truth: one is the percieved authority of educators (bringers of knowledge, learned beyond the understanding of mere students) and victims (and victim rights movements, starting with child and sexual abuse victims, have done great things for previously silenced survivors, but at the cost, it seems of an inability to say "no" to anyone who can claim victimhood) and the other is the vulgar relativism of "balance" which insists that all viewpoints are valid for someone and may be disagreed with but not refuted.

I've seen lots of people who know that the Protocols is a crock, a forgery, pure propoganda. But the problem is that there are still people who say otherwise, people who say that it is "true" even if it is a forgery (and both of those categories are well represented in the Arabic press), and lots of people who believe it to be true but who are smart enough not to say so to people who haven't yet been convinced (which is the position taken by most North American White Power folks, etc.).


Anne Zook - 2/17/2004

Puzzles me that the Democratic Party doesn't appear. Does Horowitz know something we don't?

I wonder how The Wall Street Journal became a part of the Axis of the Evil Left?

When I have a paid staff, I'm leaving Horowitz off my enemies list. I think that would annoy him more than anything else I could do.


Ralph E. Luker - 2/17/2004

Where, Jonathan, are any reliable bullshit detectors in all of this? Something happened a decade or more ago which caused my students to raise the pitch (not the tone) of their propositional statements at the end of their sentences, as if they were merely hypothesizing or raising a question, rather than making a propositional statement. I suspect that it had something to do with the felt need not to commit offensive speech. All well and good, I suppose, but it irritates the dickens out of me -- especially when my own daughter does it. Where is the capacity to say straightforwardly, the Protocols is a crock?


Jonathan Dresner - 2/17/2004

The story about the Wooster Presbyterian Peacemakers brings to mind a recent controversy here. A (really, The) progressive political student group included on its webpage links to "analyses" of the September 11th attacks which were classically (if implicitly) anti-Semitic conspiracy tales, complete with Israeli blackmailers and remote-controlled planes (I don't remember what happened to the passengers; something dire, unless they were Jewish). Those pages linked to the Protocols, and other blatantly anti-Semitic content.

I think there's a perfectly good explanation for all these "peaceful" folks' connections to anti-Semitism, something to do with not being able to tell actual victims from professional ones.....


Ralph E. Luker - 2/17/2004

Yep. Berman is there. Those are just the individuals. Then, there are the groups: Habitat for Humanity and the Harvard Alumni Association, etc. Horowitz apparently claims that he hadn't reviewed the work of his paid staff. That's my fallback claim too, when I have a paid staff. It would be interesting to know where his money comes from. If I were his source, I'd be reconsidering my benevolence.


Timothy James Burke - 2/17/2004

As a blacklist, Horowitz' effort is proving to be truly hilarious. It's especially funny that Wills was on it. I gather Paul Berman is as well, for the apparent left-wing crime of having called Horowitz a demented lunatic. If there was ever proof that of a perfect continuity between Horowitz' youthful Trot-cult politics and his contemporary activities, this list is it.

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