Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Oh, That Silly Little Horowitz

David Horowitz is at it again. Actually, he never stopped. I simply got bored with him and his predictably ill-thought comments and his dying campaign to bring legislative control to public universities through his Newspeak-named “Academic Bill of Rights.”


Today, his target is Free Exchange on Campus, “a coalition of faculty, student, and civil rights organizations working together to preserve the free exchange of ideas on college campuses” where I’ve been blogging recently.


Which, of course, is why I’m responding to Horowitz today, rather than simply rolling my eyes, as I usually do when I visit his website.


As usual, Horowitz starts off by deliberately confusing the meaning of “academic freedom,” something he does regularly. As usual, he extends it to students without any rationale. He writes of “the academic freedom of students to be taught by professionals who are scholars and not proselytizing ideologues.” Actual academic freedom, though it certainly pertains to students, is a compact between the universities and their faculties. Students have the right to be taught by ‘professionals’ and not ‘ideologues,’ but that is not academic freedom.


Oh, well. Some people never learn.


Furthermore, Horowitz, though he has been trying for years, has yet to establish that ideology spills over into classrooms in any significant way. He doesn’t really want to, either. If he were serious about discovering whether there is actually a problem, he would spend time in classrooms—which he does not. All Horowitz has managed to show is that many of us professors express our ideological views outside of the classroom, which is our right both under the tenets of academic freedom and the First Amendment.


Enough.


In the post today, Horowitz accuses Free Exchange on Campus of racism, saying it is opposing “what Brown v. Board of Education was about, and it […] what Martin Luther King preached” by opposing a ballot initiative in Missouri that would “remove racist practices from Missouri public institutions by passing an initiative that prevents discrimination by government on the basis of race.” That’s not quite it, though: This is an anti-Affirmative Action initiative aimed at tying government hands when it tries to redress racial inequities.


In other words, the ballot initiative is itself racist, for it uses the fiction of a level playing field to insure that one race is not aided in its quest to reach that level playing field. Horowitz and Ward Connerly (who introduced the initiative) somehow pretend that there is no difference in starting place between members of different races and, therefore, that the law has no business considering race.


What makes me roll my eyes about this is that it is another attempt by Horowitz to paint another his own color. He writes, “the Free Exchange/Daily Kos leftists who are totalitarians to the core and want government and other political agencies to determine how our students think and which students are to receive privileges.” Anyone one who reads Free Exchange on Campus or Daily Kos (and doesn’t get their impressions filtered through Horowitz or Bill O’Reilly) knows that the opposite is the case. In fact, it is Horowitz who advocates totalitarianism (he always has, from his Stalinist youth onwards) and who wants government to determine how people think. Why else would he want legislatures to control our universities?


Sigh.

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