Has Something Gone Terribly Wrong at Columbia University?

Culture Watch

Mr. Pipes is the director of the Middle East Forum. His website address is http://www.danielpipes.org.

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"U.S. flags are the emblem of the invading war machine in Iraq today. They are the emblem of the occupying power. The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military."

Those words were spoken recently by Nicholas De Genova, a professor of anthropology and Latin American studies at Columbia University. De Genova went on, in words that will long shame his university, to call on U.S. soldiers to "frag" (i.e., murder) their officers and to wish "for a million Mogadishus," referring to the 1993 ambush in Somalia that left 18 U.S. soldiers dead and 84 wounded.

He wants 18 million dead Americans?

Columbia's administration distanced itself from De Genova (he "does not in any way represent" the university's views) and other professors criticized him -- but his remarks are hardly the rude exception to the usual discourse of the faculty at that university. For one: Tom Paulin, a visiting professor at Columbia this academic year, has stated that Brooklyn-born Jews "should be shot dead" if they live on the West Bank.

More broadly, plenty of other Columbia professors share De Genova's venomous feelings for the United States, though they stop short of calling for the deaths of Americans.

* Eric Foner, Dewitt Clinton professor of American history, sees the U.S. government as a habitual aggressor: "Our notion of ourselves as a peace-loving republic is flawed. We've used military force against many, many nations, and in very few of those cases were we attacked or threatened with attack."

* Edward Said, university professor, calls the U.S. policy in Iraq a "grotesque show" perpetrated by a "small cabal" of unelected individuals who hijacked U.S. policy. He accuses "George Bush and his minions" of hiding their imperialist grab for "oil and hegemony" under a false intent to build democracy and human rights.

Said deems Operation Iraqi Freedom "an abuse of human tolerance and human values" waged by an "avenging Judeo-Christian god of war." This war, he says, fits into a larger pattern of America "reducing whole peoples, countries and even continents to ruin by nothing short of holocaust."

* Rashid Khalidi, who will hold the Edward Said chair of Middle East Studies starting in the fall, used the term "idiots' consensus" to describe the wide support for reversing Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait and called on his colleagues to combat it. After 9/11, he admonished the media to drop its "hysteria about suicide bombers."

* Gary Sick, acting director of the Middle East Institute, alleges that Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter in 1980 by conspiring with the Ayatollah Khomeini to keep the U.S. hostages in Iran. He apologizes for the Iranian government (it "has been meticulous in complying with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty") and blames Washington for having "encouraged Iran to proceed" with building nuclear weapons.

Sick opposes letting U.S. victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism collect large damages against Tehran. More generally, he sees the Bush administration as "belligerent" and his fellow Americans as "insufferable."

* George Saliba, professor of Arabic and Islamic Science, routinely interrupts his class with political rants, leading one student to observe that it is "continuously insulting" to attend his lectures and another to complain about his course (on the subject of an "Introduction to Islamic Civilization," of all things) degenerating into a forum for railing against "evil America."

* Joseph Massad, assistant professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History, seems to blame every ill in the Arab world on the United States. Poverty results from "the racist and barbaric policies" of the American-dominated International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The absence of democracy is the fault of "ruling autocratic elites and their patron, the United States." Militant Islamic violence results from "U.S. imperialist aggression."

Such sentiments coming from leading lights of the Columbia professorate suggest that De Genova fits very well into his institution. He just made the mistake of blurting out the logical conclusion of the anti-Americanism forwarded by some of his colleagues.

This self-hatred points to an intellectual crisis at a school long considered one of the country's best. Alumni, parents of students and other friends of the university should first acknowledge this reality, then take steps to fix it.

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Seth Cable Tubman - 5/8/2005

Pipes' is anti-woman, anti-Arab, anti-anything-that's-not-White-Anglo-Saxon-Baptist-fat-men-over-forty. Anything he says are lies and bullshit.

Michael Green - 4/15/2003

As I read the latest inanity from Daniel Pipes, I understood why Eric Foner denounced the History News Network. Obviously, if someone calling himself a historian says something, you print it, no matter how ridiculous it is. How sad that a website that should be a place for an exchange of ideas is instead another means of disseminating vitriol from right-wingers with the guts enough to send others to fight and die but without the guts to do it themselves.

Bill Heuisler - 4/14/2003

Dr. Dryden,
Busy, brilliant and too important to educate the mob? Your disdain hurts, disappoints and impedes our search for guidance. Do we deserve your thoughts? Probably not, but think of your duty to society. Postulants who've read your literary efforts surely yearn for more.

Some fans may be content to bask in your reflected radiance, but others struggle and toil to connect thoughts to logical cohesion and faltering conclusions. We depend on the largesse of the erudite for enlightenment. Do men crammed with massive learning and intellect not owe the less fortunate at least a few crumbs?

Help us understand, for instance, how your fruitless nexus begat such a brisk defense of Dr. Foner in the DeGenova matter.
Bill Heuisler

Wesley Smart - 4/14/2003

Ah would that you follow your own advice.

Bob Greene - 4/14/2003

I am glad we agree everyone is open to criticim. Many of Pipe's critics seem to think he has no right to criticize. You assertions are absurd. Pipes in a short article gives some outrageous quotes by college professors. This includes the demonstably false assertion by Foner that most of the wars we fought were not in self defense. You may disagree but it is at least debatable.
Pipes calls on alumni, parents and friends of the school to take action. Do you seriously take that as a call to arrest anyone? Freedom of speech means that governments may take no action. Private individuals are free to boycott, not support and speak out as they see fit . If you think that is a problem then we have a sharp disagreement To put pressure on a university to fire irresponsible instructers is perfectly legal and moral. If the university does not wish to remove objectionable people that is their right. And it is the right of alumni, students and parents to take their support elsewhere. The marketplace of ideas does not guarentee winners.

Bob Greene - 4/14/2003

I am glad we agree everyone is open to criticim. Many of Pipe's critics seem to think he has no right to criticize. You assertions are absurd. Pipes in a short article gives some outrageous quotes by college professors. This includes the demonstably false assertion by Foner that most of the wars we fought were not in self defense. You may disagree but it is at least debatable.
Pipes calls on alumni, parents and friends of the school to take action. Do you seriously take that as a call to arrest anyone? Freedom of speech means that governments may take no action. Private individuals are free to boycott, not support and speak out as they see fit . If you think that is a problem then we have a sharp disagreement To put pressure on a university to fire irresponsible instructers is perfectly legal and moral. If the university does not wish to remove objectionable people that is their right. And it is the right of alumni, students and parents to take their support elsewhere. The marketplace of ideas does not guarentee winners.

Joe Dryden - 4/13/2003

Better yet, when they say things so undeserving of reasoned response, don't legitimate their statements with a reasoned answer.

Suetonius - 4/13/2003


I had rather hoped you would answer my post.

Albert Hall - 4/13/2003

Actually, Mr. Dryden, Mr. Heuisler's point is well taken. What is it about the article that Mr. Moser linked to that you find objectionable?

Wesley Smart - 4/13/2003

When in doubt about the stability of your own position, try another tack and just scream and stamp your foot, or wage ad hominem attacks...

I Matjecko - 4/13/2003

Criticism is by definition selective. I've neither the time nor the inclination to read the Carpenter piece to which you refer. Pipes's piece raised my ire because of its systemic misrepresentation, astonishing cynicism, and borderline libellous attack on some committed and hard-working teachers and scholars. But I'm done with HNN now.

- 4/13/2003

Mr. Heuisler,
I'm afraid I have not the power to make blind men see. If you cannot admit to that piece's shortcomings, I'm afraid you are beyond my aid.

Joe Dryden - 4/13/2003

The "rant" in question was not delivered in a classroom, but at an open meeting. So much for your reading skills.

Joe Dryden - 4/13/2003

Well, that is a reasoned and considered reply, obviously relying on extensive research and sterling logic. You're right -- it IS fair to paint all academics with the same ludicrous brush. They ARE all just a bunch of useless hacks who don't deserve the huge bonanzas they've been unjustly given (we all know what a cake-walk teaching and researching are, after all). How could I have missed it? It warms my heart to know that the intellects who troll the waters of HNN looking to unload their little rhetorical payloads of calumny cannot therefore be in the academy. Clearly, they're serving a much more useful purpose elsewhere.

Bill Heuisler - 4/13/2003

Mr. Dryden,
You said, "Oh yea, that's a fair and balanced piece."
If it's not too much trouble, could you please detail what you find unfair and unbalanced about Mr. Terence Moore's long article (referenced in John Moser's post).

Of course I'm assuming your response was sarcasm. If not, then we agree: Mr. DeGenova's past is informative...and a little sad.
Bill Heuisler

Suetonius - 4/13/2003

Well put.

And they'll also ask why they have to fork out so much money for an education by these people.

Ammianus Marcellinus - 4/13/2003

You ask, "But when you?ve got every right-wing talk show host, and every tabloid hack across the country upholding De Genova?s comments as somehow indicative of the general tone and spirit of the academy, what are people outside the academy going to believe?" They will rightly suspect that many shared such views, but lacked De Genova's courage or foolishness in speaking openly. However, they also will judge the academy on other grounds. They will wonder why there was a moralistic condemnation of a war that freed children from a political prison and a people from the rule of a sadistic dictator. They will wonder why there was a legalistic condemnation of a war because it was not approved by a sufficient majority of foreign dictatorships. They also will wonder why the experts of the academy were so wrong in predicting a hostile reaction by the Iraqi people, a massive number of civilian casualties, a military quagmire, an urban bloodbath in Baghdad, attacks by terrorists, a massive enlistment in the ranks of Al Quaed, and the overthrow of Arab governments. Their conclusion, perhaps, will be not be that academics are dangerous subversives plotting the destruction of America. It will be that academics are merely confused, privileged poseurs, who appear from time to time in public view to claim superior knowledge and prophetic ability, but offer only cliches, political rhetoric, and restatements of the parochial prejudices that most members of the academy share.

Joe Dryden - 4/12/2003

Oh yea, that's a fair and balanced piece.

Suetonius - 4/12/2003

What exactly about the quotations contained in the article were, to use your words, misrepresenting and scare-mongering?

And how does citing them qualify as "sissy," to use gendered language...

Joe Dryden - 4/12/2003


I’m always testy when my government’s been taken over by militant authoritarians.

If you read Hacker closely, you’ll note that the question mark appears with quote marks when the original quotation is a question, but outside the quote marks when an original quotation is not a question but is incorporated into a question. You can also check Rampolla, _A Pocket Guide to Writing in History_ and Turabian. I teach this stuff. No points on that one.

I suspect your original question about De Genova was disingenuous, but let’s not bother with that. As you suggest, I’m willing to go to my corner and start again. You seem like a nice guy asking for a real response. I apologize for my smart remarks.

All I know about De Genova’s comment is what little we’ve been fed by the press. A Lexis-Nexis search yielded very little about the tenor and tone of that meeting, just short and sensationalist stories. Given that the Right has jumped all over the comment, using what seems to be a clearly excessive statement as somehow typical or exemplary (for example, the patently absurd claim that it is of a piece with Foner’s philosophy), to even respond strikes me as conceding important terms of debate. I have no intention of letting the neocons establish credentials for those on the Left. This is why I believe (perhaps wrongly, I’ll concede) your original question was disingenuous – because it struck me as of a type designed to put the responders in a corner: either endorse De Genova or concede the whole field. I’m willing to do neither..

As to your question: there is clearly room within both the academy and the classroom for passion. Deep concerns are the source of good questions; issues worth studying are so precisely because they elicit from us our heartfelt feelings.

The professoriate need not be "objective" or "neutral." In fact, like society, it cannot be. As Peter Novick discusses in _That Noble Dream_, throughout the course of the American historical profession, objectivity has been a cloak for all sorts of political agendas within the academy, but almost always used to maintain the status quo. Left intellectuals and cultural theorists now discuss the poverty of "objectivity," but in so doing they’ve left that bludgeon to the right, without properly making their case before a larger public.

Some of the greatest scholarship has come out of perspectives we’d not recognize as "objective." Great conservatives like Hobbes and Burke channeled their passions through reasoned discourse. Likewise the Left. Those who’ve argued for our liberties in the past, such as Thomas Paine, were passionate rhetoricians who would clearly fall short of the standards of objectivity often demanded of this forum.

So I do not have a problem with a scholar – at an open forum – saying something inflammatory. Neither do I have a problem with others voicing their outrage at his comments. Bring on the opprobrium! (The leaders were not fairly elected, by the way.) That is all perfectly well and good, and I do not deny anyone their right to respond.

What I do have a problem with is a concerted campaign of defamation that would link De Genova’s statements with anyone who would speak out against the crime being perpetrated in Iraq. I, too, am concerned about the health of the academy, but for different reasons.

I agree that the academy is widely viewed as solipsistic and irrelevant. Why, is the question. I doubt it’s the De Genovas. For every De Genova-like polemicist, there are thousands of others who break their backs to contribute productively to the most important discussions of the day. They work hard to challenge their students to think critically without jettisoning their humane values. They work hard to conduct research and write books that set models for scholarly standards. They have opinions and perspectives, yes. They often start from different sets of assumptions. But they cover a wide range of the political spectrum.

The problem is not the scholars. If scholarly standards are being derogated, it’s not first and foremost by them. And if the public withdraws its support from the academy, it will not be because of one De Genova. It will be because the public discourse over crucial issues has degenerated, its quality undermined by the froth churned up by the entertainment-posing-as-argument of those such as Rush Limbaugh and the Clear Channel network. Can you honestly tell me that you consider the academy a greater threat to reasoned discourse than "The Savage Nation"?

Of course not. But when you’ve got every right-wing talk show host, and every tabloid hack across the country upholding De Genova’s comments as somehow indicative of the general tone and spirit of the academy, what are people outside the academy going to believe? Free speech is not served by such tactics. Democracy is not served by them. Consider, in contrast, media standards on the other side of the political spectrum. (I offer this only as a case in point.) Maine Public Radio has refused to run Pacifica’s "Democracy Now!" show because the management believed that the show was too biased and failed to conform to journalistic standards. So on the one hand you’ve got Clear Channel using its media power to air the most scurrilous crap, while on the other the alleged commies at public radio are standing on their standards.

It’s not that the Left should engage in the propaganda tactics of the right. It’s that reasonable people need to think about the media coverage they get and ask some questions. Is it really that hard to penetrate the agenda of someone like Daniel Pipes and the New York Post?


John Kipper - 4/12/2003

Hey, Joe, are we a little testy today? Allow me the chance to rebut and to perhaps clarify my point.
First the rebuttal:
a. “It's ‘Mogadishu,’ genius.”
Yes, it is, thank you for pointing that out. My only defense is that I am dyslexic, a condition that I have worked long and hard to overcome. In the future I will compose my posts in Word and use spell check to avoid any further similar embarrassments. Or was it merely a typo that in no way affects the validity of my question? In either case, your gratuitously demeaning use of the word “genius” certainly does nothing to elevate the tone of your argument.

b. "implicit metaphorical sneer"?
Refer to the use of “genius” above; in this case the sneer is explicit. According to my copy of _ A Pocket Style Manual_ 3rd edition, by Diana Hacker, 2000, page 73, “the question mark or exclamation point should appear before the quotation mark.” Does your usage display your lack of intelligence, ignorance of the rules of grammar and usage or merely a typo? HMMMM...something about bricks and glass houses comes to mind.

c. “You did not ‘merely ask’ if I thought De Genova's comments were reasoned scholarship; you sought to bait me into somehow endorsing De Genova's comments, which I am not foolish enough to do. The fact that you obviously didn't even bother to read my reply suggests that verbal brawl, rather than constructive discussion, is your likely goal”.
My direct quote was “Hey, Joe, do you really want to go on record that wishing for a million Mogadishus (see, I can learn to spell) is reasoned scholarship designed to promote critical thinking (note proper placement of the question mark)?” In no way can this be logically construed as a request for either your endorsement or rejection of De Genova’s position. That is your petard, sir; hoist yourself upon it of your own volition. It is of no import to me. Perhaps I can rephrase my question, disregarding the specific substance of De Genova’s comments: do you really think that this impassioned cry from the heart was a call for critical thinking or the exposition of a personal political viewpoint? If it is the former, where is the exhibition of evidence, the citation of facts and the logical processes of argument normally found in scholarship? If it is the latter, in what way does it adhere to the traditional framework of the dispassionate and unbiased academic quest for truth? In my opinion, De Genova’s comments were both irresponsible and inappropriate for the officially setting in which they were uttered. I am asking you only if you feel they were appropriate in that setting, or not. I suspect that you do not.

Enough of this vituperation and hostility. Let us (Joe, John, and anyone else out there in the “blue nowhere”) explore possible points of agreement or at least use for the basis of discussion.
1. Freedom of speech is one of the basic concepts of democracy. I, and my family, have been proud to defend it, probably you and yours too. But it only protects the speaker from punitive legal repercussions, not from the social opprobrium that judges the individual for his articulation. Actions, and words, have consequences. If you denigrate my beliefs, disparage your elected leaders, wish for the death of your countrymen (or anyone), and then claim the protection of the very government that you reject, expect my rejection of your hypocrisy. This reaction is also free speech, and in the best traditions of democracy. To deny the legitimacy of the rejection is elitist at best, profoundly anti-democratic and self-serving at worst. Visceral rejection goes both ways, and if one is legitimate, so is the other.
2. I am profoundly concerned for the future of the contemporary university system. These types of comments, profoundly anti-intellectual, political, and self-aggrandizing, alienate the society at large. And if the public withdraws its support, what is the future of the academy? And why would anyone jeopardize that grand and noble institution for the sake of defending obvious polemists, who by their actions and words show their contempt for the very society that created them.

Arch Stanton - 4/11/2003

"Lies, all lies," said the Columbia University Minister of Information at the Palestine Hotel. "No one loves America more than the faculty of this great university." And the advancing Americans would have snickered, if any had been listening.

Suetonius - 4/11/2003

I have refrained from adding to the debate here over Pipes because I largely agree that he goes too far in his words. I believe Carpenter to be far more juvenile in his comments and arguments. Pipes could, it seems to be, make his case just as effectively without being vicious. Carpenter, by the same token, would have nothing to say.

As I understand it, the concerns of the previous posters here were about the original articles themselves, rather than the comments that such posts generate.

If the above posters are truly interested in reducing the vituperative tone of the articles on this site, then it should stand to reason that their views would hold on both sides. If the above posters were able to say that, then it would strengthen their argument. If they cannot, well....

Sally Morganstern - 4/11/2003

...is Daniel Pipes's tactics. One doesn't have to agree with anyone whom Pipes is attacking to see that the sissy tactics of misrepresentation and scare-mongering are no good for anyone.

Bill Heuisler - 4/11/2003

Mr. Dryden,
On which "side of the political spectrum" does a call for the deaths of millions of young soldiers fall? Does DeGenova ally himself with Buchanan or Bonier? Republican or Democrat?
Eichmann perhaps. Imagine David Duke calling for a million lynchings. First-Amendment Defensible? Remember broken bodies of Rangers tossed on the shoulders of Somali mobs and dragged through the Mogadishu dust. And they were there to ensure food shipments to starving people.

These verbal atrocities do not occur in a vacuum. DeGenova had to know his audience. Would he have uttered his hatred at an American Legion Convention? In my opinion, there's a non-judgemental neutrality on campuses that allies itself with the worst political degradation on the grounds that there is no evil but the United States. But some words are too hateful to utter. Be sure a Veteran Ranger in DeGenova's audience could've easily committed a "justifiable homicide". Most American juries would have aquitted such righteous rage. To posit our freedom in order to degrade and eventually destroy that freedom is madness.

Stop the pretense; defending a hateful statement - or pretending Foner wasn't aware of the agenda - does not befit free speech discussion. Why waste time attacking the critic of purveyors of hatred or their enablers? Protest all you want about fairness, but attacking critics of skin heads and Holocaust deniers or pretending ANSWER was unaware of the printed "shoot your officers" signs would get you the same implied metaphorical traction as defending DeGenova and Foner.
Bill Heuisler

Rafael - 4/11/2003

Mr. Suetonious,
I return the question to you: I would be interested to know if you have criticized Pipes's posts the same way you criticize Carpenter's ones. You expect the previous posters to criticize both Pipes and Carpenter for writing only "vitriolic attacks" but I haven't seen you having the same level of "fairness" that you demand from them.

Suetonius - 4/11/2003

I ask this in all seriousness: do your feelings extent to the equally vituperative comments of P.M. Carpenter, posted above?

Or are you just being selective in your criticism?

benjamin rush - 4/11/2003

We are all open to criticism for our opinions, Bob--Pipes is free to criticize, and so are people who dislike Pipes.

Pipes is being kind of ridiculous here though. DeGenova is clearly a dope and an extremist--I have not seen ONE defense of his actual comments from anywhere. Foner, for example has repudiated the guy.

But Pipes is being sneaky as well as hysterical--look at the Foner quote. He is quoting one snippett about America's history of military agression, it's not clear from where--and suggesting it's the same as degenova's outrageous comment. Foner's comment is demonstrably true--the US has at many points in its history been an aggressor nation (seen any indians lately?). That's really all he said. He didn't call for the death of Americans, or indulge in "america hating." So the problem with Pipes is not that he has opinions, it's that he has cobbled together some quotes out of context and fashioned them into something they are not. and he's done it while calling on colmbia to fix" the problem.

Bob, what can he mean by "fix" the problem, other than removing or silencing these people he quotes? You tell me what that means.

Joe Dryden - 4/11/2003

a. It's "Mogadishu," genius.
b. "implicit metaphorical sneer"?
c. You did not "merely ask" if I thought DeGenova's comments were reasoned scholarship; you sought to bait me into somehow endorsing De Genova's comments, which I am not foolish enough to do. The fact that you obviously didn't even bother to read my reply suggests that verbal brawl, rather than constructive discussion, is your likely goal.
d. Again, and as my previous comment stated, my reply is that irresponsible statements from one side of the political spectrum to do not justify irresponsible statements from the other side.

Bob Greene - 4/11/2003

Well it is good to see the professional hate mongers are alive and well. Everytime Daniel Pipes writes an aricle they go ballistic. They can not refute what he says so they cry hate speach. They seem to think the first amendment only applies to the lunatic left. If, God Forbid , a conservative dares to criticize some idiotic utterance of some left wing accademic the howls and cries of McCarthyism fill the blogsphere. They claim they want reason debate. But when it is offered they try to shout down the offender who does not tow the orthodox left wing line of gender class and race. Well keep ranting and raving. It is always good for laugh. Too bad the left can not once in a while offer an argument instead of spleen.

John Kipper - 4/11/2003

Hey, Joe, in what way was my last post irresponsible? I merely asked if you thought DeGenova's were reasoned scholarship. I would think that if you cared enough to reply, you might have at least made an attempt to answer my question. Why else take the time. Or is the implicit metaphorical sneer in your final point the answer?

Toby Jones - 4/10/2003

Why is it so difficult for some of the posters here to critize Prof. De Genova for his evil words? Yet these same posters are more than happy to mock Pipes for his statements. Pipes speaks the truth, and any viscious dialogues originates from those who support radical Islam and their American supporters..

Wesley Smart - 4/10/2003

You haven't repudiated them either.

When did 'citizen' stop being part of being a 'scholar'?

Suetonius - 4/10/2003

I would be interested to know if any of the previous posters would advance the same comments about pieces contributed by P.M. Carpenter on this site.

I Matjecko - 4/10/2003

I can't believe HNN is publishing this kind of stuff. It's deceitful, manipulative, and cynical journalism. It pisses on all the "values" the Right is supposed to cherish.

Joe Dryden - 4/10/2003

a) the fact that there are idiots on the left does not relieve their critics of the obligation to respond responsibly.
b) thank you, you just proved my point.

John Kipper - 4/10/2003

Hey, Joe, do you really want to go on record that wishing for a million Mogodishus is reasoned scholarship designed to promote critical thinking? What world do you hail from?

george beres - 4/10/2003

I can believe Dan Pipes gave permission for HNN to reprint the latest installment of his continuing series of slanders in the NY Post. Question is: WHY did HNN stoop so low as to print his hate-filled commentary? If someone goes after him, he deserves a chance to respond. I choose to go after him because of his indiscriminate labeling as anti-Semitic any person who suggests anything contrary to Israeli policy. He was wrong, as usual, when he so-labeled my U. of Oregon colleague, Prof. Doug Card. Don't give this man credibility by printing his canards. - G. Beres

Herzl - 4/10/2003

The guy's right. I'm on a conservative on a lot of issues, but to me that means conducting oneself with some sense of fair play.

No one who had any honor would perpetrate these kind of ad hominem attacks by arranging a collage of quotations under some hyperbolic pretense of fake psychology ("self-hatred"). I had six great aunts and uncles killed in the Holocaust, but Pipes's methods keep me at arm's length from supporters of Israel in this country.

Joe Dryden - 4/9/2003

It seems that the vitriolic froth that keeps me from more regularly plying HNN's waters truly is unfortunate and unavoidable. I don't know what Eric Foner experienced, by I suspect that the Radosh piece begat a quasi-formal campaign to spam and virtually harrass him. It reminds me of what happened to Bellesiles once he ran afoul of the neocons -- a concerted campaign of defamation. That's not respect for rational discourse and free speech, that's an abuse of speech. I hate to see HNN sliding into that. And if you don't believe it is, just watch the responses this gets.

Joe Dryden - 4/9/2003

I guess that professors ought to determine their opinions on the basis of who pays the bills, right? Or why don't we just have them adhere to the latest polling data? Because of course that's what institutions of higher education are all about, right? We wouldn't want to actually encourage critical thinking would we? No -- I suppose professors' proper job is to give the people just what they want. It's to be scholarship reduced to professional wrestling.

a Barnard alum - 4/9/2003

Yes, yes yes. So once one gets past Pipes's nasty rants, what is the gist of his article? That academics are more liberal than most Americans? That New Yorkers are more liberal than most Americans? Truly a shocking and amazing insight, Mr. Pipes. This has been true since Columbia ceased to be King's College and became Columbia College in the 18th century. Excuse me if I don't lose any sleep over the fact.

When I first discovered it, I had high hopes for HNN. But I've had it. I took a lot of classes at Columbia when I was a Barnard student, and, yes a lot of CU professors are more liberal than I am, but I object to HNN's publishing of such propaganda.

John Robertson - 4/9/2003

I would happily ignore Mr. Pipes' rants, if it weren't for the fact that he has been given access to too many pulpits and has already poisoned too many minds. I hope that this forum (HNN) will continue to be used by historians of greater erudition and more reasoned disposition. I fear we've already lost the broadcast media to the FauxNews flagwavers and finger-pointers.

Ralph E. Luker - 4/9/2003

Dear Columbiad and Ibid.,
Your points are certainly well made, but HNN can be what you want. "Stephen" and his potty mouth seem to disappeared. (_Do_ knock on wood!) There can be reasonably intelligent discussion here if reasonably intelligent people will submit themselves to it. There will also continue to be controversial articles and posts here. We know what to expect from _some_ writers and can choose to ignore or engage with them as we wish.

john kipper... - 4/9/2003

actually, you're both right and wrong. columbia is a private university, so you would think that your tax dollars weren't supporting it, right? wrong. last year, columbia received 300million dollars of federal aid. ain't that a kick?

that's the real question. why?

that said, pipes is kind of being a nervous nellie here.

Ibid. - 4/9/2003


I'm afraid I agree. When I first became acquainted with the Network, I thought it might be a forum in which actual historians discussed history and perhaps brought historical discussions to bear on contemporary events, and for awhile it seems to be.

Lately, though, it has degenerated into something akin to talk radio. Not many of the postings seem to offer reasoned discussions of the issues raised -- just vitriolic attacks on people "on the other side." If I want to listen to that, I can tune in to CNN and listen to James Carville and Tucker Carlson, who both seem to think that the loudest "analysis" wins.

T Thurow - 4/9/2003

Just remember, Pipes is a guy who has openly associated with Zbigniew Breszinski, who has admitted to creating Osama Bin Laden, and Henry Kissinger, who can no longer travel to certain countries due to subpoenas in which he would be legally obligated to testify in war crimes' trials.

Van L. Hayhow - 4/9/2003

Except, maybe, Daniel Pipes right of free speech? DeGenova has a right of free speech no matter how reprehensible his thoughts are. Daniel Pipes has a right to criticize DeGenova just as you have a right to criticize Pipes. Of course, if people took DeG. seriously the people that were murdered would have no more rights.

Alexander Hamilton - 4/9/2003

Here's the link to the page where Daniel Pipes asks for your money. Help him continue his jihad to make people only say things pre-approved and sanctioned by Daniel Pipes:


John Moser - 4/9/2003

Those interested in this thread ought to find this article interesting:


The author was a classmate of De Genova's at the University of Chicago--where De Genova proudly spoke of his membership in the Communist Party.

maxvintage - 4/9/2003

Where, in my response, does it say i support DeGenova's comments? I don't "support" them. I only support the right of free speech

John Kipper - 4/9/2003

Wesley, You seem to think that some of these professors have any more than the haziest idea of who pays their wages and finances the institutions. As far as they are concerned, the money comes from the university administration. Where the administration gets the funds from is not their concern. If they actually realized that the money comes from the despised American public, they might be a little careful in choosing whom they tick off.

Columbia Alumnus - 4/9/2003

You know, I went to Columbia, and I took a few courses with three of the different professors listed here. Yes, most of them are left of center. But so are most academics. All I can say is that the three with whom I had classes are immensely hard-working and devoted teachers, able and sometimes brilliant lecturers, and serious intellectuals.

In my courses with them not one of them ever for a moment conducted himself with the kind of vicious dogmatism with which this piece was written. Will the HNN publish anything that includes a few famous academics' names followed by artful quotes and incendiary charges? Is the so-called "conservative" right devoid of all sense of gentlemanly decency and fair play? Is the HNN?

Wesley Smart - 4/8/2003

Mr. Vintage

I strongly resent your support of de Genova's comments. As someone who has close friends participating in the war in Iraq and in the military, I take strong exception to his remarks. That such statements could come from people who supposedly are at the top of the game, who are teaching at one of the finest universities in the country, is deeply disturbing for it indicates that they have very little appreciation for the country and the freedoms it stands for.

The people who make these comments believe that they live in a world of little consequence. To some extent they are correct: they can hide behind the claim of academic freedoms. And they can. But ask the person who walks through Harlem with a sign saying "black people stink" whether academic freedoms extend to such behaviour. It doesn't, and it sure wouldn't stop the beat-down that would swiftly take place.

What people like de Genova (and apparently you) do not understand is that the academy lives upon the tolerance of the society that supports it. And the more that the 70+% of Americans who do not follow the extremist views of these professors come to question whether we really need such places, the more likely it will be that the country as a collective whole will turn its back on the university and render such people irrelevant. A shameful end for such a distinguished place, and at the hands of such an ignorant few.

maxvintage - 4/8/2003

I re-read it and it seems only one of the quotations in the article came from a classroom. Also I couldn't find any mention of the words "unprofessional" or classroom in the article! You really are a good reader--you can read invisiible words!

Now that you tell me (though of course i can't see being a poor reader), that these opinions were uttered in a classroom, I'm even more alarmed! Opinions! in a classroom! A professor of american history, giving his opinions on American history! A professor of modern middle East politics giving his opinions on middle east politics! There's no place for that in American academia! We have to make sure no professor utters an opinion that hasn't been vetted by Daniel Pipes.

Clayton E. Cramer - 4/8/2003

I'm disappointed that your reading skills are so deficient that you think Pipes' criticism is because Columbia is awash in professors who are critical of U.S. policy. Go back and re-read the article: his point was that these sentiments (a million Mogadishus) are and political rants in the classroom are unprofessional.

maxvintage - 4/8/2003

People at columbia are expressing opinions Daniel Pipes doesn't like--steps must be taken to "fix it!" They are criticizing America and its history! Sympathizing with Arabs! We need to make academia safe for Daniel Pipes. And the world's strongest, most economically and militarily powerful nation simply cannot tolerate this kind of criticism! Rush to Mr. Pipes' website and sign on to his campaign to make sure only good things are ever said about the US and its history. I feel the republic trembling as I write! Hurry!