Blogs > HNN > Debating David Horowitz

Apr 17, 2006 10:08 am

Debating David Horowitz

Mr. LeVine is professor of modern Middle Eastern history, culture, and Islamic studies at the University of California, Irvine, and author of the forthcoming books: Why They Don't Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil; and Overthrowing Geography: Jaffa, Tel Aviv and the Struggle for Palestine, 1880-1948. He is also a contributor, with Viggo Mortensen and Pilar Perez, to Twilight of Empire: Responses to Occupation. He is an HNN blogger.

Click here to read a response by David Horowitz..

When I first heard that David Horowitz, who with his new book "the Professors" is being described as an intellectual "titan" of the Right, had included me in his list of the 101 most Dangerous Professors in America, I was quite pleased with myself. It was an honor, after all, to receive such a distinction from one of the doyens of the neoconservative movement. But my ego quickly returned to earth when soon into a debate we had last week on Mother Jones Radio he admitted, without a hint of embarrassment, that he actually hadn't read any of my books or academic articles, but only perused my website and perhaps a Mojo article or two. Indeed, he didn't even know the intern who actually did the “research” on me in his book.

That's right, the author of a book purporting to uncover the intellectual and/or political corruption of the American higher education system (Horowitz can't make up his mind about which kind of corruption it's suffering from) doesn't even think he has to read the work of the professors he claims constitute a mortal threat to the moral fabric of our society. No wonder he did a full week on Hannity and Colmes to celebrate the publication of his expose. He's Fox's dream public intellectual. And no wonder he considers so many professors a threat; they actually do their own work.

Outside of his fantasy land, such a cavalier attitude towards the truth is pretty pathetic, particularly sitting in Paris, where I'm currently watching French people of all ages, including professors, actually have an informed (if problematic, as we'll see below) debate over important political issues. But the fact that the mainstream media is giving a lot of time to a man who wrote about a group of people whom it appears he knows almost nothing about, and has no problem letting people know that he knows nothing about them, says as much about the state of the corporatized media--not to mention the thousands of people who are buying his book--as it does about the state of David Horowitz's mind.

In fact, the only two people Horowitz seems to know a lot about on his list are Cornel West and Ward Churchill. For some reason I can't determine, Horowitz detests West with a passion one would imagine should be reserved for perverts and people who steal candy from babies. West's big sin, as Horowitz explained in our debate on air, was that he hasn't published an academic article in decades. This is, like most everything Horowitz claims, manifestly untrue, as a perusal of West's CV online would attest. But for Horowitz the truth seems to matter little, particularly compared to the fact that West became a “black militant” in college. For that, he warranted being labeled an “entertainer” who doesn't deserve to be a professor.

As for Churchill, whose description of 9/11 victims as “little Eichmanns” makes him an especially easy target, Horowitz's main complaint, since he's on record as saying he supports Churchill's right to speak his mind freely, is that he doesn't have a Ph.D. and is part of a field, ethnic studies, that doesn't deserve to exist in the first place. For Horowitz most every field of academic study that has emerged in the last two generation of scholarship--ethnic studies, whiteness studies, African American studies, women's studies, cultural studies, etc.--are utterly politicized and unworthy of inclusion in the academy. How does he know this? I have no idea. Has he actually read any significant amount of scholarship in these fields to pass such judgment? It would seem that he hasn't, given his lack of knowledge about them (maybe the interns who actually wrote the book did, we can hope).

But why should he? He “knows” that they are like this, so he has no need to actually experience them for himself. And he also “knows” that it's impossible for conservatives to get hired in these fields because of a left-wing conspiracy to keep them out of the academy. And how does he “know” this? Because he has “evidence” that hiring committees screen out conservatives. Of course this is nonsense. But since people tend to believe it and Horowitz has the mantle of authority, it's just assumed that he's right.

(I wonder how he might explain the fact that seemingly most French professors, judging from the books I'm looking at the Parisian bookstores, are equally Left-wing. I suppose for Horowitz the French academy is just as corrupt as its American counterpart? No doubt it is, in his mind, especially since most of the fields of study that he despise arose out of post-war French critical theory. But what about Italy's or Germany's or Britain's intellectual class? Why are they also Left-leaning? Is there a world-wide conspiracy going on here? Perhaps it's the agents of “World Government” that conservatives believe are going to usher in the era of the anti-Christ are first conspiring to make sure that God-fearing Judeo-Christian students can't get a proper education?)

Indeed, Horowitz's discourse (I suppose just using the word discourse will increase my ranking by at least 10%) reminds me of the Ayatollah Khomeini's death sentence against Salman Rushdie, which he issued without having read the Satanic Verses. Had he done so, he might have been surprised to learn that it wasn't anti-Muslim, and that the character who insults the Prophet meets a terrible fate at the end of the book.

But of course, the point was never Rushdie or the book per se; it was Khomeini's realization that he could use the opportunity presented to him to further his agenda. Similarly, Horowitz has no need to read or actually know about the works and people he's condemning. He only has to know, intuitively as all agitators do, that he's hit on a saleable theme, and then create the fantasy version of academic reality to fit his spin. And so Horowitz generalized from what he claims are two examples of left-leaning schools--Berkeley and Stanford--to say that all of academia, thousands of colleges strong, is a hot bed of left-wing radicalism that is a clear and present danger to America's youth, and indeed, to our national security.

Never mind that Stanford is home to the conservative Hoover Institution. The reality is that one of these two is in fact sliding so far toward the right that several senior colleagues of mine there have expressed the desire to move to places where their work is no longer under constant attack by the Right, or threatened with monitoring by the US government. But even if we accept that these two schools, and dozens more, have a disproportionate number of progressive faculty, how can we generalize to the entire post-secondary educational system of the United States from these few cases? Aren't their any dangerous conservative-leaning schools? How about Liberty Baptist University or Bob Jones University? Or the Army War College?

The real give-away that Horowitz's book isn't worth the paper it's printed on was his unwillingness and inability to defend the word “dangerous” in the title. When on-air host Angie Coiro asked him why he had told the press that the title was actually a marketing ploy created by his publisher conceived without his input (publishers and agents are always convenient scapegoats in these kinds of situations), he began hemming and hawing and couldn't get a complete sentence out of his mouth. Finally he was able to explain that what is really dangerous is that professors like me are actually political activists masquerading as professors. We use the hard earned money of parents across the nation to indoctrinate student's on the university's time and expose them to ideologies that are by their very nature anti-American and even dangerous to its security.

Of course, Horowitz can't back up that claim, at least in my case (and one can assume most others, since so much of the book is factually inaccurate, as other targets such as Juan Cole have demonstrated). How could he, since he has, by his own admission, never written any of my academic writings? Rather, for him just the idea of being what he called a “public intellectual” means that I have no place in the academy, because, he argued, quoting my own biography, that public intellectuals “blend together art, scholarship and activism.”

Instead he suggested that I “get a talk show.” That would be nice, I suppose, but Horowitz once again utterly misses the point about the relationship between being a scholar and and active citizen. And his confusion about how the role interacts for the majority of supposedly “Left” professors is perhaps the most telling thing about the book.

His basic assumption is that supposedly left scholars shape their scholarship to their political agenda. But in fact, with most everyone I know, it's the exact opposite. Progressive scholars have adopted their particular “agendas” because their academic research has revealed a reality on the ground--one that most conservatives refuse to accept--that demands a progressive response (take the war on Iraq, for example, or the destruction of the environment).

The simple fact is that the world today looks a hell of a lot more like the way its depicted by the scholars Horowitz finds so dangerous than it does by the scholars on the right (or so-called “liberals” like Thomas Friedman for that matter), with whom we can imagine he would be more comfortable having his children study. And it's precisely this ability both to see things closer to how they really are, and to offer explanations grounded in that reality, that makes us professors so dangerous to Horowitz, or so he would have us believe.

In fact, looking at American from France, where a coalition of students, labor unions, intellectuals and the occasional thug (or as they say in French, “casseur”) just defeated a rather modest proposal to increase work-place flexibility by allowing employers more easily to fire workers under 26, I'm not sure sure he has anything to worry about.

The reason for this is that while the Left is strong enough to stop changes today in France's labor laws, their victories are actually little more than fingers plugging cracks in a dam that slowly giving way to the onslaught of neoliberal globalization. This is clear from many perspectives, two of which are particularly ostentatious. The first is the constant stream of immigrants into the country (the most recent are the Chinese, who are rapidly taking over the textile and other small scale business previously run by Jews) who are, at least as of now, not part of the French social compact and therefore have little stake in it. But more telling from my perspective, the Chrysler dealership that is in the middle of the bohemian 11th arrondissement neighborhood where I'm staying, which seems to be doing a nice business selling the same gas-guzzling SUVs that soccer moms all over America love to drive. And gas in France is almost twice as expensive as it is in the US, pushing upwards to the equivalent of $6 a gallon.

And it's not just Paris's wealthy elite that's buying them. Across France, and Germany and even Italy for that matter, SUVs are increasingly defacing the roads, showing that the citizens of “old” Europe can be just as selfish as Americans when it comes to putting their driving comfort ahead of the future of the planet.

The shock of seeing such vehicles in a city where the miniaturized Smart Car has ruled supreme the last half decade is hard to exaggerate. What can be next, processed cheese and wine with twist-off caps? Hopefully not, but what is clear is that the failure of the supposedly dangerous French intellectual elite to offer a serious alternative to the economic status quo is an even bigger indictment against the power of the academic Left to impose progressive social change on the larger society.

Indeed, more interesting than the large protests is in fact the dynamics of the protests within France's most prestigious universities, such the Ecole des Hautes Etudes and the Sorbonne, where some students joined up with a coalition of squatters, anarchists and other “casseurs” to rampage across the campus, destroying computers and other equipment and class rooms that are crucial for their education? These were not under-educated Arab immigrants or other “exclues” (one of France's many euphemism's for its lower class citizens) looting schools that had no place for them.

And so, as I was preparing a lecture about the research for this book I received a frustrated email from one of the professors who invited me informing me that all the audiovisual and related media equipment in the class room had been destroyed by “autonomistes” who had infiltrated the student movement. I suppose their name means they want autonomy from the very state they want to protect their rights (no one ever said college students were big on consistency). But while those who participated in such actions represent a tiny minority of the student body, their actions point to a serious lack of creative problem solving--to say the least--at the heart of the emerging French elite.

To be sure, the larger protests demonstrated the Left's ability to put bodies on the street to preserve a level of benefits that most Americans happily relinquished during Reagan's first term. But the reality is that their arguments offered little new in the way of creative yet positive and innovative problem solving, so badly needed in the face of France's serious, although often overstated, economic problems.

And this lack of creativity, or at least originality, is even more glaring when we consider how college students in the developing world are working to address even more serious social problems. This dynamic was brought home to me only a few weeks ago when I was invited to speak at the American University of Beirut. What was so interesting about my time there was that even in the midst of the war, the AUB campus was treated by its students (although, sadly, not always the warring factions) as an oasis of non-violent debate and even civility amidst the chaos and violence outside its gates.

Today, while France struggles like other “advanced industrial democracies” to fulfill the promises of social and economic security made by past governments, its former “Mandate” (more accurately, colony), though still reeling from war, the reopening of the country's economy, the assassination of that processes main sponsor (former Prime Minister Rafiq Harriri), and finally mass protests and the withdrawal of Syrian troops, has become home to a much more vibrant movement for social change than one can find in France, particularly among the country's young.

This came home to me sitting in a seminar room with twenty odd students, who were anxious to ask my advice about how to develop a more successful culture of protest and social change. The problem was, after talking with them for ten minutes it became clear that they were far ahead of their peers in the US or Europe in doing the most important things to develop the pro-democracy movement in Lebanon--thinking outside the ideological and political box of traditional Lebanese politics, and reaching out to people across the political, ethnic, sectarian, and especially secular-religious divide. If only this would happen in the US.

Indeed, it was Lebanon's young people who sparked the nation-wide protests that led to the unprecedented (and previously inconceivable) withdrawal of Syrian troops from the country. What struck me surveying the extensive damage and looting of the recently renovated Ecole in Paris was how impossible it is to imagine Lebanese students destroying their universities today, even though the problems they face make those surrounding the possibility of being fired before one's twenty-five seem quaint.

What is driving the recycled protests in France, however, is a feeling that however much people would like to protect the vaunted French social welfare state, or even imagine, as does the slogan of the “alter-globalization” movement (in many respects headquartered in France), that “another world possible,” most people don't believe that an alternative social contract can be created that would address the country's many economic problems without raising inequality and poverty and lowering living standards. As one of France's leading weeklies, Marianne, sarcastically put it on its cover, “You want a revolution? Just do it.” Because of this lack of faith in the possibility of achieving real, positive change, the millions of French who marched against the new law felt they must spend their energy fighting against any breach in the dam of protections against being fully exposed to an American style free market, rather than offering a much needed alternative to the seemingly inexorable march towards a free-market paradise.

What makes this dynamic interesting is that while American politicians try to distinguish between “old” and “new” Europes, the difference between the way Lebanese and French young people are responding to the profound societal challenges before their societies suggests that the more important difference is between an “old” West that is incapable, on the societal level, of finding creative ways to solve daunting socio-economic problems, and a (particularly demographically) “young” Muslim world where people are, perhaps out of necessity, thinking much more creatively.

It is these people who are most dangerous to the world view and system David Horowitz is working so tireless to preserve (well, perhaps not that tirelessly, since he didn't seem to put much effort into writing the book). Let's hope for all our sakes that he doesn't figure this out any time soon, otherwise before we know it we'll be suffering through “The 101 most Dangerous Lebanese College Students.”

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Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Okay, so Phares is a regular writer for Frontpage. I didn't really know the guy, and now can I read what a fool he is. Whenever Osama Bin Laden says boo, or that he “declares war” on it, America has to throw its history of civil liberties overboard and embrace OBL’s fanatically distorted view of reality. Let the guys in white coats take care of Phares while OBL rots in his cave and goes to Allah’s hell. These are not the articles to prove even a modicum of common sense or sober analysis on Frontpage. The quantity is greater than imagined. The quality rates no higher than before.

A symposium is not even close to an exclusive article. And one from four years ago before the Iraq “war” began, counts for absolutely zip. I don’t doubt that Shenkman regrets it to this today, however. Ditto interviews with Hitchens or anyone else except maybe for the regretting.

As for Daniel Pipes, who was most consciously NOT on my list of possible reasons to revise my prior opinions of this unAmerican hatemongering propaganda site, suffice to say that he is the kind of polished, and devious demagogue Horrowitz would like to be if could ever manage to pull himself out of the gutter and discover the word consistency. I’d give higher odds to Hamas recognizing Israel in the next 24 hours.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

When Stulman and the Penn Hillel start agitating for David Irving to appear on campus without restrictions (after serving his time in Austria, of course) then we can believe their whining about "censorship" is not self-serving hypocritical crap.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Now who the H is Bawer and what does he have to do with the price of beans?

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

This disjointed but interesting rant, and prior replies to it leave a few loose ends:

1. LeVine and other targets of Horrowitz's demagogic BS would do well to examine more closely why he is so "saleable" (which is NOT the same thing as looking at why he is a good con artist).

2. Maybe Lebanese students today are more realistic and practical than French of American because they cannot afford not to be?

3. "Playing hardball" against the "right" constitutes a double-blunder.
First of all: Getting down in the gutter is not the way to keep it from swallowing you up. Secondly: "Right" and "left" are not terms that genuine intellectuals should be using. They have almost no explanatory value in today's political world except as a way of dissecting journalistic laziness. There is nothing right about the so-called "Right" in any sense, for example. Record budget deficits are not "fiscally conservative," bungled foreign military adventures do not conserve national security, rudeness, arrogance, and deliberate ignorance are not family values, etc, etc.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"Pro-war" vs "anti-war" is an irrelevant croc to begin with, and in any event I doubt you could find me any solid, objective and consisent critic of Bush's Iraq policy who would touch Frontpage with a ten foot pole.

So why don't you ever CITE David Irving or the webSITES that support him? Surely your refusal to consider his fine scholarship can only be because you "only read people who agree with your version" of Jewish Paranoia Orthodoxy, right? What was it you tried to tell me a few weeks ago about geese and ganders?

My position is clear. I don't have time for garbage websites, or organizations, run by neo-Nazis, pro-Israeli-terrorists, Karl Rove dupes, Professional Demagogues, deranged Islamophobes, gun nuts, the Flat Earth Society, or the extraterrestrial UFO worshippers.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Horrorwitz does not have an original bone in his body. His has been a career of copy-cat, mischief-making, charlatanism, from his kneejerk Marxist BS in the 1960s to his race-baiting in the 1990s to this anti-intellectual kick today. It may well be that he that he is too much of a wimp to be a true demagogue, but that is no reason to give this arrogant jerk the time of day. Nothing he is saying about academics has not been said before and far better. The solution to profs who are full of their own narrow-minded irrelevant baloney as, IS ALWAYS, to expose their flaws specifically, not to attack them vaguely, and debate them ON THE ISSUES not to try to smear them by a juvenile campaign of guilt by association.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Tell me what important historical fact you learned on FrontPage that could not have been learned reading New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly, Economist, Haaretz, Guardian, Christian Science Monitor or American Historical Review.

My reading bin is rather full at the moment. I do not have time at the moment for neo-nazi crank websites, Al Jazeerah, or fake conservative neo-Israeli-terrorist gutter-webpages.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Am I right in guessing that these South Will Rise Again nutcases are not at Harvard, Columbia, UCLA or even U of Texas ?

Maybe that is because

1) "right-wing" fools are even dumber than "left-wing"

2) Smarter people tend to migrate north of Mason Dixon or west El Paso.

3) The top elite colleges in the country are biased in favor of the "left-wing"

4) The marketplaces for intellectual ideas in the United States, academic and even non-academic, act to eventually marginalize wackos from all sectors of the "political spectrum"

Here's hoping 4) is top factor.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

My list was one of hypothetical possibilities with no opionion intended as to actual validity. My preference was for hypothesis (4). Glad to hear that you don't like (1).

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I read Guardian rather rarely. My main sources are NYT, WP, Economist. They have their limitations but are not run by demogogues or polemicists and their reporting and research capabilities are not remotely approached by any of your crank websites. There is a difference between hate-based opinion and personal psychological anecdote vs informed, balanced, comprehensive insight.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. F., I have read your article. It does not particulary impress, except to remind one that Turks and Armenians are not on the best of terms, and that while the fault may to some degree be mutual, the former half of the dichotomy clearly still has its head buried much further in the sands of denial.

The venue of this article is well-known for its bias and disregard for objectivity, and there is no pretense in this case of a careful evenhanded analysis (which is sorely needed). LeVine is hardly unbiased either, but he certainly does not have quite the same ax to urgently grind.

I don't doubt any of the outrageous examples listed in your cited article, but even if they are typical days in the lives of individuals thus pilloried (dubious) and even if those cases were a thousand times as numerous as those appearing in the article, that would still amount to a miniscule percentage of the professoriate in America.

Given (a) that there has been a proliferation of supposed academic fields dedicated to specific ethnic, racial, religious or other groups since at least the early '70s, accompanies by (b) a set of "affirmative action" policies (meaning essentially nowadays, licensed discrimination) which continues -beyond any initial rationale for them- to reinforce compartmentalized staffing, (c) a closed recruiting system where members of the club pick new members and (d) a general campujs atmosphere of political correctness making it difficult to discuss such problems openly, it is perhaps a wonder that there is not a Horrorwitz every month.

This does not mean that the other 98% of academia not directly affected cannot function because of this. Nor is this any reason to help unprincipled opportunist mischief-makers hype books they have claim to have authored but in fact did not write and instead farmed out to shoddy recycling mills.

Nor do I see any need to embrace censorship, ritual defamation, or crude anti-intellectualism. Despite its flaws, bad scholarship in our system does not ultimately last. As long as students are not forced to read such garbage (e.g. one still has a choice in our society of where to go to university, what to major in, which courses to take, which professors to study under, etc., and what to read after leaving the education system) a kind of intellectual Darwinism will eventually ensure that unfit "post-modern" PC crapola (which probably peaked 15 years ago, by the way) will not survive in the long run.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

As you should surely know by now, if you had been paying attention to a fraction of what I have said on this page, the fact somebody appears on or works for Frontpage means nothing. If a reporter is good, he or she has qualifications which demonstrate that (suc as background or experience with the topic at hand). Frontpage's only qualification is certifying a kind of group-think adherence to unAmerican "neo-con" BS. Since the topic at hand is the credibility of Horrorwitz, it hardly adds to the discussion to be continually trying to pretend that Horrorwitz's henchman, lackies, or text that he has recycled on his website from elsewhere are of any value in such an assessement. Let me know when Horrorwitz publishes an article in American Historical Review. Or, maybe I should let YOU know, because I am subscriber of that HISTORY publication.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Sorry for the wayward cut and paste in the subject line.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

With some due respect, Friedman, it sounds like you may in need of some serious deprogramming.

I took a look at the home page of FrontPage, just to see if maybe I was wrong, and they had somehow recently become a responsible source of reliable news and insightful opinion.

Au contraire totalment !

The homepage of "frontpage" has all the decorum and authenticity of the National Enquirer. Pure sensationalistic crap. It makes HNN (on a bad week) look like Foreign Affairs in comparison.

There were no fewer than three major banner ads there for David Horowitz.
Which surprised me a bit, until I noticed that this sleazy ex-commie-turned-neo-fascist con artist is EDITOR of the place !
One of the articles was headlined "Palestinian Nazis." You might as well read the main newsletter of Islamic Jihad as rely on this stinking mound of garbage for anything.

Really, Friedman, I am shocked that you could be such a dupe. At least Bat Y'eor is a scholar of some sort, not a pure huckster and BS artist.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

If cut-and-paste ripoff and reruns of "Christopher Hitchens, Phyllis Chesler, Walid Phares, Richard L. Rubenstein, Ahmed Subhy Mansour, Steven Stalinsky, Mustafa Akyol, Alan Dershowitz, Bat Ye'or, David G. Littman," were to appear on would you read it regularly ?

If Bernard Lewis and Niall Ferguson, for example, were quoted on a neo Nazi website would you use it as a source for reading those guys ?

To claim that Horrorwitz's own website is a good source of commentary about Horrowitz: THAT is truly moronic.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

You again don't get it. How many of those author's pieces appeared somewhere else BEFORE being reproduced on FrontPage mag? Show me the list of authors who had major articles appearing first on Frontpage, before showing up anywhere else, and you may have a point.

Saddam shook hands with Chirac and Rumsfeld. That means he is in the same category of human being as them?

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I am not particularly fond of the phrase "neo-conservative." But I think we know what it means, and it is clear in two minutes of examination that a neo-con agenda is the sole practical purpose of It is not a legitmate journalist outlet. It is a front for demagogues and mischief makers who dupe people like you using a veneer of serious semi-thoughtful writing. David Irving is not a bad writer either, but I don't call you a small mind because you don't go to his website or those of his supporters for news about Jews, or Israel, or the history of the Holocaust.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"I made a point of only mentioning people who had posted articles directly on FrontPage or were part of a symposium sponsored by and only available on FrontPage".

Sorry, I don't believe you. If you want to be credible, you will have to give examples. Name of author, title of article, date of appearance on Front Mag, and evidence (Google, maybe) that the same piece wasn't in some more respectable venue before being recycled on Frontpage. I am indeed judging "by the cover", as you would surely do too if I tried to persuade you to read the web pages like "Voices from Wilderness" or as a regular source of general information (not that those guys are as despicably hypocritical and socially destructive as Horrorwitz, but they certainly also cater heavily to a sensationalist crowd of closed minds).

Looking over your list more carefully, I see a considerable representation of professional BSing troublemakers like Dershowitz. And a lot of seeming nobodies. Three examples each of exclusive Frontpage-first articles by Shenkman and Warraq might earn you a slight retraction from me. Depending on what those articles are about.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Dear Professor LeVine,

After finally reading the four page smear/attack upon your career/reputation in the Horowitz book while loitering at the local Barnes & Noble. Although, I am not too cheap to purchase the book, it is just that I wouldn't give this author a dime if he were sitting on the sidewalk selling pencils... my only questions is...

Are you listed on the TSA- No Fly Register?

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

To jump in with some bibliographical trivia, Bawer's piece was published in the Hudson Review, not by the Hudson Institute.

And it's not really clear to me that Frontpage Magazine got copyright clearance to run that piece. In my experience, Frontpage feels free to violate copyright with abandon, as Horowitz has felt free to violate contractual agreements, e.g., with The Daily Princetonian a few years ago at Princeton. So the Bawer piece is not primarily a Frontpage piece, and needn't be discussed that way.

Rob Willis - 4/25/2006

"Penn State Censors an Exhibit about Palestinian Terror

Saturday, April 22, 2006
Penn State cancels exhibit on Palestinian Terror - "did not promote cultural diversity"
PSU censors exhibit
By Jessica Remitz
Collegian Staff Writer Friday, April 21, 2006

For Penn State student Josh Stulman, years of hard work ended in
disappointment yesterday when the university cancelled his upcoming art
exhibit for violation of Penn State's policies on nondiscrimination,
harassment and hate.

Three days before his 10-piece exhibit -- Portraits of Terror -- was scheduled to open at the Patterson Building, Stulman (senior-painting and anthropology) received an e-mail message from the School of Visual Arts that said his exhibit on images of terrorism "did not promote cultural diversity" or "opportunities for democratic dialogue" and the display would be cancelled.

The exhibit, Stulman said, which is based mainly on the conflict in
Palestinian territories, raises questions concerning the destruction of
Jewish religious shrines, anti-Semitic propaganda and cartoons in
Palestinian newspapers, the disregard for rules of engagement and treatment
of prisoners, and the indoctrination of youth into terrorist acts.

"I'm being censored and the reason for censoring me doesn't make sense,"
Stulman said.

Charles Garoian, professor and director of the School of Visual Arts, said
Stulman's controversial images did not mesh with the university's
educational mission.

The decision to cancel the exhibit came after reviewing Penn State's Policy
AD42: Statement on Nondiscrimination and Harassment and Penn State's Zero
Tolerance Policy for Hate, he wrote.

Garoian could not be reached by The Daily Collegian for further comment by
press time yesterday.

Penn State spokesman Bill Mahon wrote in an e-mail message that "there are
other issues involved in the display that has caused a problem, issues that
have nothing to do with the content of the painting." Mahon wrote that he
did not know all the details.

"We always encourage those who are offended by free speech to use their own
constitutional right to free speech to make their concerns known," Mahon
wrote. "This is an educational institution and people should embrace
opportunities to inform one another and the public. ... We don't have a
right to hide art."

Stulman said the exhibit, which is sponsored by Penn State Hillel, aims to
create awareness on campus about the senselessness of terrorism and drew
inspiration from images that have appeared in the public through newspapers
and television.

He said he was shocked at the university's decision to cancel the exhibit
and that he has tried to meet with Garoian on numerous occasions to discuss
his artwork.

"It's not about hate. I don't hate Muslims. This is not about Islam,"
Stulman said. "This is about terrorism impacting the Palestinian way of life
and Israel way of life."

Stulman said advertisements for the event were defaced in the Patterson and
School of Visual Arts buildings, one of which had a large swastika on it.

Stulman, who is Jewish, said he felt threatened and abused by the Nazi
symbol and is concerned for his artwork and his personal well-being.

Garoian also wrote that exhibit space in the School of Visual Arts is
reserved for students and faculty, not groups with a particular agenda.

Stulman said he created his paintings on his own and he approached Penn
State Hillel in February to help with advertising costs and food for the
opening. He said the School of Visual Arts did not object to his earlier
exhibit, also sponsored by Hillel.
Tuvia Abramson, director of Penn State Hillel, said while Hillel sponsored
the Stulman's exhibit, the group had nothing to do with his message or

"We don't have a political agenda except to support the voice of Jewish
students," he said.

Abramson said Hillel is exploring other venues for Stulman's exhibits to
ensure his message does not go unnoticed.

"It's about opening eyes and challenging viewpoints," Abramson said.
"Artistic expression is the basis for creativity -- but here, it was

adam richard schrepfer - 4/25/2006

Mr. LeVine,

If you are going to teach Marx then isn't it necessary to teach a bit of Hegel as well? Your comment about there bieng no neo-cons without Hegel is interesting. Can you point to some more sources so I could do some additional reading...?

adam richard schrepfer - 4/25/2006

two years teaching in Spain and now a year here in Korea...and I'm a damn bit better than the instructors I had in University..

Wow good you read hundreds of books for your P.h. D......I'm sure from all that you reading your mind is in good shape and you can use your historical imagination to come up with ways for students to get a more balanced and ecletic view point or at least to get them interested in the articles that you are already assigning.

As for your comments about Professor Sherry's class... Now you are telling me that students used to study hard but now they don't??? Also Sherry could not assign authors with viewpoints like Lind because there were too many students in the class and it was an introductory lecture based class?? Please clarify....

Also as for "it's hard enough to get the students to understand the basic when the Vietnam War took place".......this is again bull crap complaining....I take it that you are teaching in America...??? You need to get the AmeriCAN attitude..You must realize that it is extremely disempowering to complain all the time and not to offer solutions? ?????

How do you feel if your students complain by blaming others or saying they don't have enough time??

adam richard schrepfer - 4/24/2006

Again you amaze me...You complain endlessly about your students being Lazy, yet you yourself seem so very loath to answer questions or to provide thoughtful solutions. (Clue phone for teaching college students,as I have plenty of experience with this, they are generally lazy and more concerned with drinking rather than writing a good paper...why don't you just accept this fact from the start and move on)

Good now we've established that the experience was valuable..Now maybe you can admit that students should have something like it and then put your creativity into motion. So your two professors were from the same department..good...They were not chosen on an idealogical basis...luck of the draw. What if they had been chosen on idealogical basis??(as if that doesn't play a big role in the way that profs are already selected) Then students would be exposed to a wider idealogical viewpoints.


Lisa Kazmier - 4/24/2006

I am not an American historian and I was speaking about taking Sherry's survey class about twenty years ago. It's hard enough anymore to get students to understand a basic narrative, i.e., when the Vietnam War took place, let alone the kind of point Sherry made. The advantages Sherry had was lecturing to undergraduates at Northwestern University, where students actually did their work (not a given anymore) and could follow his lectures (also not a given). But even there, students in an introductory lecture-based class with hundreds of students was not conducive to reading the sources and diverging views you bring up. Sherry could begin to do that because he assumed we read the textbook before class (and we had).

Lisa Kazmier - 4/24/2006

How much experience do you have with college students? Using four books a semester is considered too much to many of them, so just where is the laziness factor.

And BTW I've had to read hundreds just for my PhD exams.

Lisa Kazmier - 4/24/2006

I found it valuable but how is it reproduceable? You want litmus tests or something? Remember that these two professors were part of the SAME department WITHOUT some ideological prescreening. Indeed, much as it will shock some here, the Marxist professor did not get tenure and the conservative already had it. So, are some of you arguing for balance saying the school should have kept Professor Foley around for idealogical balance?

Lisa Kazmier - 4/24/2006

Satisfy me? Please. Turning in something from the internet with your name on it isn't what I'd call working hard.

Philip Tuley - 4/23/2006

Wow, have you ever sat in a one of his classes???

I doubt it, not if you're spouting this. I have. I've watched students challenge his assertions, and an open, and equal, dialogue ensue.

Until you can say the same, you are speaking through your hat.

Philip Tuley - 4/23/2006

Mr Willis,
I can understand having a bad day come out in such a way that you might say things that weren't exactly what you meant, I certainly have had my share of those.
I will not try to answer for Mr. LeVine on Marxism. Given the wide scope of his theories, Marx was far more than a mere banner carrier for communism, and I am fairly certain that some of those theories may be what he is referring to.
And, honestly, when I replied to your earlier posting about the fundamentalists, I was trying to clarify that, when I speak of such groups, they are groups that have self-identified as being such, and have clearly defined their positions. While I disagree with their positions, no one who is a citizen of the US should be excluded from the political debates based on their idealogies.

N. Friedman - 4/23/2006


In that some top scholars have published on the cite, your comment is bigotted nonsense. As for anti-war writers, Edwin Black has appeared on the cite.

N. Friedman - 4/23/2006


That is nonsense. There are pro and anti-war writers on the cite. And, there are some fine scholars on it as well. It is you who prefer not to read the cite for your own reasons, most likely your goal to only read people who agree with your version of orthodoxy.

Rob Willis - 4/23/2006

Mr. Tuley, forgive my last response, had an extremely bad couple of days and took it out on you.

When I ask the questions that you identify as simplistic, they are not, they are designed to encourage an answer from the heart. I am interested in your definition of Christian fundamentalism, not theirs. I am not what could be called a fundementalist by any stretch, nor am I comfortable with the thinking of many groups who have been identified as such (see: the whack-jobs from Kansas who insist on protesting at military funerals).

On the other hand, I get very worried when I hear rumblings (such as those from the Democratic party some weeks ago) that C.F.'s should stay out of the political process. This is troubling to say the least. More troubling is the current problem at Ohio State/Mansfield (see thread below) involving a lawsuit and potential firing of a librarian who recommended some books that didn't fit the world-view of some of the faculty.

These simple examples suggest that non-C.F.s are actually engaged in the very practices that they indict Christians for supposedly perpetrating: silencing those with a different set of values, values that don't agree with an increasingly hostile secular power structure.

I am dead serious about LeVine's opinions on what parts of Marxism are still worth consideration. I want to hear exactly what he means by that, because his statement is slippery. It isn't meant to be a simplistic question, it is a real inquiry into his mind, which is not currently available as a web link. Thus the need to start at the start.

adam richard schrepfer - 4/23/2006


Hard to say.....but by her own admition she says that one of her best experiences was seeing first hand the juxtaposition in teaching styles between a Marxist/English Professor and a Harvard Educated man. Yet due to time constraints and the reality that 'all' viewpoints can't be taught, and that some people have a knee jerk reaction to even the word 'balanced' then her students should be denied something similar to the same experience that she found so very educational.

Philip Tuley - 4/23/2006

Hey, Rob, when did I ever "agree with putting someone in jail or political exile for violating a value-set of your own?"

The problem seems to be with your memory, or your grasp of reality, since you have no basis for such a statement. In point of fact, I personally feel that we've been putting far too many people in jail, and exiling them, all in the name of the "war on terrorism," which is, of course, a meaningless pile of drivel designed to make a good PR statement.

As to patronizing you, you're the one asking the really, really simplistic and poorly thought out questions. At this point I'm simply going to assume that the level of questioning matches the level of intellect.

Rob Willis - 4/22/2006

I don't believe you are speaking toward an open mind on this subject. Kazmier is still complaining that her students aren't so automatically overwhelmed with her ideas that they are willing to burn the midnight oil to satisfy her.

adam richard schrepfer - 4/22/2006

I have a problem with Historians who don't take serious time or effort to be as objective as possible. Since complete objectivity does not and can not exist, then they claim they are exempt. Sounds like a big fat stinking excuse to be lazy and to teach one's personnal take on the events. Mcpherson seems to be an excellent model to hold up as to what a good historian should be. It hurts to say this, but Wikipedia could also be a good example in learning how to become 'balanced.'

Rob Willis - 4/22/2006

LeVine, you are charged with designing and moderating an environment which encourages a free exchange of ideas. You are, in your own words, a failure as a teacher.

I don't care what your personal beliefs are, and, news flash, neither do your innocent students. You have a much greater stewardship, and from everything I have seen you write, you are totally disinterested in it.

Lisa Kazmier - 4/22/2006

Mark LeVine stated it well. You don't have time for such things quite often. This was a survey class, not one on Vietnam. We read a textbook. We read maybe a smattering of primary sources (none of which I remember). "Balanced" is not for every point of view to be represented. Not possible. And quite unrealistic given the fact that many to most students just don't show any work ethic. He gave his view and what it was based on, just like he did on Radical Reconstruction. Only in the Vietnam lecture did a bunch of ROTC guys think they knew something different. He dealt with whatever they brought up. They were unhappy still. They seemed to think there is no such thing as a war the US couldn't win. I wonder if their opinion has changed.

N. Friedman - 4/22/2006


I do not defend FrontPage. I defend good scholarship when it appears in FrontPage.

I never claimed Horowitz to be a good scholar. I do not care. In fact, I said not one word about his scholarship. I spoke about other people with writing - some of it first rate - which appears on his page.

Now, you blob out talk about neo-cons. What on earth does that have to do with the matter?

Again, Peter, scholarship is good if it is good. There is good Marxist, neo-con, conservative, liberal, etc., scholarship. There is also scholarship which is not good and from any viewpoint.

Your mind clearly works by labels, not by what people report and argue. To me, that is intellectually moronic, the sign of a small mind.

Rob Willis - 4/22/2006

Mr. Tuley, don't patronize me. I have read Marx and Weber, I have studied the different attempts to apply the theories to reality, and in every case it has been a train wreck. Being a little bit Marxist is like being a little bit pregnant- selected Marxist principles cannot exist in application without a steady march toward complete annexation and destruction of competing ideologies in the process.

As to the fundamentalist question, I was less than impressed with your answer, which is why I didn't respond. The description of the aims and characteristics of Christian fundametalists are no different than any cross-section of any society who wishes to influence their culture. You seem to think that attempting to influence law and morality is their unique goal; I would ask you to look at the attempts by leftists to destroy free speech and personal expression around the world in the name of political correctness, "diversity", and any other of a host of politically motivated reasons. This is no different in any way than the great Satan of Christian fundamentalism, except that you seem to agree with putting someone in jail or political exile for violating a value-set of your own. In short, every individual and group has an agenda, most of them different from C.F.'s only in the bullet points. I find it interesting that of all the agendas floating around out there that you would single them out and take them to task.

adam richard schrepfer - 4/22/2006

Dear Lisa,

Again,as I don't have the time nor desire to get into a long debate about Vietnam, I said that students would be richer if they heard the lecture Sherry delivered as well hearing or reading both Lewis Sorely and Michael Lind. Would you not agree? Or do you not pay attention to their work, preferring just one side of the story?

Are you familiar with Robert McPherson? He has a book 'Draw With the Sword: Reflections on the Civil War' In Chapter 3 or so he talks about whether or not the South could have won and provides some interesting discussion. Now I know that Vietnam is not the same as the Civil War but if we are talking about conditionals here, both War's could have had very different outcomes had certain key people made different decisions earlier on or had public opinion changed or swayed at certain times. A good historian takes this into account, which is one of the reasons that Mcpherson is a Pulitzer prize winner. He also has a great chapter at the end of the book that touches on making history readable without dumbing it down. (Something which your unmotivated students who hate writing might find motivational.)

As to the other part of your post, we won't say that you learned abou the difference between Marxism and Conservativism because of the class, but by your own admition you did benefit greatly from experiencing the dynamics of the class changing. Other students should have something akin to this.

Philip Tuley - 4/21/2006

Perhaps before he answers this question it would be more germane to ask if you have a clear understanding of Marx's theories in the first place. Do you understand his economic, sociological, and psychological theories, or are you only using the term Marxism as a shorthand for communism or socialism?

I ask this because, on March 22nd, in a thread entitled "Fundamentalism/Modernity" you wrote - "No, I am not kidding. Precisely what, in your eyes, constititutes Christian fundamentalism, and where is that "dangerous" line? I am quite interested, I have never understood this slippery term."

To which I replied with a list of sites from the very groups whose existence seemed to mystify you. Given your lack of response to that post, I now assume that you were, indeed, mystified, and were satisfied with information that you were, somehow, unable to discover on your own. Is this another situation where you are truly looking for a discussion of Marx's theories?

Mark A. LeVine (UC Irvine History Professor) - 4/21/2006

i get nervous when i hear people use the word 'balance' re teaching. sounds like bush wanting balance vis-a-vis creationalism/intelligent design. or re the science not really being there for global warning. i do not think i get paid to tell all sides of a historical story. rather, i get paid precisely to make the judgement about which ones are closest to what most likely happened and to focus on them, while mentioning in certain courses--methodology courses, etc.--the debates that are or have happened around certain historical subjects. as nice as it would be to produce "all sides" of a given historical episode, it's impossibile to do so in most classes because of time.

Rob Willis - 4/21/2006

LeVine, you yourself are proof of that concept.

R. Willis

Lisa Kazmier - 4/21/2006

You're missing a bit of what I'm saying. I'm not saying only that I learned the difference between the Marxist and the Conservative because of that English class. I am saying that I learned elements of value from both (I found the Marxist a more interesting professor but I got better grades from the Conservative; it might have been acclimation or something else that accounted for the grades). The entire dynamics of the class changed, which was it's own lesson but not the entirety of the lesson. So sorry if I didn't give you the fullness of the experience.

Vietnam wasn't a done deal in the 1980s? Huh? So, Robert McFarlane took some time to figure out that losing was inevitable; is that reason to say Sherry missed something? What exactly is credible about an argument saying Vietnam was winnable?

N. Friedman - 4/21/2006


I mentioned that he is a good reporter I discovered on FrontPage. I then read his book which was a good piece of reporting. If you had read my comment, you would have known what I said.

Rob Willis - 4/21/2006

What exactly is still valid about Marx's approach?


Mark A. LeVine (UC Irvine History Professor) - 4/21/2006

i'm sorry, really, you have no idea what goes on in the 'modern' university. it's sad you feel this way. perhaps you had a marxist professor and s/he blew the whole thing for you. but even the professors i happen to know who one could categorize--methodologically mind you, not politically--as marxist don't 'impose' their methodology on others. rather, marxist approaches to history, sociology, etc., are valuable and important and need to be taught, as part of a broad spectrum of the great thinkers of the modern era. what's funny is that marxism as an intellectual/epistemological/methodological grounding as such has largely been superceded by a more 'post-marxist' perspective which, like post-structuralism and the like, has attempted to take what's still valid about marx's approach and use it to create new approaches for studying contemporary reality that are more relevant to the dyanmics of societies today.

Mark A. LeVine (UC Irvine History Professor) - 4/21/2006

you're missing the point. the vast majority of academia and profs, even in social sciences and humanities, are not spouting marxist BS. you're accepting horowitz's argument when in fact, like most everything else he says, it's simply wrong. on the other hand, to the extent that marx is taught, he SHOULD be taught. bc he's one of the most important thinkers of the last few hundred years. we may not agree with much of his writing, but that doesn't mean we don't teach him, otherwise, why teach hegel, who thought africans had no history. but without hegel, there's no neocons, so perhaps you'd agree to keep him?

Mark A. LeVine (UC Irvine History Professor) - 4/21/2006

well thanks for the comments. however, i wasn't surprised, but felt it was worth pointing out to others how baseless his charges are, and precisely the point that it doesn't matter if they're true, only how often they're repeated (see my previous posting that reviewed the book) for more on this.

adam richard schrepfer - 4/20/2006


Horowitz is reckless and mistaken on many points, but he is NOT the mythical thought police. He wants something akin to your experience with the Marxist English professor and the Harvard-Educated man. You had both and you were able to see the difference. One of the problems for students is that they see far toooo many of the former rather than the later.

Sounds like professor Sherry delivered a wonderful lecture, and he ably showed that the US could not have won the war. Good job, but you act like this is a done deal. Over finished. Students would be richer though if they ALSO heard arguments from people like Lewis Sorley or more middle of the road authors like Michael Lind.

I would never ask for professors to check their opinions at the door, just as I would not ask a U.S. President to forget about his personal faith. I would however ask that the President keep his religious opinions in check or in reserve, just as I would hope that professors would not Preach to me their blah blah blahh neo-con or marxist line of thinking.

Lisa Kazmier - 4/20/2006

How did I just make your point? You didn't exactly explain "balance" and what you mean by "the other side of the story". One of the most brilliant lectures I heard as an undergraduate was on American history by Professor Michael Sherry. It was on the unwinnable nature of the Vietnam War, called "The Impotence of Omnipotence."

To someone like Horowitz, that isn't "fair and balanced" because Sherry isn't telling you how the Pentagon coulda/shoulda won, whereas Sherry ably showed that didn't and wasn't going to happen. Every ROTC considered himself a historian that day and Sherry was the same guy who lectured about Radical Reconstruction, among other things. All of a sudden he was insane because they thought they knew something. Well, that was their delusion. And I think it's the same delusion that Horowitz and others are using in thinking they can be the thought police here. Simple as that.

N. Friedman - 4/20/2006

I am glad you do not like 1 either.

N. Friedman - 4/20/2006


There is a difference between hate based opinion and accurate reporting. I agree.

However, sometime accurate reporting requires reporting that some people really do have loathsome ideas. The issue here is that there are opinions, other than those in, say, The New York Times (e.g. Bawer's), which are not hate driven but which report on those driven by hate. And that needs to be reported on, just as the Nazis needed to be reported on - setting forth what they actually believed and were doing - in the early 1930's.

Bawer is a good reporter. One does not have to agree with his theory to learn from what he has written. To me, that is enough to read him since he is reporting on things not much the subject of middle of the road papers.

This, Peter, I note. Having read you often, I think you dismiss entirely that which comes from those who hold different opinions than you do. To me, that is the opposite of what a scholar does.

My assumption is that most writers (although some are on the take and some are too ideologically bent to learn from) write in good faith although some are better at it than others. Ergo, if they report on facts truthfully, there is something to learn. However, I expect that writers pick material that suits their general point of view. But, again, to learn about something, the more evidence you see, the less likely you are to make a mistake. So, it is best - unless you want to make dumb mistakes - to study those with different viewpoints.

In this instance, if Bawer is correct, Europe has made some pretty dumb mistakes and will pay for it dearly. If not, he has still uncovered a lot of interesting information about what he thinks to be reactionary elements in society.

Rob Willis - 4/20/2006

Lisa, you just made my point. It is in the balance where education occurs, not in the single-viewpoint approach. I am not asking you to suspende your points of view, simply to give the other ide of the story. Is that not the essence of educating?

I suppose it is too much to ask.

Lisa Kazmier - 4/20/2006

What constitutes "balance to you"? Am I supposed to spend half the time I discuss "Survival in Auschwitz" to say Primo Levi is making it up and/or the holocaust was a good idea?

I get the feeling the view of "balance" some assert here is for scholars to check their own abilities to reason at the door, as if they are no longer allowed to draw conclusions from what they've read or observed. If you can't have us cheerlead for something as in "America is the greatest country on earth" you would have us be mindless beyond dates, names and places, rather than confront and examine the doctrine of nationalism, for example, that gives rise to the above statement of sentiment. I refuse. Otherwise, I might as well be teaching these students to finger paint or use crayons.

You further seem to assert that if someone has a status as a "cultural Marxist" someone this invalidates someone's ability to teach. One of the best experiences I had as a student was when a Marxist English female professor taught a class for a month, got into an accident, and was replaced by a very traditionalist, Harvard-educated man. The juxtaposition of their interests and style WAS the education, not what works of fiction or poetry we read. Really made the brain grow.

Lisa Kazmier - 4/20/2006

Yeah, here's a reason: to disabuse people of the pedestrian thinking or myths. Example, Hitler was merely "crazy," as if that explains anything/everything. It sure doesn't explain where fascism came from or why people were attracted to it and become apologists for it. Here's probably an example you don't like "the the Muslims hate us for our freedoms." Slipshod, simplistic thinking on both counts.

Not that today's students are familiar with either as a slogan or a spin. Unless I use a reference to the Pittsburgh Steelers, I am not sure anything makes any sense here, anyway.

N. Friedman - 4/20/2006


How would you measure who is brighter - those on the Left or those on the Right -? Einstein was on the Left. Heisenberg was on the Right. Both were pretty brilliant.

Or, in other words, another less than brilliant comment by you!!! That is a strike against the Left!!!

N. Friedman - 4/20/2006


I already told you. Again, FrontPage is one of the few sources where you can find substantive information regarding the hellish life faced by non-Muslims - and, most particularly, Christians - in the Muslim regions. That is reason enough to read the magazine.

Additionally, FrontPage has had innumerable articles regarding Europe's reaction to its Muslim population. See e.g. this recent article by reporter/author Bruce Bawer - which, in this case, is reproduced from the Hudson Institute (a source I would not otherwise examine): Now, I believed I first learned about Bawer on FrontPage. I read his book, While Europe Slept, which is really quite interesting. While I do not agree with his views about the Iraq war, he is clearly not a quack and his observerations are rather interesting, to say the least.

He previously wrote a book about the dangers of Christian fundamentalism in the US. He is rather sensative to the issue as he is a homosexual, which is, so he says, a major reason why he moved to Amsterdam.

He discovered - or, to be more exact, on his reporting, he asserts - that the regime of tolerance in Amsterdam, and all over Europe where he has travelled, is beginning to crumble. He sees the Islamic revival movement in Europe as anti-liberal, fundamentalist more or less but far more dangerous than in the US because the demands are far greater and, moreover, the willingness to use violence to achieve such ends is far greater.

He worries about the rise of a very hard right in reaction to what is occuring, on the one hand, and the unwillingness of the Left to cognize the illiberalism which has arisen among a large portion of the Muslim community in the countries he is familiar with and which, on his telling, threatens Europe's future as a liberal democratic bastion on its own and/or due to the reactionary response.

Not being European - or, to make you happy, from any country in Europe -, I cannot say whether he is correct. I know that there are other Europeans I have substantial contact with - primarily lawyers I work with from Britain - who say much the same thing Bawer says. So, I am inclined to think that there is something to what he says.

And, as he notes, you cannot find such topics addressed much - much less in a sustained way - even in The New York Times.

Now, I also told you that I read left wing magazines as well including, in particular, CounterPunch. Here is a CounterPunch article which addresses the very same issues as Bat Ye'or, viz. the Euro-Arab Dialogue and the Mediteranean Partnership, only the article favors the process of creating a joint civilization while Bat Ye'or believes the project to be a dangerous delusion:

Again, Peter, the more angles on which you examine something, the better you understand it. So, being a Guardian junky, as you appear to be, is not the be all and end of of learning. You need to read the extremes and the betweens as well, if you want to understand something.

Rob Willis - 4/20/2006

Rob Willis - 4/20/2006

Break it up, you two, before you start to like each other.

Rob Willis - 4/20/2006

Mr. Ramsey, I don't need to be a member of an organization to make an ass of myself. I am a natural.

Rob Willis - 4/20/2006

I know I haven't made myself as clear as I wish, it is a broad topic. I am not attacking specialized studies as a field, I simply see a line between legitimate scholarship and self-indulgence when there are students walking out the door who are still ignorant of history. This does happen, and has happened to me, in three graduate classes that come to mind immediately, and probably more if I choose to reflect on the matter. I am asking for balance in the classroom product.

LeVine is a self-admitted activist for "social justice". If you bother to research what that means, you will find it to be cultural Marxism in its purest form. Whether he admits it or not is irrelevant.

William L Ramsey - 4/20/2006

Are CSPC interns/researchers posting to this thread under pseudonyms? I feel certain that Rob Willis is not one of them. God Bless you, Rob.

adam richard schrepfer - 4/19/2006

Mr. Willis,

If you don't believe that universities should be the venue for promoting specialized studies (yet you have respect for many scholars who engage in this activity) where are the specialized studies supposed to come from.

Also saying that Mr. LeVine preaches Marxism may or may not be the case. He has stated numerous times that he is not a Marxist.

---- to Ms. Kazmier, If being a Historian is about using the facts and not being a cheerleader, then the next question is using the facts to what end? Also would you be willing to direct these comments toward Howard Zinn?

Lisa Kazmier - 4/19/2006

You talk about respect but all I see is blustering and sloganeering about some bias of someone or another. Makes no sense whatsoever.

How about something concrete, like asserting than Iranians hated the US long before 1979 for the work of the CIA (and the British) in propping up a Shah who did nothing positive for them. Sue me. Being a historian is about using facts, not being a cheerleader.

Rob Willis - 4/19/2006

I agree. Lost-causers, Holocaust-denyers, racists, extreme purveyors of all types need to exposed. I cannot stomach them.

N. Friedman - 4/19/2006

Point well taken

John Richard Clark - 4/19/2006

is for some enterprising liberal journalist to write a book exposing the nutty ultra-right wing intellectuals in academia. Every person with a college education has experienced the stereotype of the hyper-politically correct leftist academic---Horowitz's book should come as no surprise to the average reader.

What should be a REAL shocker to most readers is the presence of neoconfederate scholars who teach at mainstream colleges and universties and espouse white supremacist beliefs.

All one has to do is read the writings of Thomas Woods Jr., Clyde Wilson, Paul Gottfried, Donald Livingston, and Thomas DiLorenzo.

N. Friedman - 4/19/2006


Well, most of the people I cited had published original articles on FrontPage. That was your stated point.

In this case, you made a fool of yourself, holding an opinion with no facts. Again: you confuse the cover with the book.

Are you really an historian? I like to think so but your argument here suggests that you jump to conclusions far too easily. That is called bad judgement.

Rob Willis - 4/19/2006

You need to re-read my posts. I have not attacked the granting of Ph.Ds, I have attacked; (a) that the earning (a better term) of them does not grant the awardee an immunity from real-life standards of fair play or objective scholarly benchmarks. Nor should they expect that they can not be held accountable by those who pay their salaries, usually the taxpayer.

I have severe problems with the university system indeed, but not exactly on "principle", whatever you infer through that term. It is clear that most universities are no longer intersted in fulfilling the mission statement usually assumed to be in place and honestly pursued; instead, they have become little more than self-perpetuating mutual admiration societies.

I appreciate and enjoy the process of seeking and absorbing new ideas, but not all ideas are equal, nor do they merit the attention of otherwise curious people. This is the greatest problem- the inability (or unwillingness) of sensible academics to dismiss pointless wastes of funding and review resources. Oh, they will usually jump all over holocaust denyers or wildly racist colleagues, but will ignore the absurdity of courses dealing with queer sex toy techniques or some such. Is this really enlightened thought, or pet fetishes disguised as legitimate scholarship?

I don't believe that the university needs to be the venue for examining or promoting specialized studies when those studies fade from relevance to 99% of humanity. Do it on your on time, and spare the student and the alumni gifts from the illusion of significance.

Don't misunderstand: I have respect for many scholars who engage in specialized studies. But specialized knowledge is no substititue for a sound and objective grasp of the big picture. You can neither teach nor learn anatomy by studying a single femur bone. You may come away with a terrific sense of the bone, but you will have no idea what the animal really looked like.

William L Ramsey - 4/19/2006

Okay, so now what do we have? You are attacking liberal bias in the classroom, elitism, arrogance, condecsension, the very notion of granting Ph.D.'s, and now pedagogical approaches to general versus specialized studies. May I ask: do you condone our enlightenment reliance on empirical evidence and the search for new knowledge? I ask because many critics who voice the sort of anger that you have do not really believe in the modern university system on principle but conceal that deeper antipathy by resorting to these narrower attacks.

N. Friedman - 4/19/2006


A list of Walid Phares articles on FrontPage. Most are original to FrontPage:

Bat Ye'or:

Henry Mark Holzer:

Rick Shenkman (symposium):

Dershowitz (Some, but not all, original to FrontPage:

Frances B. Cogan:

Ronald Radosh (Many from FrontPage originally)

Edward Alexander (Many from FrontPage):

David Deming:

Juan J. López (interview):

Steven Plaut (any FrontPage articles):

Phyllis Chesler (Many FrontPage articles):

Khaleel Mohammed (article, Interview and symposium):

I think that is a fair sampling. If you want to insult me further by not taking my word, I suggest you do some research.

Note: Some of the authors have article on FrontPage and other articles reproduced on FrontPage. However, all of those I indicate - as well as those I have not cited to here - have original article(s) or were part of a symposium(s) or were interviewed by FrontPage.

I stand by my point that the magazine has much to offer, whether or not you agree with the view of its owner. And again, I disagree with a lot of what he thinks and what many of the authors on the website think. Nonetheless, there is much to learn there as there is also some very good scholarship there.

N. Friedman - 4/19/2006


Here is another point. I do not need to prove anything to you. In this case, the very fact that you need to be told what appears on the website in question, without even exmining the matter, proves that you have no basis to make your accusation about the website.

I note that today's edition of FrontPage has 4 original articles,by Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha, Dick Morris, Vivek H. Dehejia and Don Feder.

For the record, Hitchens was interviewed by FrontPage at .

Again, Peter, you are proving yourself to be rather shallow.

N. Friedman - 4/19/2006


Warraq and Shenkman participated in FrontPage symposiums.

Rob Willis - 4/19/2006

My comment about energy spent teaching the student was an indictment of the university system in general. Somehow they have created a self-justifying psychosystem that puts students and their experience somewhere below professor pedigrees, "diversity" numbers, and defending faulty products (like Marxism, which has been shown to be an unworkable and dangerous philosophy, yet which is preached by geniuses like LeVine all over the country). I don't know what the answer is, perhaps retirn to tighter enrollment standards, double the duration/hours of classes, add two months to the school year, who knows? The past model of the university (perhaps 60 years ago) may give us an idea of how to produce thoughtful, productive human beings instead of mind-&%*#@%& radicalized idiots.

As to defending Ph.Ds, the examples of why this is insane are legion. Horowitz points out some, and Sally Jacobsen of Northern kentucky University is but the latest example of a truly screwed-up human being who shouldn't be allowed within 100 yards of impressionable students. Thank goodness, the University dumped her, a refreshing and encouraging step toward righting the boat.

Students of history need to understand the broad canvas long before electing to study the historical significance of trans-sexual Polish night-watchmen of the 19th century and their impact on milk prices. Unfortunately, the present system indulges too much in focusing on the latter rather than the former.

adam richard schrepfer - 4/19/2006


I agree with you about finding a more respectable venue. A lot of the articles on Frontpage make me sick. However it does do a good job of gathering aticles. You may jibe about 'cut and paste re-runs' and the need to look somewhere else, but can you name another source that routinely posts articles by authors that Mr. Friedman has listed????

adam richard schrepfer - 4/19/2006

Mr. Willis,

If want to encourage more energy devoted to 'teaching the kids', could you please provide a few specific examples of what you mean.

I too echo your experience of listening to the world according to 'Dr. Fillintheblank'. It's frustrating to read sets of articles with obscure language (obscure to the point of being meaningless) that already contain a forgone conclusion with which you may disagree with. A lot of articles assigned are just plain 'nonsense on stilts.' Take for example the quote I've added at the bottom of this post.

I don't think that defending Phd's in mass is necessarily a bad idea. Otherwise how would Universities choose candidates? You need people who have experience with writing and the University system. The idea that someone who has a Ph.D is worthy of so much respect as to be above questioning is ridiculous though. I teach at a language institute with four years of experience under my belt. We have people there who have Master's degrees who are quite good but there are also newbies who come in who have been able to show the 'I studied the monitor hypothesis theory' people a thing or two. Also some people with higher education degrees are just bad teachers who continually get things wrong.

Reality is intrinsically elitist,” says Lyotard. The primary theme of Tilton’s[1] model of Baudrillardist simulacra is not discourse, but postdiscourse.
In the works of Burroughs, a predominant concept is the concept of substructural language. Therefore, Bataille uses the term ’surrealism’ to denote a self-falsifying reality. The without/within distinction prevalent in Burroughs’s Naked Lunch is also evident in Junky, although in a more semanticist sense.

This is from a jargon generatortext was taken from If this were a real article regognized from Dr. blahblahhh (maybe you could put Edward Said's name here) Then people would spend hours (and college papers) debating it's meaning. I think that it was Kissenger who said something about dull people listening to whatever bullshit you have to say as long as they think you are an intellectual.

N. Friedman - 4/18/2006


I was well aware of what you wrote. In fact, I made a point of only mentioning people who had posted articles directly on FrontPage or were part of a symposium sponsored by and only available on FrontPage. So, as I said, you are mistaken. (Note: only in my first post - not the one listing professors, which is the subject of your current post - did I not limit myself to FrontPage matter.)

I note that quite a number have original articles although many were on one or another symposium. I discovered Walid Phares on FrontPage. The same for Ibn Warraq - a FrontPage symposium, I believe, he was part of -.

My view: while Horowitz is far to the right of me, he runs one of the best online daily magazines of its type, far better than, say, CounterPunch - on the far left -. His magazine is about the only online magazine which follows closely the demise of non-Muslims in the Muslim regions. His magazine, unlike, say, CounterPunch, allows more than one viewpoint to appear and allows reputal articles to appear, etc., etc. Which is to say, I think you are way off base with your comments. You should complain about party line magazines like CounterPunch.

Given your question, it suggests that you have, in fact, judged the book by its cover. That is not a wise policy, Peter. Not at all. Read, then criticize. You would help your analysis a lot.

N. Friedman - 4/18/2006


I have, for your benefit, done a bit of research. I have collected authors who are professors (and one well known author) who have published on FrontPage or have been part of FrontPage Symposiums. I think you are making a fool of yourself.

Here is the list:

Rick Shenkman, the editor of the George Mason History News Network and an associate professor of History at George Mason University

Ibn Warraq, the author of Why I am Not a Muslim

Bat Ye'or, author of The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam

Walid Phares, Professor of Middle East Studies and Religious Conflict at Florida Atlantic University

Henry Mark Holzer, Professor Emeritus at Brooklyn Law School

Alan M. Dershowitz is a professor of law at Harvard

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum

Frances B. Cogan, Professor of Literature, Robert Donald Clark Honors College, University of Oregon

Ronald Radosh has served as a Senior Research Associate, the Center for Communitarian Studies at George Washington University; as Professor of History in The Graduate Faculty, City University of New York; Research Director for the United States Information Agency, and as Associate Director of the Office of the President, the American Federation of Teachers.

Edward Alexander, professor emeritus of English, University of Washington.

David Deming is Associate Professor of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Oklahoma.

Juan J. López is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Latin American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa

Dr. Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of psychology and currently on the Board of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and lives in New York City.

Prof. Khaleel Mohammed, Assistant Professor at the Department of Religious Studies at San Diego State University.

As`ad AbuKhalil, a professor of political science at California State University at Stanislaus, and adjunct professor at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.

Salim Mansur, professor of political science at the University of Western Ontario.

Bruce Thornton is a professor of Classics at Cal State Fresno

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Robert Jensen, an associate professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.

Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow

Larry Schweikart, a history professor at the University of Dayton.

David Warren Saxe, as associate professor of education at Penn State University.

Stanley Fish, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Stephen H. Balch, the President of the National Association of Scholars

Stanley Aronowitz, a veteran political activist, cultural critic and a distinguished professor of sociology at the City University of New York

Daniel Brumberg, an Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Stanley Kurtz, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a contributing editor at National Review

Frances B. Cogan, Professor of Literature, Robert Donald Clark Honors College, University of Oregon

Ronald Radosh has served as a Senior Research Associate, the Center for Communitarian Studies at George Washington University; as Professor of History in The Graduate Faculty, City University of New York; Research Director for the United States Information Agency, and as Associate Director of the Office of the President, the American Federation of Teachers.

Edward Alexander, professor emeritus of English, University of Washington.

David Deming is Associate Professor of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Oklahoma.

Juan J. López is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Latin American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa

Dr. Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of psychology and currently on the Board of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and lives in New York City.

Prof. Khaleel Mohammed, Assistant Professor at the Department of Religious Studies at San Diego State University.

As`ad AbuKhalil, a professor of political science at California State University at Stanislaus, and adjunct professor at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.

Salim Mansur, professor of political science at the University of Western Ontario.

Larry Schweikart, a history professor at the University of Dayton.

David Warren Saxe, as associate professor of education at Penn State University.

Stanley Fish, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Stephen H. Balch, the President of the National Association of Scholars

Stanley Aronowitz, a veteran political activist, cultural critic and a distinguished professor of sociology at the City University of New York

Daniel Brumberg, an Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Stanley Kurtz, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a contributing editor at National Review

Dr. David A. Yeagley, adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Liberal Studies.

Art Eckstein is a Professor of History at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Nancy Kobrin, an affiliated professor to the University of Haifa, Arabist, psychoanalyst

John Voll, a Professor of Islamic History at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University

Andrew G. Bostom, MD, MS is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown University Medical School

Roger S. Gottlieb, Professor of Philosophy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

David Rosen, a professor of anthropology and law at Fairleigh Dickison University

No promises that I have not noted the same name twice. No comment about the calibre of anyone noted. Some are known to me. Some I have never heard of or read anything by. Some, like Ibn Warraq, are rather famous.

In my view, you are way off base.

N. Friedman - 4/18/2006


On FrontPage - which is not my favorite source but I read it, just like I read CounterPunch, National Review and The Nation, among other magazines -, I have read articles by some very serious scholars.

Among those who have published on FrontPage are Christopher Hitchens, Phyllis Chesler, Walid Phares, Richard L. Rubenstein, Ahmed Subhy Mansour, Steven Stalinsky, Mustafa Akyol, Alan Dershowitz, Bat Ye'or, David G. Littman, among many others. I might add that it also reproduces articles by well known writers - some of which also appear on HNN -.

I think you are smoking something today, Peter. Your comments make no sense. Read the articles - or, if you do not want to, do not - but only judge articles you have read. And never judge an article by its cover. Only morons do that.

Rob Willis - 4/18/2006

Many of the replies to this thread have something in common: Academics who presume an exceptionalism over those not in their circle. This is natural and shows a certain pride in "making your bones" in the community. Fair enough, it is a difficult process, and success should be noted. I note it and congratulate you, although I suppose a good book has been published somewhere which shines the light of day into a process that has become suspect in too many ways to mention.

My problem is not simply the process, it is the product. We "common taxpayers" (read, "the little people") are getting violently fed up with the Marxist/Anti-American/Groupist bullshit being spouted to our children under the guise of education. This is not education. Education takes place in the third person, especially when history is involved. Instead, students are forced to listen to the "World According to Dr. Fillintheblank", and God help the student who disagrees with the program. This happened to me in my graduate courses more than once, and I have lost confidence in the university system because of it.

When I read debates like this current round, I am sadly aware of how long I have to wait before the vaunted academics actually mention the most critical part of the equation: The students (for which I congratulate you again, Ms. Kazmier, you actually remembered their existence).

That you find college students unwilling to do the work, I have no doubt; such it has been for a good long time. There are two solutions to this problem: Quit masturbating with your pet socio/historical so-what manuscripts and actually devote more energy to teaching the damn kids (job one, eh?), or flunk them. Bitching about their shortcomings is pathetic, especially considering how gifted and trained academics claim to be. To hear you tell it, ya'll have all the answers so put your Ph.Ds to good use.

Defending someone with a Ph.D simply because they have been awarded a spot at the table is assinine and as anti-intellectual a statement as I have read in years.

If this post seems harsh (and I suppose it is) you would do well to think before you classify me as a Horowitz shill or an anti-whatever-the-buzz-word-is-today loudmouth, stop to consider why more and more Americans are reacting the way I am. It may be that we aren't ones blinded by our own agendas.

Now, perhaps you would like to take a look in the mirror as well.

N. Friedman - 4/18/2006


I cited the article to note that a distinguished university professor at Harvard seems to agree with Horowitz. They may be correct. They may be incorrect.

Again, the issue they raise is not so much bad scholarship but using class time as an opportunity to propagandize students.

I note that there has been much about the oppressive atmosphere in MES at Columbia. Even The New York Times has noted a serious issue. As have others. So the professor may well be correct.

Again, I do not endorse what is said but merely note that the issue of classroom indoctrination is considered real by some serious writers.

As for the attack on FrontPage, that is a stupid position. I read things from all sides, judging articles on their merits, not the journal. An article by a chaired Harvard professor is not less credible in FrontPage than in the Harvard Law Review. The issue is the article, not the publisher.

I note that your comment about the source is not one of your swifter comments. In fact, just the opposite. In this regard, I note that I read articles in FrontPage as well as the rather Left wing CounterPunch. Again, it is the article, not the publisher.

Lisa Kazmier - 4/18/2006

And thanks for the compliment. I've always tried to call 'em as I see 'em.

Lisa Kazmier - 4/18/2006

You're right: they SHOULD be transparent and understandable. That's probably why some elements of qualification and hiring are technically open to the public, though no one has time to go (I think my PhD defense was "open" and I think some candidate lectures are also, usually with public universities). It's this red herring to claim as if people or not and Horowitz seems best to "stick" by attacking departments that don't have hundreds of years of patina behind them, though I took a women's studies course first in 1988 and the offerings sure have changed (for the better, I would add, in depth of insight).

There is another conversation here acknowledging someone in academia who gives Horowitz some credence, I would guess from a political perspective though the guy is an academic. I find that pretty sad that he would choose style and politics over substance. I presume that people with PhDs in their field are professionals worthy of defending en mass, even if there are fringes that are difficult. I would want to tout the same qualities which I would feel sufficient to earn their support likewise. I couldn't care less about their politics, given there are bigger problems in academia than that (like getting students to actually do work as well as know how to write).

William L Ramsey - 4/18/2006

Lisa, this is one of the most beautiful posts I have read on HNN. You are explaining things in meaningful terms that can be grounded in ideas and common practice: professionalism, professional standards, qualification. These should be transparent and understandable to the common taxpayer, and educators should try as hard as you have here to communicate them to our fellow Americans. When we can replicate your success here at the national level, the "culture wars" will end.

Lisa Kazmier - 4/17/2006

Let me ask you something. Are you trained or a professional in some field? How would you feel if someone who knows very little tries to tell you how to do something you've been doing successfully for years. Reminds me of my mother trying to tell me how to deal with back spasms when she's never had 'em. She doesn't know what she's talking about. No experience.

That's how I feel about some yahoo trying to tell me about how to teach history. Maybe like this reporter I came across from the Trib at an AHA conference he ASSUMED he would understand what was going on because he took a history class at some point and/or considered himself knowledgeable about it. Well, we have our own shop talk, we recognize certain processes in writing, we understand what it is like to conduct significant research (the last a point lost on a lot of people like that Michelle Malkin). That Trib guy opted to rip what he didn't understand. I see nothing different here, frankly.

Would you tell a neurologist or opthamologist how to do his job based on being able to walk or read an eye chart? I doubt it. Would I try to tell my chiropractor how to adjust me because I've visited a few? Nope. You find it arrogant that I would only listen to another historian. Well, I really don't care. I find it very arrogant of people like Horowitz (or you if you insist on defending him), who haven't spent any time at all doing even the slightest amount of work, to castigate people who've spent their entire working lives building their knowledge of a given field. Horowitz can't even be bothered to do any research on the people he claims to "out" so how am I supposed to take seriously his claims? Frankly, if it were me, I'd see if I had a reason to sue for libel, since clearly there is a reckless disregard here.

You cannot intimidate me with your tripe about arrogance. Look in the mirror first, dude, before you think you got me pegged. I've been more than a decade into my postgraduate education and my research and my teaching. And I'm still pretty much a newbie. I wouldn't tell Garry Wills (an undergrad prof) or my advisor, John Gillis, both now retired, how to run a class. That's ridiculous. I sure would take their advice, though, but not "advice" from someone who's got no credibility, no experience and no credentials -- a professional in ANY field of work wouldn't do anything differently.

Apparently, acadmics are thought to be something other than well-versed in their fields and pushovers to defend themselves. I am neither.

N. Friedman - 4/17/2006


I agree as to the solution for bad scholars. I note, however, that Horowitz's concern is not so much the bad scholarship as scholarship but the fact that bad scholars are using the classroom to push their personal agenda as the officially acceptable classroom position, often outside the teachers' areas of expertise.

As I said, I did not read Horowitz's book so I cannot address it. His articles on the topic have been rather interesting but, as you say, vague.

I note this one article from his website which really is worth reading. . The article is not by Horowitz but by one James R. Russell, who is, according to the website, "Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard University." He seems to think that Horowitz makes a strong argument.

Rob Willis - 4/17/2006

If you need any evidence why academics are coming under scrutiny, simply re-read your own post. You and your comrades literally drip arrogance with assumption of superiority over those who haven't chosen to hide behind "academic freedom" their entire adult lives.

For the record, I have no PhD nor do I expect to pursue one now because of a spousal illness. But honestly, there are many, many folks out here in the real world bright enough to do your job, and without exuding such vile elitism.

I have no idea whether Horowitz is on target with his 101 picks, but he appears to have landed a pretty solid punch judging by the reaction to his book. Does the truth hurt?

N. Friedman - 4/17/2006


Having not read Horowitz's book - or, if LeVine is correct, that of Horowitz's researcher -, only his articles on the subject, I cannot comment directly whether Horowitz is being demagogic in his book. And I do not know if the youth of France is more realistic than that of Lebanon.

I do have two points. First, I have had occasions to debate, via email, a number of university professors. The ones I have debated have, in quite a few instances, been the very caricatures that, it is my impression, Horowitz deplores. Whether such people are all that representative of whole, I have no idea. But such people do exist and they do appear to have some influence - more than they deserve -.

Second, your point about the terms "right" and "left" is very well taken. Such are fluid terms. The Right is a coalition of groups with diverse agendas who, evidently for now, are willing to work together.

The same for the Left only, for now, they appear more at war with themselves than are the Right - largely because the Left has allowed the extreme tail to wag the dog, thus scaring average people away -.

Hence, the Right remains in power despite the incoherence of the Rightist program. And, it is my impression that many on the Right recognize that incoherence.

Perhaps Horowitz is doing a favor for the Left, by exposing the tail for what it is. So, I would not dismiss his position - at least as I understand it - as mere demagogic. I think there is something to be learned, at least judging from his articles on the subject.

Tim Matthewson - 4/17/2006

I want to apologize for the somewhat abrasive tone of my note on "Babes in the Woods," but I am glad to see that it encouraged some thoughtful responses. I am not a political strategist, but I would like to emphasize the importance of winning elections. I am real tired of seeing Republicans win elections by exploiting so-called "wedge issuse", blaming all of the country's problems on baby boomers, liberals, gays, and the like, and always pointing the finger at "others." This has been going on since Richard Nixon adopted his southern strategy and has been successful with Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43. Is it not possible for liberalist, leftists, progressive and others to get serious about winning elections? The massive shift of wealth from the middle to the top 20% is shameful and the exploitation of wedge issues is a scandal. I've devoted much of my life to studying American history and I can hardly recognize the America we are handing off to the next generation.

Lisa Kazmier - 4/17/2006

Good points here by many but the question remains as to what is effective against Swift Boat propaganda. The treatment of repetition is especially scary; this reminds me of Hitler saying when he hears the word culture he reaches for his gun.

My answer is very simple: until these dopes get PhDs and department positions, they can't tell me how to teach my class. Their knowledge is paltry, their methods crude and perhaps the reason why they're getting anywhere shows you the national slack mentality or laziness that has polluted more than the average college student who turns in an internet page and puts his/her name on it.

This goes to show how the media and pop culture have kept the lowest common denomenator happy. It need not be so. But I don't know that any outlet will give enough air time for someone with credentials to really put a charlatan like this to shame like he so richly deserves.

James Spence - 4/17/2006

And if the world never rids itself of anti-intellectualism America will be to blame. Horowitz, who is a professional provocateur, has "the mantle of authority" because it has been given to him by media and the rest of the nitwits who support him. The man is a perfect example that the process of evolution does not necessarily mean elevation or enhancement. Other than that, he is, I’ve heard by both traditional-era conservatives, regular liberals, and libertarians, nothing to worry about. A mere flea in the collar. But unfortunately, the tyranny of fear and the dumbing down of the majority of the American people by same media, by the unified Republican Democratic Party, and from the sermons of politically charged "priests" in American churches where the good folk receive their final unbiased wisdom, has cast a cloud of obscurantism over the land. A phenomenon that seems is here to stay. It seems most American students are not particularly concerned with freedom of debate on important issues or with preserving what’s left of our country -- where decadence now prevails under the holiest names – coming from the realm of religious-ethical balderdash and neocon messianic visions that supports endless war and is contrary to life itself. So to "play hardball" with the far Right is to become them and would mean having to walk a tightrope between fantasy and actuality. This method of dealing with opponents is called war and could be a gross miscalculation, as it usually is. On the other hand, repetition does work in the right circumstance but it’s difficult to imagine the good it will do in a debate where two parties are repetitively shouting each other down and no one’s listening anymore.

Tim Matthewson - 4/17/2006

Mr. LeVine's response to Horowitz books reminds me how naive American liberals and leftists are about matters of propaganda. Mr. LeVine is incredulous about the scholarly lapses in Horowitz book on The Professors expressing surprise that Horowitz had not read any of LeVine's scholarly books. Indeed, he seems surprised that the essays in The Professors were actuallly written by others and that Horowitz may not have even read the essays about 101 professors at the time the book was published.
American professors are babes in the woods when it comes to politics in modern America. Even after the Swiftboating of John Karey, professors have still not realized that the truth or falsity of charges leveled by Horowitz and other do not matter. What matters is that the charges be repeated endlessly so that the true believers out there will pick up the same charges and repeat them endlessly to discredit professors generally as corruptors of American youth. Mr. LeVine seems surprised to have discovered in other words that Horowitz is a polemicist, that he thrives on an atmosphere of controversy. Yet Mr. LeVine seems not to have realized that Horowitz is part of the Republican Noise machine, which is in process of swiftboating the entire academic world and discrediting professors as dangerous.
If Mr. LeVine wants to learn more about the ways of the world, he should read the works of David Brock. Mr. Brock is the author of four political books, including The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy. His preceding book, Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative, reveals how republican "noise" is manfactured and how it has been used to win elections.
Again the truth or falsity of Horowitz' charges matters less than the number of times that the charge is repeated. In one of his insightful essays on media, Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, emphasized the importance of repetition.
From this perspective, it's not surprising that Horowitz would not defend the claim that professors are "dangerous"; he does not want to be sued. All that's important is that professors as cultural leaders be discredited by repetition of the word dangerous.
Democrats, leberals, leftists and progressives need to learn from the Republicans Noise Machine about how to win elections and the best place to begin is to study the techniques of Horowitz, Reed, and Brock. They need to stop pretending that because they are so virtuous that they deserve to win elections and have cornered the market on all good ideas. They need to stop celebrating their own virture and start playing hardball.