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Sunday, February 06, 2005



Marc, great posting. Your comment "I find his essay on the matter no less than brilliant and it should be must-reading for all fellow lefties." should equally apply to all my fellow righties.

Burke reminds me of another fellow, Cooper I believe he is called.

abdul abulbul amir

Wow. The hairbrush stings. The question left to answer is how the fellow Burke more or less characterizes as having a big red bulbous nose, floppy shoes, and flaming orange hair came to be a tenured department chairman with that appearance.

Marc Cooper

Well.. Abdul.. you might mean it sarcastically (duh) but it turns out to be an excellent question after all.


Has Burke considered Reynold's scholarly writing with this comparison, or only the blogging? I'm sincerely asking, because it's not apparent from the passage. But I'm grateful for a broader appraisal of Churchill's career.

Any claim to legitimacy that Churchill might have scored with the 9/11 essay was lost with his use of the word "technocrat." It has powerful and specific meanings when used by people like Virginia Postrel. But when used by the tenured to describe a less-admirable sort of desk jockey, the boundless, personal condecension in his heart becomes readily apparent. Answer quick: Were the lives of the technocrats in the WTC & Pentagon less or more of a loss than the girl with the juice cart?

Or does Churchill need to think it over again?

PS - Mr. Cooper, does the three-post limit apply across two-part postings?

Green Dem

I don't know. This whole thing struck me as ridiculous 48 hours ago, and 24 hours ago, and still today.


Leftism has not genuinely posed a threat to the survival of bourgeois capitalist democracy in the west since the 1930s. Indeed, now it poses a threat to the survival of bourgeois capitalist democracy exactly nowhere.

If Churchill was a radical Islamist, he would be a genuine subversive in early 21st century America (in addition to being a bigger douchebag than he already is), because the threat of the radical Islamist ideology coming to power in a significant swath of the Muslim world is probably quite real, and clearly they have little use for us.

Until the left can offer not only a compelling, holistic narrative different from the bourgeois capitalist democractic one, and a compelling, seductive program that people actually *care* about, not only moonbats like this guy, but leftism generally won't matter.

Green Dem

PS This is not to say that I wouldn't love for the left to be vital, which is to say *dangerous* again, and for the powers that be to quake in their boots when we ride into town, but come on everyone that just ain't the case. The closest thing the left has to dangerous anymore is those people who go and live in trees that are slated to be cut down, or their douchey cousins who burn down Hummer dealerships.

No, really...

This guy is a gnat.


I listened to recorded speech, yesterday, that Churchill made in 1996. It's still available online here in MP3 format:


He's a good speaker, and lays out a good case on why the conquest of the native americans should be called genocide. I have not read any other of his writings, but after listening to that speech, i think he deserves to be heard, despite what Mr. Burke says.

Wagner James Au

> why the conquest of the native americans should
> be called genocide

You're not reading Mr. Burke carefully enough:

"What are the sources, in a purely historicist account of ethics, of a belief in the sanctity of human cultures, or a belief that it is wrong to colonize or practice what Churchill would call genocide? Churchill, like others who write within his intellectual tradition, has no way to explain the genesis of his own political and ethical position."

This more or less boils down to, "How can Churchill say he's a victim of Western genocide, when he's here in the West condemning the West with Western ideas?" (Well, turns out Churchill isn't actually an American Indian, but you get the idea.) The argument is self-refuting.


By that argument, you could say that the holocaust was not genocide, because it did not kill all the jews in Europe.

Just because all the native americans are not dead, does not mean genocide was not committed.

Jim Rockford

Excellent post, I'd like to add a few things:

1. The lack of a civilized debate across the ideological spectrum WITHIN Universities makes granting both tenure and Chairmanship to a fraud like Churchill inevitable. Michael Belisles, Churchill, and at least one other person made up whole frauds of either their research (Belisles on his gun book, he cited documents that did not exist and could not produce research notes or raw data with lame excuses; Churchill and one other in self-aggrandizing biographies). This also has the effect of making intellectual theories on the Left more fragile and incoherent, since they lack the rigor of civilized but partisan criticism shaping them into more robust theories.

2. Universities and Colleges lack widespread public support, in part because they ARE openly hostile to the interests and basic assumptions of most Americans. Green Dem's wish for a holistic alternative to bourgeois capitalism CAN be found in the Academy, with one anti-American/capitalist screed after another. After a while, folks wonder why their taxes go to people who hate them and everything they stand for. And thus vote against bond measures or taxes for higher education.

The University of Colorado is going to hurt for a generation after this debacle, believe you me. EVERY politician with an ounce of savvy will run against the spectre of Ward Churchill, and the pseudo-Marxist stuff peddled therein. To the extent that Dems can pinned to Ward Churchill, it hurts them as well. A pity since Salazar showed that Western conservatism at it's best (emphasis on freedom, responsbility, caring, the environment) is fertile ground for Democrats.

I'll say I part massive space with Green Democrat philosophically. I do NOT want an alternative to bourgeois capitalism. That's already been tried and found wanting in freedom, justice, and humanity. What I want is the current system made better. I suppose there is a huge disconnect between the Academy, which largely finds the current system flawed, and wants it replaced with some sort of Puritan-Secular Utopia (Winthrop's City on the Hill); and the townies who also see a flawed system, but want to improve not throw out the current arrangement.

Enough evidence suggests that Rev Dr. King's approach (fix don't throw out) gives better results than Pol Pot's or Mao's have ever done. Sadly most of the Academy has not realized the true "revolutionary" of the Twentieth Century was not Mao, Lenin, or Stalin, but a humble and brilliant preacher from Atlanta who by embracing the best of America and the old time religion changed the world.

Sad isn't it ... how much he's forgotten, in the rush to embrace every crackpot theory that feeds the need for opposing the system instead of making it better? It's not surprising though. Rev Dr. King's views would not sit well with much of anyone, even (or particularly) within the Academy.


Just a couple of comments on Burke. One, for all his posturing about the need for scholarly standards, he is not a very clear writer. For example, he uses the word "unthoughtfully" when "thoughtlessly" is much more appropriate. The other thing is that he really never demonstrates why Ward Churchill's writings are so bad. That would require a concrete analysis of "Little Matter of Genocide" or "The Cointelpro Papers," which would be too onerous a task for our Swarthmore professor. He prefers to adopt the stance of the elephants who sniffed at Dumbo, "He's not good enough to be part of our crowd."


Having looked at Glenn Reynold's academic papers, I feel that the snarky comments about him being a hack like Churchill are unfounded, but what do you expect from a thoughtful leftist?

Seriously, Burke's general point is well taken: Churchill's position may well be a danger to the system which allows hims to flourish, particularly in state schools.


Reynolds is definitely not a hack, and doesn't deserve to be grouped with Limbaugh and O'Reilly.

too many steves

I think Burke is on to something when he exposes the lack of rigorousness (god I hope that's real word) exemplified by the Churchill matter.

He seems to argue that this is systemic. I'm not sure I agree with that, while accepting the evidence provided that most (all) of Churchill's writings are a minor reformulation of a single elemental idea, and the retreat of Academia to a position behind the wall of the First Amendment; as illustrated by his defenders.

Burke (and Cooper) makes a very strong case that a system that allows a lier like Churchill, who is also a pretty pathetic example of rigorous scholarship, to ascend to a tenured position and chair of a department, and to be invited to fairly prestigious institutions like Hamilton College, is, at best, sloppy.

Gan Nima

Max Sawicky made Glenn Reynolds look foolish about a week and a half ago.

richard lo cicero

i'll be glad to jump on the group dump on churchill just as soon as Jerry fallwell has to step down from all posts and is banned from the media for suggesting that 9-11 was god's wrath for abortion and homosexuality.

Gan nima

THen who would Larry King have to interview?
How many dead GIs in Iraq today by the way?


"just as soon as Jerry fallwell has to step down from all posts and is banned from the media for suggesting that 9-11 was god's wrath for abortion and homosexuality."

More recently the popular, pro-Bush talk-radio figure, Michael Savage, has celebrated the tsunami as God's wrath on Muslim fanatics and countries engaged in juvenile sex-trade. He's not tenured, so a public move to dump him from any and all venues other than his own web-page and other self-publishing shouldn't be controversial (there may be similiar contract issues - I obviously am not privy to all details).

Certainly The National Review, Weekly Standard, etc. etc. should be calling for this guy to be boycotted from the airwaves for going far beyond the bounds of decency. I haven't read any comments by Jim Rockford (who celebrates indiscriminate bombing of civilians for purposes of "regime change", a' la Curtis Lemay) or John Moore (who celebrates "scientific" racism, a'la Murray/Jensen) dissociating themselves from Savage to date. Shouldn't they and other hysterical right-wing scolds cleanse their own house of a mass media figure heard daily by hundreds of thousands of their brethren in the conservative camp before they waste time weighing in on obscure crackpot-left professors who only a handful of folks had even heard of until he became a far-right cause celebre to leverage against liberal academics.

jim hitchcock

You're goading again, Reg.

But the obvious response to that would be that the message of wingnuts like Savage wasn't aimed at captive, `impressionable', developing young minds. Plus, the tenure argument.

Now, if somebody would only come with V-chip implants...

Gan nima

"I haven't read any comments by Jim Rockford (who celebrates indiscriminate bombing of civilians for purposes of "regime change", a' la Curtis Lemay) "

You seem to forget mr. reg that our lives are infitinitely worth more than their lives. isn't that obvious from watching the corporate news channels? And we at least apologize after we kill thousands of people in poor countries that are 100 times weaker than us good guys.

Michael Hardesty

Thanks, Marc, for your comments on Ward Churchill.
If anything you understate the case against him.
He is a white man who has been playing wannabe Indian for decades in an attempt to cash in on
what Norman Finkelstein has correctly labeled
the holocaust industry. Churchill has opposed
free speech rights for holocaust revisionists
and so I shed no tears for his. He's another
hypocritical Left Stalinist and his "scholarship"
is dismal, as I can attest from reading two of his
books plus his rantings at Z, where I also contributed to half a dozen times in the past.
I know the Chomsky-Cockburn clique will pump this
for all its worth but it has even less merit than
Mumia, where one could rationally argue for a
new trial. I used to entirely disagee with you
on Mumia until he pulled that stunt of getting
some phony to "confess" for him, too much even
for Leonard Weinglass, his attorney.
I do not want my tax dollars going to support
some object like Churchill.
Thanks again for being a sane voice on the Left.

Mavis Beacon

I had so much to yell while catching up on the last two posts and comments, but now that I’ve reached the end I find myself fairly calm and measured.

There are really an immense number of stereotypes about academia floating among these hollowed blog halls: John Moore is angry that academics make more than engineers; Jim Rockford suspects Rev. Martin Luther King’s views are repugnant to professors and worries colleges are unpopular-probably because of the “sick skein of Anti-Semitic, anti-American hatred” (despite that fact that, in 2000, 70% of high school seniors attended college undeterred by said hatred), and Marc derides, “There is something really, really repugnant about a professor who has to work maybe 9 hours a week for a lifetime of comfy tenure, sucking off the tit of a public university…”

This represents a really silly slew of accusations, unworthy of this space. Most of the points you all try to make can be argued for without this kind of drivel.

(John Moore: I don’t understand how you can promote the efficacy of the Bell Curve and descry the discrimination practiced by the academy in the same post.)


I have to agree with Mavis' comments regarding the off-target comments regarding this immense thing we call "academia"--honestly, I don't know if we're experiencing the same world. In the academic world I inhabit, all my peers and faculty work from early A.M. to late P.M., all four seasons. My fellow graduate students and I compete for very few academic jobs (which is why we consider industry jobs, as well), but still love what we do in spite of the obstacles. The lazy tenured professor is an outmoded stereotype, certainly among the new Gen-Xers joining the ranks of assistant professors. And finally, on this public university campus, I have seen as many prominently posted ads for speakers such as Ann Coulter and David Horowitz as I have radical lefties. Oh, and that's not to mention the Jesus groups on campus. At least in this university I can find extremes on both sides of the spectrum, rather than just one.

The point? Let's rein in the over-generalizations.


"...a really silly slew of accusations..."
"Let's rein in the over-generalizations."

Party poopers...you obviously fail to understand we're dealing with The Hydra-Headed Red Campus Menace of Academic Neo-Marxist Identity Politics, Post-Modern DeConstructionist Relativism and Anti-Western, Anti-Semitic Moral Equivalence here. It must be stopped by any means necessary from destroying the very foundations of our civilization.

Markus rose

Louis Proyect has written a long response to Burke's post on his web page. In it, he calls you a member of the limp left and says you're rapidly turning into the American version of Norm Geras.

Cockburn's also getting into the ring to defend Churchill over at Counterpunch.

I dig these guys - they should form a tag team called "stalinists with balls."

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