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Sunday, February 06, 2005

Comments

Phil

The link here is to a great piece by a smart young writer named Joshua Frank. I saw it on CounterPunch as well. I don't think he agrees with Churchill's argument, but is a defender of it nonetheless. I think he does a good job of debunking the distortions here.

As for the above comment on Ward's genetic roots, this isn't Nazi Germany here. I think tribes have a right to decide who is or who is not a Native American, despite bloodlines. Also the 1/16 argument is solid.

Regardless, Ward Churchill needs to be heard, and attacks such as that of Cooper reflect an ignorance the left can't shake. Do you really believe that if someone like Dershowitz was canned, that even right-wingers who disagreed with him, would NOT stand up and defend his argument if it was misinterpreted? Especially if there was a whiff of MaCarthism in the air?

Phil

The link here is to a great piece by a smart young writer named Joshua Frank. I saw it on CounterPunch as well. I don't think he agrees with Churchill's argument, but is a defender of it nonetheless. I think he does a good job of debunking the distortions here.

As for the above comment on Ward's genetic roots, this isn't Nazi Germany here. I think tribes have a right to decide who is or who is not a Native American, despite bloodlines. Also the 1/16 argument is solid.

Regardless, Ward Churchill needs to be heard, and attacks such as that of Cooper reflect an ignorance the left can't shake. Do you really believe that if someone like Dershowitz was canned, that even right-wingers who disagreed with him, would NOT stand up and defend his argument if it was misinterpreted? Especially if there was a whiff of MaCarthism in the air?

Gan nima

"I do not want my tax dollars going to support
some object like Churchill."

I don't want my tax dollars going to support any professor who says anything controversial frankly. I send my kid to become more competitive and make bucks and to follow the leaders of the government, not go around criticising them.

Josh Legere

Why are people on the left compelled to defend someone that is not only a shoddy career scholar but also dead wrong. To equate intellectual honesty and independent thinking with “ignorance” and McCarthyism” is weak. The attacks on Ward do not resort the Committee on Un-American activities in the least bit. No, this is not McCarthyism. Ward is a liar and a hack that can say whatever he wants. But his posture does not and should not guarantee him employment. This is the same logic the corporate minded folks use to defend the outrages pay of CEO’s. Being “controversial” does not make your scholarship sound nor does it make your opinion worthy. Having standards doesn’t make you “limp.”

The likes of Ann Coulter got fired from the National Review online for some of the nonsense she said after 911. When has the left or Academia ever fired someone for being unethical or shoddy?

Ward Churchill or “scholars” of his ilk are not and should not be entitled to employment by a public university. Tenure and academia in general allows a segment of the population to live in La La land. Maybe his “scholarship” would be more grounded if he actually had a real job; maybe he would have to be a “technocrat” not out of desire but out of necessity.

Ward and intellectuals in general are not an aristocracy and deserve criticism (harsh even) and sanction (and firing) like the rest of us. If amazes me how many on the left are drawn into lock step thinking and hero worship when one of the “untouchables” is exposed to criticism. It is sad, pathetic and part of the problem. Get some standards.

Ahmed

First off, much thanks to Marc for posting an interesting, if ultimately unsatisfying essay on the pitfalls of what Burke refers to as the "identity based" deconstructionalist, postcolonial branch of scholarship, as represented by Ward. I say unsatisfying because for an essay devoted to the scholarship of Churchill, Burke doesn't really engage his work much at all. He could have looked at Ward’s most popular book "A Little Matter of Genocide" but, instead pursued vague philosophical critiques leaving me to wonder; who else fits under Burke’s broad definition of "identity based" writing. Kelley, Lipsitz, Roediger?

Moving to another matter of interest; on the last thread people evoked the idea of being marginal as a sort of slur against Churchill, but isn’t the same true of Burke and all intellectuals in general? Academics tend to inhibit a particularly insular universe, made up of obscure conferences, books and papers aimed at colleagues and discussion amongst their peers. If public engagement with people off campuses is marked to be a sign of being less marginal, then Churchill beats Burke hands down. Their respective book sales easily confirm this. Personally, I find the entire discussion of who is, or is not, on the intellectual margins of our society to be a stupid and pointless debate. as reg observed some time ago, we live in a depressing intellectual climate where the work of crazies like Ann Coulter are more visible then the Hannah Arrendts of the world.

I still think that most people are missing the point of the Churchill brouhaha. On Churchill himself: I ultimately find his idea of collective moral culpability to be dissatisfying, disagree vigorously the conception of technocrats he vaguely attempts to advance, but find his argument about Pentagon military logic and fuzzy nature of “collateral damage” to be rather convincing. I repulsed by much of the woeful distortion, slurs and general stupidity that has surrounded much of the debate. But like I said earlier there is a much larger plot at work, that seems to have been missed, unsurprisingly, by people like Cooper. If this is only about Churchill then why is Shahid Alam, a tenured professor and author of an excellent book Poverty From the Wealth of Nations also being targeted? Is it not disconcerting to say the least that the witch-hunt is being led and directed out of the Fox News department? Are we supposed to conveniently forget that Daniel Pipes and his ilk have been organizing, under the McCarthyite banners of Campus Watch, to systematically target Profs who don’t ascribe to their narrow versions of uncritical patriotism? And what on Earth gives O’Reilly and Pipes--the former a right wing blowhard/bully/pernicious liar and latter defender of Japanese internment/racial profiling en mass/ethnic cleansing for Palestinians—the right to say who should or shouldn’t inhibit any ivory tower? This isn’t only about free speech and reg is quite correct to evoke the issues of double standards, hypocrisy, and dishonesty. What else allows the blowhards on the right to utter anything they like, without even a measure of censure. No, I’m arguing that the defence of Churchill, if anything, goes beyond free speech, its simply about who has the right to define and limit acceptable thought in our society as well as our campuses. It’s a scary world when Pipes and O’Reilly are at the helm of these questions.

Josh Legere

Keith Oberman (msnbc) did a story last week about Coulter getting caught in a lie on Canadian television. He remarked, "did she even attend a class at Cornell." She was also fired from the National Review Online for making the famous, "we should convert them all to Christianity" comment.

Is it not possible that Ward could be a hack? Is that just impossible? Loudmouth TV pundits and the Academy are two different worlds with 2 different standards. Pipes and O’Liely are not in the Academy! The purpose of TV punditry is to get ratings and make money. The mission of the Academy is supposed to be different. You cannot equate the two unless you believe that Ward’s only purpose at CU is to be entertaining to the “trust fund radicals” that take his classes.

For Christ sake, Academia is not supposed to be entertaining or sexy. Perhaps that explains why the left engages in hero worship of the likes of Ward. Nor should academia be the property of the Left. It should be the battle of ideas. And if we are forced either by our political ideology or in the name of “free speech” to give immunity to the likes of Ward and his awful essay than the same rights should be given to Pipes. It is sad to see that the Left lacks basic academic standards for those on “its side” and is willing to protect its tenured entertainers at the expense of the health of the Academy. The likes of Ward erode the credibility of the Academia and the intellectual left. Those that are not in the loop on the latest carnation of critical theory will continue to look at the humanities and social sciences as a total joke. The pool of minds in “interdisciplinary study” will continue to shrink and maintain the “family” atmosphere of like mindedness.

Didn’t the Sokal Hoax teach any of you a lesson? http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/

Gan nima

"Ward Churchill or “scholars” of his ilk are not and should not be entitled to employment by a public university. "

I wanna know why any academic is making controversial statements and why a president can't fire them if they do make them, with or without the approval of the faculty. Ward's in a union and they protect him from being fired for making politically controversial comments and that's part of the problem. Academics should not be allowed to make controversial statements period. They should be training students to be competitive in markets and, as is the norm in civilised societies, following authority, not criticising them all the time. It's not just Churchill that should be fired, there are many many academics that say things that are politically controversial and they should be fired as well. I can remember a time when irresponsible radicals like CLR James or W.E. Dubois couldn't find work because they were making irresponsible and controversial comments. Where is a college president today that has that kind of power? Why do PC among us keep presidents from having the power to decide who and when to fire professors? I'd love to see these professors get a W.E. Duboising...

Ahmed

Josh for someone who argues for a debate on ideas its interesting that you prefer to operate solely using genralities. And by the way, if you're going to dismiss someone's academic career, is it not fair to expect that you engage his intellectual work and some of the books he wrote. Burke at least moved in this deirection, by mounting an argument the tradition of schoalrship Churchill is writing from. You on the other hand have not. Can i ask in a follow up comment that you provide some sort of intellectual critique taht could substanciate your bold assertion that Ward shouldn't qualify as a legitmate prof. And as for the weakness of the left intellectuals have you not read some of the really engaging and stimulating left historians and profs today.I'm thinking of people like Kelley, Buhle, Lipsitz, Roediger et cetera. Do they also fall into your category of faux thinkers? Just wondering.

Josh, you seemed to have missed my point about Pipes/Fox/O'Reilly. I'm not intesrested in their particular standards but rather the fact that they are the ones who are heading off this campaign to axe profs viewed as "unamerican". So lime i stasted the argument isn't only about free speach but also who gets to define what is and isn't acceptable thought. Thats why Ward Churchill thing can't be seen in isolation, especially when Khalidi at columbia has been hounded, alam is already been targetted and groups like campus watch display an alarming amount of power. To pretend not to see all of this is to be blind.

And while I'm critical of Marc here, at least he is saying that Ward shouldn't be fired. You seem to disagree. Am i correct in this acessment? Let me know

MD

I thought the Timothy Burke article was very insightful (although the Glenn Reynolds as a hack on par - or, rather, sub-par - with Ward Churchill was a bit unfair. I'm not a law professor, but Dr. Reynold's academic scholarship seems fairly serious. Maybe it's the blog Timothy Burke is referring to? Even that seems a little out of line - personally I love the dry humor of Instapundit, even when I don't agree with him. *Disclaimer here: the great Instapundit once linked to my blog, so I suppose all my positive comments about his blog are from now on suspect. I have been paid, and paid handsomely in hits I tell you, by the good doctor. Yup, me and Armstrong Williams. Paid lackeys of the right :) ).

The most insightful part of Timothy Burke's article was the idea of Western expansion as the original sin - so that anything in opposition to this original sin is, by definition, good and to be supported. And that makes for some very strange intellectual and political bedfellows - sort of the left equivalent of the right's "he may be a bastard, but he's our bastard."

As for Ward Churchill, CU should stand by him if only because they made the decision of promoting someone with such shoddy scholarship. They have made their bed and now must lie in it. My advice to CU? There are lots of smart people out there. Next time, hire one of them.

Jack

Ahmed is right, although I would add that Churchill became a more visible target because of his rhetorical style. Also, as his identity as a Native American appears suspect, Churchill gave his enemies fodder, as did the departement at his university and his publishers -- any or all of them should have taken the time to research claims by the national AIM organization and the Native nation disavowing his membership before accepting his biography, at least. It's not a matter of blaming the victim here, but requesting he adhere to the same intellectual standards he's admonished many scholars for not upholding in their writings. (His essay, "Indians Are Us" deals, in fact, with people posing as Native Americans and the New Age types who pay for such "native wisdom." He wrote a good essay tearing apart Carlos Castaneda's work and biographical claims. I could go on, but the irony should be evident. Were the attacks on Churchill not part of the McCarthyite tactics Ahmed points to, it would be downright funny.)

MD

The other thing that strikes me as I re-read W. Churchill's essay is the complete absence of Saddam Hussein. Lots of mention of sanctions and 'the highway of death', but nothing about what the invasion of Kuwaiit, the Iran-Iraq War, gassing of the Kurds. The U.S. is the only actor mentioned. This, I think, is the difference between a criticism that you can take seriously (quite aside from the little Eichmann's comment which is beyond the pale in any discussion) and the polemical. The 'hack' part of it comes from completely ignoring one set of crimes to focus on another set. I know both the right and left do this to some extent; we tend to focus more on the crimes we think *matter* more. Still, to be a serious scholar you have to engage the arguments of the other. I see none of that in W. Churchill's essay.

It is a litany of crimes in a world where there is only one criminal.

Marc Cooper

Md-- that's because WC is NOT a serious scholar.

Ahmed

Well I'm hovering around my 3 post limit so i'll reply breifly to MD and Burke. Besides "A Little Matter of Genocide" and his rather thoruough work highliting the vast abuses of cointelpro era, I'm admitteddly not too familiar with Churchill's work. Where I'd argue with MD and Burke to an extent is their characterising of original sin, and the role it plays more broadly in the field of post colonial studies. Most good post colonial theory i've read, and id assume Ward would fit in here too, doesn't at all see colonization in this light, as contridiction free based on an original act of genocide and thus containing no contriditctions. This strikes me more as a characature and especially the part about anything oppossed to it must be good. Rather much of the owrk I've read suggested that colonization itself as a material, social and political complex was inherantly complex and at times paradoxical. It allowed for the creation of seemingly universal values of enlightenment and liberal demovracy all the while brutally supressiong and exclusing others. In the American narrative the idea of redemptive violence and manifest destiny were heavily engrained in the project of creating a new kind of society. THis is how the genocide and the massive clearing of the land was philisophically made possible, along with racism of course. The best of post colonial theory tries to understand colonization as a multi dimensional, often contridictory project while not negating that human progress was built on the lives and bodies of others. The idea of original sin is not only intellectually limiting but as an explanatory device it deosn't really get us very far into understanding what made colonization as a process work. "A little Matter of genocide" for exmaple is particularly engaged in the history of American Indians over a broad time frame, as well as the writings of Deborah Lipstadt on the holocaust. Well, ithink I've gone on enough, just though I'd rant a bit

peace

Josh Legere

Strike 3 - I am out after this.

The campaigns by the Right to fire controversial professors have been underway for a very long time. They have never succeeded. But I fear that they will begin to succeed if the Left doesn’t take some responsibility for those that fly under the flag. Look, it IS possible for a radical professor to be a hack. Even if he is a gallant “activist” and member of AIM. This case can clearly be seen in isolation. The attacks of Cheney, Pipes, and Lieberman are troubling but destined to fail.

I do not think Ward should be fired for what he said. But I do not hold him in high regard. If he gets fired for anything it should be because he is a hack. My point is simple; professors should not be able to use tenure as a shield. If they are hacks or are incompetent, they should be canned. Intellectuals ARE NOT an aristocracy in my mind and should not be insulated from criticism. Considering the essay that Ward wrote, I think that those that defend Ward’s scholarship, the ball is in your court. Much has been said in both threads about Ward’s work and I have yet to see anyone defend the content of the essay without resorting to the Pipes defense. Stand up and defend the content of his essay, don’t back peddle behind claims of McCarthyism. As Burke pointed out in his essay, the defense of Ward is already in place and we will see more of the same. But we will not see anyone defend the content of the essay.

As I have said in the two threads. Ward should not get fired for what he said. He does deserve criticism for his essay (so would a right winger who published racist pseudo science) and he should not be shielded like a member of the Royal Family. How can someone in the name of intellectual freedom and debate, justify shielding someone from criticism?

College Professors do have a basic function of teaching our children. They are not stand up comedians or spoken word artists. Challenging students is a valuable way to make them think. But that does not mean that all “controversial” professors are worthy of employment. Nor do I like the idea of someone being guaranteed a job for life.
Average working people do not enjoy that kind of guarantee. It seems especial duplicitous that someone on the left, who is “with the people” should enjoy such an insulated existence. Shouldn’t professors (especially Left Wingers) reject tenure out of an act of solidarity with the working class? Anyone who has been in a working situation with an “untouchable” can relate to the misery of being around someone that has total job security despite incompetence. I don’t like aristocracies of any kind. Sorry.

The Sokal Hoax (see the link) is a great example of just how insulated Cultural/Ethnic/Interdisciplinary Studies departments have become (or always were).

Useless Troll

It's funny how people here presumably pretty far removed from the field of studies and interests Ward is engaged in, feel so confident saying whether he is a serious or "unserious scholar". Josh is you make this claim, the ball is in your court to back it up and engage in an acessment of his intellectual work. Even if the essay in question was sloppy and awful, does one bad essay on a topic of which ward is not an expert automatically disqualify him from being a serious scholar and cast a shadow on the rest of his vast body of work? This strikes me as a farily absurd proposition to say the least.

Woody

The left believes that the right must think like them and have the same motivations as them--so, they incorrectly accuse the right of actions and motivations that simply don't exist. Just because you may enjoy an embarrassing thing to a conservative, such as Bill Bennett's gambling, doesn't mean that I enjoy watching someone on your side do something stupid and get caught, like Churchill. (If I enjoyed someone on the left doing something stupid, I would have a permanent smile.)

Frankly, I don't care about Churchill per se. I just figured that this was left-wing college politics as usual--and, it pretty much is. The only difference here is that some people on the left are actually waking up to problems made public by Churchill's exposure--problems that we on the right have recognized for years and, at some point, had just thrown up our hands and given up.

Radical left-wing nuts existing as college professors goes back a long way, and the system that puts them there has gotten worse.

I think my first outrage of this type was over Angela Davis--a radical communist criminal (to put it politely) and the cause celebre of the left. She taught at San Franciso University and the University of Santa Cruz--achieving tenure and honors there, over Governor Reagan's objections. The left loved (and loves) those in-your-face professors. So, they gave her a life-time job with nice pay just to be a radical. Those appointments sure didn't go to conservatives.

The colleges were on a downhill leftist slide then, but the slide accelerated and turned into a mud slide wiping out rational conservative thoughts on campuses. That was to the left's detriment, as it could have benefited from the viewpoints of those on the right.

Now, we have a broken system that finally some on the left may actually see and admit. The broken system is a one of recruiting and tenure for professors--one that lets the likes of Angela Davis to Ward Churchill live off of the public dole with little to do except act as disciples for leftist positions, and, oh yeah, something minor like poisoning the minds of captive students who have few alternatives for obtaining degrees for jobs.

That's the most serious problem--the impact on young minds. Young people typically respect their professors and may believe most of the nonsense that those professors teach. (I'm not saying that everything they teach is nonsense, just a lot of it.) Those students who aren't as impressionable may object to the professors' teachings, and they found that they get bad grades or get tossed if they disagree.

Now, wait. You say that doesn't happen! It happens plenty and it would happen a lot more except conservative students have learned to keep their mouths shut if they want to get through a class. In a way, you could say that the students who adore a professor's left wing talk, which has nothing to do with them preparing for a job, get to move to the front of the bus. The rest can take a rear seat or get off.

So, what's going to happen to fix this after the buzz about Churchill is over? Are journalists, parents, administrators, politicians, teachers unions, or students going to demand a change in a broken hiring and tenure system and get that change? Do you really know what's going to happen?

Nothing. That's right--nothing.

All this concern over Churchill and the system is just talk, cheap talk, for today to be forgotten tomorrow. It might disrupt the comfortable status quo and power of the left, and we cannot have that.

Do I take glee over the problems with Churchill? No, it makes me sad because problems with professors like him are rampant and nothing is going to change.

Marc Davidson

"Shouldn’t professors (especially Left Wingers) reject tenure out of an act of solidarity with the working class?"
Somewhat off topic, Josh, but this is rather disingenuous. One could extend your logic by suggesting that those on the Left should forego adequate food, clothing and housing in solidarity with those who don't have these. This is a typical right-wing criticism: someone on the Left is a hypocrite if he or she doesn't completely share in the plight of the dispossesed being advocated for.

Ahmed

Marc, you've asked readers of this blog to check out the Joshua Frank essay and compare it to the article that Burke wrote. Since Frank is criticizing your words, not Burke's, this strikes me as a rather stupid proposition. Any literate reader can see that Frank expressed basic disageement with Churchill, but nonetheless, didn't go the way of willful distortion and he seems keenly aware of whats behind the attacks, as well as intracies of the organised Fox style campaign. So in fairness your "update" should ask readers to check out Frank and compare it to your previous blog entry mumblings on the topic

Marc Cooper

Ahmed.. Has steve taken over ur computer? Let me further scandalize you. David Horowitz is a friend of mine though I agree with nothing he says. On the personal level he is a decent and compassionate human being even though his politics are rather horrifying. Alex Cockburn, on the other hand, is someone I can agree with about 20% of the time but as a human he is really.. shall we say.. disappointing and rather appalling. I know this is astounding news, but I reserve the right to link to people I consider to be friends. And yes, you are over the limit. I dont care much if it is postings with real content. But because I am also a human being, I remind you I dont operate this blog to give YOU a platform to besmirch me. Move on with your focus.

allison

I once took a flight from memphis to butte, idaho with Edward Korry and I have to say though I was pleasantly surprised to find the guy very likeable and genuinely true and honest. We ended up sharing a common interest in boating and in the history of the Aztecs. Occasionally we keep in touch, Christmas card exchanges and the like. We didn't agree much on Chile, but we had some very nice talks about the pleasures of back alley walks through Santiago and on the desirability of democracy in the region. And the guy's got one heck of a collection of cats.

richard lo cicero

i keep hearing something about "captive minds" in this discussion. we are talking about college level students and while standards have certainly fallen i still like to think that 18 plussers can listen to drivel and say that it is drivel. what ever happened to the marketplace of ideas? reminds me of those right wingers who believe that gay teachers will "homofy" their students by osmosis. No action should be taken against Churchill because he has tenure and that protects people like me from the creationist rabble that wants a religiofachist state. Churchill is a small price to pay!

artbob

Let me see Burke is advocating free speech, no matter who says it, even if it is nonsense. As a result of critically reading Churchill's screed Burke points out the errors of logic and ideology.

On the other hand, Frank likes his own personal speech: But not marc's critical analysis of Churchill’s thoughts. He forgets that Marc advocated for Churchill's right to publish his beliefs. But according to Frank’s inferences, Marc and others are worse than Churchill for criticizing his work.

Green Dem

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

People with bachelors degrees skew slightly Republican. People with graduate degrees skew slightly Democrat. If there was any truth to the notion that a) academe is spilling out over the sides with left-wing loons and b) they're having a profound influence on the political lives of young people surely this wouldn't be the case.

In the social, moral, and political development of young people parents and teachers matter very little, and peer groups matter a great deal more. Hell, I come from a family of seven kids, and our politics range from far right Christian fundamentalist to far left and green, and pretty much everything in between.

The influence of the news media, and its general orientation, is probably overrated as well. Conservatives almost certainly had a point about liberal bias in the media in the 1970s (although they just as certainly don't anymore), and the country was moving rightward. Likewise in the 1930s, when conservatives dominated media content, and the country was moving rather dramatically to the left.

I think we overestimate in general the effect we can have in shaping other people's opinions (I mean has anyone's mind been changed about anything by interacting with people of other political persuasions here?) I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but as I get older it strikes me as a very real thing.

Jim Rockford

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

Not my point at all which indeed you know. Merely that LeMay trumped Kerry's personal bravery by a factor of a thousand (which you have to respect), and on the use of force in Warfare he was like Patton, and moreover, CORRECT. If you WILL use force, don't drib and drab it; use it like a hammer, destroy the enemy's ability to fight utterly very quickly, go home to save lives (yours and the enemies). This has been the strategy of WWII, Gulf War 1, OIF and proven the best means of use of force. It is the center of the Powell Doctrine.

I'm absolutely convinced that Leftists simply have not done ANY reading at all on military force, it's uses, and limitations. No Keegan (Face of Battle), no Michael Shaara (Killer Angels), no Barnett (the Swordbearers), no accounts of Cortez, or Xenophon's Ten Thousand. Just the myths of Vietnam and a poor understanding of even those myths. It's just ... SAD.

OF COURSE our soldiers and civilians lives are "worth more" than our enemies. This statement ALONE shows why the Left is neither serious nor can be trusted in matters of national defense. They don't even pass the first test, valuing our people's lives against our enemies. That's also ... SAD.

Mavis--

I suspect that Rev Dr. Martin Luther King's views are repugnant to the Left BECAUSE they are EXPLICITLY based on two things that Leftists in the Academy utterly reject:

*The Premise of the American Dream, and expanding it to meet the full promise to everyone in America.

*The call to CHRISTIAN action, rooted in an EVANGELICAL calling to fight for JUSTICE within America and CHRISTIANITY.

When Rev. Dr. King (the Reverend as important if not more so than the Doctor) spoke of his DREAM, his Dream had roots in both the American Dream of acceptance, upward mobility, and happiness; AND in the Christian Dream of justice, equality, mercy, and redemption under God. Acceptance of Rev. Dr. King as a transformative figure requires acceptance of both his roots, the American one, and the Evangelical Christian one.

NEITHER is one that folks like Churchill, or Said, or Chomsky can accept. Particularly loathesome to Utopianists is the idea that instead of some "New Man" by a pseudo Communist revolution; the best course of action is non-violent protest aimed at changing minds within the system. Easier to posture about "replacing" bourgeois capitalism than accepting it with it's flaws AND the everyday struggle to make things better.

For the record, outside of lipservice to King's colorblind society, Conservatives/Rightists don't have much use for King either. His calls to Justice and fulfillment of the American and Christian Dream are just too uncomfortable. Regardless, I'll take the Rev Dr. over Noam Chomsky any day as the true revolutionary.

Ahmed -- I suspect the thing you don't like about Pipes is that Campus Watch pulls out the ugly things that folks who hate Israel don't like into the sunlight of public opinion. Anti-Semitism (distinct from criticism of Israel) is unfortunately an ugly fact of life in Arab countries and in Middle East Studies here in this country.

From Campus Watch's Website:

"CAMPUS WATCH, a project of the Middle East Forum, reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America with an aim to improving them. The project mainly addresses five problems: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students. Campus Watch fully respects the freedom of speech of those it debates while insisting on its own freedom to comment on their words and deeds."

The Home page contains a link to a symposium at Columbia University,

http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/1602

Which has some disturbing rhetoric from Dr. Jospeh Massad about Israel being an "apartheid" or "racist" state. People have a right to know if anti-American, or anti-Semitic discussions and actions in a University that depends on their tax dollars or donations are a problem.

Knowing is empowering. If you are offended, you have a perfect right to contact your Representative and make your views heard, your Alumni Giving Office to do the same. This isn't McCarthyism ... unless you think a Philospher King should rule everyone like Dear Leader or Maximum Leader or President Saddam. Hey! .... that's probably the view of most Leftists. They love Liberty so much they want it only for one big boss.

We all know what real oppression and injustice is. It's when Blacklists of writers and scholars and so forth happen when you belong to an unpopular organization. It's when solid citizens are put in Concentration Camps like Manzanar. That being said, some things are beyond the pale, and Churchill's words certainly qualify for scrutiny.

As for Pipes support for Coulter's garbage of justifying Internment, THAT nonsense is both morally and factually wrong. However, public scrutiny of scholars papers and presentations can in no way be considered wrong, unless they have something UGLY to hide. I don't like Pipes politics (much or at all) but Campuswatch seems entirely (and sadly) needed.

The sad thing is, this whole Churchill episode is likely to just cause Universities to dump whole departments that are problematic. Middle East studies, Ethnic Studies, etc. In favor of "safe" things like science and math. That's a shame.

Marc -- the link was enlightening. You are absolutely right to criticize Churchill, and the writer is just wrong. Human rights are either universal or they are nothing at all.

Hank the Crank

Marc,
Thanks for linking to the Frank post on CounterPunch, first decent article you've linkd in awhile.

He makes great points, and as Ahmed spells out above, he isn't addressing your most recent post, but the older and more outlandish one.

His arguments I think are sound. He doesn't really agree with Churchill, says he was sloppy, but sees the bigger picture, oh which you can't.

I followed closely the Greens this past election, and Joshua Frank was one of the few writers pointing out their failures. He said a safe-state strategy would kill the party. He was right. Which is more than I can say for you, except politically.

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