March 13, 2006,
Ward Churchill, Cornel West...we all know the names of some of the radical professors in academia today. But in his new book The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, truth-teller David Horowitz paints a portrait of some of higher-ed's worst. With 101, you might want to check and see if your kid's professor is among them.
Horowitz recently talked to National Review Online Editor Kathryn Lopez about The Professors.
Kathryn Jean Lopez: Can 101 professors actually be "dangerous"?
David Horowitz: Well, as I argue in my book, this is the tip of an iceberg that probably includes between 30,000 and 60,000 faculty activists whose agendas are political and radical.
Lopez: On a scale of 1-10, 1 being the worst, where does Ward Churchill rank among The Professors?
Horowitz: Again, as I argue in my book, there are thousands of Ward Churchills on American faculties, and my guess, without poring over my text, is that roughly a quarter of the professors profiled in my book would have views as extreme as Churchill's. Churchill regards the Islamic terrorists as freedom fighters and is rooting for them to win. But then Professor Hamid Algar is an ardent follower of the Ayatollah Khomeni and gave a speech in Tehran memorializing Khomeni before 9/11 in which he called for armed jihad against the West and the elimination of Israel from the face of the earth.
Lopez: Susan Rosenberg trumps any mere terrorist sympathizer; what was Hamilton College thinking?
Horowitz: I tell the tale of convicted terrorist Susan Rosenberg and her invitation to be a visiting professor at Hamilton. The invitation was extended by Professor Nancy Rabinowitz, whose family circle includes convicted terrorist Kathy Boudin, who was part of the same WeatherUndeground network as Rosenberg. Ward Churchill claims to have trained WeatherUnderground members in the use of explosives. So it's not surprising that he was also invited by Rabinowitz to Hamilton that winter.
Lopez: Who should be a household name but isn't?
Horowitz: Professors Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, leaders of the WeatherUnderground; convicted torturer and inventor of Kwanzaa, Professor Malauna Karenga; and oh so many others.
Lopez: What's your goal in naming names?
Horowitz: I don't "name names," as I am accused of doing by my leftwing antagonists, nor is The Professors a "list." It is a 450-page book and 112,000-word text. More than 100 professors are profiled not by way of identifying 101 individuals but by way of providing a collective profile of a radical cohort on university faculties that has corrupted higher education from coast to coast.
Lopez: How many times a week are you called a McCarthyite?
Horowitz: There appear to be more than 100,000 web references that would fit that description. The Chronicle of Higher Education, which has fallen into the hands of a leftist editor, ran a cover feature about Daniel Pipes, Martin Kramer, and me called "Worse Than McCarthy." The piece was written by well-known Communist apologist Professor Ellen Schrecker who has recently become an apologist for Islamic terrorists like Sami al-Arian as well.
I've posted as many attacks on the book, along with my responses, reviews, and other articles at www.dangprofs.com
Lopez: Seriously, do you think that you're unfair to anyone in the book? Folks who like, say, a Thernstrom have clear political biases, write for the Wall Street Journal and National Review, but are still fine teachers? Do you know all the professors you name are dangerous inside the classroom?
Horowitz: The dangerous idea is a marketing strategy which my publisher attached to the book after it was written. The only appearance of the word "dangerous" in the text is in the coupling of the words "dangerous sophistry" to describe some writing by Professor Juan Cole. Nonetheless, I think "dangerous" can fairly be applied to the collectivity, not least in terms of what they have done to the academic enterprise. Readers of the book will see that the profiles are both accurate and fair. There are several professors Michael Berube, Todd Gitlin, and Victor Navasky to name four who are there because they have been collusive in the efforts of political activists to purge the university of conservatives and subvert its academic mission in the service of radical agendas. I point out that Berube and Gitlin supported the war against the Taliban; and that they have been critical of the pro-Saddam left in the anti-Iraq war movement. But if they have been critical of the terrorists, Communists, and leftwing racists on university faculties, I missed it.
Lopez: Have you made any retractions since your book has been out?
Horowitz: Not one. The intellectual left has been conducting a vicious smear campaign against me alleging that my work is rife with inaccuracies ever since I launched my academic freedom movement. This is typical leftist strategy to destroy my credibility as a writer and thereby avoid having to deal with the evidence. Of course I have made serious charges against the Left, in particular that it has blacklisted conservatives in the academy and politicized its educational mission.
Anyone looking at the claims and my responses will see that these charges have no more substance than previous leftist lies that I am a racist or a homophobe (how they missed "sexist" is a puzzle to me). It is true that Professor Emma Perez a Churchill groupie at the University of Colorado is mistakenly referred to once as Elizabeth Perez, that Todd Gitlin's article "Varieties of Patriotic Experience" is mis-referred to as "Varieties of Patriotism" and that Victor Navasky did not contribute money to The Columbia Journalism Review, which he does edit as his profile claims. But these are the kinds of errors you will find in every 112,000 word text. And they pale in comparison to the calculated because repeated lies about my work made by Michael Berube and other leftist academics. The American Historical Association passed a resolution condemning my Academic Bill of Rights that was based on such a falsification of what the bill says that I offered a $10,000 reward to any member of the AHA who could identify a single sentence in its text that might justify such a claim. There have been no takers.
Lopez: You describe "the current academic culture" as "bitterly intolerant." Isn't there something going on in the inside by way of backlash? I'm thinking of Robbie George's James Madison program at Princeton they seem to have some conservatives thriving, despite, say, Peter Singer's presence on campus.
Horowitz: As faculties go, Robby George's program is virtually unique. What is amazing and greatly encouraging is the vigor of an emerging conservative student movement on campuses across the country.
Lopez: Are you surprised the market hasn't worked things out at all in professorland? People just stop sending their kids and their money to some of the most intolerant schools?
Horowitz: As my book shows, the idea that there are tolerant schools by which I take it you mean intellectually diverse is a delusion. Among the top 100 there are no such schools. The best a parent could do would be to send their child to Kenyon, where the faculty is still ninety percent Left (the norm) but the curriculum is traditional and probably quite decent. There is no market. This is because the academic professions are organized nationally, and therefore no school that wants to be competitive educationally is safe. The analogy would be, say, newspapers. Even such conservatively owned papers as the Wall Street Journal and the San Diego Union are liberal in their news and features sections because the journalistic profession trained in journalism schools at Columbia and elsewhere run by Marxists is left.
Lopez: Post-Larry Summers, do you have any hope for Harvard?
Lopez: Who would have been 102?
Horowitz: Actually my book has 104 if you count Churchill, Cornel West, Susan Rosenberg and Nancy Rabinowitz. None of these has a formal profile so I counted them as one.
Lopez: Is Noam Chomsky overrated? (Not in your book everywhere else.)
Horowitz: Chomsky is a deranged crank. So if you consider him the foremost living intellectual, yes.
Lopez: When did you first notice the "intolerance" of academia?
Horowitz: "Intolerance" is a pretty mild word for what's happened to entire departments that have been transformed into political parties that would give the Communist Party a run for its radical money. It was probably in 1992, when I invited myself onto a panel at a conference at the University of Michigan called "The PC Frame-Up" which was funded by 14 academic departments at the school.
Lopez: What, ideally, is the job of a professor?
Horowitz: As a teacher, to open students minds, to teach them how to think for themselves; as a researcher, to pursue knowledge in a disinterested fashion.
Lopez: Who are some of your ideal professors and why?
Horowitz: My great teachers were Moses Hadas and Andrew Chiappe, who were professors at Columbia in the '50s, when I attended, and Peter Boodberg, with whom I studied classical Chinese at Berkeley. They are all gone now. Their erudition was immense and their dedication absolute. In all my college years I never heard a single professor on a single occasion express a political or ideological point of view.
Lopez: What most distresses you about college kids you meet today?
Horowitz: I actually think the kids are in the main terrific. It's their professors who are the problem.
Lopez: What most impresses you about college kids you meet today?
Horowitz: I have found thoughtful students on both sides of the political debate. But I am especially impressed by the moral toughness and intellectual sophistication of our conservative students.