furthermore, liberals are communists who believe that the state ought to be responsible for all aspects of people's lives from defining what types of work they will do, how many hours a day they shall do it, what their pay will be, and in general try to promulagate the Unto certain people, the labels "Conservative" and "Liberal" are tantamount to a description of political affiliation as in "Conservatives" are Republicans who believe in a balanced budget, the importance of a strong military presence throughout the world and an ever increasing military budget with the elimination of giveaways to the poor and shiftless black folks who simply make babies to enable themselves to better gorge on the national teat of government largese." While "Liberals" are long-haired, dope fiends who are surrender monkeys that don't believe in the US using its military might to establish its will and self-interest in the world.idea that all men are created equal (even worse, women too). It will be interesting to see if this op-ed piece goes there.
We’re All Conservatives Now
By STANLEY FISH
What exactly does the Academic Bill of Rights say? What rights does it reserve to Academia?
...e-mailed me to report, in sorrow, that Penn Sate University had weakened “the only academic freedom provision . . . worthy of the name.” What the university had done was revise an 1987 statement stipulating that “it is not the function of a faculty member . . . to indoctrinate his/her students with ready made conclusions on controversial subjects.”...As opposed to it being all right to indoctrinate one's students with ready made conclusions on non-controversial subjects, and we all know which ones are which, n'est ce pas?
...That sentence disappeared, as did a warning against “introducing into the classroom provocative discussions of irrelevant subjects not within the field of [the instructor’s] study.”..."Irrelevant subjects not within the field of [the instructor's] study?" Who is to determine what subjects are irrelevant and what if the instructor has studied afield?
...The National Association of Scholars Web site declares that academic freedom at Penn Sate is “ruined.” The left had won again, and the university world remains a bastion of radical political forces.Of such battles are great ideological debates fought, and generalizations left to celebrate in victory or return to the confines of the teachers office in abject defeat.
Oh crap, this formulation cannot possibly be correct.
Not so, according to a new book I received in the same week. “Academic Freedom in the Post-9/11 Era” (edited by Edward J. Carvalho and David B. Downing) boasts a roster of prominent left-wing academics including Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, Ward Churchill, Henry Giroux, Norman Finkelstein and Cary Nelson. In these pages the downcast and discouraged David Horowitz who wrote to me is presented as “powerful,” a “force,” a “bully,” “notorious,” “a perfect cynic,” “dangerous,” a purveyor of “McCarthian sensibilities” and all too successful. It is because of his efforts and the efforts of other right-wing groups (listed by John K. Wilson in an essay titled “Marketing McCarthyism”) that “higher education is increasingly abandoning its role as a democratic public sphere as it aligns itself with corporate powers and military values” (Giroux). Despite the tears shed by Horowitz and his allies for the plight of conservative students, “censorship in academia by conservatives” is, according to Wilson, “more common than censorship on the left.”
Both sides can’t be right, can they? Well, actually, they can.
One point for the left.
The left is right to point to the withdrawal of state funds from public universities as precipitating “the neoliberal rush to privatize and vocationalize all facets of higher education,” a rush that has brought us “educational cuts, tighter budgets, increasing tuition and student debt, hiring freezes, the rise of contingent faculty and the erosion of secure academic employment” (Carvalho and Downing).
There is a reason that the faculty who work within these ever-more-pinched spaces are predominantly liberal. It is because faculty pay is nowhere near as attractive as pay proffered by right-leaning think tanks. One who takes on a faculty job a priori will have a "left leaning" inclination: to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, give alms to the poor, visit the prisoner, provide for the widows and orphans ... if you see where my line of thinking is leading.
But the right is right to point out that the faculty who work within these ever-more-pinched spaces are predominantly liberal and have over the years created “new inter-disciplinary fields whose inspirations were ideological and closely linked to political activism” (Horowitz, “Reforming Our Universities”). (Of course, the fact that a course of study was born out of ideological/political concerns doesn’t mean that instruction in its materials is necessarily ideological and political; any subject matter, whatever its origin, can be taught from an appropriately academic perspective.)
Please cite examles of such hurling.
Each side, then, has its points and some evidence to support them, but what is most interesting is that each looks backwards to the same idealized past and laments the loss of the same values and practices. Horowitz signs on (wistfully) to John Sexton’s description of the research university as a place “of rigorous and reasoned skepticism,” where norms “are not fixed or given, but are themselves subject to re-examination and revision” in a spirit of “critical reflection.”
Susan Searls Giroux, citing Zygmunt Bauman, inveighs against the “hurry-up-and-learn” consumerist mentality of the current academic scene, where “the language of development or maturation” of knowledge is replaced by knowledge as a commodity with a “ ‘use by’ ” date, and there is no time or patience for “the slow careful accumulation of knowledge tested and retested and improved when found wanting.” You could assign Searls Giroux’s statement to Horowitz and Horowitz’s to Searls Giroux, and nothing would change in their respective arguments.
What this means is that despite the point-counterpoint accusations of betrayal, corruption and anti-intellectualism (charges hurled by each party at the other),...
...the left and the right are after the same thing, and it turns out to be just what Immanuel Kant urged in his essay “What is Enlightenment?” (1794) when he answered his title question by declaring that “enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity,” an immaturity marked by his reliance on the pre-packaged guidance of others as opposed to the exercise “of his own rational capacities.”
Mankind, says Kant, must constantly labor to “expand its knowledge . . . to rid itself of errors, and generally to increase its enlightenment.” No one in the Carvalho-Downing volume or on Horowitz’s side of the street would dissent.
Indeed, what is remarkable about reading the essays by the lefties Carvalho and Downing have assembled is how conventional (for me a good word) and, yes, conservative, the authors are both in their pronouncements and their performances.
Ward Churchill, the most notorious of them all, writes a lengthy essay free of political posturing. His concern is with due process, academic integrity and the freedom the University of Colorado Regents’ statement proclaims, the freedom “to discover, publish and teach truth as the faculty member sees it, subject to no control or authority save the control and authority of the rational methods by which truth is established.”
In his essay, Norman Finkelstein does not argue or reargue his case for the exploitation of the Holocaust by Elie Weisel and others Jews; rather, he discusses the question of academic style and the place in it (if there is one) of “uncivil” language, language that refuses the politeness of academic decorums and opts instead for calling a spade a spade.
Despite his brief for incivility Finkelstein does not condone license in academic performance, and even goes as far as to maintain that professors should be constrained in, and held accountable for, their extramural utterances lest they “degrade a position on which society has conferred prestige.”
You can hardly be more conservative than that, but Cornel West goes him one better when he declares, “I really don’t have trouble with military recruitment on campus . . . because I believe in robust uninhibited dialogue” (a reference to New York Times v. Sullivan). And he warms my heart (and Kant’s, too) when he declines to measure the educational experience by “results and consequences,” even the consequence of “fundamentally changing the world,” but insists instead that “it has to be, in the end, an existential question of vocation.” “What kind of love do you want to express? What kind of service do you want to render? What kind of intellectual engagement do you want to enact?” These are hardly the questions of someone anyone should fear.These three examples make it sound as if it is "the left" that is "conservative." Do representatives from "the right" make arguments as cogent?
To be sure, there are some things to fear, but their names are not West or Chomsky or Horowitz. The forces — call them neoliberal, call them corporate capitalism, call them political indoctrination — that have in different ways turned the university away from the emancipatory project Kant called us to (and every one of these authors celebrates) are enemy enough. We don’t have to demonize each other.
But there are big bucks, again, from corporate capitalistic, republican indoctrinated, forces that have turned the university away from the emancipatory project Kant called us to (and if every one of these authors celebrates, why don't we see examples from "the right" or from "conservatives?" And what cha mean WE, as in "We don't have to demonize each other" white man?