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"Dangerous" Professors

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I have seen a couple of things lately about a man named David Horowitz and his work regarding a promotion of an Academic Bill of Rights, as well as his book The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.

I know very little about this man, so this is not meant to be an endorsement of him. My knowlege of him basically consists of reading a few articles about him and watching most of a debate between he and Colorado Professor Ward Churchill (who is famous for calling the victims of the World Trade Center attacks "little Eichmans") over this concept of Academic Freedom. The basic premise of Mr. Horowitz's position seems to be that professors who are funded by tax-payer dollars should teach the subject that they are assigned to teach and should leave politics, religion, etc. that are not part of their subject matter out of the classrooom. I think that Mr. Horowitz has a good point in this area.

What I find interesting some of the responses to his book (mentioned above). One of the professors that he listed, Mark Levine (who teaches Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine), wrote an article on Mother Jones in which he decried Mr. Horowitz - especially the fact that Mr. Horowitz was unqualified to make comments against him because Mr. Horowitz had not read Mr. Levine's books. (I wonder if Mr. Levine has read the books of Mr. Horowitz since he uses the fact that Mr. Horowitz has not read his books as an attempt to discredit him).

Anyway, what I found particularly interesting in Mr. Levine's article was this statement.

Even if we accept that these two schools, and dozens more, have a disproportionate number of progressive faculty, how can we make generalizations about the entire post-secondary educational system from these few cases? Aren't there dangerous conservative-leaning schools as well? How about Liberty Baptist University or Bob Jones University?

Apparently, one of the qualities you need in order to be a "dangerous" professor is to not understand the difference between a private employees and government employees.

It seems to me that, in a taxpayer-funded educational system, asking for the professor to keep their teaching to the things that they are supposed to be covering makes some sense.

Just my thoughts,



dale said...


I agree with your comments on this subject. One of the difficulties I have found in the public ed sphere (my MA is from Missouri-Kansas City, and I teach in the public ed arena) is that teaching is geared more toward what is socially acceptable for the student rather than what is actually needed for one to be educated. Modern ed lacks the personal accountability issue. Education makes it easier for one to fit in even if s/he can not defend or intelligently discuss one's own view on certain subject material. It also allows for laziness as we just follow the lead of those we find to be more "educated" than we are. Good post. Thanks for your comments.

BTW, Mr Horowitz is an ex-liberal/ex-60's hippie-type (seriously liberal), ivy-league educated lawyer who turned strict conservative years ago (ala William Bennett). Horowitz is a conservative social commentator on various political talk shows.