I was asked the other day what I thought about the Ward Churchill affair. Frankly, I had not followed it at all (but you can: http://hnn.us/articles/10157.html). Apparently, Whingers want to kill him, or at least get him fired (e.g., http://gullyborg.typepad.com/weblog_archive/2005/02/deconstructing_.html, or http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=16972), while Progressives are divided: some distance themselves from "an obscure nobody that Right-wing pulled out to push their agenda"(e.g., http://majikthise.typepad.com/majikthise_/2005/02/ward_churchill__1.html, http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2005_02/005595.php), while others assert that he is telling the truths that are unpalatable to those whose emotional health depends on buying into neocon proto-fascism bait, hook and sinker (e.g., http://www.jregrassroots.org/jre/viewtopic.php?t=13383). I have not read his paper (but you can: http://www.kersplebedeb.com/mystuff/s11/churchill.html), so I will not take any sides. Perhaps he said the truth that makes Right-wing loonies uncomfortable, perhaps he crossed the line into conspiracy theories - I do not know.
The whole thing is, really, about the ideological "balance" in the Academia. I have no idea how I missed the hullabaloo over "dominance" of liberalism in academia last year and involvement of Bob Brandon and Mike Munger in the whole affair (read these: http://www.chronicle.duke.edu/vnews/display.v/ART/2004/02/10/4028d1724320b/?template=default, http://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/001304.html, http://mt.ektopos.com/parablemania/archives/000121.html). I will dig through it deeper later, but for now, here is an excellent Brandon's (last?) response:
...and especially read through the comments - all written by idiots who were not able to graduate from college and do not understand how University works. And I am far less charitable to them than Brandon ever was (e.g., http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2004/10/assault-on-higher-education-lakoffian.html,
Why is Horowitz saying that Churchill should not be fired? (http://www.frontpagemag.com/articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=16946) In the name of protection of free speech? Yeah, right! And I am the Pope. Horowitz's program is to push Right-wing loonies into academia to pollute youngster's minds (as if there is not already too many of them in economics, law, religion and business departments). If he succeeds, he must know that they will spurt out stupidities, for which he wants them to have the same kind of protection.
There is this batshit frothy-at-the-mouth winger who blogs at http://instructivist.blogspot.com/ and who did not like my piece at the last Carnival of Education (http://educationwonk.blogspot.com/2005/02/carnival-of-education-week-2_16.html). Quick perusal of his blog shows that he is all for teaching critical thinking, AS LONG AS such thinking leads inevitably to medieval right-wing ideological conclusions. He wants kids to learn the "facts" but it is his deluded hateful superpatriotic (http://www.michaelparenti.org/superpatriotism.html) facts, not the real truth that he wants them to get to. He also keeps putting up the "postmodernist/deconstructionist liberal" straw-man, not realizing that such people are a) rare in academia these days, b) particularly reviled by liberals (do you think Sokal is a right-winger?), c) not really liberal (http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2004/10/why-are-post-modernistsdeconstructioni.html), and d) more resembling current right-wing moral relativism (which is presented as moral absolutism, but it is really the same thing) than anything close to liberalism. These are the kinds of people, like the "instructivist", that Horowitz wants to push into universities (and lower-level schools), so they can raise yet another misguided Strict-Fathering generation of batshit brownshirts unquestioningly loyal to the Great Dictator and his minions.
The reason why various departments in humanities and social sciences do not hire conservatives is the same reason no department of Organismal and Evolutionary Biology would ever hire a creationist - they are wrong. Their research method is useless: starting with the conclusions then cherry-picking "evidence" to support the conclusions. That is how creationists operate. That is how conservatives operate. That is not quality work and there is no reason why any department should hire such sub-standard faculty. The important question is how come such ass-idiots ever got hired and tenured in departments of business, economics, religion and law? Isn't THAT the real example of ideologically-based hiring? There is no other explanation for them being hired in the first place. Quality of their work and thought could not possibly have been a cause for their hire.
Just as there is no equivalence between Flat-Earthers and Creationists on one hand and scientists on the other (thus the former should not be given ANY public forum to spew their nonsense), there is also no equivalence between liberal and conservative ideology. The former is driven by a moral view of the society and based on empirical knowledge about the way the world works. The latter is 200-years out-of-date femiphobic (http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2004/10/femiphobia.html), mysoginist (http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2004/12/conservative-manly-men-what-are-they.html), superpatriotic bullshit, driven by ideology of anxious masculinity (http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2004/12/conservatives-are-crazy-and-dangerous.html) and based on Creationist-like quality of argument, i.e., a grade of F. Why are conservatives (and GOP) ever given any time on TV and any space in newspapers, not to mentioned treated as a legitimate political ideology, has bothered me for the past 13+ years since I came to live here. And it is getting worse - now they are letting Godidiots like Behe spew nonsense in New York Times, all in the idiotic striving for journalistic "balance" (called "He said/She said Journalism") that one side clearly does not deserve.
So, it does not matter if Ward Churchill is right or wrong. What matters is that the Wingers are surely wrong and have to be, somehow, kept away from our kids.
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Understanding America, and perhaps
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