E-mail from Several Senior Scholars Questions Professor Boozer’s Proposal to Investigate Psychological Profile of David Horowitz’s The 101 Most Dangerous Professors

This link explains the proposal of Professor Boozer to conduct psychological profile analysis of David Horowitz' 101 most "dangerous" professors. 

Richard Falk e-mail May 7 to Professor Bob Boozer cc to Professor Kirstein:

Dear Bob Boozer:

I appreciate the care with which you have responded to the concerns expressed so far by various participants. I withheld my own response because I had misgivings about the proposed study, but was unsure about how to articulate them, and because my first impulse is to cooperate with other scholars.

In this instance, however, my concerns outweigh this cooperative disposition. To endow the Howowitz book with the authority to define a domain of inquiry seems quite misguided. The selection of 'dangerous professors' seems arbitrary and with little rhyme or reason. In my case, the entry is fraught with gross inaccuracy and assertions torn from context. Also, there is something distasteful about being singled out as a 'group' to become the object of psychic assessment, which implies, at least the potential, for psychic reconstruction, or even psychic engineering.

In view of this response, and that of others dumped into this cohort, I hope you will reconsider the project, and even consider writing an article on the limits of propriety in understaking social scientific inquiry. That could be a valuable contribution!

Sincerely,

Richard Falk
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H. Bruce Franklin e-mail May 7 to Professor Bob Boozer cc to Professor Kirstein

Dear Bob Boozer:

Since so many of us are suggesting to you that you abandon your research project, let me make a suggestion for an alternative.

I am 72 years old.  Most of my adult life, I have wondered now and again how was it possible in Germany?  How could this nation, with all its culture and achievements, have become this monstrosity of fascism?  And so fast, too.  Well, now we know, don't we?

My suggestion is to take two sample groups.  One would consist of professors trying to do something to stop what is happening to our nation.  The other would consist of professors who are doing nothing to try to stop it.  Run your psychological tests and profiles on the two samples, and then compare the results.

I hope this is helpful.

H. Bruce Franklin

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Stanley Aronowitz  e-mail May 7 to Professor Bob Boozer cc to Professor Kirstein

Dear Bob Boozer:
                            Richard Falk expresses the views of many on this list and I concur. But I also have serious objections to your use of Jungian categories in the conduct of your study. Jung was arguably the most militant advocate of the irrationality which pervaded German philosophy and psychology during the late Weimar period and beyond. As for Horowitz, to proceed from his descriptions of us is to give his bile unwarranted legitimation. Count me out.
Stanley Aronowitz
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Michael Bérubé e-mail May 7 to Professor Bob Boozer cc to Professor Kirstein

Dear Professor Boozer,

Allow me to add my name to the list of people who have found in Richard Falk's response a more succinct and eloquent version of their own thoughts.  I truly believe there is nothing good to be gained by conducting any study that uses Horowitz's book as the basis for a data sample.  And his entry on me, like the book as a whole, should simply be understood as the ludicrously incompetent thing it is.

Best regards,

Michael Bérubé

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Michael Vocino e-mail May 7 to Professor Bob Boozer cc to Professor Kirstein

Dear Bob Boozer: 
I agree with Profs. Falk's and Franklin's assessments as well.  There is virtually nothing of truth in my Horowitz "biography."  The entire "biography" is based on the misperceptions and outright lies of the President of the URI College Republicans (and student of mine who received an "A" for his work in my classroom), a self-identified fundamentalist Christian, who disapproved of my teaching style, my progressive politics (I teach POLITICAL philosophy not philosophy as published in the personal attack on me) and most importantly to me, my right to express in a political philosophy class the contrasting views on the most important political issue of the day (made so by the Conservative Republicans such as himself)  and that is gay rights. 

I am proudly a gay man, and the easy target of those who wish to accuse me of sexual harassment, which was a complete fabrication.  I CALLED for a full investigation by the University administration of the false charges, not the President of the College Republicans who was the accuser.  The charges were FULLY heard and dismissed. 

As virtually every other academic defamed in the Horowitz attacks, ALL the information you find in his "biography" is either an outright lie, an exaggeration, or a devious and evil interpretation of truth.
michael vocino
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Professor Kirstein e-mail to Professor Boozer, May 3, 2006

Dear Professor Boozer:
Three brief comments

1) I did fill out the survey, but did not adhere to your anonymity request, which I commented upon via the above link.

2) A.B.O.R. (Academic Bill of Rights proposed by Mr Horowitz) is a clear and present danger to the very concept of academic freedom particularly because of efforts to LEGISLATE ideological "balance" or actually an affirmative action programme for conservatives. Your support of it may suggest partisanship and bias toward critical thinking that raises questions as to the underlying purpose of the study. There is also a certain condescending quality to examining a cohort derived from a work that many construe as censorious and intolerant of academic freedom.

3) Your responses have been respectful, timely and well-written and while I would never suggest to an academician that a research project be abandoned, I can well understand the reluctance among several of the book's subjects to participate in this unusual enterprise.  

Peter N. Kirstein

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