David Horowitz, the erstwhile, radical leftist now conservative crusader against the “radical,” professorial presence in the Humanities and Social Sciences, does occasionally respond to legitimate criticism. A quality frankly some on the left eschew. I had taken some umbrage in having my blog described as “deranged” in my profile he wrote for DiscovertheNetworks.org, a compendium of the progressive “cancer” and “fifth column” that threatens American hegemony and neo-conservative muscularism.
I noticed that both the link and “deranged” characterisation had been removed since that posting. Perhaps a coincidence but more likely a concession that differing ideologies are not necessarily the result of psychological maladies but more lucid and value-laden differences on the meaning of America.
Yet in his recent FrontPageMag.com posting on the statements of solidarity in behalf of Professor Ward Churchill, University of Colorado, he describes me and others as:
“the worst offenders of academic standards and discourse.”
Mr Horowitz provides a link to some of the biographies of professors that appeared in his The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. He encourages his readers to consult these profiles “which delineates their unsavory history.”
I think Mr Horowitz would be more effective in his campaign against progressive faculty if he were to adopt a less acusatory and caustic tone in his fulminations. I was roundly criticised for the “tonality” of an e-mail I sent to the Air Force Academy in 2002 and even had my classes hijacked from me by a president eager to please the armies of the night: the night of darkness, intimidation and sanctioning antiwar militant speech. Indeed Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, in his bullying, obsessive and mean-spirited effort to deny Professor Norman G. Finkelstein tenure, is a frequent guest columnist for David Horowitz’s online newspaper, FrontPageMag.com, and uses wild, provocative, and viciously disparaging language in his denunciation of the courageous professor. He has referred to Dr Finkelstein’s transformative monographs as “trash.” So if the right, whether in academia or in journalism, castigates the quality of “discourse” that the left purportedly utilises, it should cleanse its own rhetoric. They should also, in the name of civility, adopt a greater sense of humility and respect for those who defy the stultifying canon of American exceptionalism and reject an overly aggressive if not self-destructive manifestation of nationalism.