Tag Archives: Culture Wars

GOP Pressure on Millersville U. to Cancel Bill Ayers Talk; Random House Pitches Horowitz Latest Book

The following article appeared in Inside Higher Ed on March 2, 2009. It suggests that for some Republicans, the best way to respond to their electoral defeat is to stoke up the fires of the culture wars and to attempt to drive its opponents off the stage by declaring them to be “traitors.”

The article from Inside Higher Ed:

When Bill Ayers visits a local campus these days, it’s become common for a local politician or two to denounce the appearance. But Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania are pushing particularly hard at Millersville University, demanding that a lecture later this month be called off. The Intelligencer Journal reported that Republican legislators have issued repeated statements and called for meetings with state higher education officials about the matter. Millersville has defended the appearance by Ayers, noting that he is coming to the campus in his role as a noted education expert at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and that there are no plans to use tax dollars for the visit. But Republicans keep talking about the Weather Underground, of which Ayers was once a leader, and suggesting that there could be economic penalties for the university if it lets Ayers appear. One legislator told the newspaper: “”I mean, this guy probably committed treason, and why Millersville would want to give him a forum is really beyond my understanding.” Another said: “At the end of the day, the institution does utilize tax dollars…. So there has to be a measure of accountability.”

Random House’s publicity for its forthcoming publication by David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin, “One Party Classroom: How Radical Professors at America’s Top Colleges Indoctrinate Students and Undermine Our Democracy,” carries on in the same vein by employing its own overheated rhetoric. From Random House’s publicity blurb: “In page after shocking page, Horowitz and Laksin demonstrate that America’s colleges and universities are platforms for a virulent orthodoxy that threatens academic ideals and academic freedom. In place of scholarship and the dispassionate pursuit of truth that have long been the hallmarks of higher learning, the new militancy embraces activist zealotry and ideological fervor. In disturbingly large segments of today’s universities, students are no longer taught how to think but are told what to think.”

Excuse me, but he who casts the first stone and all that, and this is Random House, don’t forget, the spawn of Bennett Cerf, not Regnery Publishing. We who inhabit the academy often like to think that we’re on the front lines of whatever struggle is going on whereas we’re often very far from the conflict; maybe this time around we’re much closer. What do you think?