Or in other words, the Left is burning the barn down and dancing in the ashes…
THE IDEOLOGICAL HIJACKING OF THE UNIVERSITY AND THE BETRAYAL OF ITS TRADITIONAL MISSION
David Horowitz’s “The Left in the University.”
Below is Bruce Thornton’s review of David Horowitz’s new book, “The Left in the Universities” which is volume 8 of The Black Book of the American Left, a multi-volume collection of David Horowitz’s conservative writings that will, when completed, be the most ambitious effort ever undertaken to define the Left and its agenda. (Order HERE.) We encourage our readers to visit BlackBookOfTheAmericanLeft.com – which features Horowitz’s introductions to Volumes 1-8 of this 10-volume series, along with their tables of contents, reviews and interviews with the author.
Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
The corruption of American higher education has been in the news a lot in the last few years. “Snowflakes” and “safe spaces,” crowds of thugs shutting down conservative speakers, craven administrators caving in to demands of activist students and faculty have become increasingly common since the rise of Donald Trump sparked a “resistance” movement. Even progressives who have run afoul of campus Robespierres are writing books about free speech now that their revolutionary children have started devouring their own. What David Horowitz has been warning about in his books and speeches for more than thirty years — the ideological hijacking of the university and the betrayal of its traditional mission — has finally grabbed the national spotlight.
The essays in his latest book, The Left in the University, are indispensable for anyone who wants to understand how we got to this pass.
The first chapter, “The Post-Modern Academy,” is a succinct analysis of the left’s takeover of the university. He starts with one of the most publicized and representative incidents that illustrates how far our campuses have descended into preposterous political correctness and left-wing shibboleths. Ward Churchill was the University of Colorado professor who called the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks “little Eichmanns,” and whose exposure in 2005 led to a national scandal when his academic and personal frauds were revealed. What is less well-known is the enthusiasm that many universities had shown in inviting Churchill to speak at their campuses — 40 invitations before the scandal broke — despite his vicious anti-Americanism and shoddy scholarship. As Horowitz explains, such views were “far from obscure to his academic colleagues. They reflected views comparing America to Nazi Germany that were part of the intellectual core of his academic work.” The widespread agreement with such nonsense implicated not just one rogue college professor, but “the academic culture itself.”
How did such a consensus of belief in ideas more at home in the pages Pravda or Granma happen? The Gramscian “long march through the institution” on the part of Sixties radicals began the redefinition of academic work from a search for truth according to professional norms, to a political activism that in the name of “relevance” and “social justice” shaped research and teaching to confirm leftist ideology and discredit whatever alternatives students might believe. These new academic departments and programs like Women’s Studies and Black Studies, Horowitz writes, “maintained no pretense of including intellectually diverse viewpoint or pursuing academic inquiries unconnected to the conclusions they might reach.”
That these new “disciplines” were political rather than academic was obvious in their creation, which resulted from political protests and sometimes threats of violence, most famously at Cornell, where in 1969 black radicals with loaded shotguns occupied the administration building. Soon, Horowitz continues, other “studies” like Post-Colonial Studies and Social Justice Studies proliferated to promote “narrowly one-sided political agendas,” and create “institutional settings for political indoctrination” and the “exposition and development of radical theory, and education and training of a radical cadre and the recruitment of students to radical causes.” Moreover, their claims to be pursuing “social justice” or “equality” have created an end-justifies-the-means rationalization, a “logical consequence of decades of university pandering to radical intimidators and campus criminals who regularly assault property, persons and reputations” with charges of racism, sexism, or even rape. “If the ideas are correct, it’s okay to silence anyone who disagrees.” In the last few years this phenomenon has become public knowledge, as Antifa thugs have disrupted campus events. Way back in 1998, Horowitz presciently called such behavior “brown-shirt activism.”