Hate mail - Friday, October 22, 2004
You have to admire the ability of the left to project its own phobias, rages, distortions, smears and mendacities on other people. I am responsible for launching a movement for academic freedom on American campuses. Its agendas are pretty transparent. It protects all individuals professors and students alike, left and right, from being persecuted for their political opinions. It seeks to remind professors that they have a responsibility to all their students regardless of their politics not to grade them politically, not to harass them for their political views and to provide them with an education that makes them aware that there are few settled truths and there are many points of view. For doing this I have been regularly attacked by pompous and unscrupulous trolls like Eric Alterman in the following manner:
"The Horror of Horowitz: I’ve been hearing about this scam of David Horowitz’s for a couple of years now on various speaking gigs. In order to drum up attention for himself and no doubt, funds for his “Center” he finds some liberal or left-wing professor at a school at which he has been invited by the local conservative student group and seeks to destroy the reputation of said scholar with a series of McCarthyite accusations. If the school is publicly funded, he will often find some troglodyte legislature to conduct an inquiry into the debasement of our children, or some such nonsense. This story appears to confirm my suspicions and increases my hope in the existence of Hell so that Horowitz might now spend a few extra weeks there one day."
Alterman's source (see his link) is Bill Berkowitz, a fringe leftist much enamored of Fidel Castro who has been obsessed with me for years. Berkowitz's indictment begins with this paragraph:
"At Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, WANTED posters with a headshot of Professor Abel Alves appeared on campus a few weeks back; a student who took Associate professor David Gibbs' 'What is Politics' class at the University of Arizona claimed that Gibbs 'is an anti-American communist who hates America and is trying to brainwash young people into thinking America sucks'; a political-science professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver in Colorado says she has been the target of death threats and hate e-mail in the wake of the recent debate in the state over an Academic Bill of Rights; a University of Georgia professor is being investigated after allegations he bullied a conservative student. Revenge of the Nerds? Twenty-first century Gipper brigades? No, and No. It's the Horowistas -- a small, hearty and growing band of followers of right wing provocateur David Horowitz and his Students for Academic Freedom."
I have never heard of Professor Gibbs, and Oneida Meranto, the professor at Metro State Denver, is a fantasist who has been disciplined by her liberal school for breaking federal law in an attempt to punish one of her Republican students. I not only did not encourage students to put up Wanted posters in respect to Professor Alves at Ball State, despite his sins against academic decency, but actually deplored the posting of these flyers publicly. In point of fact the headline of the Muncie Star about this incident was "National Leader Deplores Wanted Posters at BSU." The national leader was me. Don't expect Alterman to apologize should he read this blog or should readers of this blog send emails to his editors at MSNBC and SLATE.
I don't think the students who have suffered under Professor Alves's abuses -- need I point out that political indoctrination of students in the classroom is an abuse? -- should be judged harshly for this, but the fact is I opposed it. I have neither the time, the energy nor the inclination to correct all of the distortions and lies in Berkowitz's attack on me. I will point out that the other case at Ball State concerns Professor Wolfe. Wolfe is a professor of the saxophone who fraudulently represents himself (with the full backing of his school administration) as a qualified expert on matters of war and peace, and who grades his students according to whether they ascribe to his Chomskyite views of the world or not. Reasonable liberals will be appalled by this. Eric Alterman and Bill Berkowitz are neither reasonable nor liberal and will not. Others can find the information about the situation at Ball State here in the section of our website at www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org that deals with the Brett Mock case.