Sunday, February 13, 2005

(E) "Little Eichmanns" - Part VI

I continue to wrestle with the issue of whether the "little Eichmanns" metaphor can be made coherent. As I have said, a major problem with the Ward Churchill essay is that the essay fails to deploy the metaphor effectively, at least as an aid to analysis. As an aid to incitement, it has proven to be quite effective.

This video does a better job of explaining Churchill's basic perspective in two minutes than Churchill does in 20 pages. The organization highlighted in this video is the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). If you check out the signatories to PNAC's Statement of Principles , then read PNAC's open letter to President Clinton dated January 26, 1998, you can see how so many people can regard it as reasonable to believe that the Bush administration had a pre-9/11 agenda to attack Iraq. The video's argument that the underlying rationale is a sort of corporatist neo-fascism is not, in my opinion, sustained by the PNAC site, but then it wouldn't be, would it?

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Update, March 1: For a different perspective on the Churchill controversy--and me, for that matter-- see Churchill's Defenders from the Feb. 28 edition of FrontPage magazine.

6 comments:

christine said...

Hi , I have passed your link on to my daughter who is a final year history student at the University of Kent at Canterbury

Jakester said...

Why you would grapple with that left wing fascist pig of an academic frauds vicious little Eichmann remark unless you are a fellow fraud and traitor? Considering he ignores the salient fact that any responsibility for any hardships is Saddam's fault , along with the UN's scandalous behavior, yet that bag of garbage has to find some reason to label a bond trader or a paralegal an Eichmann cause he hates America just like some other academic fraud who thinks some Communist fool like Che Guevara is a great military leader!

Mark G. said...

Hi Jakester,

I was perplexed by your comment until I discovered that most likely you were directed here from David Horowitz's FrontPage post entitled, "Churchill's Defenders." There are those, like Mr. Horowitz, who apparently think that certain opinions are too dangerous or disagreeable to deal with, and that people should be protected from them. There are those, like me, who think opinions can be valuable especially if they seem dangerous or disagreeable.

Mr. Horowitz is nearly as despised on the left as Ward Churchill is despised on the right. Personally I do not think that Mr. Horowitz is interested in the free exchange of views. However, I do think that Mr. Horowitz's observation that the academy is tilted toward the left end of the political spectrum has merit, and is worthy of engagement. In fact in recent weeks I have had a number of conversations with colleagues here and elsewhere about the lack of political diversity within the academy.

Churchill, Horowitz, even you: no one has an opinion too radical or obnoxiously expressed that I will refuse to engage with it. Often I learn the most from the experience of engaging with those with whom I mostly sharply disagree.

One more thing: you obviously let Mr. Horowitz's pre-packaged opinion of me influence you and did nothing more than come here to write your diatribe. Let me share with you the central lesson I try to implant in my students: Don't let anyone do your thinking for you.

Anonymous said...

"However, I do think that Mr. Horowitz's observation that the academy is tilted toward the left end of the political spectrum has merit, and is worthy of engagement. In fact in recent weeks I have had a number of conversations with colleagues here and elsewhere about the lack of political diversity within the academy."

Any thoughts on how to remedy this problem?

Jaron :)

Mark G. said...

Excellent question. I think the first step is to explain why the imbalance exists.

The David Horowitzes seem to think that there's an intentional gate-keeping that goes on whereby politically incorrect faculty don't get jobs or tenure. My own experience is that most grad students (at least in the humanities) are left-leaning already. It may be that it takes someone left-of-center to be comfortable with the idea of spending almost a decade of adult life in relative poverty.

But it may also be that the "tenured radical" stereotype has become self-fulfilling prophecy: that conservative students believe Mr. Horowitz, assume that the academy would disdain them, and therefore do not apply to grad school in the first place.

Anonymous said...

So you don't believe that the gatekeeping actually takes place?

Jaron :)