Saturday, February 05, 2005

(F) The Churchill Affair: Ramifications

Ralph Lukens at Cliopatria continues to update his links on L'Affaire Churchill. That's how I came to read this terrific entry in D.B. Light's blog, Light Seeking Light. As Light documents, the right is using Churchill's "little Eichmann" comment to go after those in academe more generally. This is important stuff. Assuming you think academe is important.


Anonymous said...

1. Academe is important. It may not wield crude mass power in the same way an elected official, a judge or a major company can, but it carries the stamp of legitimacy for ideas and concepts.

2. My sense is that many conservative critics (who are wrong in other areas) have correctly assessed that to be on the left in academia is very comfortable. To be on the right is to have a bumpy ride and forget about tenure if you come out of the proverbial political closet too soon.

3. I am all for academic freedom. If some school wants to hire Ward Churchill, Baruch Kimmerling, Ilan Pappe, or Noam Chomsky that is fine. I just feel that their equivalent on the right should also be similarly represented as more than just an endangered species who got tenure before the 1970's. With no real prospect of a young conservative getting tenure. One of the great (and IMO correct) criticisms that the left makes of Pres. Bush's cabinet is that while it is very diverse in terms of skin color and personal plumbing, it is mentally homogenous. The same criticism could be made of parts of academia today.

4. Understand that I don't mean here that leftist views should not have place in a classroom. They certainly do. IMO, which is one thing I really liked about your classes, by the way, is how you provided a full spectrum of the available thought on a topic. But I have also had humanities classes (thankfully not with the OSU military folks who I have learned a great deal from and can't praise highly enough) where that was not the case.

Now, for dinner.

Jaron :)

D. B. Light said...

Thanks for the link. I've been browsing your blog. Lots of interesting and well-considered stuff here. In fact, I'm going to post a link to it now.


Anonymous said...

After following the discussion of political bias in the Humanities on college campuses, I think that the issue of lack of political diversity on campus has deeper roots than people hiring like=minded individuals for their departments. The argument that relatively few people on the right side of the political spectrum are willing to spend years on the chance to make low-average salaries for their level of education certainly needs to be examined. I think maybe the question should be what causes the perceived leftward political slant of certain departments.

In my own education I've not seen a horrendous tilt either way - even after both undergrad and graduate work at the University of South Florida (which was called a throwback to the 1960s in the all of the college prep literature of the late 1980s) and doing my M.A. as Sam Houston State University. Maybe I've just been blessed with generally moderate faculty - with a couple of notable exceptions.

Some of this leaves me wondering whether there's really a huge imbalance, or if we just notice the extreme left faculty members because of their radical opinions?