For Culture Warrior David Horowitz, Deplatforming is No Deterrent: Barbara Kay, National Post, Nov. 13, 2018 — An opinion columnist nowadays could take campus disruptions or deplatformings of conservative speakers as his or her sole weekly topic and never run out of material.
Recommendation Letter Flap Illustrates Increasingly Hostile Campus Climate for Israel Supporters: Ariel Behar, IPT News, Nov. 5, 2018— After he criticized Hamas in a 2014 Facebook post, Connecticut College Professor Andrew Pessin was forced into a sabbatical due to threats and faculty ostracism.
‘Our Struggle Is My Struggle’: The Dangers of Grievance Studies: Ben Cohen, JNS, Oct. 14, 2018— The world of academia has been riveted by the full account of an elaborate hoax that resulted in several high-profile academic journals publishing articles based on ludicrous notions and fake field research, but couched in the language of social justice and identity politics.
Sympathizing with Minorities: Philip Carl Salzman, Frontier Centre, Nov. 9, 2018— When one of my friends and colleagues accused me of being unsympathetic to minorities, I was indignant.
On Topic Links
Sarah Lawrence Prof Pens Op-Ed About Lack of Intellectual Diversity, Social Justice Warriors Want Him Driven Off Campus: Mike LaChance, Legal Insurrection, Nov. 3, 2018
The University of Michigan Has a Big Problem: Kenneth H. Ryesky, Algemeiner, Oct. 16, 2018
Ivory Tower Bigots: David Mikics, Tablet, Oct. 16, 2018
Did 1968 Win the Culture War?: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Nov. 22, 2018
FOR CULTURE WARRIOR DAVID HOROWITZ,
DEPLATFORMING IS NO DETERRENT
National Post, Nov. 13, 2018
An opinion columnist nowadays could take campus disruptions or deplatformings of conservative speakers as his or her sole weekly topic and never run out of material. The latest example comes to us out of New Hampshire’s elite Dartmouth College (tuition US$75,000 a year), where formidable conservative polemicist David Horowitz — soon to celebrate his 80th birthday — was recently invited to speak for Dartmouth’s College Republicans and Students Supporting Israel association.
Things went exactly as any informed person might expect — badly. Leaflets circulating prior to the event accused Horowitz of being a “racist, sexist and ignorant bigot.” During his presentation, the Dartmouth Socialists reportedly played loud porn videos, displaying banners with slogans like “ICE is the Gestapo” and talking over Horowitz. What Horowitz had to say was lost to all but the most distraction-resistant students. Beforehand, a gender studies professor had tweeted, “Islamophobe and anti-intellectual David Horowitz is speaking today … He is a hater of the first order.”
“Anti-intellectual?” That struck me as especially mindless, as she clearly has never read a word Horowitz has written. Horowitz’s publication bibliography runs to 50 pages, much of it a deeply informed, scholarly unpacking of the radical left’s American odyssey. As for his 1997 opus, Radical Son, George Gilder called it “the first great autobiography of his generation.” Other critics rank it at the same level for style and substance as Whittaker Chambers’ Witness and Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon. The rest of what the professor tweeted is also a lie. Horowitz has a 50-year history of civil-rights activism. Horowitz only hates Marxism, including the cultural Marxism of identity politics, so he never assigns collective guilt to individuals. (Ironically, he has both a black and a transgender grandchild.)
Needless to say, Dartmouth did not subsidize this visit. According to an open letter he published on Nov. 9 to Dartmouth president Philip Hanlon, Horowitz had to underwrite all the costs for his appearance, even though a previous Dartmouth talk “by notorious anti-Semite and terrorist supporter Linda Sarsour” had been subsidized, including a reported $10,000 honorarium, by Dartmouth’s “Office of Pluralism and Leadership” (a title Horowitz describes as “Orwellian”).
The chances that Dartmouth’s administration will feel remorse or change its policies in response to Horowitz’s eloquent indictment of its double standards are approximately nil. He surely knows that. This is not Horowitz’s first experience of campus disruption — or his 10th — or the first time he has publicly denounced a university administration. It is remarkable, given his lack of success in changing the campus culture (indeed, it has gotten much worse since he started campaigning for intellectual diversity on campus decades ago) that Horowitz’s righteous indignation remains as robust as ever.
Horowitz is particularly loathed by the left because, as a former radical of influence — Ramparts, the voice of antiwar protest that he edited at Berkeley in the late 1960s and early ’70s had a circulation of 250,000 — who later defected rightwards, he is well schooled in leftist hypocrisy and, in the parlance, “knows where the bodies are buried” (in the case of the Black Panthers, this is almost literally the case).
On the other hand, the consistently high-octane rhetoric he brings to bear on the Marxist delusion tends to make even those conservatives who agree with his principles leery of close association with him. In a 2002 interview, former Commentary magazine editor Norman Podhoretz — no slouch himself in combating toxic leftism — said of Horowitz, “Some conservatives think he goes too far, and my guess is that some also believe his relentless campaign against the left focuses too much on the ‘pure’ form of it that has become less influential than its adulterated versions travelling under the name of liberalism.”
I have followed Horowitz’s writings for many years and reviewed most of the books in his nine-volume series, The Black Book of the American Left, including the latest and last volume. (My review of it will soon appear in the Dorchester Review.) In it I write, “Horowitz is not what the estimable Heterodox Academy would consider a clubbable colleague. But in the light of what is happening on campuses today — indeed, in the light of what is being passed into Canadian law today — will history judge him an ‘extremist?’ ”
My own pessimism regarding freedom of speech in the academy, which I see diminishing every day with no end in sight, combined with the overwhelming evidence Horowitz brings to bear, on a case-by-case basis, against the left’s betrayal of democratic ideals, inclines me to believe that Horowitz will be vindicated.
One day, The Black Book of the American Left (if extant copies haven’t been burned, and all digital traces expunged) will be required reading for those who seek to understand how the decline and fall of individual rights and America’s precious First Amendment came to pass.
RECOMMENDATION LETTER FLAP ILLUSTRATES INCREASINGLY HOSTILE CAMPUS CLIMATE FOR ISRAEL SUPPORTERS
IPT News, Nov. 5, 2018
After he criticized Hamas in a 2014 Facebook post, Connecticut College Professor Andrew Pessin was forced into a sabbatical due to threats and faculty ostracism. On the same campus, however, rabidly anti-Israel speakers were invited, including one who pushed the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Israel harvested Palestinians’ organs and engaged in medical experimentation. One of Pessin’s colleagues later said he couldn’t recommend Connecticut College to Jewish students because of “the harassment of Jews on campus in the name of fighting for social justice.”
It was part of a rising tide of anti-Semitic episodes on American university campuses. The University of Michigan drew unwanted attention last month when a professor reneged on a previous commitment to write a letter of recommendation for a student hoping to study abroad. What changed? The Jewish student wanted to study in Israel and the professor, John Cheney-Lippold, supports an academic boycott of the Jewish state as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Meanwhile, pro-Israel speakers routinely are shouted down and Jewish students report feeling intimidated. The following examples all took place last month: University of Minnesota protesters shouted “f***ing Zionists,” “no more death, no more lies, Israel out of Palestine,” and “you’re a bunch of war criminals,” outside a pro-Israel event with IDF soldiers. The founder of Students Supporting Israel (SSI) filmed the protesters as attendees filed in; When the University of Houston Hillel sponsored an event featuring Israeli Druze and Christian reservists, fliers were defaced with messages like “Blood is on your hands, Israel kills children, pregnant woman, medical volunteers,” and “Complicit in genocide of Palestinians.”; Pro-Israel leaflets at a University of Missouri bus stop were torn down and defaced with the slogan “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free,” a call for Israel’s elimination.
Anti-Semitic incidents on U.S. college campuses increased 59 percent last year, an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) study found. “There is a heightened sense of fear for students to label themselves as ‘pro-Israel,'” University of Michigan student, Talia Katz, a senior studying public policy, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism. Israel has become an increasingly polarizing issue and in effect, she said, “the fear of being outwardly pro-Israel stems from a fear of being accused of supporting Trump, racism, Islamophobia, and other social views vehemently disavowed by the student body and faculty.”
Cheney-Lippold’s actions are “counter to our values and expectations as an institution,” a University of Michigan statement said. The university “has consistently opposed” boycotting Israel, a spokesman told the Chronicle of Higher Education. He won’t get a raise this year and the university froze his sabbatical eligibility. “I think it’s wildly inappropriate for a professor to let his political views get in the way of his relationships and responsibilities to students,” Katz told the IPT.
Cheney-Lippold said he “firmly stand[s] by my decision, as I stand against all injustice and inequality. I hope others stand with me in protesting a government that has created a legal system that favors Jewish citizens’ right to self-determination over Palestinians.'” Not long after, a Michigan graduate student instructor invoked BDS in refusing a student’s letter of recommendation request.
“My action attests to my ongoing engagement with the theory and practice of social justice pedagogy as well as my concern for the injustices suffered by Palestinians,” Lucy Peterson wrote in an op-ed in the campus newspaper. “In my classroom, I try to make as much space as possible for intellectual and political disagreement and for the voices of marginalized students.”
The university once again took heat when a speaker at a required lecture compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolph Hitler. It is important to note that comparing Israel or Israeli policy to Hitler and Nazi Germany meets the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.
Katz detailed the many anti-Semitic tropes that have been seen on campus, such as a cartoon depicting Jews as pigs with bags of money. “However, when other speakers come to campus who are perceived to be racist, sexist, or offensive to other minority identities, the University blasts out e-mails to the student body, offering emotional support, providing mental health resources, and detailing their disagreements with the controversial speakers,” calling it a double standard.
To add insult to injury, Michigan’s Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies (CMENAS) hosted a teach-in about what motivates artists and musicians to join the BDS movement last Monday. The BDS movement is seen as anti-Semitic because it sets a double-standard and holds the only Jewish state accountable for perceived injustices. Many of its supporters also advocate the end of Israel’s existence. Furthermore, the BDS movement has contributed to the plight of Palestinians, the very cause it seeks to support…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
‘OUR STRUGGLE IS MY STRUGGLE’:
THE DANGERS OF GRIEVANCE STUDIES
JNS, Oct. 14, 2018
The world of academia has been riveted by the full account of an elaborate hoax that resulted in several high-profile academic journals publishing articles based on ludicrous notions and fake field research, but couched in the language of social justice and identity politics.
The hoax was the brainchild of three academics — editor and writer Helen Pluckrose, mathematician James Lindsay, and philosopher Peter Boghossian — none of whom are likely to receive “A” list university posts now that they have performed this valuable service. Over a period of about a year, the three of them concocted 20 hoax papers relating to themes like identity, sexuality, body shape, and the significance of “intersectional” struggles. By the time they called a halt to the project, seven of these hoaxes had been published in various academic journals, essentially confirming their initial suspicion that, as long as it is in the proper political packaging, there are plenty of journal editors out there receptive to any old garbage.
One paper about “rape culture” in dog parks in Portland, Oregon received a special citation from the journal that published it. Another paper, on how “masculinist and Western bias” in the science of astronomy “can best be corrected by including feminist, queer, and indigenous astrology,” was enthusiastically received by academic reviewers with a request for only minor revisions. Most spectacularly, the feminist social-work journal Affilia published a hoax paper titled “Our Struggle Is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism” that was composed of passages lifted from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf with, in the words of the three hoaxers, “fashionable buzzwords switched in.”
Many academics have protested that the hoax project was unethical because its methodology hinged upon dishonest dealings with the editors and peer reviewers of the journals where these papers were published. There is some merit to that argument, but more importantly, we can learn a great deal about human behavior from these types of underhand experiments. When the controversial American social psychologists Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo carried out their respective studies of obedience more than 50 years ago — in Milgram’s case by setting up unknowing subjects to believe that they were inflicting electric shocks on others at the behest of an “authority figure,” in Zimbardo’s by placing student volunteers in “guard” and “inmate” roles in a laboratory “prison” — these were similarly denounced as unethical. But they also demonstrated that willfully engaging in state-sanctioned brutality is something that all human beings are vulnerable to, even when doing so violates the values and standards taught to them all their lives.
The focus of this present hoax was not, of course, as dramatic as the exploration of human cruelty. Its framework of inquiry was restricted to academic journals only. And its purpose was to establish whether what the authors call “grievance studies” — the collection of disciplines spanning gender, race, and culture that are served by the journals in question — is “corrupting academic research.” Their short answer is “yes.”
At stake here is more than the irresponsible use of facts by academics or the ideological assumptions behind much research in social science. Ultimately, we are dealing with what the hoaxers rightly identify as a crisis in epistemology — the venerable branch of philosophy concerned with what we know and how we know it, ranging from simple observations (“it’s raining”) to more complex judgments (“you did the right thing”). The scientific standards and rationalist principles that underlie the exploration of what constitutes truth are being assailed by what the hoaxers call “the identitarian madness coming out of the academic and activist left.” Madness it may be, but at the same time, it has become a useful tool for scholars who “bully students, administrators, and other departments into adhering to their worldview.”
Increasingly, students are taught that the veracity of a particular claim cannot be separated from the identity of the person making it — and that suggesting otherwise is a surrender to patriarchy and racism. Central to this approach as well — as my colleague Jonathan S. Tobin recently pointed out in a different context focusing on environmental activists — is the abandonment of the skepticism that is so essential to the scientific method. Ideological conviction and an in-built bias towards some human identities over others, rather than testing and observation, has become the standard by which we ascertain what is true, and therefore what is false as well.
While the three hoaxers don’t claim that the entire university system has been consumed by identity politics and its dubious methods of attaining the truth, the problem is evidently significant enough for us laypeople to worry about it. From a Jewish philosophical perspective, there is no serious quarrel with the scientific method; Maimonides wrote that “knowledge of the Divine cannot be attained except through knowledge of the natural sciences.”
But far more practically, we shouldn’t shy away from saying that the academic study of the Nazi Holocaust — particularly as carried out in Israel by Yad Vashem and other institutions — provides us with a model to examine human suffering that is far more rigorous than anything purveyed by the identitarians. Because if this darkly amusing hoax has taught us anything, it’s that the study of grievances is too important to be left to the practitioners of grievance studies.
SYMPATHIZING WITH MINORITIES
Philip Carl Salzman
Frontier Centre, Nov. 9, 2018
When one of my friends and colleagues accused me of being unsympathetic to minorities, I was indignant. How dare he? After all, I am myself a member of a much maligned and prejudicially treated minority ethnic group, with which I identify strongly. Not only that, both of my children are “visible minorities,” as we like to say here in Canada: my son was adopted from Thailand; my daughter was adopted from China. In our current cultural moment, to be unsympathetic to minorities implies the worst sins we can imagine: oppression of the vulnerable, racism, male supremacism, heteronormality, and Islamophobia. Who but the most egocentric, ethnocentric cynic, or the most self-serving, callous exploiter, or the most fearful, insecure weakling, could be unsympathetic to minorities?
Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I agree that I am unsympathetic to minorities. The reason is that I object to dealing with people in terms of their allocation to gross, demographic census categories. Are we to think of individuals only or primarily in terms of whether they a member of one or another racial, gender, ethnic, sexual, or religious category? This is a form of reductionism that “disappears” the individual human being into a few general features, implies if not asserts that this is the most important things about them, advises treating them according to their categories, and succeeds in dividing our society into opposing and conflicting regiments.
Many people, these days, take the view that some categories of people are more important than others, just like the animals in Animal Farm, where all are equal, but some are more equal than others. For example, if you say “black lives matter,” you are on the side of the angels; but if you say “all lives matter,” you are an evil emissary of white supremacy and its leader, Satan. If you say “the future is female,” you are lauded and being foresightful and simpatico; but if you say we should be concerned about men’s rights, you are a sexist chauvinist “mansplaining,” and should be silent or be silenced. If you say, “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest), you are just expressing the “religion of peace”; if you oppose the importation of sharia law and insist on the separation of church and state, you are an Islamophobe and racist fascist.
The key to sorting out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys is identifying victim categories: members of victim categories, or, better, multiple victim categories, are to be favoured, while anyone who is not a member of a victim category, is a member of an oppressor category who should be disfavoured. Through the magic of “intersectionality” we can discover who are the worthy victims; the more victimhood categories someone can claim, the more worthy they are: non-white, female, minority race (except Asians), minority religion (except Jews), gay, bisexual, transsexual, transvestite, etc. etc., handicapped, poor, homeless, mentally ill, etc. The complementary side of the equation is the oppressors and exploiters: whites, males, Western European ethnicity, heterosexuals, Christians and Jews.
You may wonder where all of this oppressor-victim categorization comes from. It is drawn in the first instance from Marxism, which posits class conflict between the exploited proletariat and oppressing bourgeoisie as the dynamic that will destroy capitalism and establish socialism. That was not popular in North America, where most people see themselves as middle class. But sociologists who came to define their field as “the study of inequality” extended class conflict to other, non-economic classes: genders, races, ethnicities, sexual subgroups, religions, etc. The sociologists added that the oppression and victimization was “structural,” with individuals’ intentions unimportant…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
On Topic Links
Sarah Lawrence Prof Pens Op-Ed About Lack of Intellectual Diversity, Social Justice Warriors Want Him Driven Off Campus: Mike LaChance, Legal Insurrection, Nov. 3, 2018—Professor Samuel Abrams is a conservative-leaning tenured professor of politics at Sarah Lawrence College. He is active in Heterodox Academy, a group of almost 2000 academics devoted to intellectual diversity on campus.
The University of Michigan Has a Big Problem: Kenneth H. Ryesky, Algemeiner, Oct. 16, 2018 —News from Michigan tends to reach me here in Israel given my personal and professional ties to the state. Having taught at Queens College CUNY and at Yeshiva University, and as a lawyer whose undergraduate major and MBA concentration were in Organizations & Management, I now critique the situation at the University of Michigan from a legal and managerial perspective.
Ivory Tower Bigots: David Mikics, Tablet, Oct. 16, 2018 —Anti-Zionism is a form of racism like any other: The erasing of a nation’s experience, the denial of their right to speak.
Did 1968 Win the Culture War?: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Nov. 22, 2018—Fifty years ago this year, the ’60s revolution sought to overturn American customs, traditions, ideology, and politics. The ’60s radicals eventually grew older, cut their hair, and joined the establishment. Most thought their revolution had fizzled out in the early 1970s without much effect, as Americans returned to “normal.”