Justin on David Horowitz and the “Academic Bill of Rights”

In Counterpunch.org, Justin Smith (3QD contributor) looks at David Horowitz’s “Academic Bill of Rights”.

Horowitz regularly raises alarms on his website (www.frontpagemag.org) over ‘the 100 most dangerous academics in America,’ and has helped Students for Academic Freedom to draft an ‘Academic Bill of Rights,’ in which it is proposed that ‘[a]ll faculty shall be hired, fired, promoted and granted tenure on the basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge in the field of their expertise,’ that ‘[n]o faculty shall be hired or fired or denied promotion or tenure on the basis of his or her political or religious beliefs,’ and that ‘[e]xposing students to the spectrum of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects examined in their courses is a major responsibility of faculty. Faculty will not use their courses for the purpose of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination.’ …

Let me briefly describe what it’s like to be a left-wing humanities professor. In my spare time, I seek the abolition of the death penalty, and the conservation of mountain gorillas. These are good causes, I think, and I hope to see progress made on them in my lifetime.

In my classes, I drone on about Descartes’s cogito argument, Leibniz’s monads, etc. Students ask for extensions on their papers, go MIA for weeks at a time, eventually turn in essays on ‘Dick Hart’s cogito argument’ and ‘Liebniz’s nomads,’ and after it’s all over plead with me to bump their grades up an extra notch or two since, as they’re sure I understand, law school admissions are really competitive. I apply for federal grant money for my research on 17th-century theories of natural motion, and the agency asks me to explain the ‘relevance’ and ‘applicability’ of my work for ‘today’s society.’