Today Inside Higher Education worries about David Horowitz and his list of the 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. The point in the article seems to be that academics really aren't so scary or dangerous. Sadly, most of them are about as dangerous as your local stamp collector. But, the fantasy of the quiet unassuming egghead planning great destruction is just too delicious to ignore. Paging Dr. Lecter...
But, the approach this article takes is simply misguided. IHE should make some statement on Horowitz and just move on. They do these articles every other week. Me thinks they doth protest too much, and probably this is because there's some truth to Horowitz's claims. There really are people in academe who have wasted their best years stumping for some radical political cause when they could have been taking part in the disinterested persuit of truth that the rest of us at least attempt every day. The problem with both these professors and people like David Horowitz is that they fundamentally believe the disinterested persuit of truth is impossible.
Horowitz's argument seems to be that (A) academe is filled with lefties, and so (B) a leftist can't be trusted teach a course about anything without tubthumping for their lefty politics. But, this doesn't follow any more than it follows to argue that you can't hire a Catholic to teach a course because they would preach the Catholic interpretation of the gospels as soon as they walked in the classroom. Most academic research has nothing to do with politics- and shouldn't- but the ideologue/pedagogue believes that this is just a naive charade, and Horowitz agrees, whether he wants to or not. Essentially, the tubthumper argues that "everything is political", and Horowitz argues that "everything, for the leftist, is political".
But, they're both dead wrong in regards to the actual academic experience of the rest of us. So, perhaps IHE should start denouncing both the ideologues (and there are nowhere near as many of them as Horowitz claims. "Thousands"? Please!) and Horowitz's hysterical bullshit with the same vehemence and then move on. Because, honestly, this is beneath the academy. And, it's also getting boring for those of us who think that there's more to life and the persuit of knowledge than who voted for who.
P.S.: The messages attached to the article are especially funny. The D'Ho/ J-Lo discussion is one of the dumbest things I've seen in months. So, that adds a certain entertainment value to it.