January 28, 2005

Irony and Hypocrisy on Lines One and Two

So, imagine that a cadre of paramilitary types stormed a university and systematically executed all of the professors it found there.

Then imagine that a couple of years later a business forum hosted a speaker--a Fortune 500 CEO, for instance--who had this take on the whole thing:

"Well, really. Let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed an intellectual corps at the very heart of America's youthful indoctrination program--the 'mighty engine of brainwashing' to which the intellectual sector of the U.S. has always been enslaved--and they did so both willingly and knowingly. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the ivory towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it."

I imagine folks like Ward Churchill would be up in arms about the fascists! Evil fascists! Who should never, ever be allowed to say such things in public! Offensive fascists that they are!

So I wonder how anyone can consider himself an intellectual or even intellectually aware when he can say crap like this without blinking an eyelash:

"The [Pentagon] and those inside comprised military targets, pure and simple. As to those in the World Trade Center: Well, really. Let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire--the 'mighty engine of profit' to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved--and they did so both willingly and knowingly. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it."

But then, Ward is "sticking it to the Man," so I guess that makes it okay. After all, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, right?

And one man's intellectual is another man's mouth-breathing, sanctimonious, thoughtless asshole.

I'll leave it to you, dear reader, to determine exactly which one I think Mr. Churchill is.


Posted by Big Arm Woman at January 28, 2005 04:14 PM
Comments

Ward Churchill looks like a total loser. The sunglasses make him look like a stoner. He needs to lose the sunglasses and get a serious haircut. He looks like it's still 1969. Check out the what instapundit says about Ward Churchill. www.instapundit.com


Posted by: Emily Nelson at January 28, 2005 04:53 PM

what the, not, the what. PIMF.


emily

Posted by: Emily Nelson at January 28, 2005 04:55 PM

Full agreement with BAW: Churchill is the kind of dog you don't swerve for.

The Journal piece has problems of its own, though. The quick generalization from Churchill as a specific instance to the assertion that "carting in rent-a-radicals to indoctrinate [students] goes on all the time, at campuses everywhere" ends up undermining the point the author wants to make. I suppose that by "rent-a-radicals" the author means academics from outside the political mainstream who speak for a fee. If that's right, then (she? he?) has defined a class that contains a great number of voices from across the political spectrum. The category is too broad to be of much use. I would think that you could balance the goals of encouraging academic diversity and not wasting students' time (and parents' money) on people like Churchill by excluding the narrower class of "mouth-breathing, sanctimonious, thoughtless asshole[s]."

None of that matters if, as I suspect, "rent-a-radical" in the Opinion Journal piece means lefty academics generally.

Posted by: Lance McCord at January 28, 2005 05:46 PM

I'm sure they exist, but I've never seen an academic like Mr. Churchill. He is a "typical representative" of leftist academics in the same way that Adolf Hitler is a typical representative of conservative politicians, which is to say, not at all.

Posted by: Michael at January 29, 2005 03:12 AM

Michael...I see reports of academics saying/doing things of a similar type all the time...like the Columbia guy who called for a "million Mogidishus," or the British professor who refused a job to an Israeli on grounds of his nationality. Sadly, this is not at all rare.

And why would you consider Hitler a "conservative" politician? What was conservative, in any sense of the word, about his policies?

Posted by: David Foster at January 29, 2005 10:56 AM

Churchill can only get away with this crap because he's dealing with college students, that is to say, overage adolescents. They think they're all grown up but they're not yet, which is why they haven't already chewed him up and spat him out like full-fledged human adults would.

I remember that many, many years ago Madalyn Murray O'Hair came to speak at the local state U, which my sister-in-law was attending. She went to hear her, and came home all pumped to give her mother a very dramatic and indignant report on what the woman said. Her mother stopped her at the first sentence and said, "If you'll notice, I didn't go." Steps on the path to maturity.

Posted by: Laura at January 29, 2005 07:25 PM

p.s.

I'd love to see the cave Churchill lives in, and the animal skins he wears, because surely he doesn't personally benefit from any of the tainted products of the evil military-industrial complex.

Posted by: Laura at January 29, 2005 07:26 PM

He's an academic drone, about as interesting as public address system feedback. Aim the microphone differently and you don't hear it.

The important issue is that the reason that they took down the WTC and didn't nuke the city is that they didn't have a nuke. That's what the war on terror is about fixing, not retribution for the WTC. It's going to go on a lot longer, too. Pulling out of Iraq is not the goal. We pull out to go somewhere else. Nobody mentions by the way that the Iraqis are fighting for our democracy as well as theirs.

So not only is the guy wrong, he's wrong on the wrong topic.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at January 29, 2005 07:47 PM

David, I see the same news and blog reports. How many total, pray? Out of how many total professors in the United States? You get my point, I hope.

As to the Hitler reference, you'll note I said "not at all." I was using a beast, a frequently used piece of overblown rhetoric, to make a point about the hasty fashion in which people leap to paint a large cohort based on the words or actions of a few.

Posted by: Michael at January 29, 2005 10:15 PM

The make up of a faculty depends on both the type of post-secondary education institution as well as the subject.

For example, went to a private university for undergrad. Hell of an education, had a few liberals who would talk about their politics in the classroom in the English and social sciences areas. For the most part, tho, the profs were busy with teaching instead of making political statements.

For another example, went to a large public university for the grad work. Holy crap, what a difference! If you weren't in a hard science - like math & chem - or in a business track, it was a given that your prof was a liberal and would let you know it. Hell, I was in the education department and our liberal profs (and they ALL were except for 2 who were veterans) were tame compared to the profs in the humanities.

The problem is that liberal profs feel it is their given right to preach to any and all that will listen, whether it be class or media. They will grab the attention to get their point across to "improve society."

Moreover, at a public university you don't have to worry about making money because the state will always make sure there is gold in the coffers. Profs are free to indulge themselves without worry. At a private university, you don't educate the kids, the parents are going to pull them and their money out.

The conservative profs (or liberatarian ones like me) kept their mouths shut in the classroom because (1) the students went to school to learn about a particular subject and (2) it is not my job to help the kids grow up.

Trust me, reality smacks most students in the ass the day they have to get a job to cover their rent.

And about Hamilton College...what can you say about a university where the students erected cardboard and tent homes along the sides of their streets during winter in order to truly expand their understanding of what it means to be homeless...without EVER spending a SINGLE DAY actually living in one of those boxes?

Posted by: di at January 30, 2005 10:25 PM

"Moreover, at a public university you don't have to worry about making money because the state will always make sure there is gold in the coffers. Profs are free to indulge themselves without worry. At a private university, you don't educate the kids, the parents are going to pull them and their money out."

Please, what state do you live in? It must be in another country, because that's about as far removed from reality in this country as anything I've read recently.

Posted by: Michael at January 30, 2005 11:22 PM

I am not going to argue what I've experienced on both sides of the podium versus what has been publicized.

Believe whatever you wish.

Posted by: di at January 31, 2005 07:54 AM

Nor will I argue with someone who confuses the plural of "anecdote" with "data."

Posted by: Michael at January 31, 2005 09:40 AM

I'm in the sciences, and frankly, I can't cover the material I'd like to cover (in depth) as it is. I can't imagine wasting time in class (and that's how I'd see it) talking about political topics that have little or nothing to do with the facts and experiences the students will need to draw on in future classes or in the workforce.

I daresay it's irresponsble for a prof to take money to teach one thing (English composition, say) and then spend class time teaching another (whatever brand of politics).

I tend to think of politics like underwear - everyone's got it, but you don't parade it in front of people you don't know well. (And some of it is really ugly).

Posted by: ricki at January 31, 2005 10:17 AM

di, who are you going to believe, data or your lying eyes?

Posted by: Laura at January 31, 2005 10:42 PM