Cornell University’s professors and researchers are becoming increasingly brazen in their ideological war against President George W. Bush. During the last several weeks, a professor in the Department of Asian Studies has developed and advertised a new course on President Bush’s attempt to create “an imperial empire.” At the same time, a university-funded Latino research center is proudly selling propaganda posters that compare President Bush to former German Chancellor Adolf Hitler.
Asian Studies Professor Brett de Bary is promoting a course that he says will be “team-taught” by the Cornell Forum for Peace and Justice (CFPJ). This course will not permit students to do much critical thinking since the instructors have already reached conclusions on the major issues to be covered. The class, entitled “Empires and Imperialisms,” is being targeted to students affiliated with the CFPJ Coalition and is described by Dr. De Bary as follows:
“I'm trying to get as much information as possible from colleagues throughout the university about events that are ALREADY SCHEDULED for the Fall Term which offer critical perspectives on "Empires and Imperialisms." This can include historical and cultural analyses of prior empires and colonial regimes, as well as work on any aspect of the Bush administration's military, economic, and environmental policies, the dismantling of civil liberties, detentions and racial profiling, and so forth.”
Dr. de Bary has already reached his conclusions. He has decided that (i) the Bush administration has created a colonial empire; (ii) that the Justice Department has dismantled civil liberties; and (iii) that the administration has endorsed all racial profiling, which (if it were true) he equates with racial discrimination. Of course the good professor is entitled to his point of view, but these conclusions should not be the basis of an academic course at a prestigious university.
The academy should be a place where academic inquiry is encouraged and a wide diversity of viewpoints is presented, especially in courses where controversial political issues are discussed. Whatever one thinks of President Bush’s Homeland Security and foreign policies, it does students a disservice to present only the Leftist side of these issues. How can students critically evaluate President Bush’s policies if they never hear a coherent defense of them? This is not education—it’s indoctrination, pure and simple.
When I asked Dr. de Bary whether conservative viewpoints would get equal time in “Empires and Imperialisms,” he replied, “It is my hope that the course will present diverse, critical opinions.” Somehow, Dr. de Bary’s “hopes” do not comfort me, especially when he also argued, “There is a variety of different perspectives expressed [in the Cornell Forum for Peace and Justice].” This is the classic problem among Leftist professors in academia—they believe that political diversity ranges the spectrum from McGovern to Mao.
In addition to the anti-Bush course being planned, Cornell’s Committee on U.S.-Latin American Relations (CUSLAR) is holding a fundraiser by selling posters that compare George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler. Dana Brown, CUSLAR’s Coordinator, describes the fundraiser as follows:
“Direct from Argentina, CUSLAR brings you the latest in revolutionary posters. This full color poster complete with picture of Dubya in a Hitler moustache reads: "Bush, fascista, vos sos el terrorista" (Bush, fascist, you're the terrorist"), a popular saying in Argentina these days. CUSLAR is selling full-color reproductions of this poster (11"X17") for a suggested donation of $10 (we're poor--everything is a fundraiser). Get your poster today!”
We can only wonder how these posters will lead to improvements in U.S.-Latin American relations. (In fairness, perhaps—given Argentina’s history—the creators of the poster meant the Nazi comparison as a compliment.) The individuals affiliated with CUSLAR are entitled to their delusional, extremist views, but Cornell University officials should denounce them publicly for their assault on the Commander in Chief.
Instead, Cornell is giving CUSLAR the royal treatment—office space, library space, staff support, and affiliation with the Cornell Center for Religion, Ethics, and Social Policy (CRESP). The administration’s pusillanimous appeasement of CUSLAR is motivated primarily by a desire to avoid a Latino-led race riot, as occurred on the campus in November 1993.
Cornell’s leftist research establishment is preparing a full-frontal assault on America and the Bush White House in the upcoming academic year. These plans are in complete contradiction to the non-partisan educational goals of this university. Now, more than ever, students deserve an Academic Bill of Rights to protect them from this sort of blatant indoctrination.