[The following is the preface to the new paperback edition of The Professors]
When The Professors was first published in February 2006, it was greeted by cries of outrage from the academic left. The author was denounced as a reincarnation of Joseph McCarthy and his book as a “blacklist,” although no evidence existed to support either claim and both were the opposite of the truth. Far from being a “blacklist,” the text explicitly – and in so many words -- defended the right of professors to teach views that were unpopular without fear of political reprisal. The author also publicly defended the First Amendment rights of Ward Churchill, the most notable case of a professor under attack for his political views.
The very nature of the attacks, on the other hand, served to confirm its analysis. The Professors describes a segment of the university that has supplanted scholarly interests with political agendas, and corrupted intellectual discourse in the process. Its hundred-plus profiles are of professors who regard educational institutions as instruments of social change, and understand their task as inculcating sectarian doctrines to promote such change.
An ironic aspect of this ambition is that those who regard themselves as academic progressives are more accurately understood as academic reactionaries, determined to turn back the university clock to a time when they were largely denominational and their mission was to instill religious creeds. This process that has been under way for more than three decades, with disquieting results. Under the influence of tenured radicals, American liberal arts faculties have become more narrow-minded and intellectually repressive than at any time in the last hundred years.
Today, we would call such academic practices “indoctrination,” a project antithetic to the very idea of a democratic education. In a democracy, educators are expected to teach students how to think -- not what to think. In teaching controversial issues, they are expected to refrain from telling students which side of the controversy is “politically correct.” Instead, they are tasked with developing students’ abilities to think for themselves.
Professional restraint is thus a condition of academic freedom as applied to the instruction of students. Fortunately, it is still observed by most members of the academic community, regardless of their political disposition. Stanley Fish, himself a distinguished liberal academic, has summarized this discipline with admirable clarity: “Academic freedom is the freedom of academics to study anything they like; the freedom, that is, to subject any body of material, however unpromising it might seem, to academic interrogation and analysis…. Any idea can be brought into the classroom if the point is to inquire into its structure, history, influence and so forth. But no idea belongs in the classroom if the point of introducing it is to recruit your students for the political agenda it may be thought to imply.”
In keeping with a consensus on academic freedom that has lasted for nearly a century, most universities stipulate that the pursuit of knowledge should be “disinterested,” that faculty should observe the principle of neutrality on controversial matters, and that they should refrain from indoctrinating their students. These precepts are eloquently set forth in the classic statements on academic freedom of the American Association of University Professors.
By contrast, the faculty radicals described in The Professors have taken the position that political activism should be an integral part of university curricula. As The Professors demonstrates, such radicals have exerted a disturbingly large influence over liberal arts studies. Entire academic programs -- Women’s Studies and Peace Studies are prime examples -- require students to subscribe to a leftwing ideology in order to qualify as good students and receive good grades. Faculty radicals also dominate many professional academic organizations, including the American Association of University Professors, and seek to use their offices for political ends. Professional groups such as the American Historical Association regularly pass formal resolutions on such public controversies as the war in Iraq. In doing so, they promote the illusion that a controversial political judgment can be resolved as a matter of scholarly expertise. This is itself a corruption of the academic idea and only serves to discredit the profession. In 2007, an AHA resolution condemning the Iraq War was passed by a determined minority who exploited the scholarly prestige gained in historical fields far removed from the Middle East to promulgate a fashionable left-wing political judgment on current events.
Such developments in the academy threaten the very idea of an academic standard, and constitute a dangerous trend in higher education. The Professors was written to identify the academic sources of this problem and to describe the attitudes behind it. Its text consists of a series of profiles accompanied by a 17,000-word explanatory essay. The essay is divided into three analytic chapters (1,3 &4) which outline the problem and explain the methodology. The profiles depict more than a hundred academics who in their classroom curricula, or campus behavior, or published statements, support the view that political activism is integral to the academic mission.
This activist intrusion into scholarly disciplines is illustrated by a statement made by Princeton professor Joan Wallach Scott, an influential leftwing academic and ideological feminist, who was not included in the original text: “As feminist and historian,” Scott wrote in the preface to her principal academic work, “my interest is in the operations of power—how it is constructed, what its effects are, how it changes. It follows that activism in the academy is both informed by that work and informs it.”
Scott is a member of “Historians Against the War.” She is also a leading figure in the American Association of University Professors, an organization historically associated with the academic freedom tradition, which has recently strayed from that mission. From 1999 to 2005, Professor Scott was head of the AAUP’s Academic Freedom Committee, but the only freedom Professor Scott appears to have been concerned with was the freedom to express radical views. By her own account, her principal concerns were the fates of Professor Sami-al Arian, an indicted Palestinian terrorist (eventually deported) and Tariq Ramadan, an academic barred by the State Department because of his connection to terrorist organizations. Scott is on record stating that all but one of the academic freedom problems the AAUP tracked from 9/11 to 2005 were instigated by the “pro-Israel bloc.”
The current president of the AAUP, Cary Nelson, is also a well-known political activist, author of Manifesto of a Tenured Radical. During a debate at a conference in 2007, Professor Nelson said: “You cannot take politics out of my classroom anymore than you can take it out of life. It’s built into my subject matter and it’s been built into my subject matter for the whole 37 years in which I’ve taught.” Professor Nelson went on to criticize what he regarded as the timidity of colleagues who refrained from expressing their political views in the classroom.
Attitudes like these may explain the unscholarly responses that The Professors elicited. Professor Nelson’s review in the AAUP’s journal, Academe, began with this injunction: “Please ignore this book. Don’t buy it. Don’t read it. Try not to mention it in idle conversation.” These were strange instructions for an educator, but not so strange for a political activist outraged by the fact that his agendas were being scrutinized.
To combat the author (no other verb will do) the American Federation of Teachers organized a coalition of leftwing organizations it called “Free Exchange On Campus.” When The Professors appeared, the union issued a press release describing the reaction of its newly created front organization: “Free Exchange On Campus … has condemned a new book that attacks individual professors for their personal political beliefs. The book is The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, by David Horowitz, who is also the author of the so-called Academic Bill of Rights legislation making its way throughout the states. The book is essentially a blacklist of academics, says Free Exchange On Campus, and is based on inaccurate and misleading information.”
Any fair-minded reader of The Professors will readily see that these political sound-bites bear no relation to the text. The Professors does not “attack individual academics for their personal political beliefs,” nor does it suggest that any professors should be fired for their political beliefs. It cannot be described by any reasonable standard, therefore, as a “blacklist.” The author makes quite explicit in the introduction the fact that he did not design the text to attack professors’ political beliefs: “This book is not intended as a text about leftwing bias in the university and does not propose that a leftwing perspective on academic faculties is a problem in itself. Every individual, whether conservative or liberal, has a perspective and therefore a bias. Professors have every right to interpret the subjects they teach according to their individual points of view. That is the essence of academic freedom.” A defense of unpopular professorial views could hardly be more clearly expressed.
Yet, the cynical misrepresentation of The Professors as a McCarthy “witch-hunt” is the substance of virtually all the hostile responses to this book. Not a single academic who condemned The Professors bothered to address its argument, or demonstrate a familiarity with the 17,000 words of explanatory material. Instead critics read their own agendas into the profiles and responded to whatever it was they had made up.
It is true that the profiles describe professors’ political beliefs, and that the author occasionally expresses an opinion about professorial statements that are overtly racist or anti-Semitic or simply incoherent. But the clear (and limited) purpose is to demonstrate that the individuals are political activists before they are scholars. The book’s introductory essay also explains that there are four specific “disturbing patterns of university life” to which the author objects. None of these patterns involves the expression of unpopular views inside or outside the classroom. All are viewpoint neutral. The four problem areas are: “(1) promotion far beyond academic achievement; 2) teaching subjects outside one’s professional qualifications and expertise for the purpose of political propaganda; (3) making racist and ethnically disparaging remarks in public without eliciting reaction by university administrations, as long as those remarks are directed at unprotected groups, e.g., Armenians, whites, Christians and Jews; and (4) the overt introduction of political agendas into the classroom and the abandonment of any pretense of academic discipline or scholarly inquiry.”
The Professors does identify several academics as “Communists” (Bettina Aptheker, Angela Davis, Manning Marable and Harry Targ). But these are references to their actual membership in a faction of the Communist Party, certainly a relevant aspect of the resumes of professionals whose expertise is ideas. Two professors (Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn) are described as terrorists, but this is also an accurate and literal description. Both were leaders of the Weather Underground, a terrorist organization whose relevance to their academic activities the body of the text makes clear. The Professors also describes tenured professors who are crude racists and anti-Semites (Amiri Baraka, Hamid Dabashi, and Leonard Jeffries, among others); convicted torturers (Malauni Karenga); supporters of Islamic terrorism (Shahid Alam, Hamid Algar, among others); and bearers of academic credentials that are fraudulent (Ward Churchill, Michael Vocino). Since professors are hired through an elaborate system of professional standards and review, these cases demonstrate that the system is broken, which is the purpose of the collective portrait the book set out to construct.
Penn State professor and AAUP board member, Michael Berube was also one of many politically inspired assailants to misrepresent the book’s purpose. In at least three separate commentaries, Professor Berube has ridiculed The Professors and its author without addressing the book’s argument. When the author met Berube at a lunch arranged by The Chronicle of Higher Education, he conceded he had not actually read the 17,000-words of explanatory text which define what the book is about. Like other critics, Berube merely sampled the profiles and guessed what purpose they might serve, imputing to the author agendas he did not have, while refuting claims he did not make.
In urging others not to read The Professors, AAUP president Cary Nelson similarly ignored what it actually said. After calling the book “a faculty blacklist,” Nelson complained “the entries … purport to be accounts of a hundred faculty careers. Yet most of them ignore the chief publications at the core of those careers.” But if Nelson had bothered to read the methodological essay provided, he would know the book’s profiles didn’t purport to be anything of the kind. They were not written as accounts of academic careers, but were compiled to illustrate patterns among individuals who confused their activist agendas with an academic calling. The profiles assemble statements and activities of academics that reflect a belief that scholarship and political activism are integral to each other. They also document violations of academic protocol in the four categories listed above. The one thing they do not do is what Professor Nelson claims – attempt to provide accounts of intellectual careers (something that could hardly be accomplished in a format limited to four pages for each entry).
The abusive term “blacklist” is one of two main charges deployed by critics to discredit the author and prevent readers from evaluating his argument. The other is to claim that the book is factually challenged and “contains numerous errors, misrepresentations and distortions …” These baseless allegations make up the bulk of the union-sponsored 50-page response, called “Facts Count,” which critics such as Nelson merely repeat: “Horowitz’s entries are fundamentally acts of misrepresentation and erasure,…”
The union report is based on the complaints of twenty of the professors profiled. To make sure that even the dimmest reader would not miss the point, Free Exchange included a permanent feature on its website called “Horowitz Fact-Checker.” The subsequent repetition of this canard by a small army of politically motivated critics has helped to create the impression that the author has a bigger problem with facts than critics who describe as a “blacklist” a book that defends the right of professors to hold unpopular views.
The Free Exchange report is itself rich in easily demonstrated factual errors: “Mr. Horowitz chiefly condemns professors for expressing their personal political views outside of the classroom.” In fact, not one individual profiled in The Professors is condemned for expressing his or her personal views outside the classroom. To be sure, the political views of professors are described. But that is because the book is about political activists who regard the university as a platform for their activism. It is not, on the other hand, a book whose purpose is to condemn professors for expressing their political views. Insofar as individual professors are “condemned” in the text, they are faulted under the categories of abuse specified in the book’s Introduction and listed above. The infractions the book alleges are infractions of academic standards, not deviations from political correctness. None of the book’s categories include the mere expression of personal political views as a culpable offense.
A typical complaint about author’s accuracy, on the other hand, can be found in the comments provided to Free Exchange by Professor Bettina Aptheker, a Professor of Feminist Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz. Aptheker criticized the author for “misrepresenting” an anti-war speech she made to UCSC students in which she compared the Bush Administration’s policies to those of Nazi Germany. In the words of the Free Exchange Report, “Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Aptheker ‘informed students’ that ‘our agenda should be to overthrow Bush.’ Both Aptheker and Free Exchange contend that this is a factual error and misrepresents what Aptheker said.”
The Free Exchange report then refutes the alleged error with this sentence: “Professor Aptheker responds, ‘I am inaccurately quoted: I called for the overthrow of George W. Bush by all constitutional and democratic means up to and including impeachment.’” Readers are invited to parse the difference between the two quotes, and to guess first how the Constitution provides for the “overthrow” of an elected President, and, second, how the citizens of a country which is to be equated with Nazi Germany could have access to “constitutional and democratic means up to and including impeachment.” Even if Professor Aptheker could be taken at her word, and even if she did make this qualification in her speech, the journalist who reported her remarks in the Santa Cruz student paper (which is the book’s source for her remarks) failed to note them. In other words, if the quote misrepresents what she said, the fault can hardly be attributed to the author of The Professors.
Professor Aptheker also claims the author mis-identified the date of her departure from the Communist Party as taking place after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The author is willing to except her word on this matter and stands corrected. The Aptheker profile in the original text presumed she had been expelled with her long-time friend and political ally Angela Davis in a noted group ejection that occurred after the fall. Aptheker objects that she actually left the Party ten years earlier over the rejection of a manuscript she had written for the Party’s official publishing house. What Aptheker does not mention is that she contributed to the author’s error by concealing the fact that she had left the Party when she did. She only revealed this deception twenty-five years later in hrt autobiography, which appeared after the publication of The Professors. According to the autobiography, Aptheker concealed her Party resignation so that her departure would not be taken as a sign of protest against the Soviet Union. In other words, while she left the Party she did not abandon her commitment to Communism, which is exactly what the passage in The Professors was written to reflect – that she remained committed to the Communist cause until after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
This minor error in the text of The Professors, abetted by Aptheker’s own admitted deception, is one of only six identified in the Free Exchange report that can actually be regarded as factual errors, and not merely another name for differing interpretations. Like the others, it has been corrected in the paperback edition.
Aptheker’s autobiography provides powerful evidence, on the other hand, to support the substantive claims The Professors makes about her ideological agendas in the classroom. In her memoir, Aptheker reveals that she was responsible for designing key elements of the Women’s Studies curriculum at UC Santa Cruz. By her own account she designed them as elements of a program whose purpose was not academic but was to train students to be political radicals: “I redesigned the curriculum [for the introductory course] and retitled it, ‘Introduction to Feminism,’ making it more overtly political, and taught the class in the context of the women’s movement…Teaching became a form of political activism for me, replacing the years of dogged meetings and intrepid organizing with the immediacy of a liberatory practice,…” This is eloquent confirmation by a harsh critic of the author that the academic abuses he set out to document are real.
Professor Aptheker is not unique among the author’s critics in defaming him without evidence, as a seventy-page point-by-point response to the Free Exchange report written by Jacob Laksin makes clear. Reviewing each of the Free Exchange charges, Laksin concludes: “‘Facts Count’ is a tendentious document that misrepresents and distorts the arguments of The Professors in order to attack the book and its author, and is not above fabricating evidence to make its case. Time and again the report insists that The Professors cites no evidence for a given claim when even a cursory reading of the text and its sources would confirm the opposite. Time and again, the report rebuts arguments that appear nowhere in The Professors, but are the inventions of the Free Exchange authors themselves. The overall impression created by these methods is that either these authors have not read the book or else they are unwilling honestly to engage with its arguments.” Free Exchange failed to respond to Laksin’s refutation.
The unsubstantiated claims that the author misrepresented his subjects and that his text is factually inaccurate were also categorically dismissed by one of the academics profiled. Dana Cloud, a professor of Communication Studies at the University of Texas, had led a protest against the book’s author when he spoke at her campus, and has been candid about her own use of the classroom for political agendas. But she was firm in her conclusion that The Professors was an accurate account of what its subjects proposed: “There are the organizations and professors who have devoted themselves to refuting Horowitz’s ‘facts’ about their publications and activism,” wrote Professor Cloud; “I believe this also is a wrong approach, because his ‘facts’ about faculty syllabi and political affiliations are not in question.”
The new paperback edition of The Professors corrects the six trivial errors in the original 110,000 word text that have been unearthed by its critics. Since it can be assumed that the book was reviewed by a hundred and one subjects, each with an axe to grind, and virtually all of them with Ph.Ds, it can be said that few books have come under more copious scrutiny. This is what its detractors discovered: In addition to mistaking the date of Professor Aptheker’s secret resignation from the Communist Party, the text referred to Professor Emma Perez as Elizabeth Perez in one of three mentions of her name; it identified Dean Saitta as the Director of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Denver in 2005 when he left the post in 2003; it described Beverly Aminah McCloud as a member of the Nation of Islam when she is only an admirer of the Nation of Islam and its racist leader Lewis Farrakhan; and it misattributed a quote from a symposium on 9/11 to Eric Foner, whose sentiments, expressed in the same symposium (and on the same page of the London Review of Books) were identical (and are now included in the present text). This, insofar as the author is able to tell, is an accounting of all the errors unearthed, which his academic detractors have described as “numerous” and evidence of the untrustworthiness of his research. What does that say about their scholarly methods?
The new text has one significant change. The profile of Dr. Sam Richards, a lecturer in sociology at Penn State University, has been dropped. Like many other subjects, Richards was originally profiled because of his stated commitment to incorporating ideological agendas in his lessons. Richards was also criticized for teaching a course in race relations, despite his lack of formal academic training in the subject. The author met Richards on a visit to Penn State in April 2006, and corresponded with him afterwards. He has since prepared a new curriculum on race relations which does not impose on students a leftist paradigm to the exclusion of others. His profile, accordingly, is no longer part of the text.
Since there were actually 102 profiles in the original text – including those of Ward Churchill and Cornel West, which were included in the explanatory chapters – the omission of Richards leaves a count of 101 in the paperback edition. Consequently, the title has been left unchanged. Of course, none of these numbers are meaningful in themselves, since the author estimates that there are actually tens of thousands of active professors who fit the book’s criteria. The basis for this estimate is spelled out in the chapter titled, “The Representative Nature of the Professors Profiled in this Volume.”
The issue of Dr. Richards’ academic qualification to teach a course in race relations is a more complex matter. It is certainly possible for faculty to acquire academic expertise in areas other than those in which they have received their academic credentials. However, in order to preserve professional standards it would seem necessary to create a procedure for establishing such qualifications in the newly adopted fields. This could be accomplished, for example, through publication in peer reviewed journals in these fields.
In an early review of the The Professors, Harvard scholars Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom offered an observation that proved prescient: “Academics on the left like to pat themselves on the back for daring to ‘speak truth to power.’ David Horowitz’s The Professors speaks some uncomfortable truths to them -- to those who run American higher education today. They will hate this scathing critique, but will be hard-pressed to answer his charges.”
The exceptionally low standards displayed by the academic critics of The Professors underscore the problems it set out to address. In their attacks on the book and its author they have subordinated intellectual principles to political ends. A crafty (and ruthless) politician once remarked: “In political conflicts the goal is not to refute your opponent’s argument, but to wipe him from the face of the earth.” Michael Berube, among others, appears to have adopted a similar scorched policy towards the author of The Professors. In a moment of candor on the academic blog “Crooked Timbers,” he complained about his lunch meeting with the author, which had been arranged by The Chronicle of Higher Education: “[It] grants Horowitz, and his complaints about academe, a certain legitimacy.” This legitimacy was something Berube was determined to forestall: “My job is to contest that legitimacy, and to model a way of dealing with Horowitz that does not give him what he wants, namely 1) important concessions; or 2) outrage.” To implement such a strategy, Berube recommended that opponents of the book resort to “mockery and dismissal.”
It proved to be the model not only for Berube’s responses but for his colleagues’ as well. In a comment on the book to the Columbia University Spectator, Professor Todd Gitlin, dismissed the author as “bonkers;” at a public rally to protest the “Academic Bill of Rights,” Professor Joan Wallach Scott referred to the author’s academic freedom campaign as “the pro-Sharon lobby,” i.e., a Zionist plot; in the official journal of the American Association of University Professors its president, Cary Nelson, warned academics not to read the author’s book.
These are expressions of a mentality that seeks to suppress rather than engage an opposing point of view. This is the way political operatives think, not the way academics and scholars should conduct themselves. It is antithetic to the scientific method, which academic professionals are obligated to follow. The scientific method pursues the truth disinterestedly, submits hypotheses to opposing perspectives, and tests claims against the evidence. This is the very basis of academic freedom, which is freedom within a professional discipline governed by scientific method.
Despite the unscrupulous attacks, on The Professors the facts revealed in its text are real. The book’s argument has not been answered and will not go away. On the contrary, it is gaining ground. In May 2006, the faculty senate at Penn State University passed a resolution to apply the existing academic freedom protections to students for the first time. This was a direct result of the academic freedom campaign of which The Professors is an expression. The Penn State academic freedom policy states:
"It is not the function of a faculty member in a democracy to indoctrinate his/her students with ready-made conclusions on controversial subjects. The faculty member is expected to train students to think for themselves, and to provide them access to those materials which they need if they are to think intelligently. Hence in giving instruction upon controversial matters the faculty member is expected to be of a fair and judicial mind, and to set forth justly, without supersession or innuendo, the divergent opinions of other investigators."
If principles like these can be re-invigorated in the academy, the effort that went into The Professors, and the scars the author bears as a result, will not have been in vain.
David Horowitz, Los Angeles, June 2007
 NY Times, July 23, 2006
 Joan Wallach Scott, Gender and the Politics of History, 1999, introduction.
 http://wrmea.com/archives/December_2005/0512046.html Jane Adas, “Princeton Panelists Share Cautionary Tales of Dangers to Academic Freedom,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 2005. See the author’s discussion of Joan Wallach Scott in Indoctrination U., pp. 39-45
 Cary Nelson, “Ignore This Book,” Academe, November-December 2006
 These can be found on his blog at www.michaelberube.com and in Jennifer Jacobson, “Dangerous Minds,” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 17, 2006. Jacobson interviewed Berube about the book.
 Berube also conceded that the profile of himself which claimed that he viewed the classroom as a vehicle of social transformation and which he ridiculed as an ignorant misrepresentation of his views were criticisms of his work also made by Stanley Fish in Professional Correctness, a book which drew a very different response from Berube.
 Cf., Cary Nelson, op. cit.
 Aptheker, op. cit, pp. 405-6.
 This was a blurb that appeared on the jacket of the hardcover text.
 The politician was Lenin.
 Robert Post, “The Structure of Academic Freedom,” in Beshara Doumani, ed. Academic Freedom After September 11, New York 2006
 This event is described in David Horowitz, Indoctrination U, p. 122