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Discounting the Facts, Part III By: Jacob Laksin
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, June 15, 2006


Michael Berube
Elizabeth Brumfiel
Kathleen Cleaver
Dana Cloud
Marc Ensalaco
Larry Estrada
Matthew Evangelista
Richard Falk
Gordon Fellman
Eric Foner
Todd Gitlin

Michael Berube

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Berube believes that "religious people were to be regarded simply as irrational." The only evidence Mr. Horowitz cites to back up this claim is this quote from Professor Berube: "In [my] class…we talk about what it means to be an anti-foundationalist—that is, one of those sane, secular people who believe that it’s best to operate as if our moral and epistemological principles derive not from divine will or uniform moral law, but from ordinary social practices." (72) As Professor Berube points out, "the fact that most secularists are sane does not mean that people of faith are not."

Notwithstanding Professor Berube’s objections, this is in fact the clear implication of his statement.

Mr. Horowitz states that "Professor Berube described the university as ‘the final resting place of the New Left,’ and the ‘progressives’ only bulwark against the New Right.’"

He does in exactly those words. Professor Berube objects that he also characterized the university as "the research wing of the corporate economy" and several other things, and that he was reviewing books on the university. This objection is of dubious relevance. The university is a big place and the fact that its business schools can be described one way and its liberal arts schools another does not in the least affect the accuracy of the quote. These are Berube’s characterizations and he doesn’t challenge them. If he did not agree with the statements why would he not say so in his response to The Professors?

Mr. Horowitz goes on to claim that Professor Berube believes "Critics of this definition—in particular those who failed to regard ‘feminist or queer theory as a legitimate area of scholarship’—were only perpetuating ‘ignorance and injustice.’" (73) The two quotes above appear in separate paragraphs; Mr. Horowitz splices them together. In the first quote, Professor Berube is reviewing a book of essays and summarizing the work of other authors, not describing his own views.

To judge by the remainder of Professor Berube’s essay, he does indeed agree with those views.

Here is the full context [i.e., Berube’s actual statement]: "The picture is complicated still further by Greta Gaard’s account of anti-lesbian intellectual harassment, Mary Wilson Carpenter’s essay on ageism and antifeminism, and Elaine Ginsberg and Sara Lennox’s analysis of antifeminism in scholarship and publishing. For one thing, the perpetrators of antifeminist intellectual harassment in each of these contexts can be women: whether it’s a senior female administrator who refuses to regard feminist or queer theory as a legitimate area of scholarship, or the Sommers- Paglia-Roiphe crew dismissing nearly every kind of feminism since 1848."

The second quote ("ignorance and injustice") comes from the paragraph preceding the one above: "‘What I truly believe,’ Shaw said in 1994, ‘is that second-rate traditionalist scholarship is ultimately more valuable to the country than first-rate feminist works’ (5). Now, does this qualify as behavior that creates an environment in which feminist work is devalued? Absolutely. Is there anything we can do about it except to protest its ignorance and injustice? In a free society, absolutely not."

The added (tedious) context serves only to support the description of Professor Berube’s views of feminism’s critics. It is clear that, according to Professor Berube, those critics who question feminism’s credentials as a scholarly discipline are guilty of "ignorance and injustice." This a telling insight into Professor Berube’s intolerance of opinions at odds with his own.

Mr. Horowitz claims that "As Professor Berube himself acknowledges, his literature classes often have little to do with literature. For instance, a class he has taught for years, ‘Postmodernism and American Fiction,’ is merely a forum for the professor to dilate on the ‘anti-foundationalist philosophy’ of radical philosopher Richard Rorty." First, Mr. Horowitz has never sat in on Professor Berube’s class, nor does not he cite any evidence from anyone who has to back up his claim. Second, Professor Berube has not acknowledged that "his literature classes often have little to do with literature," as Mr. Horowitz claims. The only evidence Mr. Horowitz cites to back up his claim is an essay by Professor Berube that appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Contrary to Mr. Horowitz’s claim, in the third sentence of this essay, Professor Berube states, "I usually assign a range of contemporary novelists, from well-known figures like Thomas Pynchon, Kathy Acker, and Toni Morrison to relatively unsung writers like Richard Grossman (author of The Alphabet Man and The Book of Lazarus) and Randall Kenan (A Visitation of Spirits). I also assign a packet or two of contemporary critical theorists—the authors of postmodernism’s greatest hits (Fredric Jameson, Jean Baudrillard, Jean-Francois Lyotard), as well as some of its more trenchant critics (Nancy Fraser, Andreas Huyssen)."

The fact that David Horowitz has never sat in on Professor Berube’s class is irrelevant, since the professor essentially admits that his course is exactly what Horowitz says it is: an extended discourse on post-modern theory long on radical criticism and short on actual literature. Professor Berube’s contention that he also assigns a small selection of (mostly minor) novels, as well as supplemental readings from radical feminists like Nancy Fraser, does nothing to undermine the criticism and much to corroborate it. As previously noted, Professor Berube has been held to task for his attitude towards in-class activism by Stanley Fish, a noted liberal academic, in Fish’s polemic against ideology in the classroom, Professional Correctness.

"[Mr. Horowitz] knows nothing about my classroom demeanor or my record as a faculty member; he simply cherry-picked a few phrases from a couple of my essays, and did it incompetently…. If he were a college student and tried to get away with this garbage, he would indeed be flunked—not for his conservatism, but for his mendacity."

The only observation The Professors makes about Professor Berube’s "classroom demeanor" is to point out the fact -- which he does not dispute -- that he does not hesitate to introduce his anti-religious prejudices into the classroom. As for the notion that the criticisms in The Professors were "cherry-picked," it is refuted by the fact that Professor Berube has consistently defended the politicization of university curricula in various venues, not least in an article that he now suggests, falsely, says nothing of the sort.

These are all the charges made by "Facts Count" and Michael Berube against the profile of Professor Berube in The Professors.

Elizabeth Brumfiel

Mr. Horowitz writes that Professor Elizabeth Brumfiel "called on anthropology scholars to take a leading role as anthropologists against the Iraq War." Mr. Horowitz cites no evidence to back up this claim. Professor Brumfiel responds, "I have not ‘called on anthropology scholars to take a leading role as anthropologists against the Iraq War.’"

Mr. Horowitz claims, "As a self-conscious leftist working within the tradition of political Marxism, Brumfiel obviously has no problem with blurring the distinction between scholarship and politics." The only evidence Mr. Horowitz cites to back up this characterization is this quote from Professor Brumfiel, which does not seem to support his claim: "In what contexts will scientists be willing to develop weapons of mass destruction and to test them on human subjects without their knowledge or consent, as they did during the Cold War? And how do economic pressures, political pressures and a climate of patriotism discourage scientists from engaging in anti-war and anti-weapons advocacy? The contextual nature of human action and the impact of politics and economics on science are important messages for anthropologists to communicate to scientists and to the public. With increased participation by anthropologists... these messages can reach wider audience, which would benefit science, public policy, and anthropology." (80)

Professor Brumfiel’s denials will not withstand scrutiny. As noted in The Professors, Brumfiel used her role as the president of American Anthropological Association (AAA), the leading professional association of American anthropology scholars, to urge anthropologists to explore how "economic pressures, political pressures and a climate of patriotism discourage scientists from engaging in anti-war and anti-weapons advocacy." [28] Considering that each of these areas reside outside the scope of anthropology, and that their connection to scholarship is questionable at best, it is clear that Professor Brumfiel was urging anthropologists to take a leading role in publicizing anti-war views and consequently blurring the distinction between scholarship and politics. Furnishing further evidence for this charge, Brumfiel also wrote that anthropologists should play a more active role in spreading anti-war messages: "With increased participation by anthropologists…these messages can reach a wider audience, which would benefit science, public policy and anthropology." [29] The book provides a footnote to the AAA website where Brumfiel’s views originally appeared, so the authors’ claim that it "cites no evidence" in support of its summary of Brumfiel’s views must be construed as another falsehood.

These are all the charges made by "Facts Count" and Elizabeth Brumfiel against the profile of Professor Brumfiel in The Professors.

Kathleen Cleaver

After listing several articles whose content Mr. Horowitz believes disqualifies Professor Cleaver from holding her position, Mr. Horowitz writes that Professor Kathleen Cleaver "has no qualifications to teach at a major law school." (91)

As Professor Cleaver points out, she is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, holds a law degree from Yale University, and has clerked for the late Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, senior judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom). These types of qualifications—a degree from a top law school and an appellate court clerkship—are the same as those of scores of professors at major law schools across the country, but Mr. Horowitz fails to mention them.

David Horowitz is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and holds an M.A. degree in English literature. He also wrote a book on Shakespeare. By Professor Cleaver’s reasoning, this would qualify him to be an English professor. A law degree does not qualify one to teach at a major law school or even to practice law. Nor is clerking for a judge (particularly a judge like the late Higginbotham, an ideologue who denounced conservative legal theory as racist) a sufficient qualification in itself. A professor at a leading law school is expected to have a record of legal scholarship. As The Professors demonstrates, Professor Cleaver does not even come close:

Cleaver has not one scholarly book or even article to her name. Her only publication in a legal journal is an article that appeared in the Yale Journal of Law an Humanities (1998): "Mobilizing in Paris for Mumia Abu Jamal," but this is a memoir not legal scholarship. In her academic bibliography, she lists op-ed columns in the Los Angeles Times, an "Open Letter to Julius Lester" printed in the National Guardian, and an article she wrote in the 1960s for the New Left magazine Ramparts, "On Eldridge Cleaver." [30]

The fact that Professor Cleaver lists a letter to the editor as a scholarly publication on her official university site would seem to indicate that she is ill-qualified to judge what a scholarly publication is.

Professor Cleaver adds, "[Mr. Horowitz] does not in any way deal with what I teach, which happens to be ‘American Legal History: The Law of Slavery and Anti-Slavery,’ and has absolutely no information from my course, my classes, etc."

This claim is demonstrably false and strongly suggests that Professor Clever did not trouble to familiarize herself with the book she finds so objectionable. Contrary to Professor Cleaver’s allegations, The Professors points out that, "Cleaver’s understanding of history and law fairly bristles with her political views. Even today, she has written, ‘racist and white supremacist and exploitative practices are engrained’ in American society and government. According to Cleaver, the ‘inability to treat black people in a human fashion’ has become ‘part of the identity of the United States.’" [31] The book goes on to point out that "[t]hese extreme ideas make up the substance of Cleaver’s seminar on the law of slavery and anti-poverty," [32] something Professor Cleaver openly admits. [33] The book additionally documents that Cleaver’s politics "also figure in her other courses at Emory, most prominently her course ‘American Legal History: Citizen and Race.’" [34]

These are all the charges made by "Facts Count" and Kathleen Cleaver against the profile of Professor Cleaver in The Professors.

Dana Cloud

Mr. Horowitz portrays Professor Dana Cloud as an "anti-American radical" who "routinely repeats the propaganda of the Saddam regime"; along with all the other professors in his book, Mr. Horowitz accuses her of the "explicit introduction of political agendas into the classroom."

Since this challenges none of the criticisms of Professor Cloud in The Professors, presumably the Free Exchange authors mean that the letter of one of Professor Cloud’s students, which they cite in full, can be counted as a serious rebuttal. But the letter contains only one sentence that offers a substantive objection to the book: "It is painfully and pathetically obvious that Mr. Horowitz did not have the intellectual honesty nor the journalistic integrity to interview any of Dr. Cloud’s students before writing his hit piece."

Personal attacks aside, the fact that the author did not interview Professor Cloud’s students is immaterial to the criticisms set forth in the book. Indeed it is not even clear that the student has read the book, since she seems unaware of any of the specific points it makes. Had she taken the trouble to do so, she would have found that those criticisms are fully substantiated. As the book clearly demonstrates, Professor Cloud, as a member of the Leninist International Socialist Organization who blames the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the United States, is indisputably an anti-American radical. And in so far as she blames anti-American terrorism on U.S. support for Israel, and has held U.N. economic sanctions responsible for the brutality of Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical regime, she plainly parrots pro-Saddam propaganda. [35]

Finally, the Free Exchange authors’ claim that the book charges Professor Cloud with the "explicit introduction of political agendas into the classroom" is either careless mistake or a willful distortion of what the book in fact says. The phrase, which appears only once in the book, comes not from Professor Cloud’s profile but from a later chapter titled "The Representative Nature of the Professors." The full paragraph reads:

Thus the problems revealed in this text--the explicit introduction of political agendas into the classroom, the lack of professionalism in conduct, and the decline in professional standards--appear to be increasingly widespread throughout the academic profession and at virtually every type of institution of higher learning. [36]

It should be clear that this paragraph is an overview of the broader themes covered in the book and not, as the report misleadingly suggests, a criticism of Dana Cloud specifically. On the other hand, the following is Dana Cloud’s own description of the course in "Communications and Social Change" she gives at the University of Texas. Readers may judge for themselves whether it has a political agenda:

The main purpose of this class is to encourage your engagement with the tradition and ongoing practice of movement for social change in the United States. I believe this goal requires some history so that we can become familiar with the ways in which social change agents have used communication—from oratory to the internet—to raise awareness of injustice, demand redress, mobilize others in the cause, and prompt other kinds of direct action including civil disobedience and strikes. This historical knowledge is key to understanding the renaissance of social movements going on around us today—from the WTO to the University Staff Association. After the historical survey of social movements, the second part of the course asks you to become involved as an observer and/or as a participant in a local social movement. We will specifically address two prominent causes locally, the movement against the death penalty and the movement of University staff for higher wages and better treatment. We will also discuss some other current social movements including the fight against corporate globalization and the movement against sanctions in Iraq.

The guiding questions for the course are (1) How does social change happen? And (2) How can we use communication to intervene effectively and with integrity in the process of social change? [37]

These are all the charges made by "Facts Count" against the profile of Professor Cloud in The Professors.

Marc Ensalaco

The criticisms of Horowitz’s treatment of Marc Ensalaco are answered in the response to the Executive Summary above. They are all the charges made by "Facts Count" and Marc Ensalaco against the profile of Professor Ensalaco in The Professors.

Larry Estrada

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Larry Estrada "believes that ‘Aztlan’ should secede from the United States," based on Professor Estrada’s membership in the group MEChA. (154) As Professor Estrada responds, "I’ve never advocated secession. Certain right-wingers accuse people of that, because if you’re a member of MEChA, they throw the Aztlan thing at you. MEChA doesn’t advocate secession…. the bulk of MEChA members are proud to be both Latino and Americans."

One need hardly be a "right-winger" to see that MEChA is perfectly candid about its secessionist aims. The "Plan Espiritual de Aztlan," a foundational document adopted by MEChA in 1969--the year Estrada joined the organization-- states: "Once we are committed to the idea and philosophy of El Plan de Aztlán, we can only conclude that social, economic, cultural, and political independence is the only road to total liberation from oppression, exploitation, and racism." Similarly, Article II, Section 1 of MEChA’s constitution makes clear that "general membership shall consist of any student who accepts, believes and works for the goals and objectives of MEChA, including the liberation of AZTLAN, meaning self-determination of our people in this occupied state and the physical liberation of our land."

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Estrada "used his position as the National Association of Ethnic Studies head to defend Colorado professor Ward Churchill." (154) Professor Estrada responds, "I do not condone [Churchill’s] words on 9/11. I defend his right to say what he wants to say as an academic. The inference that I agree with his analogy is totally fallacious."

The book makes no "inferences." Here is what the book actually says: "Professor Estrada had no patience for claims that Churchill’s statements were extreme or that his academic record was questionable." [38] This statement is documented with evidence. For instance, rather than condemning Churchill’s notorious article, which likened the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks to Nazis, on at least one occasion Professor Estrada went so far as to suggest that Churchill had made an important contribution to scholarship, one that deserved serious attention, not admonition. "Churchill is really getting a bad rap for what he was trying to do, which was to explain why events like 9/11 transpired," Estrada said in February of 2005. In claiming that he defended only Churchill’s free-speech rights (which were never in question) Professor Estrada is misrepresenting his past statements.

Mr. Horowitz calls Professor Larry Estrada a "radical ethnic separatist." Professor Estrada responds, "Most would consider me a moderate in terms of my political viewpoints…"

As noted above, Professor Estrada’s membership in and continued support for MEChA, a Chicano separatist organization motivated by explicitly ethnic goals, fully supports this description of the professor.

These are all the charges made by "Facts Count" and Larry Estrada against the profile of Professor Estrada in The Professors.

Matthew Evangelista

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Matthew Evangelista "has predicated an entire course around his idiosyncratic account of the Cold War’s end." The only evidence Mr. Horowitz offers for this characterization is the course description below. Readers can decide for themselves whether this course represents an "idiosyncratic account of the Cold War’s end."

This class examines the origins, course, and ultimate demise of this conflict that pitted the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union and its allies. It seeks to evaluate the competing explanations that political scientists and historians have put forward to explain the Cold War by drawing on the new evidence that has become available. The course considers political, economic, and strategic aspects of the Cold War, including the nuclear arms race, with particular focus on the link between domestic and foreign policy in the United States and the Soviet Union. The course emphasizes writing, and includes a final research paper for which students will use original archival materials.

The key aspect of the above course description is the nebulous allusion to the "link between domestic and foreign policy in the United States and the Soviet Union." As demonstrated in The Professors, this theme figures prominently in Professor Evangelista’s academic writings about the Cold War, where it is interpreted to mean that efforts by the US to arm itself against the Soviet threat were primarily responsible for prolonging the Cold War. In light of the fact that the historical consensus holds precisely the opposite -- namely that Soviet aggression rather than American self-defense was the primary engine of the Cold War -- it seems accurate to describe his account as "distinctive."

Mr. Horowitz writes that Professor Matthew Evangelista "published an article blaming the United States for Saddam’s criminal regime: ‘If Saddam Hussein is a monster … then the United States is in many respects his Dr. Frankenstein.’"

The full quote is: "If Saddam Hussein is a monster, as hardly anyone would doubt, the United States is in many respects his Dr. Frankenstein."

The point of the quote is that the United States created the monster. The more monstrous the monster, the more culpable is the United States. Citing the quote in full obviously does not change its meaning.

As Professor Evangelista goes on to explain, this metaphor is based on the widely accepted knowledge that the United States government provided critical financial and military assistance to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, much of which helped strengthen Saddam’s regime.

It is also "widely accepted knowledge" that Saddam’s main financial and military supporters were France, Russia, Germany, China and Egypt. Professor Evangelista’s unwillingness to acknowledge these facts is part and parcel of his view that the United States is Saddam’s Dr. Frankenstein and strengthens the criticism of his work in The Professors: his tendency dramatically to exaggerate alleged wrongdoing by the United States while papering over evidence inconsistent with his political prejudices. This tendency is evident in the 2002 article from which the above quote is taken, and in which Professor Evangelista leveled the ludicrous charge (also recorded in The Professors) that in planning to oust the regime of Saddam Hussein "the United States intends to continue its military domination of the world". [39]

Mr. Horowitz claims that "In February 2003, Professor Evangelista played a key role in organizing a series of anti-war events called ‘Week against War.’"

Mr. Horowitz cites no evidence to back up this claim. Professor Evangelista responds, "I have, in fact, not played an organizing role in any of Cornell’s anti-war events, but I have accepted invitations to speak at them. I do organize weekly seminars for the Peace Studies program, but these are of an academic rather than activist character, contrary to Mr. Horowitz’s insinuations."

Here is what The Professors actually says: "In February 2003, Professor Evangelista played a key role in organizing a series of anti-war events called ‘Week against War.’ To mark the event, Professor Evangelista lent his signature to an anti-war declaration by Cornell faculty members. Called ‘An Appeal to Cornell Faculty, Staff and Graduate Students in a Time of War,’ it urged ‘Cornell faculty and instructional staff to make class time available during the week of February 10-14 to discuss issues relating to the war in Iraq.’" [40]

As should be apparent to any objective reader, the anti-war letter was the document that announced the onset of "Week against War." Perhaps the phrase "key role" was misleading. But for Professor Evangelista to now protest that he played no organizing role in the anti-war events is only marginally less truthful than the Free Exchange authors’ transparently false accusation that the book provides "no evidence to back up this claim."

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Evangelista once "suggested that the terrorists were avenging the grievances of the oppressed." His claim is based entirely on this quote from Professor Evangelista: "We should separate those who sympathize with some of the same concerns as the terrorists from those who are actually willing to carry it out." Professor Evangelista responds, Mr. Horowitz’s characterization is "a view that I have never expressed in language that I would never use."

The quote originally appeared in a FrontPageMag.com article ("Today's Lesson: Peace at Any Price," October 2002) by Professor Joseph Sabia, then a graduate student and journalist at Cornell, who attended the teach-in and reported Professor Evangelista's remark. Professor Sabia stands by what he wrote.

Mr. Horowitz states that "during a discussion of Iraq with Cornell faculty members, Professor Evangelista declared that the planned American bombing attacks [on Iraq] would make American forces look like "war criminals.’" Professor Evangelista’s full statement contains and important qualifiers that Mr. Horowitz leaves out. What Professor Evangelista actually said is that if the United States were to proceed specifically with Operation Shock and Awe, "we are more likely to be viewed by the Iraqi people as war criminals, not liberators."

The extended quote does nothing to undermine the book’s observation that Professor Evangelista made some "overwrought predictions about American intentions" in Iraq. American forces did proceed with the "Shock and Awe" campaign and, contrary to Professor Evangelista’s claims, were indeed greeted as liberators upon the fall of Baghdad. [41]

Mr. Horowitz refers to the "overtly one-sided character of his [Professor Matthew Evangelista’s] teaching." Mr. Horowitz cites no evidence to back up this claim. Mr. Horowitz has never sat in on any of Professor Evangelista’s classes, nor does he cite any evidence from anyone who has. Professor Evangelista responds, "If anything, my students become rather frustrated with my unwillingness to tell them ‘the right answer.’ Instead, my teaching style emphasizes contending explanations for political phenomena and my courses air a wide range of views, including presentations by guest speakers. Several of my students and advisees over the years have been members of Cornell’s ROTC program or serving military officers and none has ever complained about any political bias on my part."

As would be clear to any fair-minded person who bothered to read The Professors, it does indeed contain evidence of the one-sided nature of Professor Evangelista’s courses. For instance, the book discusses his course, "Gender, Nationalism, and War", "which takes as its subject the ‘relevance of gender to nationalism, conflict, and war,’ and explores the ‘political formation of gender identity." [42] In common with other similar courses analyzed in the book, the entire foundation of the course is not academic inquiry but a narrowly conceived brand of left-wing identity politics. One does not have to sit in on Professor Evangelista’s course to learn that obvious fact. Moreover, considering that the professor’s course requires students to view issues of war and conflict through the ideological lens of "gender" politics, the professor’s claim that he "emphasizes contending explanations for political phenomena" and that his "courses air a wide range of views" is difficult to credit.

Mr. Horowitz claims that "Evangelista’s opinion will naturally carry great weight within his faculty, both regarding the hiring and the promotion of future scholars, for decades to come." Mr. Horowitz appears to base this claim entirely on his own knowledge of universities’ hiring and promotion practices. From Mr. Horowitz’s credentials, it appears that he is neither an expert on academia nor an academic himself, nor does he explain why his opinion on these matters merits his readers’ credence. Professor Evangelista responds, "This contention reflects a naïve and uninformed perspective on how such decisions are made in academic departments. In my case, for example, I am one of several dozen people contributing to the department’s decisions. Even if I judged colleagues or potential colleagues on the basis of their adherence to my own political views—a charge for which Mr. Horowitz would be hard pressed to find the slightest evidence—I have only one vote and there are several subsequent evaluations above the level of our department that help assure that such decisions are made according to the faculty members’ teaching and research qualifications, not their political affiliations."

David Horowitz replies: "The comment about my lack of expertise on the influence tenured faculty is typical of the tendentiousness of the Free Exchange authors’ attack. They don't deny that what I said is true. If it's true (as it most assuredly is) why would my credentials be an issue? As it happens, this book was vetted in its entirety by a full professor at a major university who has chaired tenure committees. As professor Evangelista knows, Department chairs and the search committees they appoint have far more weight in determining who is hired than the rest of the department. See my account of the hiring process in chapter 4 of The Professors. Professor Evangelista does not mention this account and probably hasn't read it. He certainly doesn't refute it. Finally, if, as Professor Evangelista claims, politics doesn't enter into hiring decisions, how does he account for the fact that conservatives are so scarce on his faculty?"

A full professor at a major university further points out that Professor Evangelista’s claim that he has only one vote, while technically true, is disingenuous. The professor observes: "Professor Evangelista may have only one vote, but he is a full professor and a quite famous figure. It is naive in the extreme to think that all he has is one vote--it's technically true but disingenuous, given his career. It's naive to think that his opinion isn't listened to very seriously by others; that he doesn't express it forcefully; or that he is treated as junior faculty (assistant professors), or even as an ordinary associate professor. In my own Department, for instance, Professor X and Professor Y are quite famous Americanists -- the most prominent people in the Department. Their opinions sway many people in meetings (and--very importantly--before meetings), and among those swayed is the Dean of our College. In fact, they have determined who is here on the faculty in American History although technically (to be sure) they each had only one vote, and this is true whether or not they even served on the search committee. Those are political facts."

These are all the charges made by "Facts Count" and Matthew Evangelista against the profile of Professor Evangelista in The Professors.

Richard Falk

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Richard Falk was once "an enthusiastic supporter of the Islamic radical, the Ayatollah Khomeni whom he hailed as a ‘liberator’ of Iran." Mr. Horowitz cites no evidence to back up this claim. Professor Falk responds, "I never described Khomeini as a ‘liberator’ of Iran…In fact, I was chair of a committee that was seeking to protect human rights in Iran against the excesses of the Khomeini leadership."

Whether or not Professor Falk used these precise words to describe Ayatollah Khomeini, there can be little doubt that he viewed him as a liberator. It was Professor Falk, after all, who insisted in a notorious 1979 op-ed in the New York Times that the "depiction of Khomeini as fanatical, reactionary, and the bearer of crude prejudices seems certainly and happily false," and that "Iran may yet provide us with a desperately-needed model of humane government for a Third World country." Of Khomeini’s followers, Professor Falk claimed at the time that they "were uniformly composed of moderate progressive individuals" and had a "notable record of concern for human rights." Little wonder that the Middle East expert Martin Kramer, a onetime student at Princeton, recalls Professor Falk as "the leading campus enthusiast of the Ayatollah Khomeini." [43] Professor Falk’s attempt at historical revisionism is understandable, given the disastrous consequences of the Iranian revolution he enthusiastically cheered. But it does not make him a credible critic.

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Falk "is a longtime prominent member of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)—a Communist front group." Mr. Horowitz cites no evidence to back up this claim. Professor Falk responds, "I never was a member of the IADL, although I gave some talks under their auspices." Mr. Horowitz fails to makes this distinction.

If Professor Falk says he was never actually a member of the IADL, this statement is in error. However, his admitted affiliation with the IADL -- an organization that once served the interests of the Soviet Union and today defends Islamic terrorism -- is itself a revealing commentary on his radical political views, which are supported by additional evidence detailed in The Professors.

These are all the charges made by "Facts Count" and Richard Falk against the profile of Professor Falk in The Professors.

Gordon Fellman

Mr. Horowitz quotes Professor Gordon Fellman as writing, "Making war is for the imagination challenged, it only reasserts masculinity," and draws the conclusion, "Apparently Professor Fellman views masculinity as an undesirable trait." Professor Fellman responds, "Mr. Horowitz has my comment about war and masculinity exactly wrong. My claim is that a certain kind of masculinity expresses itself in violence, including war. There are other kinds of masculinity out there. Think of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama. I prefer masculinity that is life affirming, as that of those great leaders was, to that which is life-denying. I meant my remark to refer to the most common or traditional form of masculinity. There are others."

Professor Fellman’s quote speaks for itself. His subsequent qualifications, which disprove nothing at all in the book, do nothing to enhance Professor Fellman’s credibility as an academic. Professor Fellman evidently thinks that the only admirable form of masculinity expresses itself in a political commitment to doctrinaire pacifism. Male students enrolled in his Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence Studies Program at Brandeis would be well advised to take note that if they believe war can sometimes be a means of achieving peace they are "life-denying" and will never make great leaders. In this context, Professor Fellman’s inclusion of Nelson Mandela among the ranks of supposedly "life affirming" leaders is particularly ironic. Mandela after all was the founder of the Umkhonto we Sizwe, the militant wing of the African National Congress that carried out terrorist attacks against civilian whites and Africans, and has never wavered in his commitment to "armed struggle." But in the land where ideology is king, facts are dispensable.

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Fellman "is notorious for grading his students subjectively." Mr. Horowitz cites no evidence to back up this claim. Professor Fellman responds, "That criticism never appeared in any of the course evaluations I’ve seen."

The Free Exchange authors’ assertion that the book provides no evidence that Professor Fellman grades his students subjectively is not only false but, one suspects, intentionally false, since the evidence appears in the same sentence from which the above quote is taken and which notes that Professor Fellman makes "‘personal evolution’ in class, i.e., the assimilation of his perspective on the world, count for one-third of the grade." [44] This was the complaint made personally to David Horowitz by one of Professor Fellman’s former students. (According to students Horowitz interviewed, Fellman also called students who supported the war in Iraq "freaks.") The student dropped Fellman’s course after learning about the "personal evolution" component on the not unreasonable fear that agreement with Professor Fellman’s politics would be required in the course. This would also explain why the student never filled out a course evaluation.

Professor Fellman adds: "Mr. Horowitz understands so little about what higher education is about. It is not about going to college to have every assumption you brought there confirmed by the college process. Being challenged in one’s basic assumptions about just about everything is a classic function of higher education. It is ironic that Horowitz criticizes the procedures of an institution about whose purposes and traditions he seems to grasp so little."

David Horowitz replies: "Since the Academic Bill of Rights and the intellectual diversity campaign are designed to ensure that students hear more than one side of an issue, it is obvious that it is Professor Fellman doesn't know what he is talking about."

These are all the charges made by "Facts Count" and Gordon Fellman against the profile of Professor Fellman in The Professors.

Eric Foner

Mr. Horowitz claims, "Professor Foner participated in an anti-war ‘teach in’ at Columbia University, where he invoked Communist Party icon Paul Robeson as a model of patriotism." The Robeson quote Professor Foner used is, "The patriot is the person who is never satisfied with his country." Professor Foner responds, "I wonder how Mr. Horowitz explains that if Robeson is an enemy of America, the postal service recently issued a stamp in his honor."

Professor Foner’s reply, like much of what he writes, is a calculated evasion. The words "enemy of America" appear nowhere in the book. Instead the book fills in the historical context that Professor Foner seems determined to ignore: "Robeson, a recipient of the Stalin Peace Prize, had made headlines in the early Cold War by proclaiming that ‘American Negroes’ would not fight to defend American in a war against the Soviet Union.’" [45] Robeson, a lifelong Communist, was unsatisfied with his country because he was loyal to the Soviet Union. Yet this is the man that Professor Foner held up as a model of patriotism.

Referring to the same teach-in at Columbia, Mr. Horowitz writes, "Professor Foner had been preceded on the podium by fellow Columbia professor Nicholas DeGenova, who told the 3,000 students and faculty in attendance, ‘The only true heroes are those who would find ways that help defeat the U.S. military. I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus.’" Mr. Horowitz fails to mention that Professor Foner "publicly reprimanded De Genova, calling his statements idiotic."

Foner did "reprimand" DeGenova but not from the platform. He made this comment when confronted by journalists after DeGenova's remarks caused a national scandal.

Mr. Horowitz quotes a negative review of Professor Eric Foner’s work by the intellectual historian John Patrick Diggins, in which Diggins describes Foner as "’an unabashed apologist for the Soviet system and an unforgiving historian of America.’" Mr. Horowitz fails to mention that in the same article, Diggins writes, "Professor Foner himself, I happily hasten to add, has been willing to hire and support teachers of differing ideological loyalties, and in his remarkable academic career he has been more professional than political, a gentleman scholar rather than an academic apparatchik."

This objection is irrelevant since Professor Foner’s personal relationship with his fellow academics is not at issue and, in any case, Horowitz disagrees with Diggins’s evaluation of Foner’s hiring practices, observing that there are no conservatives on the history faculty at Columbia. What the book contends, and what John Diggins, as well as historians like Theodore Draper (also cited in the book) confirm, is that Professor Foner’s ongoing historical project has been the rehabilitation of the Communist legacy, both in the United States and in the late Soviet Union.

Mr. Horowitz claims that following the 9/11 attacks, "Professor Foner focused not on the atrocity itself but on what he perceived to be the threat of an American response" – based on an essay that someone else wrote but which Mr. Horowitz attributes to Professor Foner…. Confronted with this error, Mr. Horowitz blamed it on the fact that his book was "the work of 30 researchers" and stated that it did not change the content of his profile on Professor Foner.

Here is what David Horowitz actually wrote:

The article is correct about the error. The question is how did it happen and how does it affect the validity of the profile of Foner in my book.

As I pointed out in the introduction to The Professors, the 101 profiles were the work of thirty researchers. In these circumstances, juxtaposing a quote – which is clearly what happened -- is not too difficult a possibility to imagine. The Foner quote and the [erroneous] quote appeared in sequence on a page in the London Review of Books which was referenced in The Professors, and during the many revisions of the manuscript that’s how the error was made.

Now for the really important question: Does this error affect the claim made about Professor Foner in my profile?

This is how the quote is introduced in my text (the claim I make is marked in boldface type: "On October 4, 2001 following the attack on the World Trade Center, Professor Foner contributed to a London Review of Books symposium of reactions to the atrocity. In his contribution, Professor Foner focused not on the atrocity itself but on what he perceived to be the threat of an American response:"

What followed in my text as it appeared in the printed book was the [erroneous] quote. Here are two paragraphs from the actual Foner quote as it appeared in The London Review of Books:

"I’m not sure which is more frightening: the horror that engulfed New York City or the apocalyptic rhetoric emanating daily from the White House. ‘We will rid the world of evil-doers,’ President Bush announces as he embarks on an open-ended ‘crusade’ (does he understand the historical freight this word carries?) against people who ‘hate us because we are free.’ This Manichean vision of the world, so deeply rooted in our Puritan past and evangelical present, is daily reinforced by the media as an emblem of national resolve….

"One remarkable result of the crisis has been the Bush Administration’s sudden transformation from isolationists to internationalists. An Administration that for months disdained world opinion on issues like global warming, missile defense, and global arms sales now finds itself trying to construct an international coalition. Already, newspapers are reporting that our European allies are unenthusiastic about the prospect of an open-ended war against the Islamic world. Americans reluctant to embark on an armed ‘crusade’ to rid the world of evil are now relying on our allies to impose some restraint on the White House."

I think a fair minded reader will agree that the actual Foner quote provides an even stronger support for the claim I make about Foner in the text, than the Foot quote which was erroneously substituted for it. (That it was my intention to cite the authentic quote will be evident to anyone familiar with my book Unholy Alliance where it is cited as Foner’s reaction to 9/11.) In other words, the error in my book is an inconsequential one and does not affect the accuracy of its portrait of Professor Foner. Readers can judge themselves whether this is a reason for dismissing my work as Foner advises. And they can judge his honesty by the same measure.

These are all the charges made by "Facts Count" and Eric Foner against the profile of Professor Foner in The Professors.

Todd Gitlin

Mr. Horowitz writes, "In an article titled ‘Varieties of Patriotism,’ Professor Gitlin recently reflected upon the decades he has spent harboring the belief that his country is ultimately unworthy of his respect and even allegiance." (195)

As Professor Gitlin responds, the argument of his essay was "exactly the contrary." In the essay in question, Professor Gitlin writes, "I distinguish between the country that is worthy of respect and allegiance and the government policies that are not."

Professor Giltin is misrepresenting his own writings. The Professors goes on to note that in the abovementioned essay Professor Gitlin "traced the root of that sentiment back to the fires of the Vietnam War. ‘For a large block of Americans my age and younger,’ he writes, ‘too young to remember World War II--the generation for whom ‘the war’ meant Vietnam and possibly always would, to the end of our days the case against patriotism was not an abstraction. There was a powerful experience underlying it: as powerful an eruption of our feelings as the experience of patriotism is supposed to be for patriots. Indeed, it could be said that in the course of our history we experienced a very odd turn about: The most powerful public emotion in our lives was rejecting patriotism.’ Coming of age in the era of the Vietnam War, then, was the perceived cause of what Professor Gitlin described, on another occasion, as his persistent sense of ‘estrangement,’ ‘shame,’ and ‘anger at being attached to a nation.’" [46]

After the September 11 attacks, however, Professor Gitlin once again found himself questioning his allegiance to his country. In the same article, he went on to write, "By the time George W. Bush declared war without end against an ‘axis of evil’ that no other nation on earth was willing to recognize as such – indeed, against whomever the president might determine we were at war against,…and declared further the unproblematic virtue of pre-emptive attacks, and made it clear that the United States regarded itself as a one-nation tribunal of ‘regime change,’ I felt again the old estrangement, the old shame and anger at being attached to a nation – my nation – ruled by runaway bullies, indifferent to principle, their lives manifesting supreme loyalty to private (though government slathered) interests, quick to lecture dissenters about the merits of patriotism." [47] As these excerpts make clear, the object of Professor Gitlin’s scorn was his country and not, as he implausibly suggests, the specific policies of his government.

Mr. Horowitz claims that Professor Todd Gitlin, "immerses students in the obscurantist texts of leftist icons like Jurgen Habermas so that they understand the oppressive nature of capitalist media." (194)

Professor Gitlin points out that while he has indeed assigned works by Habermas to students in a graduate seminar, he has "also, to take only the last few years, ‘immersed’ students in texts by Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, Burke, Adam Smith, and, for that matter, the Gospels."

The Professors does not suggest that Professor Gitlin assigns texts only by leftist writers like Habermas and moreover does not focus on his classroom instruction.

Mr. Horowitz writes that Professor Todd Gitlin "participated in the infamous March 2003 Columbia University ‘teach-in,’ at which his colleague Professor Nicholas DeGenova expressed his wish that American soldiers might be slaughtered en masse in ‘a million Mogadishus.’" (195) Professor Gitlin points out that while he did participate in the teach-in, he "was not present for the statement of—and did not hear, nor have I ever knowingly laid eyes on—Professor DeGenova, who at another session of the teach-in ‘idiotically’ (to quote my fellow dangerous colleague Eric Foner) called for ‘a million Mogadishus.’ Had I been present when Professor De Genova made his remark, or heard that he had done so, I would have expressed my disgust."

The Professors at no point suggests that Professor Gitlin endorsed the content of Professor DeGenova’s remarks. On the contrary, it stresses that he broke ranks with the more radical voices on the anti-war Left: "After 9/11 Professor Gitlin wrote an article critical of leftists who opposed the war in Afghanistan and unfurled an American flag and hung it from his apartment window…" [48] Professor Gitlin’s participation in the teach-in is instead cited in support of the clearly correct statement that Professor Gitlin, while occasionally critical of its more extreme elements, "has been a strong supporter of the anti-war movement," something he does not deny.

These are all charges made by "Facts Count" and Todd Gitlin against the profile of Professor Gitlin in The Professors.

To finish reading this article, click here.


Jacob Laksin is managing editor of Front Page Magazine. His email is jlaksin -at- gmail.com


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