They are Marxists, anti-Semites, terrorists, purveyors of crackpot conspiracy theories — and they hold positions of lifetime tenure at some of the nation's most prestigious universities. These are some of the campus figures profiled in David Horowitz's new book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.
Himself a former radical in the 1960s' "New Left," Mr. Horowitz is the president of the California-based Center for the Study of Popular Culture and the founder of the Web site www.frontpagemag.com. The following are excerpts of an e-mail interview with Mr. Horowitz:
Question: What inspired you to write this book?
Answer: Twenty years in the trenches, speaking at universities and seeing what the left had done to them. As my book shows, radicals have colonized whole departments and fields at universities that are both public and private, large and small, secular and religious and turned into indoctrination and recruitment centers for the anti-American left. My book features full professors who are followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini, members of the Central Committee of the [U.S.] Communist Party, active and unrepentant terrorists, anti-white racists and anti-Semites.
Q: Do most parents of college students — or most taxpayers, in the case of state universities — know what they're paying for at these schools?
A: A friend of mine was the chairman of the board of trustees of a major state university for 15 years. He said to me, "In all those years I never knew what was going on in the classrooms at my university." I think he is typical. Even I didn't realize quite how bad it was until I wrote this book. I hope it will open people's eyes.
Q: I was surprised to find that Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich, author of "The Population Bomb," was still teaching. Hasn't he been thoroughly discredited?
A: In the university in the social sciences and humanities, there is no bottom line for bad ideas. In the real world, a Marxist would be regarded as a flat-Earthist, yet in the university they occupy positions as professors of history, political science and even (at the University of Massachusetts) economists.
Q: Another mind-boggling example: Bernardine Dohrn, a former leader of the violent Weather Underground. How can she be a law professor at Northwestern University?
A: How can her husband and fellow-terrorist [Bill Ayers] be a "Distinguished Professor of Early Childhood Education" at the University of Illinois? The answer to both questions: Sympathizers with their terrorist political agendas control the search and hiring and tenure committees. There is really no other explanation.
Q: What are some of the other examples from the book that you found particularly surprising?
A: Nothing surprises me after the research I did on this book. Hamid Algar is a professor of Islamic studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He is an ardent follower of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Before 9/11 he gave a speech in Tehran at a memorial for Khomeini in which he called for armed jihad against the West and for the disappearing of Israel from the face of the Earth. He also told Armenian students they deserved to be massacred. No administrative action was taken against him.
Many professors profiled in my book express genocidal views towards Israel, and one professor of ethnic studies at the University of Texas has expressed the "scholarly" view that "we have got to eliminate the gringo ... we have got to kill him."
Q: This is bound to be a very controversial book. What are some of the criticisms you've had so far?
A: The academic leftists are really in an indefensible position, as these quotations should make clear. So they have an incoherent defense. Their first tack is to accuse the book of being a McCarthy list, but in the next breath they are proclaiming how proud they are to be on it. I happen to be the son of communist parents who were blacklisted in the 1950s. I can tell you that they did not want to be on any list.
These tenured radicals are in a very secure position and they know it. Ward Churchill is still a $120,000-a-year professor at the University of Colorado, while his president was forced to resign over the scandal he created. What these people fear is not being fired; it's being embarrassed. And I hope their fears prove justified.
Q: Does the fact that people like Angela Davis and Ward Churchill can become tenured professors argue in favor of the academic freedom legislation you've supported in Colorado, Pennsylvania and other states?
A: My academic freedom legislation is the beginning of a solution to this problem. We need to take politics out of our classrooms at both the university and the K-12 level. Before I go, I'd like to let your readers know that I've created a Web site at www.dangerousprofessors.com where they can follow the fun.
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