(The reader is cautioned that not every quote or reference to what David Horowitz said is accurate in this account. E.g. he did not say that the United for Peace and Justice was "led by 60 Stalinists" but by "a Sixties' Stalinist;" he reviewed America's record on slavery and race and said America is a country you can be proud of but leftwing academics are teaching students to be embarrassed by America, and warned "if you're not proud of your country, you cannot defend yourself." He said that Stanford was civilized relative to some universities not because the Hoover Institution was on campus but because there no students obstructing his speech. -- The Editors).
In his talk Tuesday night, author David Horowitz accused American academia of systematically filling university departments with “leftist” professors and barring political conservatives from gaining presence on campuses.
|David Horowitz, well-known conservative, claims that "it is the conservatives [are the] creative forces on college campuses. |
Horowitz, who is nationally recognized as a figurehead of the U.S. political right, is currently lobbying for universities and state legislatures throughout the country to adopt his "Academic Bill of Rights," which would commit campuses to disregard political beliefs in the promotion and hiring of faculty.
Co-sponsored by Hillel and the Stanford Jewish American Alliance, Horowitz’s lecture touched on various issues in contemporary politics, but focused mainly on the lack of “intellectual diversity” in American higher education and his own crusade stem this problem.
The political imbalance, Horowitz claimed, is largely due to the blacklisting of conservative scholars. As an example, Horowitz cited the case of Hamilton College, which he called a “typical leftist” institution.
“If you are a terrorist, or if you are a supporter of terrorism, you can be invited by the faculty of Hamilton . . . to work as a visiting professor,” Horowitz said.
It is actually the liberal-minded students who suffer most from this breed of discrimination, Horowitz claimed, because “it is the conservatives who are the innovative and creative forces on college campuses.”
The conservative students, on the other hand, have in a sense been “strengthened” by having to defend their views when “accosted by leftist professors,” he said.
Horowitz praised Stanford as one of the few “civilized institutions” left in America, citing the influence of the Hoover Institution and its relatively strong conservative presence.
But he did not spare several of the liberal activist groups on campus, stating that United for Peace and Justice is “led by 60 Stalinists and includes Muslim pro-terrorist groups” as well as “North Korean Marxist-Leninist groups.”
Horowitz attacked these and similar groups all over the country for having organized protests against the war on Iraq. He also skewered the professors who held strikes to protest the war and said they “betrayed their professional responsibility and their country.”
Diverting the talk from issues of academia, Horowitz touched on current political events, at one point linking Saddam Hussein to the terrorist groups that carried out the attacks on Sept. 11. He also applauded the current war in Iraq for establishing a strategic military position between Syria and Iran, and he hailed the War on Terror for having “crippled and neutralized” Osama bin Laden.
Again stressing the importance of intellectual diversity, Horowitz told the students in the audience, “If you are not taught to be proud of your country, then this institution is betraying both itself and this country.”
During his time on campus, Horowitz met with Jeff Wachtel, senior assistant to University President John Hennessy, to lobby for the adoption of the Academic Bill of Rights at Stanford.
If adopted, the Academic Bill of Rights would discourage professors from using their classrooms to voice their political opinions.
Senior Nathan Mintz, the moderator for the event, said that Horowitz’s lecture was particularly appropriate in light of recent antiwar protests on campus. Stanford Israel Alliance co-sponsored the event in an attempt to combat the “anti-Zionist indoctrination” that Mintz said he believes occurs in Stanford classrooms.