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Posted at 12:20 PM on Sunday, May 01, 2005 by David Horowitz
Columbia a disaster. Kenyon an unexpected surprise.

I've spent the last week speaking at four schools -- Kenyon, Cornell, Hofstra and Columbia. The latter three are in a sad state, with Columbia ranking as the absolute worst. The tenured left has so thoroughly politicized the hiring process and the classrooms in the fields it desires to control that these are now merely instruments of its anti-American, anti-Israel, terrorist-sympathizing agendas. The rallying of Columbia professors and the Columbia administration behind Jew-haters in the Middle-Eastern Studies department should surprise no one.

There is not a single identifiable conservative in either the History or Political Science departments at Columbia. When students at Columbia asked the university to hire one, a professor of history (specialty Greece and Rome) named William V. Harris suggested that this was because the "serious scholarly study of history" made people leftists. His letter appeared in the November 12, 2004 Columbia Spectator and this is the actual sentence: "Is it possible that serious scholarly study of history tends to lead a person towards the left?"

This is such an illiterate idea for a historian of classical Greece and Rome that it raises the question of whether Harris simply wrote this out of pure malice. The great historians of antiquity like Herodotus and Thucycides were more conservative than the vast majority of conservatives are today. They believed that history was cyclical. The idea of progess -- the core belief of leftists -- was entirely alien to them. Until the left captured the profession of academc history in the 1980s it would have been difficult to name a single major historian in the entire history of the field who was a leftist in any sense familiar today. Such is the abysmal level of the academic defense of the university's debasement by tenured leftists and of the intellectual monolith which they have constructed (while insisting that they are "liberals").

My biggest surprise on this trip was my visit to Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Normally when parents ask me where to send their college-age children my one piece of advice is to avoid small liberal arts colleges in isolated areas. Kenyon fits this description to a T. But from the interviews I conducted with conservative students and one conservative professor while I was there, along with my experience with a self-selected cross-section of the Kenyon student body, I would say this by far the best school I have been to in twenty years.

The ratio of left/liberal professors to conservatives at Kenyon is admittedly the standard 10-1 (and -- given the blacklist -- will become worse in the next decade when its aging contingent of conservatives retires). However, the teaching at Kenyon (with inevitable exceptions including one bizarre professor in the biology department) seems to be traditional -- and only minimally corrupted by campus marxism, post-modernism etc. Literature is still taught as literature and not as a pretext for teaching Marxism, post-modernism and other kitsch academic religions. The political science, history and sociology courses seem relatively free of the race-class and gender hierarchies mythology. And the students I met were bright, free of leftist cant and remarkably open-minded.

The lectures I give when I visit these colleges are titled "Academic Freedom and the War on Terror" and are divided into segments on the two issues. These are connected by the observation that when you are taught that America is a racist, sexist, imperialist leviathan, you are in effect being softened up for the Islamicist and socialist enemies we face. Since my remarks on Iraq are intended to be provocative and constitute the second half of my lectures I expect that most of the audience questions will be addressed to that issue.

To my amazement, at Kenyon the 200 or so students who attended my lecture of whom half appeared to be from the left focused entirely on the issue of academic freedom and my Academic Bill of Rights. The questions were intelligent and thought-provoking and displayed a serious interest in the problem created by the virtual absence of conservatives on the faculty. I have not had a more pleasureable experience talking to students in years, a fact made even more impressive because five of my previous six talks in the two weeks preceding had been marred by incidents and demonstrations.

My own guess as to the reason for this is that Kenyon does not have significant Women's Studies and African American Studies departments. For these departments (along with Queer Studies, Cultural Studies, American Studies, etc) are entirely ideological and are the political base of activists who are able to teach in other departments which they have corrupted at most universities.

Kenyon is a school that I would send my son or daughter to. The only hitch is that it costs $40,000 a year.

I received this email from a prospective student apropos the above blog:

Dear David,

 I`m glad to see your academic bill of rights taking off. I`m going to be attending college next year as a Freshman, and I`m curious as to whether or not there are any student groups there attempting to get your Bill of Rights ratified at my school. I was going to major in political science and history at first, but then I saw the curriculum. Much to my dismay, the history course was made up of reading books about disarmament, the history of socialism, and a number of other left wing political causes. I decided not to waste my time with that course, and decided to change my other major to Judaic studies. It bothers me that there can be a book that glorifies the people who were on the wrong side in the Eighties (those who
were for a nuclear freeze), but there`s nothing about President Reagan`s strategies for ending the Cold War.

I would love to help push for the Bill of Rights at my college. Hopefully there will be some intellectual honesty in its history curriculum in the future.

BTW: If you were curious as to what David Duke thinks of FrontPagemag.com, click here.



 


David Horowitz is the founder of The David Horowitz Freedom Center and author of the new book, One Party Classroom.


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