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Posted at 3:08 PM on Saturday, March 11, 2006 by David Horowitz
Saying no to the law professors
I received a letter recently from Maurice Dyson an assistant professor of law at Southern Methodist University inviting me to be on a panel at the January 2007 national convention of the Association of American Law Schools. The subject of the panel was to be the Solomon Amendment which would deny federal funds to schools that refuse to have ROTC programs that train officers for the U.S. military. This was my reply: 

    Maurice R. Dyson
    Assistant Professor of Law
    Dedman School of Law
    Southern Methodist University
    Re: Your invitation to be on a panel of the Association of American Law Schools whose topic is "The Assault on Academic Freedom in the Academy: Exploring the Inersectionalities of Race, Religion and Gender in Higher Education in an Era of Escalating Authoritarianism."

    While I appreciate your offer to admit a contrarian opinion into what looks to be a fairly monolithic room, I have to say I'm not thrilled about being invited to be on a panel that poses the question "When did you stop beating your wife?" Actually, your panel is stacked even more conclusively than this famous example of how to indict a witness through a question.

   "The Assault on Academic Freedom in the Academy" which is the main title of your panel, assumes that the problem of academic freedom lies with forces outside the academy rather than with forces within it. Since I have written tens of thousands of words on the subject of the traducement of academic freedom by universities and law schools like yours, it feels a little strange to be invited to your table where I am slated to serve simultaneously as its token "dissenter" and its whipping boy.

   The subtitle of your panel (which by the way could use some Englishing) makes very clear the role you've carved out for me. When you speak of "escalating authoritarianism" I don't suppose you have in mind the flooding of university faculties, including  law schools with Marxists and other totalitarian ideologues, not to speak of Harvard's tenured feminists who terminated Lawrence Summers' career over a politically incorrect idea.

    The Solomon Admendment and the left's campaign to deny support to an American military that is protecting their privileged lives  ---  which is the actual subject of your panel  --- has nothing to do with academic freedom except in the minds of radicals who can't argue their real agendas and so cannibalize liberal principles to advance their Machiavellian agendas. The question of the Solomon amendment is a legal issue that has been decided in the courts to the disadvantage of the anti-military organizers of this panel. I am not a lawyer or a law professor and the case in behalf of our military and our country would be better aruged by someone with a legal background. I suggest you invite one.

    All the same, as I indicated at the beginning of this response, I appreciate your overture, and should you decide to have an actual discussion of academic freedom at your convention which is not loaded in advance, I would be happy to participate.

    Sincerely,

    David Horowitz

PS: If you were to diversify the law school faculties that make up your organization and invite some conservatives onto your organizing committee you would know how an academic question should be posed, and save yourself some embarrassment in the process.

Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2006 4:27 PM
Subject: RE: Your invitation

Dear Mr. Horrowitz: 

Thank you for your message. I regret that my invitation came as an offense.  That was not my intention.  We have invited lawyers to speak on the Solomon issue.  In recognizing that this was mroe than a legal issue, your input was genuinely sought, alebit imperfectly in your estimation.  I wish you well in your important endeavor to representing diversity of opinion.  Thank you again for your response Mr. Horrowitz and God Bless.

Sincerely, 

Maurice R. Dyson
Assistant Professor of Law
Southern Methodist University

Dear Professor Dyson,

Thank you for your civility and understanding. I'm glad you were able to get lawyers to argue the case of the Solomon Amendment which I do not believe in any way involves academic freedom issues. I did not mean to imply that you had any intention to offend me by your invitation. I am certain that it was sincere. Nonetheless you are correct that I find the very formulation of this panel topic offensive -- more appropriate to a political party convention than to an academic conference. Should your Association be interested in academic freedom issues and should they come up with a format that is reasonably neutral, I would be ready to participate.

Sincerely,

David Horowitz
 
Footnote: It just happens that on Thursday night I spoke to the Federalist Society at the Western New England School of Law. I had dinner with about ten law students who told me that of 38 law professors on their faculty not a single one was a libertarian or conservative; when I spoke I mentioned both that this was a disgrace and also that it could not happen by accident. No one can claim that conservatives do not pursue the law or that a $100,000 plus job for six hours a week in class and only eight months a year, with the opportunity to practice law on the side, and a lifetime job guaranteei is so shabby that a conservative wouldn't want it. This is the usual phony excuse of course that leftists give to explain why their blacklist is not a blacklist. Of course when I mentioned this during my talk the one law professor who did not boycott the event got suitably outraged and claimed he was not a "blacklister." At the end of the question period Michael Meeropol, the oldest of the two children of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, got up to tell me I should be campaigning to have a Marxist on every faculty. As though there were not a surplus of Marxists on these faculties already.  

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


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