The Politics of Personal Destruction
June 12, 2006
Readers who have been following the campaign waged by the teacher unions against the academic freedom movement will long before now have noticed the central role played by the politics of personal destruction. Since everyone knows that there is an academic blacklist that has practically elminated conservatives from university faculties; since everyone who has been on a campus knows that professors regularly interject their political prejudices into the classroom even when the issue is entirely irrelevant to the subject matter, the defense of the indefensible is really only possible through denial of the obvious. This means that anyone who steps forward to point it out must be destroyed. Accordingly, when I published a 450 page 112,000 word text documenting the rabid politics of a hundred professors, the first line of attack was on my credibility. The teacher unions formed an organization solely for this purpose called the Coalition for the Free Exchange of Ideas on Campus with a special section called "Horowitz Fact-Checker". They issued a 50-page "report" called "Facts Count" purporting to show that my book The Professors was based on fabrication, mischaracterization and other egregious intellectual sins. The goal was to discredit my witness as coming from an unreliable source. The sleaziness of these attacks has now been exposed in a reply written by Jacob Laksin, called "Discounting Facts," which shows the whollly political nature of the assault by people who are actually guilty of the faults they attribute to me: lying, fabrciating, misrepresenting etc. I commend this report to you not only as a study in dishonesty generally, but in the dishonesty peculiar to people who begin every conversation by mis-describing themselves as "progressives." Defending blacklists and indoctrination in the classroom is reactionary, not progressive.