Free-Floating Hostility

Friday, January 20, 2006

Letter to My Editor

I mentioned David Horowitz in my Golden Globes post and, much like the Candyman, he seems to have resurfaced in my life. Or at least, he showed up in a four-column photo of him that ran on the front page of my newspaper. Horowitz's latest scheme, deemed newsworthy by the Associated Press, is to badger legislatures into enacting an "academic bill of rights," something that would stop professors in college classrooms from espousing their political views in that classroom setting.

According to this editorial, 15 state legislatures considered such a law, and none of them passed it. This shows uncommon good sense on the part state legislators, given that even if most college professors are pinkest of pinkos, it's probably not a good idea to pass laws regulating speech. Chastened, Horowitz and friends hatched another plan, hire students to tape record professors at UCLA in order to catch the teachers in question making such outrageous claims as "President Bush led us to war in Iraq using faulty intelligence," or "Al Gore actually won the popular vote in 2000."

I wish Horowitz well as he makes his rounds, but the "so-called" mainstream press really needs to stop taking him seriously. Because he's not serious. He gets on the news because he screams liberal bias, and the mainstream press, desperate to prove how middle-of-the-road it is, reports on him. And I'm sick of it. Because, hey, newsflash, professors get up in front of crowds and spout off. Lots of people do that. I could say the same thing about evangelical Christian ministers. This is a guy making a fundraising pitch, which works because there are a lot of people who agree that campuses are too liberal. This is bullshit. For the most part, academia is self-selecting. If more conservatives really wanted to be professors, there would be more conservative professors.

Horowitz has been obsessed with colleges since at least 2001, when the Spectator and a bunch of other college newspapers rejected his poorly-written ad decrying potential reparations for slavery. And these things have come once every six months since then. It's unhealthy. I imagine that Horowitz regularly shows up at Tom Wolfe's door begging to sniff his fingers. It's stopped being funny.

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