Oh no! The radical liberal agenda is taking over!

31 03 2009

Last night, the Tufts Republicans brought David Horowitz over to speak about academic freedom and how education is liberally biased.  Horowitz is a neo-con who is the founder and president of the David Horowitz Freedom Center (at least he has an something named after him.)  The Center publishes FrontPage magazine, a conservative online journal.  I found a better way to spend my time, but the Tufts Daily seems to have pretty decent coverage of the lecture.

Horowitz claims that liberal professors are indoctrinating students with their liberal ideology and undermining the nation’s democracy.  He specifically picked on disciplines like Women’s Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, African-American studies, and various other cultural studies as being extremely leftist.   Apparently these disciplines  do not properly educate students because they don’t challenge their beliefs.

Excuse me but Women’s Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, and the various cultural studies exist to challenge the status quo and the dominant ideology that we’ve all been socialized into.  They exist to challenge the prevalence and intersection of different forms of oppression: heterosexism, sexism, racism, ableism, classism, etc., and to give a voice to groups who have been traditionally marginalized and excluded from academia and society as a whole.

Horowitz supported former Harvard University President Larry Summers who said that men are better than women are at math because women have less mathematical ability.

According to Horowitz, Summers’ statement that women have lower mathematical ability than men was a perfectly intellectual statement backed up by research, and it only caused controversy because it did not coincide with traditionally liberal academic beliefs.

Wake up Horowitz!  Summers’ statement was sexist, misogynist, and anything but “a perfectly intellectual statement backed up by research.”  It didn’t cause controversy because it wasn’t in line with “traditionally liberal academic beliefs.”  It caused controversy because it wasn’t in line period!

And specifically about Women’s Studies, Horowitz said:

Women’s Studies programs are training students to be radical feminists. How many of you have heard that gender is a social construct? The “nature versus nurture” debate has been going on for years, and anyone who argues that gender is a social construct should not be allowed to teach … It’s not a proven point.

This actually made me laugh out loud.  Seriously Horowitz and your neo-con cronies?!  Nice try.  How dare Women’s Studies programs exist?   It’s so very radical to want to learn about gender and sexuality interact with and manifest in social institutions like the law, the media, the economy, etc.  And it’s so very radical to challenge patriarchy!  We can’t afford to have any of those “radical feminists” running around!

Senior Dan Hartman, a former president of the Tufts Republicans, agreed with much of Horowitz’s argument. “We need to have professors stand up to the status quo, challenge those who are ideologues and bring back academic balance,” he said.

“‘We need to have professors stand up to the status quo'”?!  This doesn’t really make sense.  Does he mean “stand up for the status quo”?   Besides, nothing is stopping professors from being conservative if they want to.  I’m sure there are conservative professors out there just as there are liberal professors.

If you really want to talk about indoctrinating students and not properly educating them, why don’t you look at the dominant “banking” method of education that is dominant in this country?  But no, we must all watch out for those radical liberals who dare to question the status quo.  Not surprising from a neo-con.  As usual, the right is wrong.


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2 responses

1 04 2009
Stephanie

Wow. While doing research for my senior project, I encountered a lot of information relating to many of these ideas. Here are my two or three cents:

1) Larry Summers’ comments are very controversial, and not only are they frequently taken out of context, but the comments themselves are not actually based on what I would consider “good” science. Summers is absolutely correct that there is a major disparity in math and science when it comes to sex, but what was inappropriate was his baseless theory that women are inherently worse at STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) than men are. It is good science to make an observation (the disparity), but not to make up a theory. The “inherent” theory ignores social factors resulting in fewer women in STEM fields.

2) I was actually thinking about the Daily op-ed by the current Tufts Republican president the other day, since I did think it raised a legitimate idea. The president was pointing out that for a space that considers itself to be diverse, Tufts University is a very homogenous campus with regards to political ideas. I think it’s great that he would problematize the political atmosphere at Tufts. Of course, at the same time, I would problematize his categorization of “liberal” and “conservative” in the same way that anyone would categorize people based on class, race, sex, gender, and sexuality, etc. From my experience (and I certainly would love to be shown the opposite), conservative ideologies tend to be in opposition to diversity, and also ignore issues that arise from categorization of people. Being conservative on a liberal campus is NOT the same as being black on a white campus, female on a male campus, lower/working class on an elite campus, etc. It’s not the same as coming up with many different ways to analyze a book, either. Conservative thought would deny me the ability to be a woman and a scientist, to be straight and love vaginas, to be supported when I might not have the means to support myself.

3) I would like to know just WHY turning people into feminists is a bad thing. So far, all I’ve heard is that it destroys the family, which can be easily disproven by pointing out that correlation does not imply causation, AND that the “destruction” of the “family” is a completely subjective idea, not one rooted in truth.

4) If gender as a social construct isn’t proven, then WOW, I’d love to see the research proving it’s biological. And I’d also love to point out that scientifically, nothing is ever proven in the first place. For the love of all things good, people need to stop using bad science.

1 04 2009
feminist3

He does have a point when it comes to professors injecting liberal bias into their lectures. It does happen on American college campuses, and if you read some of the reviews for Tufts professors online, you can see that this is somewhat of a problem. My friends at other universities have complained about professors and classes that had a liberal/leftist bias. From personal experience, when I was in China, I took a class with a law professor who spent every lecture trying to indoctrinate us about how Taiwan and China have always been the same country and should continue that way, how China has done right by Tibet and the monks there are just ungrateful etc. It was offensive and a waste of time. I can understand why people would be annoyed by that in America.

That said, I’m not convinced Horowitz is really calling for non-partisan academic research and teaching. Rather, he wants a platform to force his sexist and batshit crazy views on other people. I’m not opposed to being taught by a conservative professor, if he didn’t inject his ideology into his lectures unless absolutely necessary, like liberal professors. And if I had a conservative professor who spewed bile like Horowitz, I wouldn’t mind as his student, if he kept that out of the classroom (that wouldn’t preclude me from not respecting him at other times though).

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