David Horowitz, author, political commentator and founder of FrontPage magazine spoke last night in Warren Hall on academic freedom. Matters such as racism, the war in Iraq, the Harvard controversy and general problems with the liberal agenda were discussed.
The lecture was held by the Cornell College Republicans and sponsored by The Cornell Review.
Eric Shive ’05, vice president of the college republicans, explained the connection between the organization and Horowitz.
“When The Cornell American came under attack last year, FrontPage magazine was there to help,” Shive said. “We found help not through the Cornell administration, but from the outside world.”
Horowitz is in the midst of a campaign to instill his policy of “academic freedom” and to encourage and eventually make it mandatory for universities to diversify their staff, citing most to be predominantly liberal democrats.
“My motto,” Horowitz said, “is that you can’t get a good education if you’re only getting half of the story, even if you’re paying $40,000 per year.”
Horowitz cited the political leanings of Cornell’s teaching staff to be in a ratio of 26 to 1, liberal to conservative.
“Never has there been a time in American history where academics have been so repressive,” Horowitz said. “Even when Cotton Mather was on faculty at Harvard and they were burning witches.”
Horowitz further supported his stance on academic freedom through revisiting the incident with Harvard’s president, Larry Summers, in which Summers suggested that females are inherently less competent in math and sciences than men. Summers, Horowitz claimed, was wrongfully chastised for expressing his opinion because the environment around him was too radical.
“Just raising a wrong idea is enough to ruin a career,” he said, “that’s what is called a totalitarian mentality.”
The Bill of Academic Rights that his campaign is avidly promoting stresses the importance of prohibiting political inclinations from interfering with teaching and hiring. In its first article, the bill states, “No faculty shall be hired or fired or denied promotion or tenure on the basis of his or her political or religious beliefs.”
“It’s a professorial responsibility not to confuse indoctrination with education,” Horowitz said. “A professor must distinguish between First Amendment rights as a citizen and professorial obligations as a teacher.”
He also explained his views on how conservative students were made to feel in the overwhelmingly liberal environments their universities had created for them. He said that when professors outwardly express their political leanings, these students are more hesitant to approach them for advice and counseling.
Horowitz attributed one cause of the “repressive” atmosphere to “ideological centers.”
“Cornell actually started the downward spiral,” he said. In 1969, when student activists demanded their own department with their own professors, in the Straight takeover, it “led to a wave of studies programs,” including American studies, Africana studies and women’s studies, throughout universities nationwide.
Another large topic of discussion for Horowitz was the current war in Iraq. He presented the current elections in Iraq where terrorists threatened the lives of those planning on voting. Despite the death threats, 70 percent of the citizens voted, with 60 citizens killed.
“These people faced death to get what George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney have given them … freedom,” he said. “A wave of democracy is spreading in the Middle East thanks to people like Paul Wolfowitz [’65] … and no thanks to liberals.”
Horowitz’s main problem with the mindset of the liberals was that to him, it is too negative toward the country as a whole.
“Never in the history of the world has there been a country like America,” he said. “It’s a country to be proud of because if you’re not proud of your country then you can’t be proud of yourself.”
Archived article by Emily Gordon < br> Sun Staff Writer