Monday, January 17, 2011

Liberals – Essential Beliefs “The New Left” 137

Yesterday's blog saw an intellectual ghost moving from Schopenhauer to Nietzsche to Heidegger. It didn't stop there. The next possession was of the deconstruction creator, Jacques Derrida (with a brief visit in the 1960s and 1970s to Herbert Marcuse). Marcuse, “the father of the new left,” wrote:

"Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left."
"Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and if they are blocked by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc”

We need to ask ourselves: What would happen if these relativistic and deconstructionist ideas were law? How would justice be carried out?

It's already happened. The trial balloon has been the internal justice within America's best universities. It's a nightmare of subjective favoritism, a folk religion called “political correctness.” A defining book has been written on this subject, The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses by Alan Charles Kors and Harvey A. Silvergate

Below are some enlightening reviews of the book and of the modern liberal paradise that has been created.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Most eye-opening book I've read in ages, September 15, 2009
By A. Tristan (Seattle, WA USA)

This review is from: The Shadow University: The Betrayal Of Liberty On America's Campuses (Paperback)

This is must-read for all those people who think that the shrinking of our free speech rights will come from the far right, which I certainly did.

Political correctness run amok on the campuses of America. A breath taking look at what is happening to the basic rights of students in universities where critical thinking is essential for the learning process.

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5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a liberal and I loved it, April 29, 2009
By H. Vandenburgh "Sociological Materialist" (Albany, NY)

This review is from: The Shadow University: The Betrayal Of Liberty On America's Campuses (Paperback)

I'm a liberal and I loved this book. The denial of freedom of speech and debate is extremely dangerous and has no place on a college campus. The PC mavens are as dangerous as the McCarthyists once were. As a professor, I've seen them in action. Some of today's young people (and college administrators) think that everything they disapprove of should have immediate sanctions raised against it. This is exactly the wrong approach at institutions of higher learning, and actually in society in general. Many of my colleagues in sociology now teach the subject as though it were a folk religion. Unlike those of us who were 60s radicals, they've learned positions on racism and sexism as *received wisdom.* So they have little ability to synthesize and think about social movements, especially when there are issues of contradiction within them. I actually have read and like Herbert Marcuse, whom Kors and Silvergate criticise. Marcuse gets it right on things like the effects of media on society, for example. But I was horrified along with K&S by his "Critique of Pure Tolerance" when I read it in the 1970s. Another strong critique in Shadow University is that of reverse racism. For example, it doesn't break most speech codes for minority members to call members of minority groups "oreos" or "Uncle Toms." Too ironic.

The most absurd applications of this nonsense are at rich people's colleges like Conn College, Oberlin, Bard, and so on. This, alone, should make us extremely suspicious--
these are the people who presumably are going to be running society a bit later.

I just used Shadow University in a class with The Wrecking Crew (which challenged the Bush era attack on, and looting of, government.) I enjoyed letting the students see two fine critiques coming from two differing points of view.

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4.0 out of 5 stars For whom is it written? Ask yourself., April 29, 2000
By Philip Greenspun (Cambridge, MA USA)

This review is from: The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses (Hardcover)

University administration grows even when faculty size remains constant (at MIT, the administrator-to-faculty ratio doubled in the 20 years from 1969 to 1989). The obvious result is a rise in the cost of university education. The less obvious result is that university administrations begin to do all kinds of things that they aren't qualified to do. Kors and Silverglate focus on administrators limiting freedom of speech, starting with rules that are poorly drafted and ending with internal court systems that afford defendants very few rights.
The famous University of Pennsylvania "water buffalo" case is here. MIT puts in a fairly impressive showing, notably our decision to pay administrators to watch porn movies to decide whether they were obscene. Under this policy, proposed in 1984, Dean James Tewhey prosecuted an MIT undergrad for showing Deep Throat, a film held by the Massachusetts courts to be acceptable under Cambridge's community standards. Under MIT rules, the undergrad, Adam Dershowitz, was not entitled to legal representation before the MIT Committee on Discipline (COD). However, he could bring a relative, so he asked his uncle, Alan Dershowitz, to come down the street from Harvard Law School. This resulted in an acquittal for young Dershowitz and some changes in MIT policy. COD hearings would no longer be open to the student press, students would no longer be entitled to bring a relative, and it would henceforth be forbidden to tape-record proceedings.
[Note: Tewhey is actually my favorite MIT administrator of all time because, after years of giving students lectures on how to run their romantic lives, his own affair with another MIT employee turned sour. They were both married (to other people). She accused him of following her around and harassing her. They both got restraining orders from the Massachusetts courts against each other. She asked MIT to fire him for harassing her. With about as much due process as Tewhey had ever given any of the students, MIT fired him. Or we said that we did. But then it turned out that we were paying him for not working for about a year after we'd allegedly fired him. And then he sued MIT in Middlesex Superior Court for wrongful discharge. And then we sort of lost track of James Tewhey.]
Kors is a scholar and Silverglate is a civil rights lawyer. So the book differs from what a journalist might have written in the provision of philosophical and legal underpinnings for all of the newsworthy cases. Most interestingly, the roots of speech limits on campus are traced back to Herbert Marcuse (the only philosopher ever to appear on the cover of TIME Magazine). Marcuse argued that as long as society was oppressed by the powerful, free speech does not help the weak. True toleration and liberation could only be achieved by withdrawing "toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medicare care, etc."
I was recommending the book to a friend and she asked "Who is it written for?" We thought about it for awhile. It can't be the administrators because they presumably enjoy the status quo. It can't be the students because they are just passing through the university in order to pick up a credential. It can't be the professors because they've mostly abdicated control of the university to the administrators. Most faculty see themselves either as employees of a bureaucracy vastly more powerful than themselves or as low-grade autonomous entrepreneurs only loosely connected to the university.
In fact, there might not be anyone in the United States whose has both the power and the inclination to redress any of the wrongs outlined in the 400 pages of The Shadow University. That is a thought much scarier than any in the book itself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece! Accurate, in-depth, and passionate., September 25, 1998
By A Customer

This review is from: The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses (Hardcover)

Those holding their breath for a book that exposes the sad state of liberty on America's campuses can finally breathe easily. Silverglate and Kors do an superb job of unveiling the lack of due process in university judicial systems, the predominance of (left-wing/Stalinist) politics in the day-to-day affairs of student-life administrators, and what parents, students, and University Trustees should do to bring back a humane environment at American universities. My own Alma Mater was (rightly) excoriated in the book. The passion of the authors is contagious-- You will get angry when you read the treatment accorded to professors and students at hundreds of Universities, from Amherst to Yale, and you will realize that the Political Correctness movement is not a dying fad, it's the institutionalized orthodoxy. This is required reading for every student and university professor who cares about academic freedom, fairness, and freedom of speech. The debate about PC will never be the same again.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly researched, definitive treatment of the subject, March 1, 2000
By Michael Bilow (Providence, RI USA)  

This review is from: The Shadow University: The Betrayal Of Liberty On America's Campuses (Paperback)

This book is a must-read for anyone who is a student or faculty member at a college (especially if they speak on controversial issues, publish in the campus media, or are actually facing charges), for any lawyer who is called upon to defend such a student or faculty member, and also for college administrators who may benefit from being reminded that their actions and policies are subject to review by the real courts and may very well be found wanting.
Although incredibly thoroughly researched, this is by no means a dry book. The stories it tells are of real people who, usually quite innocently, became caught up in a theatre of the absurd, half Kafkaesque and half Stalinesque, not of their own making and certainly anything they expected. It is also a deeply moving book, paying due tribute to many courageous people who, when faced with an option to confess their "sins" in secret, chose instead to fight a vigorous and invariably costly defense of their own precious liberty.
Nearly anyone unfamiliar with the practices of student "judicial" systems on college campuses is likely to be shocked to find out what really goes on in institutions theoretically devoted to the pursuit of truth and learning. Indeed, the more one is familiar with the standards of ordinary justice which have evolved through vast experience in the real courts, the more one will be appalled to read these accounts of trials without charge, rules which use words that do not mean what any reasonable person would expect them to mean, offenses defined so as to preclude any possibility of a defense, explicit infringements of the right to believe as one chooses and to speak as one believes, and other gross denials of due process.
Those who are familiar with these systems firsthand will recognize many of the egregious practices meticulously documented by the authors, and it is something of a surprise even to us that sacrificing of students to some sort of bizarrely ideological "higher purpose" has become more than commonplace, and is now nearly universal. Not only students but faculty -- including tenured faculty -- have been railroaded, fired, and disgraced, and the authors document numerous cases where both students and faculty have been forced to turn to the real courts for justice and remedy, generally with success.
The overriding lesson of this book is that the real courts, operating under real rules of evidence and procedure and with real judges, are overcoming an historical reluctance to intervene in the affairs of public and private colleges. This change is a direct result of the increasing tendency over the past decade or two for colleges to violate the most basic standards of fundamental fairness in dealing with "internal" matters, thus bringing themselves into conflict with the real law. What the authors here convincingly demonstrate is that such abuses are now struck down with regularity once exposed to public view, either through real court proceedings or, on occasion, through media attention.
It is no exaggeration to say that many college "judicial" systems operate within an Orwellian netherworld where some students can steal and destroy entire press runs of a student newspaper and face no consequences, while other students can be suspended and expelled for speaking in such a way as to hurt someone's feelings. It is difficult to believe, perhaps, but those who have seen these systems close up know that the authors are perfectly on the mark. If there is any doubt, the voluminous citations of court documents and other evidence presented here should remove it.

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