The Academic Echo Chamber · 21 May 2006

Filed under: Press Coverage


As anyone paying attention to the vicissitudes of modern American academia well knows, sundry tenured radicals consider themselves stalwart opponents of the intellectual diversity movement. To the loveable scamps in Middle Eastern studies, women's studies, English, comparative literature, cultural anthropology, black studies, and the like, those concerned about indoctrination masquerading as teaching in college classrooms are the "New McCarthyites." David Horowitz and his ilk aim to police American universities and destroy their vibrant intellectual character.

To this end, the tenured radicals perceive themselves as the real supporters of diversity. They yearn for a multiplicity of faculty voices filling the air--everything from radical feminism to ultra-radical feminism.

We were reminded of these tenured radicals anew when turning to the recent news of John McCain's speech at the graduation ceremonies for the New School. We think it's a delightful example of the "intellectual diversity" the campus Left has in mind.

At the graduation, Senator McCain was preceded by one Jean Sara Rohe, a 21-year-old from New Jersey. Among her delightful remarks was the following: "The senator does not reflect the ideals upon which this university was founded." Naturally, this received thunderous applause from various faculty members and graduates in attendance.

Without so much as a soupcon of self-awareness, liberal commentators have gone into paroxysms of glee over Ms. Rohe's speech. "It was a rough crowd for agents of American imperialism," cooed Maureen Dowd, pound-for-pound the most inept columnist in contemporary America. Not to be outdone, Ari Berman at The Nation fawned over the New School's "tradition of dissent."

A rather stunning display, this. Never mind the fact that Jean Sara Rohe began her speech with a short folk song--which isn't a good sign of things to come in our book. Instead, take in her remark again: "The senator does not reflect the ideals upon which this university was founded."

Translation: Anyone who deviates from my core political views should not be allowed at the New School. You don't get much more intolerant than this.

So where are those tenured radicals deeply committed to a vibrant intellectual environment on their campus? Oh, that's right: They were applauding in the audience.

(Note: The crack young staff normally "weblog" over at "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," where they are currently thinking of Jean Sara Rohe and wishing that they had a hammer.)