Indoctrination U: Interview With David Horowitz · 11 June 2007

Filed under: Press Coverage

Editor's note: In this special feature, has invited's managing editor, Jamie Glazov, to interview Frontpage's editor-in-chief, David Horowitz, about his new book, "Indoctrination U: The Left's War Against Academic Freedom.

Glazov: Well David, we are both guests of WorldNet today, but I guess that as the interviewer I will welcome you to WND. Welcome.

Horowitz: Thanks, Jamie. We both appreciate the good work Joseph Farah and WorldNetDaily are doing for the causes we all hold dear.

Glazov: So let's start at the beginning. In 2003, you initiated a campaign to promote intellectual diversity in American universities. Why was such a campaign necessary?

Horowitz: I had been speaking on college campuses for 15 years before that and became aware in the course of my visits of the extent to which the political left had corrupted America's classrooms and were using them to advance their political agendas. The left has instituted a blacklist – the longest most successful blacklist in American history – in faculty hiring, which has made conservative faculty as rare as unicorns. It has also created entire academic programs – Women's Studies and Peace Studies are but two among scores – that are not academic at all but political parties with ideological agendas that are anti-capitalist and anti-American. The university has become a farm system for the Democratic Party and the radical left.

Glazov: To achieve your goals, you devised an Academic Bill of Rights and created a national student movement with chapters on 200 college campuses. Tell us about the ABOR and the national student movement.

Horowitz: The Academic Bill of Rights was devised to make the best of a terrible situation. I decided the best hope was to try to get universities to enforce their own standards, which require faculty to observe the scientific method in their classrooms and hence present both sides of controversial issues. The Academic Bill of Rights asks professors to observe this decency. My modest efforts have provoked incredible outrage, which includes a campaign to destroy my credibility and identify me with McCarthyism. But then, what else is new? This is the way progressives behave. Intellectually they're totalitarians, and morally they're savages (and yes, I know that term is politically incorrect).

Glazov: Your book exposes the reaction to your campaign by professor unions and academic associations. Can you paint a bit of that picture here for us?

Horowitz: It's important to understand just who this opposition is. They are political zealots whose ethical principles – or lack thereof – are modeled on progressives of the past like Marx and Stalin. Their attacks are not really addressed to the issues, but are design to defame and discredit anyone who opposes them. Thus they argue that a bill of rights that says in so many words that professors may not be fired for their political opinions is actually a "witch-hunt" and that its author is Joseph McCarthy – or a near relative. If a student complains that an exam "question" required him to explain why George Bush is a war criminal but the professor maintains it only required him to explain why the United States' decision to overthrow Saddam makes America a war criminal, the student is said to be a liar along with anyone who stands up for him, which in this case happens to be me. If an "i" is not dotted or a "t" is not crossed, the culprit responsible is said to be factually challenged; if six trivial errors are found (including getting a first name wrong in one of three mentions) in a 110,000 word text – as was the case with my book "The Professors" – this merits a website feature called "Horowitz Fact-Checker" on a teacher union site. This is the kind of attention my book and my campaign have been treated to by the political left, some of which I have described in "Indoctrination U: The Left's War Against Academic Freedom." (I should also note that I have replied to as many of these libels as I have time to in "Replies to Critics," which can be found through the "Horowitz" link on the nav bar at

Glazov: John Ellis, professor emeritus at the University of California at Santa Cruz and the president of the California Association of Scholars, has watched your efforts as an academic reformer and characterizes your work in these words:

"Much has been written about the politicization of college education by selfish radicals who preach rather than teach. This book [Indoctrination U] describes the only sustained national effort to correct the problem. ... Though Horowitz's campaign is solidly based in venerable policy statements of the American Association of University Professors, today's radicalized AAUP leadership has bitterly attacked the Academic Bill of Rights, thereby disowning the AAUP's own core principles. Everyone who cares about a genuinely liberal college education – regardless of political perspective – will be grateful for David Horowitz's tireless, relentless, and above all, well-judged efforts to rescue it from the intellectual trivialization and monotony of radical politics. Nobody has done so much or been so effective."

Let me ask you this: Why is it that it took you, David Horowitz, to take on this problem? Why was there no "sustained national effort" before you spawned it? Why has no one else "done so much or been so effective"? In other words, why the void in this nation on such a crucial issue of freedom in academia and what is it about you that made you, as an individual, be the one who filled this void?

Horowitz: Without being overly facetious, I think I was born to get beat on the head. Twenty-odd years ago, I was thrown into combat with the left, and since the schools are their primary political base, it was inevitable that I would eventually take them on there. Probably, no one else in his right mind would do it. Someone said that the reason academic politics are so nasty is that the stakes are so small. When you combine the politics of Stalinism – as Harold Bloom observed a long time ago, Stalinism is in fact the politics of the academic left – the nastiness knows no limits. Unfortunately, it also makes the stakes quite high since this is where all the poisons that have seeped into our culture – the anti-American, anti-family, pro-crime, pro-terrorist enthusiasms, the lack of respect for the Constitution and the judicial process, the hatred of religion – are coming from.

Glazov: What is teaching supposed to be, and what do academic radicals think it is?

Horowitz: In a democracy, teachers are expected to teach students how to think, not tell them what it is politically correct to think. Academic radicals consider it their revolutionary duty to use their authority in the classroom to recruit students to their causes and make them politically correct.

Glazov: Academic radicals engage in the "political purge." You refer to it as a "purification ritual." Can you expand on this a bit and tell us what you think the roots are of this ritual?

Horowitz: What you are referring to is the gotcha syndrome (to use the vernacular). Progressives are the original, true and most successful witch-hunters. Find a perfectly reasonable opponent of any jot or title of the progressive party line and they will attack him as a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a neo-conservative, a Republican! The roots of this ritual lie in the religious nature of radicalism itself. Radicals believe they can redeem the world and put an end to poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, war and the fast food industry. What stands in their way? Conservatives with bad attitudes. Therefore, purging conservatives by defaming them and ruining their good names is to them a necessary step along the heavenly highway. When they have the power, of course, throwing dissidents into the gulag or burning them at the stake is even better.

Glazov: What have been some positive developments that give hope for your campaign?

Horowitz: Well, given that only a microscopic few in the academy itself have been willing to stand up on such basic issues as a student's right to be presented with more than one side to a controversial question, and given that the press that covers education is pretty much on the side of the academic devil, we have made remarkable progress. In the state of Pennsylvania, we have caused two universities to adopt student bills of rights for the first time in American educational history. Now, however, comes the hard part: getting them to enforce those rights.

Glazov: It is a bit strange that conservatives have a lot of power over universities – they are donors, legislators, etc. Yet they seem to be awfully clued out – or indifferent – about what is actually occurring inside the classrooms. What explains their apparent apathy? Or is it a lack of courage? You have written a book on how conservatives are not very good at fighting political war. Is this reality involved here?

Horowitz: Conservatives are distressed to even acknowledge that there is a political war. One of the striking things about this campaign is that although it is the largest conservative movement on campuses ever, major conservative publications have failed to cover it. The Wall Street Journal has even editorialized against it. I would say that the principal hurdle I face is persuading conservatives – who do have enormous leverage over the universities – to take an interest in the battle.

Glazov: Tell us a bit about the Terrorism Awareness Project and some of the new flash films.

Horowitz: This project – to educate students about the threat from Islamo-facism – is related to the academic freedom campaign in that the propaganda activities of leftwing faculty on campus in behalf of the terrorists currently has no adult opposition. On April 19, we held an "Islamo-fascism Awareness Day" on 96 campuses. Next Oct. 22-26, we're going to sponsor an "Islamo-fascism Awareness Week" on 200 campuses. We will be showing films, staging teach-ins and conducting other activities to make people aware of exactly who the enemy is and who is helping him. For this program, we have developed three flash videos, "The Islamic Mein Kampf," "What Every American Needs to Know About Jihad" and "What Really Happened in the Middle East." These are available at

Glazov: You are fighting for students' rights. In the end, it will have to be the students themselves that will have to stand up for these rights, correct?

Horowitz: Correct. The fact is we have Students for Academic Freedom chapters on 200 campuses, and all the other conservative organizations with a campus presence, such as YAF, ISI, the Leadership Institute and Accuracy in Academia, are pulling with us. I am grateful for that.

Glazov: Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream about racial equality in America. What is your dream about academia in America? That one day ...

Horowitz: Academic standards and manners will be restored to our educational institutions and the blacklist of conservatives will be ended.

Glazov: David, thank you for joining me here as a guest at WorldNetDaily, where Joseph Farah has been our gracious host.

Horowitz: Thank you and Joseph for the opportunity.

Order Horowitz's new book, "Indoctrination U: The Left's War Against Academic Freedom.