Horowitz Pushes End to Partisan Professoriate · 04 April 2004

Filed under: Press Coverage


by Brian Loeb--Tufts Daily, 04/05/04

As part of its effort to support a Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate resolution sponsoring an Academic Bill of Rights, the Tufts Republicans hosted social critic, author, and commentator David Horowitz last Thursday.

Horowitz, the editor of the conservative online journal FrontPage Magazine, spoke on what he identified as a lack of political diversity among professors at the nation's colleges and universities.

"You can't get a good education if they're only telling you half the story, even if you're paying $40,000," Horowitz said.

Horowitz cited a study by his Center for the Study of Popular Culture that identified a ten-to-one majority of registered Democrat to Republican tenured or tenure-track professors at 32 top colleges and universities.

The study found Tufts to have 12 Democrats, one Republican, and 84 unaffiliated.

The data did not include professors who were not registered to vote in their college's area. "It's not meant to be a scientific study," Horowitz said in an interview after the speech. "It's meant to show there's a problem. I needed people to say 'Maybe something should be done about this.'"

In his speech, Horowitz said an Academic Bill of Rights, which would make it against University policy to consider political affiliation when hiring professors, could help end the status quo, which he called "as effective as an overt blacklist" against conservatives.

According to Horowitz, most professors do not become political in the classroom, but for those professors who do, the impact can be great on impressionable students. "It's a temptation," he said. "Why not sell them your pet prejudices?"

When asked in the interview why having a balance of partisan views in the classroom matters, Horowitz said that without a balance, "the quality of education suffers." Horowitz grew up a socialist with communist parents but became a conservative soon after he finished college.

He said that the abundance of liberal professors makes conservative students better conservatives by challenging their views in the classroom, and more conservative professors would make liberal students better liberals.

Horowitz said for most students, the political views of a professor would not change their own views, but even the effect on the few students warrants a change
Horowitz's speech also touched on the war in Iraq, the war on terrorism, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"This war was not about weapons of mass destruction, and it was not about an imminent threat," Horowitz said. Later, he added, "we didn't go into Iraq for humanitarian reasons."

When asked in the interview what the true reason for war was, Horowitz identified Saddam Hussein's violation of the United Nations resolution forcing him to disarm. He also said the U.S. was compelled to attack once the threat had been made. "If it backs off, its word will never be credible."
On whether the war hurt the U.N.'s credibility, Horowitz said "France has undermined the U.N." by threatening a veto prior to the war.

"The U.N. hasn't done anything to keep the peace anywhere," he said. "There's only one peacekeeper, and that's us."

In his speech, Horowitz said Democrats in Congress have undermined the U.S. effort to win the war in Iraq. "There is only one reason there have been no attacks on this country since Sept. 11, and that's because George Bush has taken the war to the enemy camp."

Speaking about the possibility of Sen. John Kerry's election in November, Horowitz said, "If he is elected, the war will return to New York and Washington."

He added that in Iraq, "we've lost 500 good lives, but they volunteered."

Horowitz said liberals in the U.S. detract from the war on terrorism. "The principle of the left is that they hate America," he said. "We are now in a global war, where a death sentence has been placed on all of our heads. If you are not proud of your country, you cannot defend yourself."

Prior to his discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Horowitz cautioned the audience that he was not an expert on the Middle East. Horowitz has a B.A. and M.A. in English from Columbia University and the University of California at Berkley, respectively.

He put the blame for the conflict solely on the Palestinians. "Islam, as interpreted by the Palestinians, is a racist, Nazi-like ideology that cannot tolerate non-Muslims unless they are subordinate to them," he said. "Forgive me for not having any sympathy for this problem."

Horowitz added that "Palestinian nationalism is entirely part of a political campaign to destroy the Israeli state."

In his speech, Horowitz attacked Democrats on large city legislatures and school boards for not encouraging change. He said city schools are "run just like the Soviet Union -- there is no connection between performance and reward."

He said those on the political left dominate large city legislatures, and that "liberals and leftists have their boot heels on the necks of poor blacks and Hispanics."

In the interview, Horowitz said the recent vote by Denver Public Schools' teachers' union to adopt a performance-related contract with the district was "an example of change." Whether the school board is controlled by Republicans or, as in the Denver case, Democrats, he said, "I always praise this."

Time constraints cut off the question and answer session, which was brief and calm from the approximately 50 members of the largely conservative audience.

Referring to the language he used in his speech, Horowitz said in the interview, "I have to be entertaining."