The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Thursday, March 24, 2005

              Academic Freedom and Diversity
The recent controversies surrounding the writings of Ward Churchill and the musings of Larry Summers, the issue of bias in the academy has been brought to the forefront. As an example of what goes on in a University, and what the mindset of academics is - at least in the humanities - below is an email I received from a friend currently working on his graduate degree.
A week or so ago I attended an academic dinner where the atmosphere was friendly and collegial, and the academics present felt chatty. The conversation turned to politics first through a comment made by one person present (let's call him G), who said that he was asked to write a letter of recommendation for a bright and dedicated student, only to realize to his horror that the letter was in support of her application to a conservative think tank. Once he alerted the student's attention to that atrocity, and made sure that it was not a mistake born out of ignorance on the student's part, the professor wrote the letter, but not before he addressed the student. "I will give you the letter," he said "because I promised to, and you deserve it." The implication is clear: the student should be grateful for the magnanimity of such a selfless act. Never mind that letters of recommendation are the ABCs of what professorial work is all about, never mind that the student deserved the letter fair and square. Thus the conversation focused on all matters politic, and the consensus around the table was that no one - but no one! - has the misfortune (thank god!) to know a conservative, that to be conservative is "morally repugnant" (direct quote), and that old friendships are best dissolved if the friends in question turn out to be (oh no!) conservative. And the one conservative at the table kept cowardly quiet, fearing for his career. This is the way academic freedom and diversity manifest themselves today. Substitute the word 'conservative' for 'black' or 'Jew' and you will get a racist narrative. But this irony was lost on the enlightened minds of the ivory tower.
Powerline links to a forthcoming article in Commentary by Ruth Wisse, commenting on the whole Summers controversy. At some point there will inevitably be a backlash against the Leftist domination of academia. It will be interesting to see what causes this. Until then, many more will suffer under the imposed orthodoxy of that "herd of independent minds".

Victor Hanson takes a look at who Ward Churchill really is, and doesn't find much there.
So who really is this strange creature who calls himself Keezjunnahbeh? The Paris Hilton of the campus, a Peter Sellers-like fraud in his own Being There, or a Tony Randall turning into all sorts of strange beasts in Dr. Lao’s circus? He is nobody in fact, but also everybody in theory.

Perhaps it is best to think of Churchill as our aging portrait of an academic Dorian Gray, in whom all the once-hallowed university’s vices and sins of the last half-century are now so deeply etched and lined.
|| Nudnik 10:28 AM
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