Professors of Stupidity

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Bonnie, Feb 15, 2005.

  1. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    Campus Scenes
    Professors of Stupidity
    By George Neumayr
    Published 2/11/2005 1:08:19 AM

    What passes for profundity on the left as it navigates its way through the Ward Churchill controversy is Voltaire's fatuous line, "I am willing to fight to the death for your right to express your belief freely." Shorn of its mindless piety, this position essentially means that people have a right to lie. Voltaire's line should read, "I am willing to fight to the death for your right to tell lies." It doesn't sound as grand and compelling then. It sounds absurd.

    Ward Churchill is a faker and liar beyond caricature. But modern academia's notion of "academic freedom" is so hollow and useless that it extends even to him. Notice that the entire discussion about Churchill is framed in terms of "his rights," as if universities exist primarily to provide platforms for jobless grifters to feed students lies. Forming students in truth -- a very quaint notion at this point, I know -- is supposed to be the organizing principle of a university. So shouldn't ensuring that students aren't taught by liars be the first, not the last, consideration here?

    Shouldn't the welfare of students determine the outcome of this controversy? To the extent that administrators even weigh this responsibility, they do so in the most shamelessly superficial manner. Struggling for a rationale to keep a barbarian on staff, they will say that exposure to odious ideas is a good learning experience, a rationale they never resort to when a reviled conservative's work is at issue.

    On Wednesday night, CNN's Aaron Brown discussed the Ward Churchill controversy with guest Dahlia Lithwick of Slate.com. He asked a question of her that produced a perfect description of modern universities. Brown: "Just on the face of it academic freedom ought to embrace even dumb things, I suppose. Is that right?" Lithwick: "That's sort of the cornerstone of the notion of what university is about, Aaron."

    This cornerstone isn't exactly of an ancient coloring. It wasn't laid at Oxford, Bologna or Cambridge -- the scholars who started these schools would be surprised to learn that the promotion of irrationality is the university's founding purpose. No, this cornerstone was laid more recently at, say, Berkeley, and on its wobbly footing professors have been giving impressionable minds the chance to experience stupidity ever since.

    That embracing dumb ideas is the cornerstone on which universities are now built explains why those who exercise reason and demand the observance of rational standards are treated as the only real threats to academic freedom. It explains why tenured professorships are meted out not on the basis of intelligence but its absence -- on a kind of promise not to use one's mind should it conflict with reigning academic dogmas. Playing dumb is now an academic job requirement. Literally dumb: you must not say or see certain things.

    In the face of a nihilist like Ward Churchill, self-respecting professors in the past would have said: either he goes or we go. Now before a barbarian like this, professors and craven university administrators are speechless. When they do finally manage a few words, the only phrase that dribbles out is "academic freedom," a rhetorical reflex triggered by tremors in the spine.

    As the Larry Summers flap illustrates, "academic freedom" means just its opposite: not liberating the mind by conforming it to reality, but imprisoning the mind in politically correct fictions that guarantee ignorance of reality. While Ward Churchill can tell lies about differences between America and the terrorists, Larry Summers is forbidden to tell truths about differences between men and women. The Soviet-style confession notes extracted by angry feminists from Summers are his pledge never to think freely about these matters again.

    The purpose of "academic freedom" is the attainment of truth, apprehending what is. Yet universities that hire teachers who use ideology -- which is just lying writ large -- to obstruct students from pursuing the truth are always held up as bastions of academic freedom. They are its greatest enemies.

    The more obviously true the thought, the more likely these universities will be to police it. Ward Churchill could get tenure by comparing his country's leaders to Nazis and falsifying American history. But could he have received tenure if he had authored a book on Intelligent Design?


    George Neumayr is executive editor of The American Spectator.


    www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=7755
     
  2. CivilLiberty
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    CivilLiberty Active Member

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    Not really. You don't have an absolute freedom to tell lies, in many cases it constitutes fraud for which there are civil and/or criminal penalties.

    As it happens, I'm reading the Bible, NIV right now (about half way through "Numbers"). Thus far, I consider the these first books full of lies.

    Yet I would never deny someone their "right" to believe in these lies, and even preach these lies. Instead, I consider it more important to be free to discuss these things openly. And free to present other opinions.


    On the subject of that jackass professor, I do not in any way support what he says, and if he speaks and libels or slanders someone, they should sue him for damages.

    At the same time, I support his right to make these statements for the very reason that in doing so, he outs himself as a loony nutjob.

    In the same way, I support the right of Nazis and other bigots to make their hate mongering statements, because they expose themselves, and allow us as a society to judge them for what they are.

    Ward Churchill has a general right to say these things, and we have a general right to point out hat he is an idiot.



    Regards


    Andy
     
  3. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    Yes Andy no one is disputing his right to say what ever he wants, however as you are aware with freedom comes consequences. The issue surrounding Churchill is whether as a paid employee of the state, and someone in a position of authority, and responsibility, should he be allowed to keep his job? Many say no he should not.
     
  4. CivilLiberty
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    CivilLiberty Active Member

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    On the one hand, anti-discrimination laws prevent someone from being fired on account of creed.

    On the other hand, I've never been a big fan of most anti-discrimination laws. As a free person/business, I should also be free to hire and fire how I see fit and for any reason I choose. I should be free to form a community of people I like, and to associate with culture(s)/groups of my own choosing.

    There should be no discrimination in the application of laws however.

    As I recall he's tenured, so that makes firing a much more significant issue. Having not read the actual transcript, and not willing to judge on the merits of the out of context statements on the news reports, I won't comment yet.

    A
     
  5. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    He is tenured, that is a fact, and Im sure one of the things in his favor at the moment.
     
  6. no1tovote4
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    no1tovote4 VIP Member

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    This one is a local issue and we have heard much about it.

    This particular "professor" gained Tenure in less than one year (at a place where it often takes longer than the usual 5 for people with PHDs) even though internal e-mails state that he is unqualified for the position. He beat out three other true American Indians for the job based on his claiming to be an American Indian in his own right.

    Here is one site that has a ton on this particular professor.

    http://www.khow.com/hosts/caplis-silverman.html

    It is a local radio show where the lawyers (one R and one D they debate on the show every day, except in this case both think he should be fired) have filed the necessary documents in order to get all of the records on the "professor" from the college.

    They also have links to speeches that he has made. You can spend some time there...
     
  7. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    He likes to tell tales this one.

    If Ward Churchill loses his job teaching at the University of Colorado, he could end up giving Howard Dean a real run for his money to head the Democratic National Committee.

    Churchill already has a phony lineage and phony war record – just like John Kerry! (Someone should also check out Churchill's claim that he spent Christmas 1968 at Wounded Knee.) In 1983, Churchill met with Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and later felt it necessary to announce that his group, the American Indian Movement, "has not requested arms from the Libyan government." In 1997, he was one of the "witnesses" who spoke at a "Free Mumia" event in Philadelphia on behalf of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

    Come to think of it, Churchill could give Hillary a run for her money. All that's left for Churchill to do now is meet with Al Sharpton and kiss Suha Arafat.

    Churchill's claim that he is an Indian isn't an incidental boast, like John Kerry pretending to be Irish. It is central to his career, his writing, his political activism. Churchill has been the co-director of the American Indian Movement of Colorado, the vice chairperson of the American Indian "Anti-Defamation" Council, and an associate professor and coordinator of American Indian Studies at the University of Colorado.

    By Churchill's own account, a crucial factor in his political development was "being an American Indian referred to as 'chief' in a combat unit" in Vietnam, which made him sad. This is known to con men everywhere as a "two-fer."

    In addition to an absence of evidence about his Indian heritage, there is an absence of evidence that he was in combat in Vietnam. After the POW Network revealed that Churchill had never seen combat, he countered with this powerful argument: "They can say whatever the hell they want. That's confidential information, and I've never ordered its release from the Department of Defense. End of story." Maybe we should ask John Kerry to help Churchill fill out a form 180.

    In one of his books, "Struggle for the Land," Churchill advances the argument that one-third of America is the legal property of Indians. And if you believe Churchill is a real Indian, he also happens to be part owner of the Brooklyn Bridge.

    In his most famous oeuvre, the famed 9-11 essay calling the 9-11 World Trade Center victims "little Eichmanns," he said "Arab terrorists" – his quotes – had simply "responded to the massive and sustained American terror bombing of Iraq" by giving Americans "a tiny dose of their own medicine."

    Having blurted out "Iraq" in connection with 9-11 in a moment of pique, Churchill had to backpedal when the anti-war movement needed to argue that Iraq had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Arab terrorism. He later attached an "Addendum" to the essay saying that the 9-11 attack was not only payback for Iraq, but also for various other of this country's depredations especially against "real Indians" (of which he is not one).

    In light of the fact that Churchill's entire persona, political activism, curriculum vitae, writings and university positions are based on his claim that he's an Indian, it's rather churlish of him to complain when people ask if he really is one. But whenever he is questioned about his heritage, Churchill rails that inquiries into his ancestry are "absolutely indefensible."

    Churchill has gone from claiming he is one-eighth Indian "on a good day" to claiming he is "three-sixteenths Cherokee," to claiming he is one-sixty-fourth Cherokee through a Revolutionary War era ancestor named Joshua Tyner. (At least he's not posing as a phony Indian math professor.) A recent investigation by the Denver Post revealed that Tyner's father was indeed married to a Cherokee. But that was only after Joshua's mother – and Churchill's relative – was scalped by Indians.

    By now, all that's left of Churchill's claim to Indian ancestry is his assertion: "It is just something that was common knowledge in my family." (That, and his souvenir foam-rubber "tommyhawk" he bought at Turner Field in Atlanta.)

    Over the years, there were other subtle clues the university might have noticed.

    Churchill is not in the tribal registries kept since the 1800s by the federal government.

    No tribe will enroll him – a verification process Churchill dismisses as "poodle papers" for Indians.

    In 1990, Churchill was forced to stop selling his art as "Indian art" under federal legislation sponsored by then-representative – and actual Indian! – Ben Nighthorse Campbell, that required Indian artists to establish that they are accepted members of a federally recognized tribe. Churchill responded by denouncing the Indian artist who had exposed him. (Hey, does anybody need 200 velvet paintings of Elvis playing poker with Crazy Horse?)

    In the early '90s, he hoodwinked an impecunious Cherokee tribe into granting him an "associate membership" by telling them he "wrote some books and was a big-time author." A tribal spokeswoman explained: He "convinced us he could help our people." They never heard from him again – yet another treaty with the Indians broken by the white man. Soon thereafter, the tribe stopped offering "associate memberships."

    A decade ago, Churchill was written up in an article in News From Indian Country, titled, "Sovereignty and Its Spokesmen: The Making of an Indian." The article noted that Churchill had claimed membership in a scrolling series of Indian tribes, but over "the course of two years, NFIC hasn't been able to confirm a single living Indian relative, let alone one real relative that can vouch for his tribal descent claim."

    When real Indians complained to Colorado University in 1994 that a fake Indian was running their Indian Studies program, a spokeswoman for the CU president said the university needed "to determine if the position was designated for a Native American. And I can't answer that right now." Apparently it was answered in Churchill's favor since he's still teaching.

    If he's not an Indian, it's not clear what Churchill does have to offer a university. In his book, "A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, 1492 to the Present," Churchill denounces Jews for presuming to imagine the Holocaust was unique. In the chapter titled "Lie for Lie: Linkages between Holocaust Deniers and Proponents of the Uniqueness of the Jewish Experience in World War II," Churchill calls the Third Reich merely "a crystallization" of Christopher Columbus' ravages of his people (if he were an Indian).

    His research apparently consisted of watching the Disney movie "Pocahontas," which showed that the Indians meant the European settlers no harm. (That's if you don't count the frequent scalpings.)

    Even the credulous Nation magazine – always on red alert for tales of government oppression – dismissed Churchill's 1988 book "Agents of Repression" about Cointelpro-type operations against the American Indian Movement, saying the book "does not give much new information" and "even a reader who is inclined to believe their allegations will want more evidence than they provide." If The Nation won't buy your anti-U.S. government conspiracy theories, Kemosabe, it's probably time to pack up the old teepee and hit the trail of tears.

    In response to the repeated complaints from Indians that a phony Indian was running CU's Indian Studies program, Churchill imperiously responded: "Guess what that means, guys? I'm not taking anyone's job, there wouldn't be an Indian Studies program if I wasn't coordinating it ... They won't give you a job just because you have the paper." This white man of English and Swiss-German descent apparently believes there are no actual Indians deserving of his position at CU. (No wonder the Indians aren't crazy about him.)

    As long as we're all agreed that there are some people who don't deserve jobs at universities, why isn't Churchill one of them?

    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/anncoulter/ac20050211.shtml
     
  8. manu1959
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    manu1959 Left Coast Isolationist

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    funny thing that i am not allowed to teach this exact thing in public schools
     
  9. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    WHAM-O!

    Good one. Pretty much lays one right on the jaw of academia. I like it.
     
  10. CivilLiberty
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    CivilLiberty Active Member

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    If that is true, then he's guilty of fraud, and that's justification for termination right there.


    A
     

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