Sunday, July 22, 2007

Academic Radicals

I got a good kick out of Cinnamon Stillwell's commentary over at American Thinker yesterday. Stillwell exposes the intellectual poverty of America's Middle East studies programs at U.S. colleges and universities.

Stillwell notes that after 9/11 the country could have benefited from the expertise of this group of scholars. On the contrary, the Middle East studies departments have been seething grounds for venting the pent-up anti-Americanism that was released with America's response to Islamic jihad's declaration of war on the country and our people.

Stillwell mentions the activities of Daniel Pipes and his organization
Campus Watch. The organization has become a leading academic group countering the disinformation and McCarthyism of hard-line Middle East scholars, America-bashers, and Israel-haters. Stillwell points out that the current agenda for Campus Watch is to focus on radical professors on the West Coast, where some of the largest Middle East studies programs are located.

Here are some examples of the kind of statements Campus Watch is monitoring:

"As far as I can tell, American empire is safe and secure, despite my best efforts to topple it (although Musab al-Zarqawi seems to be doing a good job in Iraq)." -- UC Irvine history and Islamic studies professor Mark LeVine

"Israel is an 'apartheid state' and a 'colonial state,' but Hamas and Hezbollah are 'liberation movements.'" --
Diablo Valley College Middle East studies instructor Imam Amer Araim
Stillwell adds this analysis:

Unfortunately, such sentiments are par for the course at California colleges and universities where a culture of political correctness has allowed apologists for radical Islam to dominate Middle East studies.

Instead of offering college students the historical basis and intellectual tools to help them better understand the realities of a changing world, far too many Middle East studies professors engage in indoctrination. The classroom has become merely a tool for pushing a political agenda.

At the same time, students that dare to buck the prevailing orthodoxy often find themselves the victims of intimidation and suppression at the hands of their own professors and administration. Professors that diverge from the party line can also face ostracism and, at times, discrimination.
Stillwell's remarks ring amazingly accurate with my experiences as a college professor.

There's a radical contingent of faculty members and students on my campus. Since 2003 -- in college forums and townhall meetings -- I've spoken out in favor of the Bush administration and the Iraq war. Such advocacy generates little gratitude among the hard-left forces at my school. In fact, the reactions against me
have hardened my resistance to the left's irrationalism, and have opened my eyes to the multifaceted nature of contemporary anti-Americanism, at home and abroad.

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