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Exiled: This Is What Social Justice Looks Like

A new book edited by Mary Grabar, the academician who blogs as "the Dissident Prof," targets the demonization of university conservatives.

by
Janice Fiamengo

Bio

April 15, 2013 - 12:24 am
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Forms of academic heresy are manifold. As humorously detailed in the chapter of Exiled titled, “The Most Sacred Part of Them: Professors Behaving Badly,” M.D. Allen entered the outer darkness quite unintentionally. A new professor of literature eager to find his professional feet, he thought he was affirming his progressive credentials when he presented a paper on two English women travel writers at an annual literary conference; because he failed, however, to adopt the mandatory tone and approach to the subject, he was deemed not only inadequate but “offensive” and morally obtuse. From that point on, as he discovered, his attempts to dissent civilly from the tendentious drift of his discipline were met with the kind of open hostility and contempt reserved for the irredeemably odious. Allen ends by reflecting astutely on the forms of (frustrated) religious zeal that leftist persecution embodies. Martin Slann, in “Losing Friends and Dining Alone,” knew full well what he was getting into when he began to disagree publicly with “the doctrine of moral parity” that leftists have instituted for discussion of Islam amongst political scientists. His conference presentations on the moral bankruptcy of the United Nations and the incompatibility between Islam and political democracy produced outraged reaction from audience members and desertion by once-friendly colleagues. The realization that some academics are bigots has not, he avers, bothered him as much as the knowledge that “these same people are teaching hundreds of students each year to embrace a grotesque combination of Islam, Marxism, and contempt for democratic values.” Slann finds compensatory satisfaction in updating a textbook of his own that identifies the totalitarian elements of Islam.

Paul Kengor, in “Anti-Anti-Communism and the Academy,” takes a less personal approach to his experience in political studies, turning the lens on anti-communist scholars Richard Pipes and Vladimir Brovkin, who encountered the determined disbelief of other researchers. Linking individual marginalization to widescale pedagogical bias, he demonstrates how liberal disdain for anti-communism — even amongst those who are not Marxist radicals themselves but nonetheless harbor a loathing for conservatives — has led to a whitewashing of Communist atrocities and socio-economic failure. The effects are, he points out, catastrophic for Americans, who as a result of biased teaching are “not only ignorant of communism but prone to support far-left economic policies or to elect people who have been mentored by communists, have links to communists, or subscribe to forms of socialism.” His analysis of the glaring omissions and inaccuracies in textbooks’ accounts of the Cold War, through which generations of young people have been taught to misunderstand the most decisive ideological battle of the twentieth century, makes for sobering reading.

The last three essays are by scholars who completed PhDs but did not find tenured positions in their disciplines; they write with varying degrees of equanimity or chagrin about the realizations and accommodations they reached. Scott Herring, in “Stalinism Lite,” recognized early on that he would never be able to toe the multiculturalist party line with students in his English classes. He ultimately gave up the liberal pretense, grateful to be able to teach writing to advanced science students in a University Writing Program. Brian Birdnow, in “‘C’ for Conservatism, the New Scarlet Letter,” recounts how all his worst fears about completing a doctorate in a liberal-dominated History discipline were confirmed by his professional struggles. His book manuscript on the Communist Party of Missouri was repeatedly refused publication by biased university presses, and he had the unpleasant experience of witnessing the takeover of his discipline by social historians, who edged him out of the job market and turned him into a “non-person.” In “The Creed of Political Correctness,” Jack Kerwick shows how he came to see that his cherished idea of the university as a forum for the free exchange of ideas was “a fiction of the first order,” in a discipline (Philosophy) obsessed with pious utterances about social power, and in which intellectual curiosity and civil debate are almost non-existent. The sense of loss — not only of career opportunities but of an ideal — is palpable in all three of these cogent and absorbing analyses.

Despite Herring’s claim that “reality” will ultimately trump “ideology,” there are few rays of light here. Far from dwindling in significance and power, leftists seem firmly in possession of the ivory tower. They have been remarkably successful in transforming once-substantial academic subjects into programs of indoctrination: students learn a turgid theoretical language enforcing a simplistic and misleading worldview in which a band of heroic victims — the transgendered, the racialized, the othered — struggle against their white male oppressors. Everything that has gone before in western culture, including its democratic institutions, civilized codes of conduct, and traditions of difficult freedom, are dismissed as remnants of a fascist past while a moratorium is strictly enforced on criticism of Islam or communism. Professors who are openly unorthodox in their teaching and research are rarely hired, and the few tenured heretics able to speak out are for the most part acutely aware of their isolation. Under such circumstances, there is small hope for immediate change: anger-fuelled individual resistance, resigned irony, or humorous refusal to conform — and the will to write about them — are perhaps the best responses we can hope for, and all are robustly on display in this marvelous collection.

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Janice Fiamengo is a professor of English at the University of Ottawa, and author of The Woman’s Page: Journalism and Rhetoric in Early Canada (2008).

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Top Rated Comments   
The private schools can hire who they like and teach what they like, but we don't have to hire their product and most humanities graduates go on to work in either education or government. If they ever did, the Ivies certainly no longer produce the best and brightest; they produce indoctrinated hive members with good connections to other hive members and a knowledge of the spells and incantations of the hive. Any Republican executive who hired a graduate of one of the known liberal schools into any position of influence or power is out of his/her mind unless s/he has conclusive personal knowledge of the person's pedigree and bona fides. The worst example is Ivy League lawyers serving as AGs to Republican executives. Sorry, but I can't bring myself to trust a Dershowitz clone to guide me on the legal issues of my policies. If it becomes apparent that being a member of the Ivy hive will only get you a job in the failing Blue states and cities and that fancy salary you expect will be eaten by taxes, people will make more informed choices.

Then there are the state schools. We Republicans/conservatives control 30 of the 50 governorships and in 25 of the 50 we control both the governorship and the legislature. Why do we have liberals running our state university system? If we paid half as much attention to who sits on Boards of Regents (or whatever name is used for the governing body of the university) and state boards of education as we do to who wins city council races, the state schools wouldn't be the leftist vipers nests that they are today even in the Red states.

In those states where the governor doesn't have appointment authority or the legislature confirmation authority, the legislature still must appropriate a significant portion of the university's budget. I was a bureaucrat long enough to know that when you have a 'crat by the budget, his heart and mind will follow. You'll get the usual howls about academic freedom and about how conservatives/Republicans are anti-intellectual but it won't last any longer than any other root canal and the people who voted for you won't care; they don't like lefty professors either. Doing the carpet dance in the offices of the governor and some finance committee chairs would do wonders for the ideological sensibilities of some university heads.

My state is a pathetic example. Republicans have controlled at least one and usually both bodies of the Legislature since the early '80s, we've had a Republican governor now for over a decade, and our state university is a viper's nest of lefties and provides a sinecure for practically every failed Democrat candidate and elected or appointed official of the last couple of decades. For Chrissakes, the head of the Juneau campus is the former head of the Democrat Party and the former Democrat commissioner of health and so-called services! People like that should be unemployable in any job that relies on public funds when Republicans are in power. Our university's Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) is the primary "think tank" and analytical body on public policy issues in the State. I've lost track of who's running it now but until recently the head of it even though we'd had a Republican governor since '02 was the former Democrat Lt. Governor under Knowles and the failed Democrat nominee for Governor in '02. We have met the enemy and he is us!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I was made aware that I would never complete my PhD as long as I remained true to my conservative beliefs.

I ignored these warnings, thinking I could fight my way through, but it took its toll on my health and reputation. Day after day, paper after paper, fighting for my beliefs against insurmountable odds was too much. PhD students are in many ways professorial apprentices, so unless they have a professor friendly to their views, no PhD student can pass without conforming to the norm. It was for these reasons that I eventually resigned. Looking at the job market for history professors, it looks like I saved myself a lot of trouble (and money).

This is a subject that I am very passionate about, though I seriously doubt it will ever change. Most academic conservatives I know no longer work in the universities, seeking work in slightly more-tolerant military colleges.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Looks like a good book. Honestly, if the average person knew what was going on in the humanities they would have a bonfire with these clowns and their books. They are far more cruel and narrow minded than the business people they demonise aren't they?

Was ruminating today that the very first creators were probably men (yes they were men) who wanted power in the tribe but had less athletic talents. They were no less violent and no more kind than the best of the hunters and possessed the same amount of desire to control. So they developed ways in which they could achieve power, through creative thought. It has taken until now, however, for them to fully gain control. Socialism and its many idiot offspring is a great tool, a tool academics are using to seize the estate.

These people have won the academy by convincing kids that they are all artists and hence special, one of a kind, lets break the mould. It is an easy product to sell.

We dont oppose we transgress and wow, what word, how naughty and sexy. I transgress. I am trangressive, monstrously trangressive. Mum, Dad I transgress. I am dark, mysterious, powerful, those jerks that went into business, they dont transgress, what losers! I'm gonna buy a ten buck t-shirt with Che's pic (wish he had been less handsome but again shows how shallow they are) and just let the world know that I trangress.

The right's only product is money, and you have to work real hard to get enough of that to feel as empowered as you doing by simply wearing a bullsh..t t-shirt, smoking a few cones of weed and spouting a couple of big cool words like egalitariansim, phallocentrcism, homo-eroticism and of course the T word. They key to this educational battle is to delude the students into believing they are special then retake control of the academy.



1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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So Disparate Impact doesnt apply to Conservatives....only benign differences with regards to favored groups. LOL!

Say it isnt so!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Kindle is coming! Dissident Prof is a one-woman operation and thanks further prodding by your comments it is being put on Kindle (hopefully barring technical glitches) as I type. Please subscribe at www.dissidentprof.com. It's where I make such announcements.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The Left is about OPM, Other People's Money."

Shut down ALL the federal governments subsidies to the states and the communities in the states, and they'd be in bankruptcy by sundown and unemployment in ALL those states and their communities would rise to a point collapsing the nation. Every state, every community and every citizen is on the federal government welfare rolls but of course -- all deny it! Especially, those who consider themselves so well informed and educated.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You know, jacka**, this just illustrates how truly ignorant you are. Where do you think federal money comes from? Could it be from the states? Granted there is great disparity between the states, but the federal government doesn't generate the wealth that supports those welfare rolls and other entitilements; it created the entitlement and then confiscated the wealth from the states to pay for them. I'll pretty much guarantee you that no federal program the enactment of which postdates 1963 would survive a referendum of the people if they were informed that it would have to be paid for at the state level. The South in particular was motivated to accept civil rights for blacks and changes in its labor and social structures solely by its knowledge that it would NOT be paying for it. Cynical Southern politician that he was, LBJ knew that the foremost consideration of any policy in The South was whether blacks would pay for it or whether whites would be taxed for a benefit to blacks. He got Southern support for The Great Society because it meant that the states that were so interested in civil rights for blacks would have to pay to support those blacks as they moved from rural agricultural peonage to town and city dwellers on welfare. Now that was something even Northern manufacturers of agricultural equipment could get behind and the hoe for chopping cotton, the burlap sack for picking cotton, and the mule-drawn tobacco sledge disappeared inside a decade.

There is no doubt that Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and several other states would go bankrupt if they had to support the federal programs in their states - but they wouldn't have those programs left to their own devices. There is no doubt that several Western states would go bankrupt, mine among them, if they had to support federal Indian programs in their states - but they wouldn't have those programs if left to their own devices.

About the only federal entitlement that still enjoys broad support is Social Security/Medicare and even those who support it know it can't be sustained. Even people who tried very hard to run retirement funds with actual money in the fund and actual investments haven't been able to keep up with inflation and spiraling healthcare costs to provide a retirement with old-age medical care to employees who were actually paying in actuarily sound contributions themselves in addition to the employer contributions. You sure as Hell can't do it with a system that just throws all the money into the general fund available for appropriation, has no investiments, and has huge numbers of participants that make an inadequate or no contribution.

In order to produce a mobile industrial workforce, FDR had to make it possible for children to leave the farm, which meant somebody had to take care of the parents in their old age if the kids were to go to town and work; hence, Social Security. Fast forward thirty years and now we have the kids working in town or across the Country but as the parents get old and require more and more medical care or nursing home care, the kids can't work if they have to take care of them and can't buy any consumer goods if they have to spend all their earnings on keeping granny in the home, hopefully grandpa kindly died taking out the trash or shovelling snow; hence, Medicare.

I know this is pearls before swine and before it becomes a book, in sum, "progressives" as that word had meaning a century ago and before it became a synonym for communist, decided that the Nation needed to be "bettered." Communists, and there really were some in the FDR Administrations, knew a good thing when they saw it and glommed on to the progressive social welfare programs because they saw the benefits to the revolution of government dependency. Likewise, most of LBJ's agenda was a combination of old-fashioned Democrat working class pandering, a dash of traditional American progressivism, and a pinch of communism, because the communists knew they'd benefit ultimately from the increased dependency. It didn't hurt the communists that siding with the blacks and backing some of them both hurt the US on the World stage and played well in the Third World.

So, if we continued to operate this perverse system without the US confiscating and redistributing money among the states for the US' own purposes, yes, you're right; many of the states would be bankrupt if not by sundown, then not long after. But the essential factual predicate of that bankruptcy is the states being compelled to support programs that are in the US' interest but not necessarily in the states' interest. At the essence, it just depends on how you define the relationship of the states to the US. I'm confident my definition is different from yours.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Okay "Jacka** -- lets see just how smart you really are. You once said that you were raised and educated in rural Georgia -- right?

http://www.insidepolitics.org/heard/heard8999.html

http://visualizingeconomics.com/blog/2010/02/17/federal-taxes-paidreceived-for-each-state/ (second chart)

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/04/05/budget-fight-which-states-take-more-from-dc-than-they-give-back.html (From census Bureau data)

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2004/09/red_states_feed.html (Data from Tax Foundation)

You see Art, if states were able to sustain themselves and their populations responsibly, we wouldn't have any of the government programs you claim you despise. Speaking of, take a good look at how AK and other Red States are at the federal feed trough! You've got so much money up there why are you at the feed trough and not taking care of your own?

Only a fool would try to proclaim the government doesn't generate and contribute to the national economy. Not only is the federal government a huge consumer of goods and services that helps sustain business and employment, it also subsidized education, R&D of every kind within multi agencies and it subsidies businesses of ever kind and size to sustain economic growth and employment for which the entire nation benefits from. You obviously haven't a clue what would happen to the U.S. if the federal government closed shop tomorrow shutting off states and business subsidies and no long a major consumer of goods and services --especially in an economic turndown. Were we the global economic powerhouse before the federal government partnered with the private sector after WWII? In one sense we were, because there was no real competitive global economy other than the U.S. and Europe, but thats not the case today. Wake up!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"...bankruptcy by sundown and unemployment..."

"Especially, those who consider themselves so well informed and educated." ???? Z?

Well Z One, if you ever need proof as to how much the Government is entrenched in people's lives, just re-read your post.

Moo!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
@ Marc Malone down at the very bottom.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yet another intellectual approach of perfected complaining and blaming, void of any rational and objective attempt to problem solving.

If some professor is feeling ridicule and discrimination because of their religious or political ideologies then why do they stay at such institutions? There are any number of institutions to go teacxh at where they will beetter fit in. Same goes for parents of college bound kids. Liberty University, Oral Roberts University and a host of other religious sponsored colleges and universities across the land. Amazing how some reject the constitutional principles of diversity and can't seem to find equitable ways to co-exist with such diversity. Says a lot about those kinds of people!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You've become a tiresome lefty punk.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Always the mantra of professional complaniners and blamers!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
BECOME a tiresome lefty punk?!?! Always has been . . .
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just to example you as the classic ignorant, I've never voted a democrat ticket in my adult lifetime, having first voted in 1954. However, I do understand how unwelcome independent thinkers are, in a domain of hand-fed minions led by political activists and their operatives bent to perpetuate hate and divide the nation for self serving causes. Thats hardly traditionally American! Americans fix things and take care of important business when they come together in unity. If you can't figure out how to live in a diverse society with endless options available, maybe you should consider another country where you would obviously be much more happy as a professional complainer and blamer.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Either you're simply a troll and your online identity is a contrivance or you don't know what you are. You have to reply to almost everything with some "yeah, but ..." in which you imply and sometimes say outright that the person to whom you're replying simply isn't smart enough to see the subtleties of the issue(s) with the sophistication that you bring to it. You spend more time trashing conservatives than anything else, so maybe that is just the mask slipping on the lefty troll within, and maybe its just that you're just a sick whacko typing one-handed down in mommy's basement. I don't really care except that you've become tiresome and contribute nothing of value to any discussion here and I seriously doubt you've ever contributed anything of value anywhere or to anything.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yep Art, for the religious, political and social blind, reality is pretty hard to see and most often not appreciated when informed.

But again, if the 'conservaties' of today showed any inclination to be 'legitimate' problems solvers rather than just complainers and blamers spewing hand-fed rhetoric, they might well garner more respect.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Seriously you missed the point? Diversity is not the current goal of the left. Intolerance for diversity is the complaint. It is not healthy for our kids to get a predominately Statist philosophy promoted like a militant religion with hoards of dogma. The mocking by a snotty collective is killing creativity, individual achievement and ideas. We need fresh ideas and some healthy diversity, Private or Public. That is my opinion for public good not an attempt to have legislation.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Diversity is not the current goal of the left." What is your legitimate support for that claim? If you've been around PJM and other such 'conservative' sights you will have seen a common trend in the commenting that is everybit anti divisersity. In fact, anti diversity in a most vile way of presentation!

"We need fresh ideas and some healthy diversity..."

I couldn't agree more! The problem is that the partisan politicals and their operatives have no fresh ideas -- none! All they do is reguritate old theories for which there is tons of historical evidence of their unsustainable successes and ultimate failures. Somewhere within those old theories there may be a combination of applications that minimize failure triggers or there may not be, but nobody is spending time discussing and evaluating potential solutions in the world of relaity. There must be a good reason why we import so much brain power for our hard sciences. American intellectual have reduced themselves down to only political partisan complaining and blaming and a bunch of intellectual has beens.

Look at the econoical charts of the 30s in comparison to where we are now and they raised the nation following those disasterous times into the worlds greatest ecomnomic power -- though they were a different generational breed from today. They were united and fought the fight -- and won. Today we have self serving special interest politicians and their operatives perpetuating hate and division among the people -- that guarantees failure!

But thanks for a civil reply -- seriously!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is a system which, in an effort to create an army in which individuals are just relegated to being part of the idealogical machinery, the truly creative must be cast out because they can never be subjugated and their existence casts the academic soldiers in a bad light.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What an enjoyable column. I've read Mary Grabar's columns for years and I'm so glad she's publishing this compilation. I feel like I've been in the center of this issue sinceI re-entered higher education in the '90's after working in commercial industry for 20 years. Interestingly, I know Professor Allen, and I'm an avid reader of Clare Spark's blog, which I've found to be full of intellectual insight and challenge. To question how one might be an opponent of leftism but not fall in lockstep with contemporary conservative thought seems to me to display a troubling intellectual rigidity, which is quite different from intellectual rigor. Of course I have my own horror stories as a grad student and now tenured prof in the fine arts. I remember a grad seminar (my only non-A)in the school of ed in which I was instructed that my research paper was supposed to present a variety of equally undecideable propositions as a conclusion. (I did a BS in Philosophy before going to grad school in the fine art;, I was used to linearity in argumentation. Not to be found in the ed school, apparently). And I'm still a bit "under the radar" as I have a dependent family and while I have earned tenure, my very small "department" could easily be "eliminated." In my case, even tenure is no protection. And for those college grads in the sciences who are skeptical about all this, it is mostly found in the humanities and social sciences. It is on full display in English departments, and Sociology has long been co-opted. But I agree also with Clare Spark in that pendulums swing. Liberal/progressives have not always been in control of the academy, but they have been in control for some time now. And I am convinced that conservatives need to re-take the high ground because the contemporary academy is what filters into the culture 20 years later.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, there needs to be a well funded and orchestrated drive to retake the institutions. Deliberate. Entryism, the whole 9 yards.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You are so right. Indeed, I had others like you with stories who could not contribute to the volume. Thanks for your support.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not available for Kindle? Come on guys get with it. I would love to read this book on my Kindle.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is coming! Please check back at www.dissidentprof.com. Sign up for my newsletter. I will announce it, and thanks for your interest.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In the early 80's I took an upper division English Lit class, historically an excellent writer (and it came easily) I assumed I would do fine. Then when my first few assignments came back I was getting C's or lower. I couldn't even understand the commentary.

I consulted with my English Major roommate and he said that the problem with my papers (really short compilations) was that they didn't reflect the professors views! I was floored! It wasn't my style, my prose, my phrasing or most importantly my argument or logic. It was simply that I was supposed to parrot the professor!

I dropped the class and was honestly sickened by the experience. It not only made the class boring but was soul stealing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The price you pay for clear minded independent thought!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"liberals are, according to the common wisdom, more intellectually curious and creative than conservatives, and therefore naturally drawn to the academic life, just as conservatives — rule-bound and money-obsessed — are naturally drawn to business, police work, or engineering."

Actually, of course, there is far more scope for creativity in business and engineering than in most of the "nonprofit" bureaucracies to which leftists are typically drawn.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Look at Thomas Sowell's research, those with LOWER scores and grades flow into those soft professions.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Those lower scores do not necessarily reflect lack of capability, btw, but rather, a lack of rigor. Those who are driven by emotion, rather than reason, do not do rigor very well. These same types focus on intentions, rather than results.

"He means well.", means nothing to us other sort. We prefer, "Stupid is as stupid does."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What an apt description of a typical MSW program.

"students learn a turgid theoretical language enforcing a simplistic and misleading worldview in which a band of heroic victims — the transgendered, the racialized, the othered — struggle against their white male oppressors."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I was pummeled in graduate school in history not for being a conservative, but for challenging multiculturalism as a covertly racist ideology. But the academic censorship was seeded long before the New Left marched through the universities: see http://clarespark.com/2009/08/29/managing-the-little-man-hitler-style-at-harvard/. This is about allies of the New Deal who appropriated Nazi methods of mind-management. Top down management started as long ago as 1919 as conservative reformers pushed the organic society. This tactic should not be ignored, but it is rarely if ever confronted.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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