January 25, 2011
PROFESSOR ANN ALTHOUSE DELIVERS A SOUND THRASHING: “History tells us” something that history doesn’t tell us, say sociologists stumbling to protect Frances Fox Piven.
So vigorous debate about Piven’s ideas is really important, but it better be the right kind of debate by the right kind of people and most certainly not that terrible, terrible man Glenn Beck. She’s very lofty and serious, so, while she should be challenged, she must be challenged only by lofty and serious individuals, and of course, Glenn Beck is not one. . . .
Does lofty, serious, intellectual sociology involve looking at evidence and analyzing it rationally? Linking the Tucson massacre to hot political rhetoric was a rash mistake made by demagogues — you want to talk about demagogues?! — demagogues who were slavering over the prospect of a right-wing massacre that would prove politically useful. . .
So Piven should not have called for “something like” Greek-style riots, and it was good of Glenn Beck to point out that Piven crossed the line, right? I mean, we’re dedicating ourselves to serious, undistorted analysis here. That’s what you said you wanted, didn’t you?
Sociology does not enjoy an especially elevated reputation in the academy, and the American Sociological Association provides an object lesson in why that is. And these people can take anything except rational examination of their arguments.
UPDATE: And just to be sure that the focus stays where it belongs, lets remember what those Greek riots she was calling for were like:
At the same time, tens of thousands of protesters marched through Athens in the largest and most violent protests since the country’s budget crisis began last fall. Angry youths rampaged through the center of Athens, torching several businesses and vehicles and smashing shop windows. Protesters and police clashed in front of parliament and fought running street battles around the city.
Witnesses said hooded protesters smashed the front window of Marfin Bank in central Athens and hurled a Molotov cocktail inside. The three victims died from asphyxiation from smoke inhalation, the Athens coroner’s office said. Four others were seriously injured there, fire department officials said.
Just so we remember who’s actually advocating violence here. Shame on the American Sociological Association for trying, however ineptly, to obscure that point.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Prof. Jim Lindgren comments:
So let’s see if this makes sense:
1. Frances Fox Piven advocates left-wing violence by the unemployed against the government.
2. Glenn Beck criticizes her for this, calling such talk dangerous.
3. Then an unstable unemployed left-wing radical engages in violence against the government.
4. Glenn Beck then repeats his criticism of Piven.
5. Finally, the Am. Sociological Assn blames Glenn Beck for his criticism of Piven AND indirectly for the left-wing violence.
The logic of the Assn escapes me.