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Works and Days

How Did All That Happen?

December 28th, 2010 - 8:26 am

3. How did authoritarian and Islamist Palestinian groups become reinvented into traditional Western victimized minorities — analogous to women, gays, and minorities? Hamas, for example, is not known for free speech, gender equity, tolerance of homosexuality, or equality of the races (cf. the past West Bank newspaper cartoons of Sec. Condoleezza Rice). Visit any campus free speech area, and the PA or pro-Hamas literature is handed out right next to the Latino, black, gay, Native American, or feminist booths. Go to the Voice of Aztlan website, and the pro-Palestinian anti-Semitic rants appear cheek by jowl with Alta California chauvinism. How did such an intolerant illiberal movement piggy-back onto self-proclaimed progressive agendas? Multiculturalism? Anti-Semitism? Oil interests? Fear of terror? I suppose the transmogrification of a tiny outnumbered Israel of 1966 into a surrogate United States — its seven-million population now supposedly lording its “excessive” power over 400 million Arabs in the Middle East — explains a lot too.

4. How did professors convince us that their universities are progressive, anti-capitalist, and against the grain institutions? Private elite schools — a Yale, a Stanford, a Princeton, a Vassar — exist by reason of their endowments, gifts that in large part come from the very wealthy who excelled under the capitalist system. Part-time lecturers and temporary faculty usually teach classes for pennies on the university dollar. The difference between a Wal-Mart greeter and a Wal-Mart check-out clerk is far less than the pay differential for the same class taught by a part-timer versus a full professor.

Few institutions have created such an elite aristocratic hierarchy — tenure, vast pay discrepancies for classes, annual salary based on 3/5s of the year in the classroom, peer reviews in lieu of quantifiable data on performance, lack of oversight — as the reactionary university.

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