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Indoctrination U: The Lefts War Against Academic Freedom Hardcover – Feb 6 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (Feb. 6 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594031908
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594031908
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 16.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
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  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,066,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9f514cb4) out of 5 stars 34 reviews
140 of 167 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f52e780) out of 5 stars Of Rights and Character Assassination Feb. 18 2007
By Bernard Chapin - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Should Conservadom, in the spirit of positive reinforcement, ever decide to create awards for its most valuable commentators, it is quite likely that David Horowitz will be summoned to the podium each and every year until the time of his death. Few other figures have so resolutely, and creatively, battled the left over the course of the past two decades.

The cure Horowitz offers to the propagandizing of the bottom10 percent of the professorate is called The Academic Bill of Rights. The context and story behind Indoctrination U is the author's attempt to gain publicity for the proposition. Having it enacted by state legislatures was never his primary goal. What he sincerely desired was for universities to preemptively adopt its essence into their own bylaws.

The Bill itself is reproduced in an appendix. Its language is well-crafted and rather innocuous, yet one would never know this from the reaction it received from its critics. They dubbed it "crazy, Orwellian, a witch hunt," and totalitarian in nature. Their disparagement is perhaps a ruse to better enable them to protect their own privilege as tenets like, "No faculty shall be hired or fired or denied promotion or tenure on the basis of their political or religious beliefs" is not the stuff of McCarthyism. Although, should it be rigidly interpreted, a clause like, "Faculty will not use their courses for the purpose of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination" would completely threaten the activists' way of life. Commandments like that are far more threatening than having their beloved Fairness Doctrine applied to network news broadcasts or NPR.

Those who actually discussed the initiative were generally dismissive. One proclaimed it a "solution in search of a problem." How much better off the country would be if such a view was correct. The liberal arts programs within our universities have become leftist bastions whose purpose is no longer to pursue truth. Unlike with the sciences, whose colleges are the finest in the world, numerous liberal arts departments have become completely politicized and are little more than ad hoc centers of agitprop.

Many of our tenured luminaries even question whether there is such a thing as truth or objectivity at all. Their skepticism makes for all kinds of classroom mischief as they idolatrously worship the troika of race, class, and gender. What "social justice" should mean is that the citizenry has the right to keep what they've earned, but, in the mouths of radicals, it is morphed into a description of government's attempt to pit one social group against another via an arbitrary, and authoritarian, redistribution of wealth scheme. Political correctness functions as the academy's Cerberus. It tyrannizes the marketplace of ideas and uses wonderland logic to turn its critics into peddlers of hate speech.
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f52eb88) out of 5 stars Tales from the front in the struggle for true academic freedom April 17 2007
By Craig Matteson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Since this book has fewer than 150 pages, its critics really have no reason not to read it. Yet, you will read all kinds attacks on the author as a way of dismissing his arguments without consideration. It is a kind of smear tactic that is odious whenever it is used. I urge you to not let yourself be misinformed by such tactics. Instead, read this book for yourself. I found it to be excellent and informative, but you might disagree. That is absolutely the point.

We can assess the facts and honestly come to different conclusions. The author's point, and the whole reason behind the Academic Bill of Rights, is that there is a small minority, but still a significant portion (the author estimates something like 10%) of our university classrooms that are being used to advocate specific political agendas rather than teach the students to think, analyze, and increase their abilities to make their own informed judgments.

However, it is vital to understand that Horowitz is NOT indicting all professors. Nor is he saying that there should be a purge of professors who hold left wing views. In fact, Horowitz has defended his debating opponent, Ward Churchill. He has stated that Churchill should NOT be fired for his views. That is a vital part of academic freedom. Nor is he saying that people should be hired because they hold conservative views. None of this is part of his argument. What he is calling for is that there be NO consideration of a person's politics when hiring for a teaching job. He is calling for the classroom to be an academic environment where scholarship is presented, not advocacy. He is calling for the end to what amounts to tenured, taxpayer funded political parties on campus in the guise of various "studies" groups.

Not that these fields can't be taught in a rigorous and academic way, but that they are too often not taught at all, but focus on advocating one point of view. If a student happens to take that course and not share the "viewpoint" of the class, they are often pressured to drop the course or are punished with poor grades (whatever the quality of their work) if their work doesn't line up with the professor's point of view.

One of the interesting notions that has met with great resistance, why I cannot fathom, is that the professor should actually be an actual scholar in the field they are teaching. Should someone with a master's degree in communications be not only teaching in a field of anthropology, but be chair of the department? Should it take a national scandal to have someone find out that his scholarship is full of "borrowed" material or evidence that was simply fabricated? And the defense given is that he believed in his conclusions and was trying to provide support for them?

This book contains the text of some of the speeches Horowitz has given on behalf of true academic freedom (for professors and for students) in advocating this Academic Bill of Rights (which is presented in Appendix I). There are some chilling encounters with professors and university presidents that are more than disturbing. People who should be scholars who write their conclusions beforehand, who engage in personal smears instead of academic debate, who twist and make up statements their debating opponent never said.

Horowitz does clear up one thing, a thing his opponents won't accept because even if it hadn't existed they would have found something or other to use as a smear. It is the subtitle of Horowitz's "The Professors". That was the title of his manuscript. But his publisher felt that the academics opposed to the book wouldn't read it anyway and they wanted to broaden its appeal to the general audience (it ended up selling about 35,000 copies), so the gave it a subtitle over Horowitz's expressed concerns. The subtitle is the way most people know the book, "the 101 most dangerous academics in America". Horowitz gives his reasons for feeling uncomfortable with those words and the way his opponents have misused it in attacking him and his message.

If you are interested in the teaching environment a portion of our nation's university classrooms, for whatever reason, please get a copy of this book and read it. Unless you are already committed to a point of view, despite all evidence, I think you will view things somewhat differently afterwards, whether you are coming at the issues from the left or the right.
48 of 56 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f52ec00) out of 5 stars The New McCarthyites April 3 2007
By Ralph Block - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In "Indoctrination U - The Left's War Against Academic Freedom" (2007), author and academic David Horowitz explores the pervasive influence within most major universities of radical-left professors who, all too often, do not teach but rather engage in a systematic program to impose their views upon their students. Horowitz and his organization's goal is to persuade all universities in America to uphold long-established principles of impartiality and excellence, and to honor academic freedom. He feels that a professor's private political views should be kept out of the classroom (as has been the case until recently), and that courses should be taught with a view towards providing all sides of academic issues so that students are encouraged to think for themselves.

Horowitz' central point is that "students have a right to expect professional (and not political) behavior from their professors in the classroom." To accomplish this objective, Horowitz and his organization have been urging the adoption of a new "Academic Bill of Rights."

Despite the non-radical nature of his proposal, which is very similar to a "Declaration of Principles of Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure" that has been in effect at American universities since 1915, Horowitz and his proposals have been met with vehement opposition and personal vilification by well-entrenched organizations and unions of college professors. Administrators and trustees, perhaps "too busy" with fund-raising and not wanting to make waves, have refused to get involved.

As a result, many individual courses, even entire college curricula, have been designed to further and propagate the views of left-leaning college professors - who, all too often (as Horowitz points out in example after example) regard America as a racist, imperialist country intent on "oppressing" "people of color." They have no respect for opposing points of view, are often not qualified to speak on the issues on which they expound, bring their political views into the classrooms, and castigate, in the most uncivil terms, anyone, whether student or hapless conservative faculty member, who disagrees with their viewpoint and outlook. Guest speakers invited to campuses are, in most cases, chosen for their friendly (read: radical) political persuasions; conservatives are not welcome - and, indeed, professors often encourage students to disrupt the speaking engagements of those few conservatives who are occasionally invited.

The book is both scary and a scathing indictment of what our universities have become - and now these same individuals are spreading their views among high school students. The reaction to Horowitz' criticisms is also troubling; he is attacked personally, his views and proposals are grossly misrepresented, and no tactic is ignored in the extreme left's efforts to discredit Horowitz and his proposals for less bias and more diversity in college education. He is a favorite villain on many extreme liberal blogs, and he is routinely excoriated as a "McCarthyite witch-hunter" who's views are not worthy of consideration.

Here is just one example of the kind of advocacy that's going on in our universities: From the official department website of the Women's Studies Department at University of California at Santa Cruz, on "employment opportunities" for those who major in Women's' Studies: "With a background in women's and minorities' histories and an understanding of racism, sexism, homophobia, classism and other forms of oppression, graduates have a good background for work with policy-making and lobbying organizations, research centers, trade and international associations, and unions. Graduates' knowledge about power relationships and injustice often leads them to choose careers in government and politics, because they are determined to use their skills to change the world..."

I was stunned by the examples Horowitz provided regarding the indoctrination and proselytizing that today poses as education in the "halls of higher learning," and the efforts expended by many professors to inculcate their views in their students. Of course America has its faults, just like any other country. However, many of these professors are entirely ashamed of our country, and believe that America is an evil imperialist, trying to exploit "peace-loving Muslims" (and Muslim terrorists are routinely excused as "freedom fighters"). The words "oppression" and "imperialistic" crop up in their speeches and writings repeatedly. The U of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, who infamously attacked the victims of 9/11, calling them "little Eichmanns," is but one of many.

This book - and the situation that exists in our universities, as related by Horowitz - delivers a devastating indictment of how our "institutions of higher learning" are being run today. I knew that some of this existed, but was shocked by its pervasiveness and the boldness of those who are pursuing their odd and one-sided agenda. It should be read by every American of every persuasion. Whether your bias is Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, please don't listen to the rantings of the bloggers and do NOT judge Mr. Horowitz until you have read this book.

R. Block

Westlake Village, CA
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f52e9a8) out of 5 stars Horowitz exposes the left-wing academic cabal Sept. 5 2007
By Jerry Saperstein - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Northwestern University is just down the road from me. I see evidence of the political tilt of the academy all around me. In the seemingly endless numbers of posters espousing an endless variety of left-wing causes, including protecting terrorists who murder innocent civilians. I see it in the daily university newspaper which is distributed in town. I see and hear in the academics I encounter in daily life.

Why parents pay to send their children to a political indoctrination machine which will ultimately destroy the United States is beyond my comprehension.

David Horowitz was once a leftist. He came to his senses and has been combatting left-wing ideology since. In 2002 he "drew up an Academic Bill Of Rights whose purpose was to promote intellectual diversity on college campuses and restore academic values to university classrooms."

Any reasonable person who follows the news knows of Ward Churchill and dozens of other college professors and even high school and middle school teachers who are blatantly anti-American and use their classrooms to influence their student's thinking if not force them to regurgitate left-wing political views.

In this book, Horowitz relies heavily on his personal experiences in campaigning for his proposal to illuminate how the left-wing suppresses any poltical thought that doesn't agree its notions.

Unwittingly, though, Horowitz demonstrated the dangers of left-wing academics. In 2006, Horowitz appeared on the Duke campus. There a small group of demonstrators led by a tenured left-wing academic named Diane Nelson disrupted his address, clearly violating faculty rules of conduct. Shortly thereafter the same Diane Nelson literally signed on as one of the infamous Group of 88. The Group of 88 are a collection of mostly tenured academics at Duke who simply ignored any concept of judicial innocence and condemned three Duke lacrosse players who had been accused of sexually assaulting a black exotic dancer. The Group of 88 made it clear that race and gender trumped judicial process. In their eyes, the accused were guilty until proven innocent, a complete reversal of American Constitutional precepts.

The Group of 88 for months maintained an offensive against anyone who disagreed with them.

Even after the North Carolina Attorney General took the highly unusual step of declaring the three accused completely innocent and that no crime of any kind had occurred and even after the prosecuting attorney was disbarred for witholding evidence, Diane Nelson and the rest of the Group of 88 maintain their left-wing position.

Therein is the danger of allowing political demgogues to hold America's children hostage to their poltiical views. (It should be remembered as well that one of the Group of 88 members flunked two lacrosse players in her class, forcing Duke to settle a lawsuit with one of them.)

Horowitz succeeds in making his point - and he was helped along by circumstances. The hegemeony of the left-wing in academia is a dangerous thing and something similar to Horowitz's Academic Bill Of Rights is required to bring independence back to American academia.

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f5340e4) out of 5 stars Addresses a serious problem May 30 2007
By Jill Malter - Published on
Format: Hardcover
There's plenty that I like in this book. But there are some things that I would have said differently.

I probably would have used a smaller percentage of the book for anecdotal information. Sure, there are some professors who are abusing their positions and using their classrooms to propagandize. And students in those classes who disagree with such professors may be intimidated, given that their grades are at stake. But anecdotes are not always the best way to present evidence.

To explain what I mean, imagine that you are in a debate about which side the United States fought on in World War Two. You claim that we fought against Japan, while your opponent says that we and Japan were allies against China in that war. Anyway, the evidence that we fought against Japan is overwhelming, and you say so. In addition, you use some anecdotes to confirm it. But to your annoyance, your opponent cites some anecdotes that purport to show the opposite! The discussion gets into details about the anecdotes, and the whole issue looks controversial. Well, that's one reason I am less than enamored of anecdotal evidence.

Continuing my example, your opponent may then attack you as an untrustworthy person. Suddenly, the topic has changed. The issue is no longer World War Two. It's you! That is when you realize that when one has no case, the rules appear to change. You, with an overwhelming case, have truth and logic on your side, so you need to be careful to respect truth and logic. Otherwise, you will cede your advantage in a reasoned discussion. However, your opponent is under no such restrictions!

All this is a little like the theme of this fine book. Yes, there are some anecdotes. And there are discussions about unwarranted ad hominem attacks that are often used by indoctrinators to avoid having to discuss the truth. And we see that although free speech is protected, there are consequences for it. Horowitz says that "a pastor who goes into church on Sunday to preach a sermon that God does not exist will be looking for work on Monday, free speech rights or no." I agree. A person who makes elementary misstatements about mathematics may be entitled to do so, by their rights of free speech. But that in no way says that there will be no penalties. A student who does this may get a bad grade on a math exam. A professor who does so may be subject to disciplinary measures. The issue here is not academic freedom but simply academic standards. And I think these are occasionally at stake when a few professors simply substitute political propaganda for what is supposed to be scholarly work.

I don't need to debate a few anecdotes to see that there is a problem in some universities. In a field I know something about, namely the Arab war against Israel, I can see what material some professors assign in an assortment of universities. And I can see what is in the college bookstores on this topic. There's a manifest problem in quite a few of these universities.

The main point of Horowitz's book is that we should support an academic bill of rights, which he shows us in Appendix 1 of the book. These rights include ensuring "intellectual independence of professors, researchers and students." And they include demanding that faculty hiring be based on competence and knowledge of a field. In many areas, I think we already have this. But in some fields, I think competence may be of secondary value compared to "political correctness," and that is totally contrary to what ought to be the charter of our academic institutions.

While Horowitz wants to avoid political indoctrination by either liberals or conservatives, he makes it clear that the liberals look to him like the bigger problem at the moment. After all, in this book he reports that the number of "self-described `liberals'" in university positions outnumber the "self-described `conservatives'" by more than seven to one. Well, that may be a good point. But I think that the solution would be to recruit plenty of academics who might support such academic standards, and that means trying to appeal to a group of people, the majority of whom call themselves liberals.

I'm strongly against the indoctrination that Horowitz complains about. However, I think that it is not easy to make rules about it. Indoctrinators can often attempt to claim that you, not they, are in violation of your own rules. I also feel that "balance" is a tricky concept. In many classes, it is important to illustrate concepts by showing dissenting opinions. And professors should use their skills to determine what sorts of material to use in these situations. But at other times, the dissenting "opinions" are simply unreasonable, insincere, or gross propaganda. I'm not so sure what benefits there are, educationally speaking, to systematically assigning some of that subject matter in the name of "balance." To Horowitz's credit, that's not what he has in mind either.

I think this book raises some important issues, and I recommend it.