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Indoctrination U: The Lefts War Against Academic Freedom [Hardcover]

David Horowitz

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Book Description

Feb. 6 2007
In dramatic commentary, Indoctrination U. unveils the intellectual corruption of American universities by faculty activists who have turned America's classrooms into indoctrination centers for their political causes. It describes how academic radicals with little regard for professional standards or the pluralistic foundations of American society have created an ideological curriculum that it is as odds with the traditional purposes of a democratic education.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (Feb. 6 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594031908
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594031908
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 1.7 x 23.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #833,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  35 reviews
138 of 165 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of Rights and Character Assassination Feb. 18 2007
By Bernard Chapin - Published on
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.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales from the front in the struggle for true academic freedom April 17 2007
By Craig Matteson - Published on
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.
46 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 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
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary stuff Nov. 28 2007
By Rob Rindler - Published on
Ward Churchill should have been a warning. He is not the only culprit in the demonizing of America. After finishing this book I Googled consevative colleges. Got a list of 10 and am going to begin my homework this morning. College has become very expensive Liberal gibberish with nobody in charge of the asylum. Thanx David.
76 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A corrective to the overwhelming leftist hegemony of the modern university... Feb. 27 2007
By Katy Lake - Published on
As someone who spent a good chunk of my academic life fighting the leftist obsession with stamping out any view that challenged the dominant leftist mindset, Horowitz has been an academic godsend.

It's almost impossible to imagine that the academy, of all places, does not welcome diversity of opinion if that opinion doesn't toe the left-of-center line. Once upon a time, you might be able to argue against it and not have to pay a grade penalty. That simply doesn't exist anymore.

There aren't enough centrists and conservatives in universities where you actually have an alternative. The point isn't to AGREE; the point is to encourage open debate and scrutiny.

All well and good, but as Horowitz says, there's only one train of thought running through the American academy, and it's the Totalitarian Express. If you aren't a leftist, if you don't agree with leftism, if you dissent from the leftist line, you will, sooner rather than later, pay an academic penalty for it.

That's why so much of this book focuses on an Academic Bill of Rights. It's a bullwark against a single student being steamrolled by the leftwing juggernaut that rules and runs modern academia. I can see it being of use to open debate, rather than stifle it, and the dissenting student, with it.

I just thank God that the left didn't have its act together as it does now when I went to school (back in antediluvian 1990). Yeah, the left ran the joint, but there was still a chance to have a healthy debate. From what I see now, my college years apparently really ARE the "good old days"!

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