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When academic snobs attack

By Frank Salvato
web posted February 28, 2005

Some may say it's nothing to laugh about but I can't help but find humor when the snobs of the academic elite find themselves mired in paradoxical hypocrisy. One can almost smell the heat from their cerebral wheels, the publicly funded oil burning away, as they try to come up with an explanation of why they are between such a rock and a hard place. It reminds me of the old Bill Cosby bit about the student who asked his Catholic teacher the hypothetical question, "Father, if God can do anything, can He Himself make a rock so big that He can't move it?" All the priest could say was "Sit down, Don."

If, for the sake of analogy, our liberally slanted education community is a ship that ship is listing so hard to port all it can do is sail to the left. An image of a disabled vessel constantly drifting to port, doomed to an eternity of increasing insignificance comes to mind. Within one of these seven circles of Dantesque liberal hell is the paradox of Lawrence Summers and Ward Churchill.

Unless you have been too caught up in the non-reporting of the facts by the mainstream media, you know that liberal activists on our college campuses are in an uproar over two of their own; Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard University, and Ward Churchill, a professor from the University of Colorado. Both of these men – having made controversial statements – find themselves engaged in battles involving their First Amendment free speech rights. All the while the liberal academic community finds itself standing on both sides of the spectrum, essentially, in two places at the same time, screaming for protection for one while shrieking for the other's head. The interesting thing is that both Summers and Churchill did basically the same thing.

Harvard University President Lawrence Summers arrives for a faculty meeting at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts on February 22
Harvard University President Lawrence Summers arrives for a faculty meeting at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts on February 22

Summers is being criticized by faculty, staff, students and liberal zealots for daring to theorize that there are innate differences of "intrinsic aptitude" between men and women. He speculated that it was because of these differences there was a dearth of women employed in the natural sciences. He repeatedly peppered his comments with the idea that his words were meant "provoke" the academic community into thought and discussion on the matter.

Conversely, Ward Churchill is being defended by most in the academic community for statements he made likening the traders and brokers who worked in the ill-fated World Trade Center towers to "little Eichmanns." Of course, Churchill was referring to Adolf Eichmann, who orchestrated the "Final Solution," the genocide that delivered millions of Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and Catholics to the death camps of World War II occupied Europe. While his claims are grounded purely in opinion and conjecture, Churchill maintains his right to state his grossly seditious and cruel theories without apology and without consequence.

The paradox here is that while the snobs of the liberal elite trip all over themselves to defend Churchill's right to free speech – seditious as it is – they are climbing over each other to cast their votes of no confidence for Summers who admitted to theorizing the provocative in an effort to create dialogue. I thought the liberal left enjoyed dialogue.

To add a bit of irony to the mix, Churchill has made comments that literally come to Summers' defense:

Ward Churchill
Churchill

"It is our job to confront orthodoxy in a critical fashion, to raise uncomfortable questions, to insult people, if you will, to force a response to form a dialogue that furthers public understanding of issues," Churchill said before a speech at the University of Hawaii.

While I believe that there should be some semblance of self-imposed responsibility that goes with the rights our Founding Fathers penned for us, the sad reality is this: if we are to preserve these rights we have to preserve them even when some narcissistic moron pontificates the ridiculous, the absurd and/or the obscene. We cannot have the mob rule mentality of political correctness deciding what free speech is acceptable and what free speech is not. I will defend anyone's right to free speech but then I will expect them to be brave enough to take responsibility for their words, no matter what the consequences.

As for Summers and Churchill, they should both be terminated, not because of what they said, rather because of what they are.

Churchill is a fraud who attained his tenure at the University of Colorado claiming to be a Native American Indian which he is not. His ideology is so bent to the left that it is impossible for a student in his class to examine any opposing viewpoint without being considered in dissent. Summers, on the other hand, has taken a once balanced and prestigious university and allowed it to become a caldron of liberal bias, where ideological balance no longer exists. Both of these "educators" have failed in their jobs and should be terminated for poor job performance, not because of their controversial statements. But then, they don't fire teachers for not teaching these days, now do they.

So, I will sit back and enjoy the spectacle of the liberal snobbery contorting out of pure hypocrisy, one of their own hanging in the balance. While it should be a sobering thing to watch those who bastardize our Constitution for their own gain twisting in the wind, I can't help but find it humorous. Someone's chickens have come home to roost and I find that ironically amusing. Is that a bad thing?

Frank Salvato is a political media consultant and managing editor for TheRant.us. His pieces are regularly featured in Townhall.com. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor and numerous radio shows. His pieces have been recognized by the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention and are periodically featured in The Washington Times as well as other national and international publications. He can be contacted at oped@therant.us Copyright © 2005 Frank Salvato

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  • One way tolerance by Selwyn Duke (February 7, 2005)
    Selwyn Duke isn't all that impressed by the outrage on the far left that was provoked when Ward Churchill's appearance at a panel was cancelled because of an essay he wrote comparing some 9/11 victims to Nazis
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