Beware Strange Right Wingers Bearing Trojan Horse Gifts; The Student Bill of Rights
By Rob Kall
David Horowitz has proposed an "Academic Bill of Rights." It's really an aggressive attempt at censorship of university and college instructors, particularly tenured ones.
Just as the clear skies initiative is bad for the environment, this deceptively labeled proposal is another attack on America the free, democratic and beautiful by a traitor who would be happy to sell out our nation's rights and freedoms for the sake of promoting the corporatist, fundamentalist policies he has sold his soul for.
This right wing "project " would turn back the clock of freedom to a time when only lords and Bishops could determine what was taught.
Back then, when people tried to publish the bible in English, so the common man could read it, the Church and the royalty conspired to prevent the books from being printed and when they were finally printed, made it a capital offense to own own --people died because they owned a readable, English language bible.
There 's no doubt that all points of view should be allowed in the university environment. Conservatives should not be afraid to voice their opinions. But they should also, if they are taking a position, be able to articulate rational, supported support for their statements. If they 've been getting their "facts " from Fox News or right wing talk radio, then there 's a good chance they 'll be sounding like stupid idiots in an invironment where intelligent, fact supported dialogue is expected.
Horowitz proposal could be used to force instructors to, for the sake of "balance " include extreme right wing points of view, creationist science and right wing textbooks. On the surface, this Student Bill of Rights, may seem innocuous, but it is dangerous. The right wing has hundreds of millions of dollars of resources annually that could and would be used to attack professors accused of violating these "balance " rules. We know full well that the right wing is far more aggressive and nasty in their use of litigation and accusations. This "bill of rights " would be used as a bludgeon to attack and silence academics, and probably as an excuse to revoke tenure.
Consider this student bill of Rights to be a Trojan horse that will be used to first stultify free discussion of ideas at the universities. Along with the decrease in funding that has already begun, it is just another attack on education. An educated populace is far less likely to tolerate these assaults on our freedoms. The voucher system is another thinly veiled attempt to shut down public schools.
Already, the American right wing 's hate, racism and loud loathing of muslims has caused a precipitous drop in attendance at universities by foreign nationals. This has long been an important source of income for the universities. The student bill of rights, along with the cutting of public funding and funding are part of a long-term plan by the far right to starve the universities and literally take the US from being the guiding light of freedom and democracy to being the first major democracy to fall back into the dark ages.
I wanted to round off this op-ed with a quotation from Sinclair Lewis 's 1937 novel, It Can 't Happen Here. In this dark portrayal of what could happen in the US if the same trend that was happening in 1930s Nazi Germany crossed the ocean, all the universities are taken over by right wing thugs, and all real academics are thrown out. I 'd written the previous comment about the dark ages before finding this prescient quote.
"We can go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin! It would just take a few thousand big shells and gas bombs to wipe out all the eager young men, and all the libraries and historical archives and patent offices, all the laboratories and art galleries, all the castles and Periclean temples and Gothic cathedrals, all the cooperative stores and motor factories --every storehouse of learning ... "
Rob Kall email@example.com is editor of www.OpEdNews.com Read over 150 of his articles at Rob Kall's article archive Rob lives in Bucks County PA, which, went for John Kerry in the 2004 election. He also organizes the Futurehealth Meetings ( www.brainmeeting.com )