I’m a big fan of David Horowitz’s work and I was very pleased to get an opportunity to interview him about his new book, Reforming Our Universities: The Campaign For An Academic Bill Of Rights.
What follows is the transcript of our conversation, edited significantly for brevity’s sake (The conversation went a full 27 minutes, which would probably run 5000+ words from start to finish). Enjoy!
OK, first question. Do you think Republican state legislators have a responsibility to use the power of the purse to make sure that state run universities don’t discriminate against conservatives and don’t hire radicals?
No, that would be an improper thing for the state legislators to do, just in the nature of our university system. Conservatives don’t pay any attention. They haven’t paid attention for 30 years. …Every now and then a complaint comes out. Every now and then some Leftist goes off the deep end publicly, since they go off the deep end privately and in class all the time. And conservatives get all hot and bothered and they say, “fire them”. …and this just shows that they haven’t paid any attention to how our university system has developed in the last 100 years.
Although, I have to say in the seven years I’ve done my campaign, the left wing press has covered me extensively. I mean there have been hundreds, even thousands of articles about the campaign, but the Weekly Standard, National Review, zip, zero, nothing. Unless the Conservatives wake up and start addressing these issues, nothing is going to happen.
If they would, an appropriations chair could call a university president and just say, in your catalogues, your commencement addresses, and your statements to the legislature, you say that you’re a modern research university, that you follow scientific methods…thanks to my campaign actually, they’ve all signed a statement drawn up by the American Council of Education…saying that intellectual pluralism and academic freedom are core principles of an American higher education. So the appropriations chair justice can say, “Well, I’ve got 15 student complaints about this class and about this department, saying that they don’t adhere to these principles.” Now, it would take a kind of revolution for appropriations chairs to think that way or talk that way. But that would do it.
Aren’t a lot of the appropriations chairs liberals as well? Is it going to be difficult to get them to do this?
No, no, I mean we probably control 30 legislatures; Republicans do. If you’re a Republican, the university system is now a training and recruitment center for the Democratic Party. And 95 percent of professors are Democrats, or on the left. Do you think that’s an accident? No, it’s not an accident. If you had an intelligent appropriations chair who is mindful of the fact that if it goes on long enough, there won’t be a Republican Party. They could ask about the hiring process.
The hiring process is basically run by a chairman like Ward Churchill, a raving lunatic Leftist, anti-American hater. He was a chairman of the ethnic studies department at the University of Colorado. So Ward Churchill, who had no credentials by the way for being such, no PHD, no background in ethnic studies — Churchill gets to pick three professors who are the search committee. So he picks three other raving lunatic Leftists. Then there’d be 500 people applying for the job because that’s the job market. And those three would screen out all, but something like 12 and they would meet them at a national convention. Then of the 12, three would come to campus for an onsite interview. So is it any wonder that these departments are so monochromatic and monolithic?
I think that’s legitimate for a legislature to say, “How are you hiring people?” Why is there such a skew on your faculties? They can’t order them to change this skew, but they can make life miserable for that university president and then maybe he can do something.
How would you suggest they make it miserable?
Oh, it’s very easy. Every college president’s career is based on building new campuses, building new departments. He needs all kinds of favors from the legislature. All you have to do is delay the favors to make him miserable. Of course, our guys, they’re not paying attention because these universities, they’re spending incredible amounts of unaccountable money on professors who hardly teach. They’re in the classroom six to nine hours a week, eight months a year. It’s ridiculous.
We talked a good bit about education here. But, you also have a great understanding of radical Islam. Tell me something that the average person does not understand about Islam and radical Islam. What’s something that they just don’t get?
Well, Islam is a problematic religion. I don’t see so called liberals acknowledging that. I think once you acknowledge that, then you can have a reasonable discussion. If you see Islam as parallel to Judaism, Christianity and Buddhism, you can’t have an intelligent discussion about it.
This is a religion whose founding figure was not a carpenter or a man of peace, but a warrior. He was a bloodthirsty warrior who murdered people — and that’s part of the religious cannon. That’s a huge problem in that Islam has no center. So it’s pretty unruly and if you set yourself up as an Imam…
When you say “no center,” you mean “no center” like a Pope — that sort of thing?
There is no Pope. There’s no hierarchy in Islam. It’s a big problem. And it doesn’t recognize separation of church and state. It’s more proper to talk about people who believe in a political Islam, which is mainstream in Islam. That’s dangerous, political Islam, because it means you have a theocratic state and so called liberals are horrified by theocracies, aren’t they?
Even when they don’t exist, like with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, they’re incredible threats. But here are real theocrats and they don’t find that a problem. Of course, Kemal Atatürk proved you can have a Muslim majority population, in a secular state. Unfortunately, that is coming to an end.
You have to understand this is a problematic religion. It’s got bloody borders and a history of bloodshed right to the present. There have been, I don’t know what the figure is, hundreds of thousands or millions of people killed in our lifetimes by Muslims on the march. That’s not true of Christians or Jews or Buddhists or Hindus.
All right, last question, David. It’s a similar question about liberalism. I’ve read your material on it and I think you probably do a better job of describing the liberal mind than just about anybody I’ve ever read, maybe because you used to be a liberal or actually more technically, a communist. So what’s something the average person does not get about the liberal mentality? What do people miss about that? What do they look at and not understand it because they’ve never been liberal?
Well, I was never a communist and I was never a liberal. I was a Marxist. I never joined the Communist Party. The first thing is that liberals are not liberal. I’m a liberal. I’ve carried on this campaign described in Reforming our Universities for two sides to controversial issues. The enemies of having two sides to an argument are all called liberals. So, the biggest misunderstanding about liberalism is that in our time, liberals are imposters. They’re pretending to be liberal. but they’re bigoted and intolerant.
Inside many liberals is a totalitarian screaming to get out. They don’t like to have another point of view in the room that they don’t squash and the way they try to squash it is by character assassination and name calling. This is not a liberal mode of discourse. The kind of character assassination you see of every major conservative figure. …That is such an intolerant attitude. I mean nobody worthy of the name liberal should have such an attitude, but they do. So if you understand that liberalists are socialists and leftists, and that they’re not tolerant people, that’s the first thing you have to understand about them.
David, outstanding. I really appreciate your time
OK, thank you.
Once again, David Horowitz’s new book is called: Reforming Our Universities: The Campaign For An Academic Bill Of Rights