SCARBOROUGH: David Horowitz, do you really think that it’s a safe thing to put governments in charge of what professors can and can not say?
HOROWITZ: Well, look, the reason I have gone to legislatures, I went to the president of Colorado University two years ago, and I told her that she was going to have a problem with radical professors in the time of a war on terror who are going to step out of line and damage the university, and that the solution was not to fire these professors, although Churchill is a fraud and should be probably fired on those grounds, but not to fire radical professors but just get some diversity in the mix, get other points of view.
The American public will support a marketplace of ideas in education. What they won’t support is a left-wing monolith with extremists like Churchill as their part of the mix…
BOWEN: …I think you asked David the right question. Do you want government to intervene? Ask the question, do you want government to make sure the Joe Scarborough show has a liberal or a radical to counterpose your values and your statements? I think it’s a bad idea. If you believe in the marketplace of ideas, marketplace of ideas should not be regulated. And I find it ironic that we have a conservative here who is known for his lack of balance insisting on regulation in the marketplace of ideas. There’s a contradiction there, and I think Mr. Horowitz needs to deal with it in an honest way. And pointing to the Ward Churchills of the world—and there are not thousands of them. I am amazed that Mr. Horowitz has done the math. There are not thousands. I think pointing to him is feeding into a public frenzy.
BOWEN: And I think that’s wrong.
HOROWITZ: Well, look, it’s only leftists that think that I lack balance…
BOWEN: I would love to have more conservatives, but I think many of them prefer to go into banking or perhaps into economics…We do need more conservatives in the academy. I encourage conservatives to go into the academy. I encourage Mr. Horowitz to apply for an academic job. And the first thing that he will discover is that the search committee will not ask him whether he is a Republican or a Democrat, but, instead, they will look at his credentials. And if he has a Ph.D. and he is well trained, and certainly smart, I grant that, I think he has got a good shot of getting a job in the academy.
SCARBOROUGH: There you go, David.
BOWEN: Now, come on, Mr. Horowitz.
SCARBOROUGH: There you go, David.
HOROWITZ: That’s completely ridiculous.
Look, the bill is necessary. The legislatures are necessary because the other side, as represented by Mr. Bowen and by these university presidents, will not even acknowledge that there’s a problem until they have a hammer over them. The minute they recognize that and take steps to reform their institutions, we will withdraw the legislation.
There are a couple of points I want to make here. Rhet students, take particular notice:
1) When Horowitz dodges Scarborough’s question about the role the state should play in college governance, Bowen quickly calls him on it. Horowitz’s paltry answer towards the end of their exchange argues legislation is a necessary “hammer” to get U.S. colleges and universities to toe the line. It’s not clear who he means by “we” when he announces that “we will withdraw the legislation” when they “reform their institutions.” I think it’s important to point out Horowitz is no more a legislator than he is an academic; he is a lobbyist and social activist beholden to the respective Olin, Bradley and Scaife foundations that have paid his bills for the last 20 years. Are these right-wing foundations the “we” he means?
2) Bowen’s setup for a very subtle ad hominem attack on Horowitz’s credentials is quite ingenious. “If he has a Ph.D,” Bowen cheerfully explains, “…he has got a good shot of getting a job in the academy.” Bowen must know that Horowitz’s post-graduate degree is an M.A. from UC-Berkeley; without Ph.D in-hand, Horowitz would be almost certainly be ineligible for the overwhelming majority of tenure-track jobs in the academic marketplace. Horowitz smartly refuses to take the bait here, but begs the question nonetheless: what part (if any) does Horowitz’s personal lack of a terminal academic degree play in his ongoing war against hiring and promotion/tenure practices in U.S. colleges and universities?