A couple of decades ago, syndicated columnist and Democratic Party strategist Mark Shields told a joke that went like this: When two liberals came upon a man who had been mugged, the first liberal looked at the second and said, “We must find the person who did this. He needs help.”
The bit still works 20 years later because it is indicative of the frequently backward way in which the Left views the world, which is on full display politically and journalistically but most of all academically. Consider:
- “Two Mexican universities on Friday halted student-exchange programs with the University of Arizona because of the state’s tough new immigration law,” The D. C. Express reported on May 10, 2010. “The National Autonomous University of Mexico and the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi said they feared their students would be harassed.” Perhaps they haven’t noticed that American universities are one of the last bulwarks of defense for open borders and most of the harassment has been trending in the opposite direction. At a May Day rally in Santa Cruz, California, for example, “At least 15 businesses were vandalized,” Carolyn Jones reported in the San Francisco Chronicle on May 3, 2010.
- Meanwhile, in April, a Northern Illinois University professor offered a Boston College audience a perspective on terrorism one can only get from the Ivory Tower, as reported by Adam Waldis in The Observer at Boston College on April 27, 2010. “Terrorism is not a new phenomenon,” NIU prof Tomis Kapitan said. “It is as ancient as the most primitive of human warfare…in fact, it ranges from being sanctioned and glorified in the Holy Scriptures to assuming an integral role in the emergence of the United States as a nation through the eradication of the Native Americans.” Of course, Kapitan neither gave the scriptural references he alluded to nor explained why a federal government dedicated to eliminating Indians created reservations designed to accomplish just the opposite goal, as the name given the settlements suggested. How the Bureau of Indian Affairs went about this is another story: Think Great Society on steroids.
- Meantime, on April 22, 2010, Indiana University law professor John Lawrence Hill reminisced with a Georgetown University audience about an experience he had with affirmative action. The female half of a husband-and wife writing team was applying for tenure and claiming her collaborative published writings as exclusively her own, an academic no-no. Nevertheless, a feminist on the faculty said she would vote for tenure for the feminine candidate despite this red flag precisely because the applicant was a woman. Yet and still, she averred that the resumé embellishment would alter her vote were the candidate a white man.
Further back, Hill remembered an experience as a student at Georgetown Law in which he worked with a clinic attempting to stall the eviction of an African-American woman from an apartment in which she was quite delinquent in rent payments. At one point, Hill met the landlord at a hearing.
The landlord, also an African-American living in the same building, claimed he faced foreclosure and, hence eviction himself, and the homelessness that went with it, due to his inability to collect rents to pay off the note on the building and offered to forgive the back rent if the lady would just move so he could find a new tenant. Hill pleaded the man’s case to his supervisor at the clinic.
Hill’s supervisor’s response was, “_ _ _ _ him.” It never occurred to such elites that someday those outside their rarefied circles would say, “Right back at ‘ya.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.