MLA Misinformation

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Getting current events insights from English professors is a risky proposition. Unfortunately, they like to offer up their views on issues of the day, often in place of classes on literature.

“George W. Bush’s foreign policy is guided by alliances with oil companies and the belief that freedom equals laissez faire capitalism,” Professor Joe Lockard told a receptive audience at the Modern Language Association’s annual convention. Dr. Lockard teaches at Arizona State University in Tempe.

Like others who offer up the energy-driven statecraft scenario, Dr. Lockard never explains why petroleum is not gushing out of Iraq in the wake of the American invasion and occupation. By the way, this assertion was frequently made when the President’s father sent troops to the Persian Gulf to free Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s domination.

A phone call to the U. S. Department of Energy back then revealed that the United States relied on Kuwait for 2 percent of its oil. Western Europe, however, was dependent on the Emirate for 25 percent of its petroleum needs. If we went to war for oil in that conflict, it wasn’t our own we were fighting for.

The linkage of freedom and free markets that Dr. Lockard dismisses is a more intriguing juxtaposition. He should check out the overlap between the countries receiving the seal of approval in both the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom and the Freedom House international human rights reports.

In Iraq, we have an “imperial U. S. presence in a nation that never threatened the United States,” Dr. Lockard said at the MLA’s Washington, D. C. conference. He should watch producer Roger Aronoff’s documentary, Confronting Iraq.

The sources who shared evidence of the Iraqi threat with Mr. Aronoff include James Woolsey, President Clinton’s CIA director. Mr. Aronoff is a media analyst with Accuracy in Media, Accuracy in Academia’s parent group.

The “calling for a crusade in Iraq” and the “national realization of impending democracy” forms a “cultural justification for state-supported violence,” according to Dr. Lockard. Then how do you explain those photographs of American troops feeding Iraqi babies?

“It is not the form of a nation state that leads to war but the nation state itself,” Dr. Lockard told the audience at the Marriott. If that is so, then why do we see Communist China threatening capitalist Taiwan rather than the other way around? And how much saber-rattling has Singapore done lately?

Dr. Lockard is not alone among English professors. Like the thousands of pedagogues who flock to the MLA’s annual conference, he goes home loaded with the insights and perspectives he has gleaned from the conference just as others can now carry his wisdom with them.

Once in class, particularly with tenure, professors have about as much autonomy as ship captains do while at sea. With that power, the professor’s out-of-town conference paper can become the student’s degree-making-or-breaking true-or-false test.

Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.