Upside Down Academics

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

The divide between academics’view of the world and actual events on planet earth is a wide one.  “The United States is beset by acute foreign policy crises, from the Middle East to Russia to its own border,” Mike Gonzalez writes in a study for the Heritage Foundation. “While the Obama Administration bears its share of the responsibility for mishandling events and for the policies that led to these crises, looming behind the Administration’s record of failure is an influential progressive academic consensus that has been tragically wrong on many key global questions.”

From the crime wave on our southern border to the far away, but getting closer, Middle East, the consequences, as Gonzalez, a senior fellow a Heritage, indicates, have been tragic.

“Barack Obama, the President most beholden to the fads of the faculty lounge since Woodrow Wilson, has executed this orthodoxy faithfully,” Gonzalez avers. “The U.S. government pays for much of this academic work in many ways, but it pays directly through Title VI of the Higher Education Act, which should be eliminated.” Moreover, the ill-informed advice of academics does not come cheap: Taxpayers are paying good money for it.

“Taxpayers also directly support universities through the act’s Title VI, which funds 10 programs that provide instruction in languages and areas that could become key to the national interest,” Gonzalez writes. “The lion’s share of the $97.5 million that taxpayers spent in 2010 on Title VI programs went to 125 National Resource Centers at U.S. universities across the country and to Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS), which are related as the centers receive most of the FLAS moneys.”

How wrong are they?  Gonzalez shows they have a bias towards dictatorships and terrorist groups:

  • “When Israel decided this summer to protect itself against Hamas, academics swung into action. More than 50 Middle Eastern experts from top U.S. universities signed a letter published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz calling for ‘an end to Israel’s obscene assault on Gaza.’”
  • “Again, academics led the cheers for President Obama and Mrs. Clinton in 2009 and 2010. The very influential Charles A. Kupchan, then professor of international affairs at Georgetown University, wrote in a Foreign Affairs piece (infelicitously titled ‘Enemies into Friends’) that ‘rapprochement with Russia arguably offers the best prospects for near-term success.’ He advised, moreover, that the U.S. pursue the same commercial liaisons with Russia that have rendered many of our European partners so passive. In another article for the same publication later that year, Kupchan went further with this advice for the Obama Administration: ‘Russia should become a member of NATO.’” Ukrainians might not agree. Come to think of it, Russians might not agree either.
  • “As for Cuba, search for the words ‘dictator,’ ‘dictatorship,’ or ‘Communist’ in the 40-page report describing the Cuban Studies program at Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and you will not find a single one. You will find, however, that they have a paper on ‘Transnational Santeria: Ritual Media, Tourism and Religious Subjectivities between the U.S. and Cuba’ and another on ‘Homosexual Themes in Cuban Literature in the 80s and 90s.’” We’ve seen previews of these coming attractions at the Modern Language Association.
  • “One academic who has spoken out, Yale’s Cuban-American history professor Carlos Eire, says ‘leftists on American college campuses have been trying to stifle free speech for decades. Ostracism and censorship are among their favorite tactics.’ The Latin American studies center at the University of Wisconsin refused to sponsor a talk on his memoir about growing up in Cuba that he gave at Madison in 2003. The letter rescinding the invitation said he ‘couldn’t pollute the Madison campus with [his] presence.’”

Gonzalez is the author of A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans. He will be the featured speaker at Accuracy in Academia’s next author’s night on September 16, 2014 at the Van Andel Center at the Heritage Foundation from 6:30 to 8 PM.