April 28, 2003

Fag-bashing is the least of it – this jerk wants a government crackdown on campus criticism of Israel

We're all supposed to be oh-so-exercised over Senator Rick Santorum's apparent distaste for homosexuality, but pardon me if I yawn. Who really cares surely not a single self-respecting homo of my acquaintance – especially when, on another front, Santorum is spearheading the most direct assault on free thought since oh, I don't know. This really has no American precedent. Perhaps since Madame Mao and her Gang of Four launched China's infamous "Cultural Revolution".

Okay, so Santorum hates queers. Take it from me, bub: the feeling is mutual. We had to listen to this nonsense all last week, but we haven't heard very much about Santorum's proposed amendment to Title IX of the Higher Education Act that would enshrine "ideological diversity" as well as "sexual equality" in education as a condition for federal funding. Just a few articles, here and there. Yet this is the most unbelievably sleazy, underhanded stealth operation launched by Israel's amen corner since the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, as the point is to ensure that universities that engage in or permit criticism of Israel face cuts in federal funding.

According to a piece in the New York Sun [April 15, 2003], the legislation is being promoted by Santorum as an effort to "remedy anti-Semitism on campus," and, although the details have yet to be released, they are "in the works." A Senate Republican aide who attended the meeting said "no official method of measuring 'ideological diversity' has been set, as the legislation has not been drafted yet. But the aide said such factors as religion and party registration could be used."

An idea that has been pushed by neocon propagandist and professional ex-commie David Horowitz, affirmative action for campus conservatives, is being used to accomplish two goals: 1) The suppression of views the Amen Corner finds threatening, such as the movement to divest universities of stocks that invest in Israel, and 2) The promotion of the politically correct neocon line on every topic, from Israel to immigration, with specific conservative groups i.e. Horowitz's "Center for the Study of Popular Culture" to reap the material and political benefits.

As the government-approved "conservative" of choice, Horowitz will finally succeed in forcing universities to sponsor and subsidize his relentless campaign of slander and self-promotion. This, from someone who has made a career out of attacking affirmative action for blacks! To an opportunist "conservative," the idea of affirmative action is not inherently un-American or unconstitutional it all depends on who benefits. If it's racial minorities, lefties, women, or any other subversion-prone group the neocons disapprove of, using the power of the State to redress an "imbalance" is an outrage. But in the case of conservatives (i.e. neocons), who are victims of "discrimination" inflicted by commie college professors, it's a legitimate grievance that needs to be addressed by lawmakers. This goes way beyond hypocrisy.

An article published last year in The American Enterprise, and posted on Horowitz's Frontpage website, "Time to Fight Back," by Kenneth Lee, openly advocates using the views and party registration of college professors (and, presumably, students) to claim that the lack of campus conservatives is a violation of civil rights laws.

"Imagine opening your newspaper one morning and reading a Supreme Court opinion that puts a startling new twist on an old civil rights tactic. The Court declares that some prominent university has violated equal opportunity laws by "engaging in a pattern of employment discrimination...against Republicans and Christian conservatives. Of the university's 1,828 professors, there are only eight Republicans and five Christian conservatives. Such statistical evidence of gross political and ideological imbalance has been taken as a telltale sign of purposeful discrimination in many previous civil rights cases. In this case as well it provides prima facie evidence that individual rights are being systematically violated on arbitrary grounds. Justice demands compensatory action to protect the rights of these groups. Is this a right-wing pipe dream? It may not be as far-fetched as you think."

This sinister nonsense more than confirms the paleoconservative critique of the neocons. For years we have been saying that these ex-lefties of one sort or another have imported the doctrines and methods of the left into the precincts of the American right, much to the latter's detriment. Now we have the evidence. A "right-wing pipe-dream"? More like a right-winger's worst nightmare come true. The horror of living in a world where even ostensible conservatives speak the language of the collectivist left is more than any real right-winger could hope to endure.

Consider the consequences of capitulating to the affirmative actionists in this way: every college professor (and presumably every student) would be given a political vetting by government bureaucrats, educators, and the courts. Unlike most racial minorities, or at least the official racial victim groups, members of discriminated-against ideological minorities are not so readily identified. Each candidate for a professorship, and, to be consistent, each and every student applicant, would be forced to undergo a full interrogation by political commissars.

Now there is a job that suits Horowitz to a tee! And certainly David Frum seems eminently qualified for such a post.

In order to fill the "conservative" quota, and thus achieve "ideological diversity," the neocons would get to hand out choice academic positions to their supporters, while holding the threat of government-initiated "civil rights" prosecutions undertaken by a sympathetic Department of Justice over their enemies' heads.

Barry Goldwater and other libertarian-oriented conservatives of the fifties and sixties were right to oppose "civil rights" legislation as a fundamental violation of individual rights. Under a system consistent with property rights, there can be no valid legal obligation that forces an individual to associate or do business with someone not of his choosing. This is the traditional conservative position, one upheld in the old days by traditionalists like Russell Kirk and quasi-libertarians such as Frank S. Meyer, no matter what their other differences.

The neocon position, however, is quite different: their heroes are Lincoln and Martin Luther King, and even the suggestion that "civil rights" don't trump property rights requires a trip to a re-education camp, as Senator Trent Lott discovered to his dismay. As "big government conservatives," which is how Fred Barnes once described them (and he ought to know!), the neocons are not hostile to a centralizing, regulating State power – just as long as they get to do the centralizing and regulating.

In the case of mandating "ideological diversity" in the universities, the neocons would have the ghoulish satisfaction of turning a weapon wielded by the left against its inventors. But authentic conservatives can only shudder and wonder: are we to be spared nothing?

Lee correctly notes that, in spite of energetic protestations by the drafters of the original [1964] Civil Rights Act – who swore up and down it would not mandate racial quotas – history has confirmed the Goldwater-libertarian critique: "As with so many other laws," Lee avers, "administrative agencies and courts gradually transformed the plain language of the statute to mean something very different." Instead of fighting this, however, as an intolerable intrusion of Big Government, Lee gloatingly describes the advantages of conservative capitulation. He cites the infamous blackmailing career of Jesse Jackson, who extorted millions from Coca-Cola and other corporations, and writes:

"Republicans can learn a lesson or two from this. Armed with the alarming statistics on the preceding pages about the lack of ideological diversity on college campuses, Republicans can browbeat universities into making their faculties more diverse. And as Jackson does with corporations, Republicans can target universities' pocketbooks. By informing state legislatures as well as fair-minded alumni about the lack of diversity of ideas on the American campus today, conservatives can tighten the cash spigot until schools take affirmative steps to remedy current imbalances."

Yeah, that's right: conservatives need to hold up Jesse Jackson as a role model. You too can be an extortionist, a poverty pimp, and a world-class sleaze-bag, Lee exhorts us, if only you'll give up all this "principle" nonsense and "appropriate the language and logic of liberals' most sacred shibboleth: affirmative action."

Real conservatives, paleo or otherwise, can only retort: like hell we will, and leave it at that.

But it is fair to ask what provoked such an outburst of rare honesty in the first place. I mean, we always knew the neocons were conniving, unprincipled, power-hungry opportunists, but why, all of a sudden, are they so carelessly flaunting these rather unpleasant characteristics? What's really going on here, aside from the usual greed for patronage? According to the New York Sun,

"The possibility of withholding funds arose at a March meeting between top Senate Republicans and Jewish activists who reported rising incidents of anti-Semitism and an increasingly anti-Israel agenda among college professors. A legislative solution would alter the funding formula under Title IX of the Higher Education Act to include not only sexual equality but also 'ideological diversity' as a precondition of receiving the funds."

Among those at the meeting was Wayne Firestone, director of the Center for Israel Affairs for the Hillel Foundation, sponsor of numerous pro-Israel campus groups, who opined "Everywhere I go, this is the lead topic. This is drawing a lot of interest." Santorum is likely to introduce the legislation, but the Sun notes that "he is not alone." Several representatives of top Republican congressional leaders attended the March meeting, where the main topic was how to tweak "civil rights" legislation to curtail Israel's campus critics. "Senators at that meeting discussed an investigation or commission as alternatives to legislation," we are told, but more likely is a government-funded "study" that serves as a prelude to a political purge of academia – and the installation of neocon party-liners as the official, state-approved representatives of "conservatism."

The canny Firestone, however, held out some hope that a government-mandated full-scale ideological cleansing could be avoided, if the intended victims decided to cooperate "voluntarily":

"If left to their own devices, universities aren't going to do this. They clearly need a push. I'm not surprised they're skeptical, and I'm sure they'd resist an external effort. It'd be easier to get at it if they did it internally, like with a peer-review panel."

In other words: lay off Israel – or else.

Academia is taking a wait-and-see stance, according to all reports, but cowardice in the face of this kind of open assault is certain to be fatal. Yet the neocons have the Left in a bind. The advocates of affirmative action and the civil rights revolution can hardly denounce the principle involved, which is the justice of the idea that some compensation for "discrimination" is legally enforceable. No doubt they will fall back on a variant of the idea that the forces represented by the neocons, far from being powerless minorities, are practically all-powerful, dominating not only the institutions of government but also our evil decadent capitalist society at large. Not that that will win them any court cases, or a single vote against this pernicious legislation in Congress, never mind public support.

It is no accident that the amendment to Title IX of the Higher Education Act is being sponsored by Senator Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania. This hater of gay people is such a lover of Israel that he also co-sponsored (with liberal-leftie Barbara Boxer!) the "Syria Accountability Act," which imposes trade sanctions on Israel's front-line enemy in the Middle East and the next stop on the neocons' Invasion Tour. Sanctions are an act of war and a U.S. war on Syria is just what Ariel Sharon has ordered up. Santorum, with the shameless complicity of Boxer, is more than willing to oblige.

Santorum must be stopped, but we need to go beyond mere defensive measures: the neocons will only come up with yet another government-based scheme to tilt the playing field in their direction. Throughout our history, criticism of the American government has often been the target of government attempts to curtail it. But this is something new.We must ask, in opposing Santorum's bill, since when is it a crime for an American to criticize the policies of a foreign country?

Those who call for an "investigation" of the growing resentment on American campuses toward Israel's draconian policies are the ones who ought to be investigated. There is, after all, a limit to how much influence a foreign country can have on the policies and politics of the U.S. before it begins to threaten the very foundations of our republic. The inordinate influence of Israel's de facto agents on the American political process that is what needs to be thoroughly investigated. It is intolerable, and we have put up with it for far too long. The legal requirements outlined in the Foreign Agents Registration Act must be strengthened, if necessary, enforced to the hilt, and applied equally. Yes, even when it comes to organizations like Hillel and U.S. Senators, too.


Funniest first line of the month (unintentional humor category):

"If I was ever to volunteer for the role of American colonial puppet, I would hope to play my role with the same panache that Ahmad Chalabi has brought to the part."

– Christopher Hitchens, "Lay Off Chalabi," Slate, April 24, 2003.

Rumor has it he's lobbying to be put in charge of occupied France, but from what I hear Rush Limbaugh has first dibs on the job.

I just can't help myself – I just have to point you in the direction of Matt Barganier's latest column. Snazzy and dazzling, he zips right along, slicing and dicing the War Party to pieces so small they can barely be detected by the human eye. Here is a writer who makes reading on the internet enjoyable. So, enjoy!

– Justin Raimondo

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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard.

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