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The Closing of the Academic Mind

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Oprea-Head-ShotFor The Federalist writes: Harvard student Sandra Y.L. Korn recently proposed in The Harvard Crimson that academics should be stopped if their research is deemed oppressive. Arguing that “academic justice” should replace “academic freedom,” she writes:

“If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of ‘academic freedom’?”

In other words, Korn would have the university cease to be a forum for open debate and free inquiry in the name of justice, as defined by mainstream liberal academia.

“This does not mean that westerners are excluded from writing about the Middle East and Islam .A westerner can do so successfully so long as their research is void of criticism. Write anything else and you will find yourself labeled an orientalist and no graduate course will touch your work with a ten-foot pole.”

Unfortunately, this is already a reality in most universities across America, where academics and university administrators alike are trying, often successfully, to discredit and prohibit certain ideas and ways of thinking. Particularly in the humanities, many ideas are no longer considered legitimate, and debate over them is de facto non-existent. In order to delegitimize researchers who are out of line, academics brand them with one of several terms that have emerged from social science theory.

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Political Roots: Obama’s Council Wars, from Chicago to Washington

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Joel B. Pollak writes:  If you want to understand Barack Obama’s presidency, you have to dig into his political roots.

You have to understand the organizing tactics of Saul Alinsky, the anti-colonialism of Edward Said, and the constitutional vision of Derrick Bell.

younginchicagobamasMost of all, you have to know the story of Harold Washington, Chicago’s first black mayor, whose election drew Obama to Chicago, and whose political battles Obama likely imagines he is re-living today.Unknown

Washington was elected in 1983, defeating the remnants of the Daley political machine, which was dominated by white ethnic blocs. Until Washington, blacks had to know their place in the Chicago Democratic Party. And the party bosses he had beaten were determined to claw back their power.

They formed a 29-vote faction in the 50-alderman city council–enough to block anything the mayor did, yet not enough to overturn his veto.

For three years, Washington and the aldermen faced off in what came to be known as “Council Wars.” The mayor could not appoint key officials or pass his agenda, and his opponents could not enact their own. Read the rest of this entry »