Bulletin #173




1 February 2005

Grenoble, France


Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,


The "free elections" in Iraq have momentarily distracted social critics from describing the infrastructure of political repression which is currently being introduced in institutions across the United States. As we see below, the ideological underpinnings of this new repression is based on the falsification of history.


In item A., Professor Richard Du Boff (Bryn Mawr College) has sent us an analytical description of what Harvard University Professor Samuel P. Huntington is fond of calling the "clash of civilizations". Below, Mahmood Mamdani's essay,  "Inventing political violence", offers readers an alternative explanation for the 21st-century violence we are now witnessing in the Middle East.


Item B. is a short article by Kathy Lynn Gray, published in the Columbus Dispatch (out of Columbus, Ohio), that describes pending state legislation which would introduce censorship in Ohio's public schools. Like the welfare "reform" legislation in Wisconsin in the 1980s, this legislation at the state level is drawing national attention, as a possible model for federal education "reform".


In finally, in Item C., below, Professor Fred Lonidier (UCSD) has sent us an article from the Los Angeles Times describing the ideological battles being fought on American university campuses today, as neo-conservative ideologues continue to struggle to win over student opinion at major universities across the United States.




Francis McCollum Feeley

Professor of American Studies

Director of Research

Université Grenoble 3






from Professor Richard du Boff :

Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2005

Subject: Inventing political violence






Inventing political violence

Mahmood Mamdani


America created violent political Islam inadvertently as part of its Cold War strategy, says Mahmood Mamdani


I was in New York City on 9/11. In the weeks that followed, newspapers reported that the Koran had become one of the biggest-selling books in American bookshops. Astonishingly, Americans seemed to think that reading the Koran might give them a clue to the motivation of those who carried out the suicide attacks on the World Trade Center. Recently, I have wondered whether the people of Falluja have taken to reading the Bible to understand the motivation for American bombings. I doubt it.


Why the difference? I suggest we look at the nature of the public debate in America as a key ingredient in shaping public opinion.


The post-9/11 public debate in the US has been inspired by two Ivy League intellectuals - Samuel Huntington at Harvard and Bernard Lewis at Princeton. From Huntington's point of view, the Cold War was a civil war within the west. He says the real war is yet to come. That real war will be a civilizational war, at its core a war with Islam. From this point of view, all Muslims are bad.


Bernard Lewis, in contrast, makes a more nuanced claim. He says that there are good secular Muslims and bad fundamentalist Muslims, and that the west needs to distinguish between them. He identifies a secular point of view with western culture so completely that, for him, a secular Muslim is necessarily a westernized Muslim. A neoconservative guru, Lewis was a major inspiration behind the Iraq War.


Their differences aside, Lewis and Huntington share two assumptions. The first is that the world is divided into two - modern and pre-modern. Modern peoples make their own culture; their culture is a creative act and it changes historically. In contrast, they assume that pre-modern peoples have an unchanging, ahistorical culture, one they carry along with them; they wear their culture as a kind of badge, and sometimes suffer from it like a collective twitch. The second assumption is that you can read people's politics from their culture. I call these two assumptions Culture Talk.


The aftermath of the Iraq War has turned into a crisis for theory. It is increasingly clear that the designation of some Muslims as good and others as bad has little to do with their orientation to Islam, and everything to do with their orientation to America. Simply put, good Muslim is a label for those who are deemed pro-American and bad Muslims are those reckoned anti-American. Culture Talk is not only wrong, it is also self-serving. How convenient it is to see political violence as something wrong with the culture of one party rather than an indication that something has gone wrong in the relationship between two parties.


Political Islam

Contemporary, modern political Islam developed as a response to colonialism. Colonialism posed a double challenge, that of foreign domination and of the need for internal reform to address weaknesses exposed by external aggression.


Early political Islam grappled with such questions in an attempt to modernize and reform Islamic societies. Then came Pakistani thinker Abu ala Mawdudi, who placed political violence at the centre of political action, and Egyptian thinker Sayyed Qutb, who argued that it was necessary to distinguish between friends and enemies, for with friends you use reason and persuasion, but with enemies you use force.


The terrorist tendency in political Islam is not a pre-modern carry-over but a very modern development.


Radical political Islam is not a development of the ulama (legal scholars), not even of mullahs or imams (prayer leaders). It is mainly the work of non-religious political intellectuals. Mawdudi was a journalist and Qutb a literary theorist. It has developed through a set of debates, but these cannot be understood as a linear development inside political Islam. Waged inside and outside political Islam, they are both a critique of reformist political Islam and an engagement with competing political ideologies, particularly Marxism-Leninism.


Let us remember that the period after World War II was one of a decades-long secular romance with political violence. Armed struggle was in vogue in national liberation and revolutionary movements. Many political activists were convinced that a thoroughgoing struggle had to be armed. The development of religious political tendencies that glorify the liberating role of violence is a latter-day phenomenon. Rather than a product of religious fundamentalism, it is best thought of as both religious and secular, a sign of the times.


The late Cold War

That said, we are confronted with a singular question: How did Islamist terror, a theoretical tendency that preoccupied a few intellectuals and was of marginal political significance in the 1970s, become part of the political mainstream in only a few decades? To answer it, we need to move away from the internal debates of political Islam to its relations with official America, and back from 9/11 to the period that followed America's defeat in Vietnam, the period I call the late Cold War. My claim is also that this question is best answered from a vantage point inside Africa.


Decolonization reached a momentous point in 1975. The year the Americans were defeated in Vietnam was also the year the Portuguese empire collapsed in Africa. The result was a shift in the centre of gravity of the Cold War from south-east Asia to southern Africa. Who would pick up the pieces of the Portuguese empire in Africa, America or the Soviet Union?


The defining feature of the new phase of the Cold War was the strong anti-war movement within America opposed to direct military intervention overseas. Henry Kissinger, the US secretary of state, designed a strategy in response to the changed context: if America could not intervene overseas directly, it would intervene through others. Thus began the era of proxy war, one that was to mark the period from Vietnam to Iraq.


Angola was the first important American proxy intervention in the post-Vietnam period. Kissinger first looked for mercenaries to counter the independence movement in Angola, and then followed with a nod to apartheid South Africa. The South African intervention was discredited internationally as soon as it became public knowledge and led to a powerful anti-war response in Congress: the Clark Amendment terminated all assistance, overt and covert, to anti-communist forces in Angola.


The administration of Ronald Reagan raised proxy war from a pragmatic response to a grand strategy, called the Reagan Doctrine. Developed in response to two 1979 revolutions - those of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and the Islamists in Iran - the Reagan Doctrine made two claims. The first was that America had been preparing to fight the wrong war - that against Soviet forces on the plains of Europe - and meanwhile was losing the real war, that against Third World nationalism. Reagan called on America to fight the war that was already on, against yesterday's guerrillas now come to power. Arguing that there could be no middle ground in war, the Reagan administration portrayed nationalist governments newly come to power in southern Africa and central America as Soviet proxies that needed to be nipped in the bud before they turned into real dangers.


The Reagan Doctrine also turned on a second initiative, one that involved a shift from "containment" to "rollback", from peaceful coexistence to a determined, sustained and aggressive bid to reverse defeats in the Third World. To underline the historical legitimacy of this shift, it brought the language of religion into politics. Speaking before the National Association of Evangelicals in 1983, Reagan called on America to defeat "the evil empire".


Evil is a theological notion. As such, it has neither a history nor motivation. The political use of evil is two-fold. First, one cannot coexist with evil, nor can one convert it. Evil must be eliminated. The war against evil is a permanent war, one without a truce. Second, the Manichean battle against evil justifies any alliance. The first such alliance, dubbed "constructive engagement", was between official America and apartheid South Africa.


"Constructive engagement"

It is through "constructive engagement" that official America provided political cover to apartheid South Africa as it set about developing a strategy for proxy war in the former Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola. As the Reagan administration moved from "peaceful coexistence" to "rollback", so the apartheid government redefined its regional strategy from "détente" to "total onslaught".


The bitter fruit of constructive engagement was Africa's first genuine terrorist movement, called Renamo. Created by the Rhodesian army in the early 1970s and nurtured by the apartheid army after 1980, Renamo consistently targeted civilians in Mozambique to convince them that an independent African government could not possibly assure them law and order. At the same time, when terror unleashed by Renamo became the subject of public discussion, the apartheid regime explained it in cultural terms, as "black on black violence", as an expression of age-old tribal conflict, of the inability of black people to coexist without an outside mediator.


America's responsibility for Renamo was solely political. But without an American political cover, it would have been impossible for apartheid South Africa to organize, arm and finance a terrorist movement in independent Africa for more than a decade - and to do so with impunity.


Constructive engagement was a period of tutorship for official America. America created and wielded the Contras in Nicaragua just as apartheid South Africa did Renamo in south central Africa. Under CIA tutelage, the Contras blew up bridges and health centres, and killed health personnel, judges and heads of cooperative societies. The point of terror was not to win civilian support, but to highlight the inability of the government to ensure law and order. It was to convince the population that the only way to end terror was to hand over power to terrorists. This lesson in the electoral uses of terror was learnt by others, including Charles Taylor in Liberia and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone.


It is worth drawing some lessons from the history of terror after Vietnam. Terror was a strategy America embraced when it had almost lost the Cold War in 1975. Mozambique and Nicaragua were the founding moments of that history. Both Renamo and the Contras, the pioneer terrorist movements, were proxies of South Africa and America. Both were secular in orientation. The development of a religious proxy - terror claiming a religious justification - was characteristic of the closing phase of the Cold War in Afghanistan.


Rollback on a global scale: Afghanistan

The Afghan war was the prime example of "rollback". In the history of terror during the last phase of the Cold War, the Afghan war was important for two reasons. First, the Reagan administration ideologized the war as a religious war against the evil empire, rather than styling it a war of national liberation such as that it claimed the Contras were fighting in Nicaragua. In the process, the CIA marginalized every Islamist group that had a nationalist orientation, fearing that these groups might be tempted to negotiate with the Soviet Union, and brought centre-stage the most extreme Islamists in a partnership that would "bleed the Soviet Union white".


Second, the Reagan administration privatized war in the course of recruiting, training and organizing a global network of Islamic fighters against the Soviet Union. The recruitment was done through Islamic charities, and the training through militarized madrasahs. Unlike the historical madrasah, which taught a range of subjects, secular and religious, from theology and jurisprudence to history and medicine, the Afghan madrasah taught a narrow curriculum dedicated to a narrow theology (jihadi Islam) and gave a complementary military training.


The narrow theology recast Islam around a single institution, the jihad; it redefined the jihad as exclusively military and claimed the military jihad to be an offensive war entered into by individual born-again devotees as opposed to defence by an Islamic community under threat. The jihadi madrasahs in Pakistan trained both the Afghan refugee children who were later recruited into the Taliban and the Arab-Afghans who were later networked by the organization called al-Qaeda ("the Base"). If national liberation wars created proto-state apparatuses, the international jihad created a private network of specialists in violence.


America did not create right-wing Islam, a tendency that came into being through intellectual debates, both inside political Islam and with competing secular ideologies, such as Marxism-Leninism. America's responsibility was to turn this ideological tendency into a political organization - by incorporating it into America's Cold War strategy in the closing phase of the Cold War.


Before the Afghan jihad, right-wing political Islam was an ideological tendency with little organization and muscle on the ground. The Afghan jihad gave it numbers, organization, skills, reach, confidence and a coherent objective. America created an infrastructure of terror but heralded it as an infrastructure of liberation.


Mahmood Mamdani is Herbert Lehman Professor of Government, Department of Anthropology and School of International Affairs, Columbia University, New York.






from Kathy Lynn Gray :

Date: Thursday, January 30, 2005

Subject: Ohio Bill could limit open debate at colleges


copyright, January 2005




Legislation that would restrict what university professors could say in their classrooms was introduced yesterday in Ohio. Judging from reactions in other states where similar bills have been considered, controversy won't be far behind.



Marion Sen. Larry A. Mumper's "academic bill of rights for higher education" would prohibit instructors at public or private universities

from "persistently" discussing controversial issues in class or from using their classes to push political, ideological, religious or anti-religious views.


Senate Bill 24 also would prohibit professors from discriminating against students based on their beliefs and keep universities from hiring, firing, promoting or giving tenure to instructors based on their beliefs.


Mumper, a Republican, said many professors undermine the values of their students because "80 percent or so of them (professors) are Democrats, liberals or socialists or card-carrying Communists" who attempt to indoctrinate students.


"These are young minds that haven't had a chance to form their own opinions," Mumper said. "Our colleges and universities are still

filled with some of the '60s and '70s profs that were the anti-American group. They've gotten control of how to give people tenure and so the colleges continue to move in this direction."


Joan McLean, a political-science professor at Ohio Wesleyan University, said Mumper's legislation is misguided and would have a chilling effect on the free-flowing debate that is a hallmark of democracy.


"This is not the kind of democracy we think we're spreading when we hear President Bush's words. What we're celebrating is our ability to not control information."


Besides, McLean said, who would define what issues could not be discussed?


The language of Mumper's bill comes from a 2003 booklet by conservative commentator David Horowitz that lays out how students can persuade universities to adopt the "bill of rights." The booklet says it is "dedicated to restoring academic freedom and educational values to America's institutions of higher learning."


The issue has gone national.


Horowitz created Students for Academic Freedom, a group based in Washington that has chapters on 135 campuses, to promote his views.


On the other side, the American Association of University Professors, which has thousands of members at hundreds of campuses, argues that eliminating controversial issues from courses waters down academic freedoms.


Mumper said he's been investigating the issue for months and has heard of an Ohio student who said she was discriminated against because she supported Bush for president.


"I think the bill asks that colleges and universities be fair in their approach to their education of students," Mumper said. "They need to have their rights defended and need to be respected by faculty and administrators."


In a Kenyon College publication, President S. Georgia Nugent called Horowitz's thinking "a severe threat" to academic freedom.


"I see this so-called bill of rights, the platform that he has constructed, as one that would explicitly introduce into college and university appointments a kind of political litmus test," she said.


Mumper said he will "push this all the way" so that it's approved by either the legislature or by individual universities.


When a similar proposal was considered in the Colorado legislature last year, it was withdrawn after state universities agreed to some of its principles. The issue also has been debated in Indiana and considered in Congress.







from Professor Fred Lonidier :

Date: January 14, 2005

Subject: An OpEd in the L.A. Times last Friday

Brian C. Anderson

copyright, January 2005






(Right on Campus Conservatives begin to infiltrate the left's last redoubt)




Throughout 2003 and into 2004, a surge of protests roiled American campuses. You probably think the kids were agitating against war in Iraq, right? Well, no. Students at UCLA, Michigan and many other schools were sponsoring bake sales to protest . . . affirmative action. For white students and faculty, a cookie cost (depending on the school) $1; blacks and Hispanics could buy one for a lot less.


The principle, the protesters observed, was just that governing university admission practices: rewarding people differently based on race. Indignant school officials charged the bake-sale organizers with "creating a hostile climate" for minority students, oblivious to the incoherence of their position. On what grounds could they favor race preferences in one area (admissions) and condemn them in the other (selling cookies) as racist? Several schools banned the sales, on flimsy pretexts, such as the organizers' lack of school food permits.


The protests shocked the mainstream press, but to close observers of America's college scene lately they came as no surprise. For decades, conservative critics have bemoaned academe's monolithically liberal culture. Parents, critics note, spend fortunes to send their kids to top colleges, and then watch helplessly as the schools cram them with a diet of politically correct leftism often wholly opposed to mom and dad's own values.


But the left's long dominion over the university--the last place on earth that lefty power would break up, conservatives believed--is showing its first signs of weakening. The change isn't coming from the schools' faculty lounges and administrative offices, of course. It's coming from self-organizing right-of-center students and several innovative outside groups working to bypass the academy's elite gatekeepers.


There have always been conservative students on campus: More than a half-century has passed since a just-matriculated William F. Buckley published "God and Man at Yale," lamenting his alma mater's secularism and launching the author on his now-legendary career. But never has the right flourished among college kids as it does today.


The number of College Republicans has almost tripled, from 400 or so campus chapters six years ago, to 1,148 today, with 120,000-plus members (compared with the College Democrats' 900 or so chapters and 100,000 members). College Republicans are thriving even on elite campuses. "We've doubled in size over the last few years, to more than 400 students," reports Evan Baehr, the square-jawed future pol heading the Princeton chapter. The number of College Republicans at Penn has also rocketed upward, says chapter president Stephanie Steward, from 25 or so members a couple of years ago to 700 today. Same story at Harvard. These young Republican activists, trudging into battleground states this fall in get-out-the-vote efforts, helped George W. Bush win.


Other conservative organizations, ranging from gun clubs (Harvard's has more than 100 students blasting away) to impudent newspapers and magazines, are budding at schools everywhere--even at Berkeley, crucible of the 1960s' student left. And right-of-center speakers invited by these clubs are drawing large and approving crowds. "At many schools, those speeches have become the biggest events of the semester," Time magazine reports. One such talk at Duke, by conservative author and former Comedy Central host Ben Stein, attracted "a bigger crowd than the one that had come to hear Maya Angelou two months earlier."


The bustle reflects a general rightward shift in college students' views. Back in 1995, reports UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute, 66% of freshmen wanted the wealthy to pay higher taxes. Today, only 50% do. Some 17% of students now value taking part in environmental programs, half of 1992's percentage. Support for abortion stood at two-thirds of students in the early 1990s; now it's just over half. A late-2003 Harvard Institute of Politics study found that college students had moved to the right of the

overall population, with 31% identifying themselves as Republicans, 27% as Democrats and the rest independent or unaffiliated. "College campuses aren't a hotbed of liberalism any more," institute director Dan Glickman comments. "It's a different world."


Youthful attitudes are volatile, of course, but this rightward trend may intensify. In a mock election run by Channel One, which broadcasts in public schools, 1.4 million high school students re-elected George W. Bush in a landslide, with 55% of the popular vote and 393 electoral votes--greater than the 51% of the popular vote and 286 electoral votes he actually won.


Today's right-leaning kids sure don't look much like the Bill Buckley-style young Republicans of yesteryear. "Conservative students today will be wearing the same T-shirts, sneakers and jeans that you find on most 19-year-old college kids," says Sarah Longwell of the Delaware-based Intercollegiate Studies Institute, which promotes the Western intellectual tradition on campuses. Jordana Starr, a right-of-center political science and philosophy major at Tufts, tartly adds that you can spot a student leftist pretty fast: "They're the ones who appear not to have seen a shower in some time, nor a laundromat."


The new-millennium campus conservative is comfortably at home in popular culture, as I've found interviewing 50 or so from across the country. A favorite TV show, for instance, is Comedy Central's breathtakingly vulgar cartoon "South Park." "Not only is it hilariously uncouth, but it also criticizes the hypocrisy of liberals," explains Washington University economics major Matt Arnold. "The funniest part is that most liberals watch the show but are so stupid that they're unaware they're being made fun of," he adds, uncharitably. The young conservatives, again like typical college kids, also play their iPods night and day, listening less to Bach and Beethoven than to alt-rock, country-and-western and hip-hop.


Yet the opinions of these kids are about as far from the New York Times as one gets. Affirmative action particularly exasperates them. Chris Pizzo, a political science major who edits Boston College's conservative paper, the Observer, points to wealthy Cuban-American friends from his native Florida, "raised with at least the same advantages and in the same environment that I was," yet far likelier to get into the top schools. Where's the justice in that?"


Worse still, many students argue, preferences carry the racist implication that blacks and Hispanics can't compete on pure merit--an implication that holds minorities back. "Affirmative action has a detrimental effect on the black community, whether or not we're willing to admit it," says Jana Hardy, a biracial recent Claremont McKenna grad now working in urban planning.


The war on terror, including in Iraq, drew strong support from most of the students. Typical was Cornell classics major Sharon Ruth Stewart, mildly libertarian--except when it comes to fighting terror. "We have to use any and all means to defend ourselves from the terrorists, who hate the American way of life even more than the French and Germans do," she says. "That means bunker-busters, covert ops--whatever ensures America is safe." University of Maryland junior Nathan Kennedy is just as tough-minded. "I am

full-fledged on board with the Iraq war," he says. "We've brought the fight to the terrorists' door, dealing with the radical fundamentalist Arabs who want us all dead."


On cultural issues, the students had clearly reached their own, sometimes idiosyncratic, conclusions. Yale senior Nikki McArthur (a big Metallica fan) is, like most of the students I questioned, ardently pro-life--"but not because I necessarily think that an embryo is a full human being." Rather, she argues, "I think that a culture in which abortion is widely accepted is one in which people have a wrong understanding of children and sex. Children should not be considered burdens." Jordan Rodriguez, a rugged-looking Evangelical Princeton undergrad, Deke pledge president and hyperachiever--he was varsity baseball and editor of the literary magazine at his San Antonio high school and a violist in the city's Youth Philharmonic--is as hard-line as they come on abortion. The practice is "ethically abominable," he says; it should be regarded as "a form of homicide and prosecuted as such."


Many of the students, especially the women, value getting married and raising a family with a fervor that would thrill the Family Research Council. "I'm an old-fashioned girl," avers Cornell's Miss Stewart. "I think it's wonderful when a mother can spend the majority of her time devoted to her child's early years. I plan to do just that." Reports University of Virginia sociology professor W. Bradford Wilcox: "My biggest surprise in teaching here is that I am coming across growing numbers of postfeminist college women. They tend to be very bright and--other things being equal--would normally gravitate to feminist academics." Instead, Mr. Wilcox notes, they're looking for "a sane path forward for the revival of courtship and family life." Polling data suggest that such sentiments are increasingly widespread. A 2001 survey, for instance, found that 88% of male high school seniors and 93% of females thought it extremely or quite important to have a good marriage and family life.


Yet for most of the conservative students I interviewed, traditional values did not extend to homosexuality. Though few support gay marriage, fewer still want the Constitution amended to ban it, and most are OK with state-sanctioned civil unions for gays. "I don't buy the prevalent argument that recognizing gay unions would undermine the institution of marriage," says Vanderbilt sophomore Anne Malinee, the strongly pro-life editor of the Vanderbilt Torch, the school's conservative monthly. "Of all the issues selected officials could be focusing on, why this?" Similarly, Bucknell history and economics major Charles Mitchell, culturally conservative in

many respects, isn't worried about gay marriage. "I believe that homosexuality is a sin, because that's what the Bible says, but I also believe that if two people of the same sex love each other and can get a priest to marry them, the propriety of that is none of the state's business."


What accounts for the growing conservatism of college students? After 9/11, many collegians came to distrust the U.N.-loving left to defend the nation with vigor. As of late 2003, college students backed the war more strongly than the overall American population. Notes Edward Morrissey, "Captain Ed" of the popular conservative blog Captain's Quarters, these kids "grew up on . . . moral relativism and internationalism, constantly fed the line that there was no such thing as evil in the world, only misunderstandings."

Suddenly, on 9/11, this generation discovered that "there are enemies and they wanted to kill Americans in large numbers, and that a good portion of what they'd been taught was drizzly pap."


Yet a deeper reason for the rightward shift, which began well before 9/11, is the left's broader intellectual and political failure. American college kids grew up in an era that witnessed both communism's fall and the unchained U.S. economy's breathtaking productivity surge. They've seen that anyone willing to work hard--regardless of race or sex--can thrive in such an opportunity-rich system. "I'm only 20, so I don't remember segregation or the oppression of women--in fact, my mother had a very successful career

since I was a kid," one student observed in an online discussion. "I look around and don't see any discrimination against minorities or women." Left-wing charges of U.S. economic injustice sound like so much BS to many kids today.


The destructive effects of "just do it" values on the family are equally evident to many undergrads, who have painfully felt those effects themselves or watched them rip up the homes of their friends. They turn to family values with the enthusiasm of converts. Even their support of homosexual civil unions may spring from their rejection of the world of casual hookups, broken marriages and wounded children that liberalism has produced. "Heterosexuals have already done a decent job of cheapening marriage on their own," observes Vanderbilt's Miss Malinee.


Conservative ideas take on even greater allure for students when the authorities say they're verboten. From pervasive campus political correctness--the unfree speech codes, obligatory diversity-sensitivity seminars and school-sponsored performances of "The Vagina Monologues'--to the professorate's near-uniform leftism, with faculty Democrats outnumbering Republicans by at least 7 to 1 (at Williams, it's 51 Dems to zero Republicans), everything aims to implant correct left-wing attitudes in student brains.


"There's a natural and healthy tendency among students to question the piety of their teachers," Penn history professor Alan Kors noted a few months back. "And for so long the pieties, dogmas and set of assumptions being taught on college campuses have been found on the far left." Says Daniel Flynn of the Leadership Institute, a nonprofit that trains young conservative activists: "The intention of many in academe is to evangelize left-wing ideas, but in effect what they're doing is often the opposite: piquing interest in the other side."


Katherine Ernst, a perky, blond and diminutive recent New York University grad, confirms the point. Like many students I queried, Miss Ernst already leaned right when she arrived on campus. But the left-wing propagandizing of her professors made her conservatism rock-solid. "One professor, right after September 11, gave a terrorist-sympathy speech that went, you know:

'Oil, oil, oil, they're poor, we take advantage of them, it's really complicated, blah, blah, blah.' It was something that I and many other

students living in our financial-district dorm really enjoyed," Miss Ernst says acidly. "The worst professor I ever had, though, was for a course in administrative law," she recalls. "Every class--no exaggeration--included at least five references to 'Bush was selected.' " A final straw for Miss Ernst came when a professor--"a for-real communist"--walked out of a class he was teaching "to take part in some stupid protest march." So there you have it, says Miss Ernst: "You pay thousands and thousands and the prof takes off to carry a 'no justice, no peace' sign around Union Square Park. How could anybody exposed to this kind of stuff not become a raging



Chapel Hill journalism major Debra McCown would agree. At her school, she complains, the liberal profs tend to "ram their political views down students' throats." One incident particularly outraged her. "I watched as a classmate, required to attend class in his military uniform, sat there silently as the professor ranted about how every member of the U.S. military is a 'baby killer' who enjoys violence--because what could he possibly say to a teacher who pronounced such things, with him sitting there in uniform?"


Bucknell grad Tom Elliot (profiled in a 2003 New York Times magazine article on young conservatives) experienced "quite a bit" of hostility in the classroom. "I was constantly singled out and made to look ridiculous--responsible for the right-wing ideas being lambasted by the professor that day," he observes. Tufts' Jordana Starr listens to her media-and-politics professor berate conservatives week after week: President Bush's re-election is the "apocalypse," Mr. Bush is an evil draft dodger, ad nauseam.

The leftism that so angers these students includes the hey-ho-Western-civ-has-got-to-go theories that inform college courses from

coast to coast. "In too many classrooms," says former education secretary William Bennett, "radical professors teach their students that Western thought is suspect, that Enlightenment ideals are inherently oppressive and that the basic principles of the American founding are not 'relevant' to our time."


College course catalogs often read like satires. Want to study English lit at, say, Penn? Freshmen take introductory classes like "Secrecy and Sexuality in the Modern Novel," taught by--no joke--Heather Love. In the course description, Ms. Love explains that "many of the books that we consider 'great literature' "--note the obligatory postmodern scare quotes--"are noted as much for what they don't say as for what they do." Deconstructing Herman Melville and other dead white males, Ms. Love promises to uncover "what, if anything, they are hiding" about homosexuality, pederasty and incest.


That's for first-year students. Ms. Love's upper-level course "Theories of Gender and Sexuality" focuses on "reproductive rights; pornography, 'sex work' [prostitution], and free speech; . . . and transgender activism," among other themes that seem to have zilch to do with English lit. Other English majors get to explore "postcolonial literature" with Professor Cynthia Port, who relies on radical authors Edward Said and Frantz Fanon to "revise imperial narratives, challenge assumptions about identity and otherness, and scrutinize the politics of language."


Want to learn history at Brown? "Europe from Rome to the Eighteenth Century," taught by Prof. Amy Remensnyder, will chart "the complex divisions" of various groups within European societies "according to gender, class, and ethnicity," the holy trinity of postmodern intellectuals. "In the end," says Mr. Bennett, "the central problem is not that the majority of students are being indoctrinated (although some are) but that they graduate knowing almost nothing at all. Or worse still, they graduate thinking that they know everything."


A student, conservative or otherwise, who doesn't buy into the West-is-the-worst line can "have an awful time of it," says Harvard junior Jordan Hylden. "It is quite difficult in fields like literature, anthropology, the social sciences and even religion to even be informed," he complains. "It's like an ivory echo chamber, where only the 'right'--subversive, anti-Western--ideas get a hearing." Small wonder that enrollments in such fields have plummeted. The percentage of undergrad degrees in the humanities, nearly 21% in the mid-1960s, fell to 12% or so by the '90s and has never climbed back up.


Some conservative students stuck in a left-wing echo chamber keep their real views to themselves and parrot the "correct" line, fearing that otherwise they'll get a low grade. One earnest Princeton freshman had to write a paper on same-sex marriage, which he opposes, for a constitutional-law course taught by a pro-gay-marriage professor. "I radically altered my position to make it more in line with what my professor's beliefs are on this topic and many others--and I know what those beliefs are, because she insists on starting each class with a diatribe covering any number of current political issues, in addition to mocking Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas consistently," he says.


A 2003 survey by the Independent Women's Forum found that anywhere from one-quarter to one-third of students had felt forced to check "their intellectual and philosophical honesty at the door in order to get good grades." A brand-new American Council of Trustees and Alumni survey finds that half of all students--not just conservatives--at the top 50 colleges say that profs frequently inject their political views into courses, and almost one-third think that they have to agree with those views to get a good grade.


Such self-censorship may become rarer, thanks in large part to several national organizations whose efforts to bring diversity of thought to academe are starting to pay off. These groups help create right-of-center student clubs, and they sponsor conservative talks--giving students the self-assurance to express conservative views publicly and fostering campus dialogue. "There is no coercion or imposition going on," Bucknell's Mr. Mitchell editorialized in the Washington Times. Rather, a demand for conservative ideas "is simply being met by, you might say, intellectual entrepreneurs."


Perhaps most significant is Students for Academic Freedom, founded in 2003 and already boasting 130 campus chapters. Its key initiative is a campaign for an Academic Bill of Rights, which enjoins universities not to deny tenure or fail to hire teachers solely because of their "retrograde" conservative politics, and to ensure that teachers keep their classes from becoming left-wing propaganda sessions. "What I've set out to do is to try to restore the educational principles that were in place before the

generation of '60s leftists infiltrated the university and corrupted it by transforming it into an ideological platform," explains founder David Horowitz. Legislation enacting variations of the bill is on the move in 19 states. In Colorado, state colleges adopted a version of the bill "voluntarily," to prevent the Legislature from imposing even tougher rules.


In lobbying for the bill of rights, SAF publicizes horror stories that its chapters gather: a Spanish instructor telling his class, "I wish George Bush were dead"; a public policy prof telling a student headed for a conservative conference in Washington, "Well, then, you'll probably fail my course"; a law professor proclaiming, "We all know that the 'R' in Republican stands for racist"; and a criminology teacher who asked students on a test to explain why George Bush is a war criminal, and then gave an "F" to a student who answered that Saddam Hussein, not Mr. Bush, was the monster. Mr. Horowitz says that conservative kids have usually just

accepted such classroom demagoguery. "They're conservative, and their disposition is to suffer: 'That's just the way colleges are,' " Mr. Horowitz says. "What I've done as an ex-radical is to encourage them to see the injustices done to them as injustices--and do something about it."


Needless to say, the university establishment is downright angry about SAF's campaign--all the more so because it turns the left's own language of "diversity" and "rights" against it. The liberal American Association of University Professors, in textbook Orwellian fashion, declares the Academic Bill of Rights a "grave threat" to academic freedom. In Colorado, Mr. Horowitz recounts, "A student whose professor at a state school threw him out of class, saying, 'I don't want your right-wing views in my classroom,' testified at a legislative hearing that the bill would be a good idea, since it would curtail that kind of behavior. Once the student gets away from the microphone, the chairman of the philosophy department from the state university in question comes up, jams the kid in the chest with his finger, and says, 'I have a Ph.D. from Harvard, and I will sue your f---ing ass if this bill passes.' " A legislator, overhearing the threat from this anti-Socrates, noted: "That's exactly why we need this bill of rights."


The idea of intellectual diversity seems to be catching on even where the Academic Bill of Rights hasn't yet appeared. Consider Columbia University, currently embroiled in controversy because, as the New York Sun has reported, pro-Arab professors have promoted a venomously anti-Israel classroom agenda, jeering at students who disagree. In response, the liberal Columbia Daily Spectator, the school's major undergraduate paper, called for greater political balance on the faculty. "By not having a conservative voice hawk its wares in the hue and cry of the academic marketplace, Columbia is failing its students," the paper argued. "It

should be self-evident that a faculty that speaks with unanimity on some of the most divisive issues of the day is not fulfilling its duty."


SAF helps college kids resist classroom demagoguery, but where can a student go for teaching that doesn't ignore or denounce conservative ideas or traditional learning but instead explores them sympathetically? Some students look to the new conservative media--talk radio, Fox News Channel, the blogosphere. "Excluding one great economics professor, I learned more from listening to Rush Limbaugh every day than from all the NYU professors I've had," says Katherine Ernst, not really joking. Several students told

me that they read National Review Online and FrontPage daily as reality checks on their classes.


But if a student is really lucky, he'll find a prof like Princeton political scientist Robert George, a rare conservative who not only

survives but thrives in academe. Mr. George has sparked passionate intellectual interest among students. "Prof. George's stamp on our intellectual formation is unmistakable," confided one. Students particularly admire Mr. George's approach to intellectual debate. "For our papers," says Duncan Sahner, the intensely serious editor of the Princeton Tory, the campus's conservative magazine, "he stresses the need to engage in what he calls the 'strongest possible lines of counterargument.' Straw-man parries, he says, only hurt conservatism." Moreover, Mr. Sahner adds, "His interactions with those who disagree with him are great examples of professional courtesy."


Mr. George has also helped students expand their intellectual horizons through his fast-growing, four-year-old James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, a model of liberal education in the old-fashioned sense. It runs high-level lectures by such conservative thinkers as Justice Antonin Scalia and Harvard political theorist Harvey Mansfield, as well as such notable liberal scholars as Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and Michael Sandel. The program also enables Mr. George to appoint half a dozen visiting

Madison Fellows, whose ranks have included such conservative lights as political scientists Angelo Codevilla and Hadley Arkes.

 "All of a sudden," says one Princeton faculty member, "you've got a critical mass of conservative adults on campus, and conservative views become live options for students." And Princeton's right-leaning students have formed a little platoon around the Madison Program--as I discovered when, on short notice on a crisp November day, Mr. George gathered 25 or so of them to speak with me in front of a roaring fireplace.


Since few schools--and even fewer elite schools--boast such profs and programs, other national groups have rushed in to supply some of what's missing. The Virginia-based Young America's Foundation sponsors more than 200 university lectures a year by leading conservatives such as Mr. Horowitz, Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes and antifeminist critic Christina Hoff Sommers. Every year, thousands of students attend YAF's conferences on the principles of a free society, some held at the

Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbara, Calif., which the group bought in 1998.


The Intercollegiate Studies Institute, founded in 1953 but reinvigorated in recent years, is perhaps the biggest force fighting the left's campus domination. It sponsors hundreds of conservative campus lectures a year, rooted in "the enduring Western intellectual patrimony" of political and economic liberty, limited government, the rule of law, moral truth and personal responsibility. ISI's talks are usually more highbrow than YAF's: regular speakers include classicist Victor Davis Hanson and historian Forrest McDonald.

Another key initiative from ISI: a series of short student guides, written by first-rate scholars such as John Lukacs (on history) and Gerald Bradley (on constitutional law), that show undergraduates how to educate themselves in the traditional academic disciplines. Hundreds of thousands are now in print. In addition, ISI provides a guide to colleges that, among other features, warns college applicants about the schools that are particularly PC and shows them how to find teachers committed to scholarship rather than

indoctrination. Says Roger Kimball, whose pioneering "Tenured Radicals" exposed the left's campus stranglehold 15 years ago: "ISI is an indispensable ally in the fight against spurious claims to 'diversity,' 'tolerance,' and 'enlightenment' in the university, while also providing a beacon that serious students and scholars can follow with genuine profit. As Voltaire said about another supremely important fixture in the universe, if ISI did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it."


One of ISI's biggest boosts to campus conservatism has been to expand the number of right-leaning student publications. For some $1 million a year on printing costs and journalistic training, ISI now boasts 85 or so member publications at schools ranging from elite Columbia and the University of Chicago to small community colleges--a 50% jump from just a few years ago. More than 800 kids currently work on the papers. At their best, these publications mix serious analysis of both national and campus issues with impertinent antiliberal humor. The Virginia Advocate at UVa is a good example. A recent issue featured a thoughtful interview with

conservative critic Paul Cantor on popular culture, as well as the latest installment of a satirical column written by "The Stinky Hippy" (a recurring complaint of right-of-center college kids). An autumn issue of the Stanford Review mock-reported on "The Penis Dialogues: A journey of self-awakening . . . and penises"--but also editorialized with sharp intelligence about "Musharraf's Deception" in the war on terror. The campus left has greeted these publications with outrage. In 2003, at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, to take one prominent example, the Hawk's Right Eye--judged by the College Republican National Committee

the second-best conservative student paper in the country--published a spate of anti-PC articles, until university president Roy Nirschel charged that the paper had "crossed seriously over the lines of propriety and respect," "flirted with racist and anti-Islamic rhetoric," and--you guessed it--created a "hostile environment for our students and community." The school froze $2,700 in campus funds granted to the paper. It was a "death blow" for the Hawk's Right Eye, says editor Jason Mattera, silencing it for the year.


Student leftists, sometimes with the support of school officials, regularly try to shut down or shut up conservative student publications, practicing what civil libertarian Nat Hentoff calls "free speech for me and not for thee." A few years ago, for instance, Cornell's dean of students stood side by side with leftist students as they torched copies of the Cornell Review, which had run an article mocking Ebonics. An official university spokesman defended the burning as "symbolic." In 2003, Campus magazine reports, the liberal-controlled SUNY-Albany student association, solely for political reasons, nixed student activity funds for the right-leaning College Standard Magazine--this, after the magazine had already faced months of harassment from the campus left, including disruptions of its meetings by radical groups, thousands of copies stolen, and defacement of its display stands with anticonservative threats. The magazine's staff, claiming discrimination against their conservative ideas, won a 10-month court battle against the school to have funding restored. Of course, conservative kids face the same social pressures that all college students do. So how do they fare on the campus social scene? It varies by school. Students I interviewed who attended Southern schools said

that right-of-center kids were in the majority and set the tone. Harris Martin, a University of Georgia history major who estimates that over 60% of students there tilt right, says, "The culture is a distinctly Southern conservative one--hunting, football, big trucks and SUVs, camouflage, old baseball caps, fishing, country music and Southern rock." At Clemson in South Carolina, says poli-sci junior Andrew Davis, "the typical student is Republican," though most don't care much about politics.


The more politically correct culture prevailing at other schools, especially the Ivies, can be a problem for conservative students. Several Princeton freshmen believed that being seen as a conservative would make it harder for them to get into one of the school's prestigious "bicker" eating clubs--key sources of social standing on a status-conscious campus, and the places to party. "I've avoided writing any major articles for the Tory, because I'm afraid it could hurt me when it reaches the time for me to bicker," one freshman confessed. Two other students hesitated to talk with me for the same reason, while a third said that she, too, wouldn't write for the Tory until she had made it into a selective club.


But for all the anxiety of the Princeton students, conservative kids on most campuses are eager to engage their liberal classmates (at least the ones who aren't burning newspapers) and have sparked a genuinely two-sided conversation that so rarely occurs in the classroom. The University of Washington College Republicans, for example, hold regular debates with Young Democrats and other campus liberal groups. "I like to think that we're talking to young people who may not have formed their views and convincing them that our views are right," chapter head Nick Dayton recently observed. The conversation can continue in the dorms. "My roommate

and I used to spend hours watching old episodes of The West Wing," says Yalie Nikki McArthur. "She is as liberal as I am  conservative, and we always had little political debates during the commercial breaks."


Conservative students must also deal with the coed dorms and hookup sex, drink-till-you're-blitzed parties, and general civilizational chaos of life at many schools--vividly described by author Tom Wolfe in his new novel "I Am Charlotte Simmons"--that liberal educators abetted and encouraged when they rejected any in loco parentis duties decades ago and began to celebrate the idea of college being a time of "experimentation" and "growth." For some libertarian kids on the right, the social scene is A-OK. "Say what you will about us, we like to party!" enthuses "conservative libertarian" Ruben Duran, a University of Michigan junior. "More than our

fair share of sex, alcohol, rock 'n' roll. Not so much drugs, though," he adds helpfully. But for some conservative students, especially those from religious backgrounds, the bedlam can be unsettling.


Harvard's Jordan Hylden, a conservative Protestant, finds Mr. Wolfe's characterization of campus life "depressingly correct." As well he might, given the dean-supervised tailgate party for the Harvard-Yale football game this November, so out-of-control with  drunkenness, drugs and nudity that it made headlines in the Boston Herald. "Today's university is without morals or guiding principles, except one," Mr. Hylden contends: "to follow in all things the ideal of 'to thine own self be true.' Individual desires,

whatever they are, are affirmed, and the denial of these desires, by yourself or by another person or group, is the greatest possible evil."


Some conservative students feel considerable pressure to "grow." Jennifer Mickel, a pretty Princeton sophomore majoring in Near Eastern studies, is a Presbyterian from Monroe, La., and a moral traditionalist. She'll drink a bit, but random hookups are a big no. And she gets flak for it. "Many of my girlfriends describe their sexual exploits in graphic detail and tell me that I need to get over my 'penis fear,' " she confides. Many Princeton males, she says, expect sex, or at least "intimate preludes to it," to follow a conversation and a dance--and certainly a bite to eat. "I just don't understand how boys and girls alike can throw around intimate acts so lightly," Miss Mickel laments. Things are different back in Monroe, where the rules of courtship still apply (a point several Southern students made to me about their hometowns). Lots of students, she says, do eventually get into serious, almost-married relationships at Princeton, but these often grow out of "repeated hookups." "Perhaps, in a way, it's like a new kind of dating," Miss Mickel reflects wryly. "Binge drinking and hookups are pretty pervasive in collegiate culture," says Vanderbilt's Anne Malinee. "Generally, students across the political spectrum, even self-confessed conservatives, participate to some extent." Recent Indiana University grad (and now law student) Joshua Claybourn agrees: "It's not uncommon for me to hear, even among conservatives,

something like this: 'I don't have time for a relationship, so of course I hook up.' And I can count on one hand, among the thousands of students I've met, those who refrain from drinking regularly."


Helping students resist such pressures are a growing number of vigorous student religious groups, preaching moderation. College campuses nationwide have seen a "religious upsurge" over the last decade, the Christian Science Monitor reports. MIT is now home to 15 Christian fellowship groups--"a pretty stunning development for a university . . . where efficiency and rationality are embedded in the DNA of the cold granite campus," notes the Boston Globe, making the typical liberal assumption that one can't be both

an Evangelical Christian and rational. A new UCLA survey found that three-quarters of college juniors say that religious or spiritual beliefs have helped develop their identities, and 77% say that they pray.


The upperclassman leaders of these groups can set examples for younger students, as Princeton senior Renee Gardner, leader of Crossroads Christian Fellowship, tries to do with student drinking. "There's certainly pressure on most students involved in the typical social scene to drink to excess," says Miss Gardner, whose conservative values proved no bar to her joining one of the top Princeton bicker clubs. "I've chosen--as have many Christian friends--to abstain from drinking in those contexts, not only to make it

simpler for us to avoid blurring the line between acceptable and unacceptable levels of drinking, but also to make others feel more

comfortable who might not want to drink." Conservatives still have a long, long way to go before they can proclaim the left's control over the campus broken. The professorate remains a solidly left-wing body, more likely to assign Barbara Ehrenreich than

Milton Friedman, Michel Foucault than Michael Oakeshott, and nothing, not even David Horowitz's indefatigable activism, is going to change that soon. Nevertheless, thanks both to enterprising students and groups like ISI and SAF, the left's iron hold on academe is beginning to loosen. Anyone who cares about the education of our children--and the future political discourse of our country--can only cheer.



Mr. Anderson is senior editor of City Journal, in whose Winter issue this article appears, and author of "South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias," forthcoming from Regnery in March.


Francis McCollum Feeley

Professor of American Studies/

Director of Research at CEIMSA-IN-EXILE