Research is theft says David Horowitz

High academic salaries and low teaching loads are pricing working class kids out of university says David Horowitz. In a talk at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University Horowitz told academics that if they really as concerned about the working class as they pretended to be they should volunteer to teach extra classes to lower tuition costs. Apparently this upset some of the audience. As Horowitz recalls:

A distraught woman who said she was a bio-ethics professor got in my face as I was making my way to the door, claiming I was maligning her and her professor husband by saying that they only worked eight months out of the year and had a four month paid vacation at her students’ expense. “Well,” I replied, what do you do between the middle of May when finals are over and the end of September when school re-opens?” “I write my research papers,” she said in a tone so belligerent and richly indignant that I realized the conversation was hopeless. I would never break through that thick skin of “progressive” self-righteousness. “Oh,” I said, “in other words you use the time to work for yourself, at the students’ expense.” “This is a research university!” she practically cried, while we headed for the exits, leaving me to wonder what she did with the time she had free seven hours of every working day, and eight hours of the two days she wasn’t even in class during every week of the school year.

Horowitz was at the university at the invitation of the Bowling Green College Republicans. According to Erik Cribley "The College Republicans, of which I am a member, brought Horowitz here for two reasons. 1. With the recent controversy surrounding the Horowitz inspired Senate Bill 24 we found his views on Academic Freedom to be particularly relevant. 2. We knew he would piss liberals off."

Horowitz is campaigning for legislation which would regulate what academics teach their students. His Academic Bill of Rights has been taken up by legislators Congress and a number of states. Critics point out that this would make academics accountable to the courts. Judges would have to decide on issues such as what counts as a "significant scholarly viewpoint."

At first glance this all seems rather odd. American conservatives don’t tell researchers at pharmaceutical companies that they should work longer hours for lower pay to make drugs more affordable for the working class. And in conservative circles, judges and government regulation are usually painted as part of the problem – not the solution. But it’s only confusing if you think that Horowitz is being sincere. The Academic Bill of Rights is a piece of tit-for-tat aggravation in retaliation for things like speech codes and affirmative action. And the comments about academics denying working class kids a chance at an education is just an attempt to irritate his critics and throw them off balance.

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meika
2022 years ago

he’s a troll with legislative power, scary

Tim Lambert
2022 years ago

Horowitz is a spammer as well.
http://timlambert.org/politics/horowitzspam.html

Nic White
2022 years ago

Ah Horowitz and SAF, I remember writing about these guys in December when they were accusing teachers of being too liberal, and then blowing the issue out of proportion to

1. Claim that university faculty are mostly liberals.
2. Complain about the “left-wing domination of the media.”
3. Construct a strawman to freak out people into passing stupid legislation like this.
4. Paint professors as lazy and a drain on public and student researchers that just indoctrinate their children. Give them a pay cut and restric their teaching to stuff we like!
5. Draw a link between 1 and 4 to further demonise liberals.

Its getting so fucking boring.

mark
2022 years ago

I read somewhere that, in response to right-wing complaints about left-wing domination of universities, they should be offered a trade: every Cultural Studies dept. they could possibly want, in exchange for the White House, the Supreme Court, Congress, the Senate, and the Pentagon.

Sounds fair to me.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

as someone whose most extreme left wing phase was as a keynesian social democrat and who has remained either blandly centre left or centre right most of my life, i have to say i highly distrust people who tend to verge from one extreme to another. david horowitz obviously fits this mould, as do some people i have met in the libertarian world. these people are looking for a substitute religion and in other circumstances might equally have ended up as as a skinhead or Moonie.

Cameron Riley
2022 years ago

Jason, The head moonie owns the Washington Times, which has become an uncritical US Republican cheer-leader rag.

Mindy
Mindy
2022 years ago

Nice, soft easy target. Get people to focus on the alleged holidays and short face to face hours and ignore the fact that tenure often depends on publishing research papers and that the University can often make quite a lot of money from its lecturers/researchers. The same tactic is used quite often against teachers. I did shorter hours working 9-5 in the Public Service than I ever did as a (casual) teacher, and there were only a couple of managers to keep in line, not 30 adolescents.

Kieran Bennett
2022 years ago

Sincere or not, the POV expressed by Horowitz is indicative of a view of Universities as degree factories. God forbid universities did more than prepare the next generation of little automons for the workforce.

blank
blank
2022 years ago

Here we go again.

Instead of considering the idea, let’s try a nice ‘argumentum ad hominem’.

Let’s do a reverse of what Nic White advocates, just changing the labels/libels.

Horowitz is a right-wing-conservative-Republican (I think that’s one word) Jew, so no consideration of any of his ideas is necessary.

My spouse and I are former consumers of university product, and parents of a current consumer. We have observed, and been the victim of, abysmal teaching at uni.

The interaction with bio-ethics professor sums it up quite nicely. The taxpayer funds universities in the belief that they are teaching institutions. The students go to uni to be taught. The academics believe unis exits to provide them with research facilities – and if they have any time left over from this primary function, they’ll grudgingly do a bit of teaching if they have to.

Have I been unfair to the academics? Ever heard of an academic being promoted for anything other than publication? Every heard of one getting the heave-ho for being an incompetent teacher?

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

When I was a little radical, me and my little radical friends regarded Horowitz’s ‘From Yalta to Vietnam’ (aka ‘The Free World Colossus’) as a kind of bible. FrontPage is pretty awful, but H.’s own autobiography, ‘Radical Son’ is worth a read.

Mindy
Mindy
2022 years ago

Blank – yes crap teachers do get invited to leave the profession it’s called not having their contract renewed. Unfortunately it also often happens to good teachers who rock the boat once too often. I am not overly familiar with the university promotions scheme, but I think it is largely based on what you bring to the university, ie: potentially valuable research. This is why arts funding is being consistenly funnelled off into other projects. Perhaps it is the overall university ethos that should be questioned rather than the academics who work within it?

Warbo
Warbo
2022 years ago

blank: “Horowitz is a right-wing-conservative-Republican (I think that’s one word) Jew, so no consideration of any of his ideas is necessary.”

No one on this thread has said anything remotely resembling this, and it is shameful for you to put those kinds of words into anyone’s mouths. Evidently your teachers at university failed to teach you logic and your parents failed to teach you manners.

I don’t post often, but I read most of Troppo, and I think, Ken, blank’s comment is a perfect example of why civil discourse on a blog is so hard.

James Farrell
James Farrell
2022 years ago

Blank says: ‘The taxpayer funds universities in the belief that they are teaching institutions. The students go to uni to be taught. The academics believe unis exits to provide them with research facilities – and if they have any time left over from this primary function, they’ll grudgingly do a bit of teaching if they have to.’

There is a grain of truth in this, but it has nothing to do with the political views of the academics. On paper, competent teaching does matter for tenure and promotion, but in practice it makes little difference. I have seen plenty of hopeless teachers promoted; whether their politics are left or right has nothing to do with it.

The notion that if you’re concerned about the poor you should offer them your services cheaper, really applies to everyone, not just academics. But just as a lawyer with a social conscience will do pro bono work for poor people, an academic might devote above-load consulation hours to a bright student with a socio-economic handicap.

Jason’s point about not trusting flop-flop ideologues is spot on.

James Farrell
James Farrell
2022 years ago

Flip-flop.

Paul Watson
2022 years ago

This time, I’m with “blank”

blank
blank
2022 years ago

Yes, Warbo, everyone was being so civil, and playing the ball not the man.

“he’s a troll”

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

People do change their minds, sometimes radically, in light of circumstances, reflection, and life’s experiences, Jason and James. I don’t see anything necessarily wrong with that.

James Farrell
James Farrell
2022 years ago

I don’t follow your logic, Paul. You want to sack people whom Dawkins made university academics because….

Because they’re older? If older academics are your target, why not sack all academics over, say, 55?

Because they do less research? But you’re also saying that research is too heavily weighted.

Because they’re worse teachers? They aren’t, actually. I’ve worked in both pre- and post-Dawkins universities, and I can confidently say that, as a group, the people you want to sack have higher teaching standards than those who were nurtured in a publish-or-perish environment.

It sounds an awful lot like personal bitterness speaking, and it wouldn’t be the first time.

James Farrell
James Farrell
2022 years ago

Rob

Sure. But when it’s only the opinons that change, while the person exhibits exactly the same style of self-promotion, name-calling and factionalism as before, you know you’re dealing someone who’s an attention seeker and megolomaniac first, and a thinker second.

Paul Watson
2022 years ago

James Farrell wrote:

“I don’t follow your logic, Paul. You want to sack people whom Dawkins made university academics because….

Because they’re older? If older academics are your target, why not sack all academics over, say, 55?”

James Farrell
James Farrell
2022 years ago

OK, it’s clear now, though it would have been good manners to acknowledge that the first comment was both unclear and contradictory. You are targetting the ex-CAE group *for the sole reason* that they are not generally researchers, and *in spite of* your general contention that research is weighted too heavily.

Warbo
Warbo
2022 years ago

But blank, Horowitz was being criticised for what he says and does. Just because you don’t agree with that criticism doesn’t necessarily make it abuse.

You, however, suggested that people opposed Horowitz because, among other things, he is Jewish, when they had not come close to saying any such thing. That’s odious.

Tiny Tyrant
2022 years ago

Horowitz caught a pie in the face recently.

According to him, this constituted an “assault”.

Violence can be funny.

harry
harry
2022 years ago

I seriously think that the left leaners (myself included of course) should embrace Horowitz fully on this. And it’s such a good idea we should apply it to every profession.
What a utopia it would be!

Since Horowitz was brought into stir the left, stir back by making him a figurehead for complete societal change to help the poor and helpless of the world!

David Tiley
2022 years ago

Hard to believe that people who inhabit the blogosphere to actually discuss and learn would object in general to university research.

We get the benefits of it, in huge lumps, free, every day. Where do you think many of the people on this blog get their ideas?

Perhaps people who attack university research should sign a “document of integrity” by which they refuse to use any service from our society that was based on university research.

It would be a great experiment – a sort of RWDB version of the film about eating maccas. Can you actually live in our society without using the benefits of basic science?

Cristy
2022 years ago

I am really surprised that people are being so critical of academics for using their time to perform research. Universities have always been places where knowledge was taught AND pursued. How on earth could people remain experts in their fields or even well-informed, without engaging in research? Even more importantly, how would we generate new research that was beneficial for society without public univerisities? It is hardly going to be generated by private enterprise.

As has also been pointed out, research makes money for Universities. Surely this is a good thing, even for the more neo-liberal amongst you?

Robert
2022 years ago

Horowitz’s rhetoric is very similar to Brendan Nelson’s — why should a plumber subsidise an engineering student? But don’t ask him to extend it beyond his pet targets — why should healthy me subsidise a cancer patient?

Stephen Hill
Stephen Hill
2022 years ago

And the closed shop AMA which Nelson used to head has never ever cried out for subsidies in its lifetime. I think I’ll just slump back and rest on the safety net I hear its such a comfy cushion. Ouch!!! the election ads didn’t mention such a painful landing, I think I’ve netted myself a few bruises, back to the docs.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

“People do change their minds, sometimes radically, in light of circumstances, reflection, and life’s experiences, Jason and James. I don’t see anything necessarily wrong with that.”

Nothing wrong with changing one’s mind in the face of overwhelming evidence, Rob. It’s the nature of the flip flopping which I was alluding to. He’s gone from advocating the storming of the barricades to advocating the err… storming of the barricades. New barricades, new elites, same unconstructive vilification of elites, same trumped up charges of ‘oppression’. What really pisses me off about these converts is that because 10 years enough they were stupid enough to believe in some loopy far-left ideas and feel so cheated as a result that they have to take it out on the rest of us by violently dismissing and caricaturing every left wing idea whereas those of us critical enough to take the best of both worlds and throw out the chaff and who were never fooled to begin with bear the brunt of being chastised by these johnny-come-latelys as dupes.

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Ah well, Horowitz is a useful corrective to Daily Kos and Democratic Underground, I guess. I don’t have a problem with him, though his is not company I would care to keep. I don’t know what you’re getting so upset about, Jason.

Manas
2022 years ago

Cristy, good point.

Paul, Blank – many uni staff I know of are grossly overloaded with teaching, while being required to maintain a certain publication record in order to keep their jobs.

It makes it impossible for research to be performed properly or throughly and the teaching quality iteself suffers. I agree that teaching is fundamental to a university, and I actually further believe that academics have an obligation to educate people in their chosen area of research. But I think you’re overstating the importance of teaching, or forgetting that teaching is not actually possible unless you do the research to back up your theories and keep up with current ideas. It’s a continual process of reading and writing that is fundamental to the university education experience as a whole.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

And so it goes. Just another right-wing conspicuous indignation gig, underlying which is nonsense, that won’t amount to a hill of beans.

As Nic said early on, fuck it’s getting boring.

Martin Pike
2022 years ago

Surely it is up to the Uni to ensure that academic output matches up to hours and salary. It isn’t the academics who set the minimum publication rates that decide whether they progress in/sustain their careers, and the push is on from most Unis to up that. He talks about research output like it is a hobby, as if they are playing saxaphone or collecting chessboards.

But by all means let the batwings trash their research institutions, because from a competitive mercantilist point of view that will only increase the opportunities for countries that promote their research base.

Nic White
2022 years ago

As others have said, people fail to realise that probably the majority of research is done by university faculty using university resources. If this research wasnt done, there are many, many things that just would not have been developed.

To restrict and downgrade university research is to stunt technological and social development. Its that simple.

Rafe
2022 years ago

It is possible to sympathise with Horowitz and others who deplore the intolerance and anti-intellectualism of tenured radicals, without suggesting that the situation can or should be improved by legal or bureaucratic methods. It may take for ever, indeed like Sisphyus pushing the rock up hill, it may never be done, but the better way is to buckle down to the task of lifting the standards of civilised behaviour and rational debate, as many people on Troppo are committed to do.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

umm, who do you regard as a ‘tenured radical’ Rafe? and how influential do you think they are nowadays? if anyone is a ‘tenured radical’ it’s Horowitz, a man who’s spent all his life wallowing among utopian extremists on both ends of the spectrum and never gotten a real job.

Cameron Riley
2022 years ago

Nic, The Universities patent what they can. That is an artificial barrier to use of that technology. It is also what private companies do. We end up with half-half abominations like Telstra; frozen and of less use to everyone.

Universites cant be flexible and give the education market what it wants as Government money comes with the Government telling the University what to do. The government also pollutes it by telling the Universities to be self-sufficient in the same stroke. So public-funded research, done with Government dollars, ends up bound under IP laws.

Pure research is also less and less as Universities seek sponsors for their research projects. We may need to take a leaf out of the US’s textbook and funnel pure R&D funding into military and space programs.

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2022 years ago

“And so it goes. Just another right-wing conspicuous indignation gig, underlying which is nonsense, that won’t amount to a hill of beans.

As Nic said early on, fuck it’s getting boring.”

I’ve said it before, Chris, I do feel your pain. But you know conspicuous moral indignation has been the the life blood of leftist preaching for all of my adult life and it has informed my own right wing attitude in the strongest way.

It IS fucking boring and it will fuel the return of “the pendulum” towards the centre, …alas. In the mean time please suck it up because you do deserve it.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Thank you James. How morally considerate.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

Universities are increasingly being publicly exposed as little more than centres for left-wing indoctrination and propaganda.

I forsee that many universities will either be radically transformed or abolished in the next twenty years. They serve little or no useful purpose that cannot be fulfilled by technical colleges or the Internet.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

“They serve little or no useful purpose that cannot be fulfilled by technical colleges or the Internet.”

As you are being wheeled into the operating theatre for your life saving operation, EP, think about the prospect of asking the surgeon where he studied medicine, and getting the answer, “on the internet”.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

Nice straw man argument there, Dave. Did they teach you that at university?

harry
harry
2022 years ago

EP,
What is a technical college that teaches medicine by any other name: a university!
Ba bowwwww!
Try again.

“Universities are increasingly being publicly exposed as little more than centres for left-wing indoctrination and propaganda.”

Hmm, well since people who go to Uni general complain that they want a better education and can’t because they aren’t funded properly, then yes they are part of that great bastion of leftist thought that is ‘Education should be funded properly'(!).
Whoop de doo.

They are also being exposed as (shock horror) the place where we get our baby engineers, baby pharmacists, baby economists etc from.
What is you point EP?

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

My point is that we need baby engineers, baby doctors, etc — but we don’t need baby lefties.

Therefore we don’t need the left-indoctrination components of the universities.

In a way it’s good that lefties keep up the arrogance and political exclusivity of the ivory tower preserve — this will make it much easier to get public support fo rthe necessary cutbacks.

mark
2022 years ago

EP, you remind me of a character named Shadwell, who despised all “Southerners” as “pansies”, and “by inference was standing at the North Pole”.

Left up to you to decide what is “lefty indoctrination” and what should escape any ideological purge, there would be very little left over.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

And that’s the way it should be!

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

It’sno straw man, EP. Here’s another example. Next time you drive over a bridge, be thankful that it was designed by a university-trained engineer. Otherwiswe, it might fall down.

Or if your dog gets sick, you’ll be thankful that the vet was trained at a university.

Or if you don’t like that one, if you get divorced, you’ll be glad your lawyer learned the law at a university and not some web site.

(Of course, that one cuts both ways since your wife also will have a university trained lawyer. Your wife’s lawyer might have also majored in Women’s Studies when doing an Arts degree, and will be ideologically determined to screw every last cent of you, hypothetically.)

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

“and will be ideologically determined to screw every last cent of you, hypothetically …”

(And quite possibly steal your sperm as well – much more difficult on the Internet).

Hasn’t it occurred to anyone that EP is just being provocative for the sake of it? And having a hell of a good time doing it. But don’t let me stop you from arguing with him if you’re enjoying it too.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

We’ll see how EP responds, but I was trying to be provocative.