Rightwing nut David Horowitz just finished celebrating Islamofascist Awareness Week. One of the goals of Horowitz’s exercise is to intimidate faculty and students into political correctness*. A while back, while reading Hanna Rosen’s God’s Harvard, this description of how one faculty member at Jesus mill Patrick Henry College**, Bob Stacey, was fired for teaching those heretical philosophers Kant and Plato struck as the kind of campus Horowitz would like:
Just before class, someone pointed out the window, where you could still see the outlines of last night’s moon. “Please take your seats,” said Bob Stacey, sounding oddly formal. In honor of spring, someone was wearing a bow tie dotted with daisies; someone else was wearing a lime green polo. But Stacey didn’t joke about those things, or anything else. He waited up at the front of the room in his olive green button-down shirt and khakis, looking much like himself, but different. In his hand he was holding not the Gettysburg Address or any of Lincoln’s other writings that were on the syllabus for the day. He was holding a copy of the 2005-2006 Patrick Henry student handbook. His expression was difficult to interpret, beyond sober.
But when he began to read, it was in a shaky voice the students had never heard before. “The mission of Patrick Henry College is to prepare Christian men and women who will lead our nation and shape our culture with timeless Biblical values and fidelity to the spirit of the American founding.”
He seemed too exposed, like a father who’d come home from work one day to tell his children he’d lost his job and to seek their reassurance. But as he continued, his voice steadied, as if he was finding himself in the words he was reading. “Educating students according to a classical liberal-arts curriculum, and training them with apprenticeship methodology, the College provides academically excellent baccalaureate-level higher education with a Biblical worldview.”
He looked up. “I agree with that statement. But if anyone here feels conflicted about whether my teaching is inconsistent with anything in this statement, I would urge you to leave the class. You can be excused without the usual penalty for absence. I would not expect you to tolerate teaching in error. In fact, if you believe that, it is your duty and obligation to leave.”
Kinda creepy. But wait for the students’ reactions (bold mine):
Silence, although the puzzled faces implied a million questions: Why are you asking us? What can we do for you? Are you leaving? But no one said anything, and eventually Stacey resumed where he’d left off the previous lesson, with the Gettysburg Address. But no one took any notes. “Please God, let it be all right,” one girl sitting in the back whispered to herself. And for about ten minutes, it was. Then another girl sitting in the middle of the front row raised her hand. She was pale, with reddish hair, and she was known to hang out with the Mod Squad. In class she talked a little, but not much. Her trademark was her velvet cape, which she tied on mostly for Tolkien-related affairs. “I’d like to be excused,” she said. She picked up her things and walked out.
One of Daniel Noa’s friends found her in the hallway. At first she seemed only quietly agitated, but when they spoke she seemed to be in a state of “emotional hysterics,” he reported to another friend on his cell phone. She explained that she was not against Stacey. Who could be? But she just couldn’t quite read which way the Holy Spirit was guiding her.
So she walked out.
Stacey was fired because a student was listening to voices in her head–and the grownups took these voices seriously. Which explains everything you need to know about David Horowtiz.
*Historically, political correctness wasn’t used to describe some of the silliness of well-intentioned campus multiculturalists, but intimidation by business, government, and religious authorities, which is something we’ve had a lot of during the reign of Little Lord Pontchartrain. Then again, perception used to mean clarity and insight, not “what someone thinks” too.
**While I derisively refer to Patrick Henry College as a Jesus mill, because it is a Jesus mill, dozens of graduates have been placed in the government during Bush’s administration, most notably in the White House and the intelligence services (really).