January 31, 2005

RE:WITMO (Where is the Moral Outrage)

Marc Comtois

To continue in my role as a WITMO amplifier and hope provider, I would like to point to a new book by Larry Schweikart and Michael Patrick Allen, A Patriot's History of the United States : From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror. Schweikart was interviewed at FrontPage about the motivation for writing the book, which boiled down to Schweikart finding "a numbing similarity in all the U.S. history textbooks: they all seemed heavily tilted to the left." He sought out Allen and both agreed that a joint venture to set the record straight was worthwhile. They have hopes that the book will be able to capture some of the market, especially high school, homeschool and a few "conservative" higher education outlets. As for puncturing the "mainstream" academic market, the authors are

. . .less optimistic. The academy is unique in the social and economic culture of the United States, in that it is essentially immune from the market forces that discipline every other activity. I highly recommend a book by my fellow Ohioan, Richard Vedder, Going Broke By Degree, on this topic. But here’s what we have: the faculty (aided and abetted by leftist administrations) sets the intellectual agenda. Trustees cannot control them, parents cannot control them, and even the students---who are less willing to put up with left-wing demagougery---really can’t control them. In the first place, faculty have an iron grip on hiring. No conservative can even get close to a final three cut-down in a search. Mike and I are rare, rare exceptions, and there are a few. But you’ve seen the numbers. In most universities it’s 10:1 liberal to conservative.

Worse, there is no competition, because the mind-set of those at the top convinces them that all of their competitors have the same views they do, so they steadily drift further left. . .

However, I can’t completely lose hope. In my lifetime, I’ve seen something occur that I would have thought impossible---the demise of the MainstreamMedia (MSM) and the rise of “alternative” or “conservative” voices with almost as much power and influence, including the Internet and sites such as Frontpagemagazine.com . Twenty-five years ago, who would have predicted that the “big three” would be in a news ratings free-fall, or that a radio host like Rush Limbaugh would have as much influence over a large part of the country as the New York Times? So given that it happened in the media, anything’s possible. But right now, I don’t see educational reform on the horizon. I hope I’m wrong.

The examples of Bill Felkner and Schweikart and Allen give us hope, tempered by a realistic analysis of the overwhelming ideological hurdles in academia, that it is worth the attempt to equalize the ideological situation within the Ivory Tower. The question remains whether the old Tower can be refurbished or if it will have to be torn down and replaced.

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While I like the ring of your being a "WITMO amplifier," I do have a concern that those on the other side might jump on the acronym to increase their store of inane chants, specifically when it comes to American military interrogations in Cuba.

Posted by: Justin Katz at January 31, 2005 1:14 PM

Something like....
Hey Hey!
Ho Ho!
Stop the hegemonic American empire led by the tyrannical, hitleresque oil-funded "W"

Posted by: Marc Comtois at January 31, 2005 1:20 PM

In fact, "A Patriot's History of the United States" has numerous errors that are difficult to explain. For example, in just two paragraphs about the Reagan tax cuts, the book puts forward three numbers and gets all three of them wrong. You can see a description of these errors at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1338034/posts?q=1&&page=51#59, along with a response from Larry Schweikart, one of the authors.

Posted by: B. Oakley at February 25, 2005 1:33 AM