Long

On Civility and Academia

With regard to what is commonly meant by intemperate discussion, namely invective, sarcasm, personality, and the like, the denunciation of these weapons would deserve more sympathy if it were ever proposed to interdict them equally to both sides; but it is only desired to restrain the employment of them against the prevailing opinion; against the unprevailing, they may not only be used without general disapproval, but will be likely to obtain for him who uses them the praise of honest zeal and righteous indignation.

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

 

The notion of academic freedom captures several distinct claims. It asserts that academic peers are best placed to judge scholarly competence and accordingly that on all such professional matters they should be granted autonomy. This component of academic freedom is designed to preempt extra-scholarly considerations from tainting employment decisions. Beyond the right to professional autonomy, academic freedom also asserts that pursuit of the life of the mind requires complete liberty of thought. Insofar as the academic community is devoted to attaining truth, its mission cannot be realized if barriers restrict the mind from meandering down paths of inquiry less traveled. The right of an academic to liberty of thought additionally means that outside the professional setting, scholars should enjoy the ordinary rights of a democratic citizen to speak their minds and accordingly that extramural utterances should not bear on the assessment of professional competence. Historically, the great battles over academic freedom in the United States were fought first to free university life from the hold of clerical bias (sponsored by private denominations, American colleges were originally the “ward of religion”), then economic bias (in particular, corporate interference),[i] and then political bias (the periodic Red Scares climaxing in McCarthyism).[ii]

Even if fully redeemed, academic freedom is not quite so unfettered as it might appear prima facie. Insofar as your colleagues decide your competence, you won’t survive the academic vetting process very long if they are of the decided opinion that your speculations, however copiously documented and compellingly advanced, lack scholarly merit. Ruling the roost, successful academics develop a stake in the intellectual status quo. In fields that are highly politicized, these academics, most of whom have reconciled with the reigning orthodoxy, reflexively quash or, at any rate, look askance at dissent.  In practice, professional autonomy and liberty of thought mean that, until gaining admittance to the community of arbiters, you can express heretical ideas in the academy so long as your advisors approve your dissertation; so long as refereed journals approve your articles for publication; so long as expert readers for university presses recommend your manuscripts for publication; and so long as, once entering the marketplace of ideas, your publications are well received among authorities in the field.[iii]

The most urgent problems regarding liberty of speech arise not from what can and can’t be said within the university but what can and can’t be said outside it.

I do not see how a university could function in the absence of such policing, but it would be unworldly naïve to deny that ego and political agendas often make a mockery of professional arbitration and free inquiry. The ultimate consequence of these police functions is that long before a tenure decision is made, most would-be academics have internalized the permissible limits of academic freedom. Consequently, few candidates are denied tenure on explicitly political grounds. However, inferring a high degree of tolerance in the ivory tower from the paucity of politicized tenure cases is an optical illusion born of focusing on the final stage of the socialization process. Such an inference fails to account for how many aspirants to the life of the mind inconspicuously and incrementally accommodate themselves to the rules of the academic game many years before they come up for tenure, or even land a tenure-track job. It also fails to account for how many leave academia from intellectual frustration. It was one of the exhilarating revelations of my graduate school experience at an elite institution how many colleagues in my entering class fancied themselves Marxists—truly The Revolution was imminent if even Princeton was replete with radicals—and one of the sobering revelations how many ceased to be Marxists once going on the job market.

Having said this, it is nonetheless my impression that academia is a relatively freewheeling place so long as one’s opinions are kept within university confines. Rightwing commentators who declaim against liberal bias in many (if politically the most innocuous) departments of higher education are not far off the mark. If you stick to speaking only at academic conferences, publishing only in academic journals, and being formally deferential to your academic colleagues, pretty much anything goes, at any rate, at non-elite academic institutions, where faculty opinions have no public resonance. Just as the number of persons denied tenure each year on political grounds is, in my opinion, greatly exaggerated, so are the allegations of “academic McCarthyism” and assaults on academic freedom. If many choose along the way to forsake the academic track, it is not because they feel intellectually stifled, but because they prudentially decide that the sacrifices are not worth the meager rewards (not least in salary), and because academia is such a petty place rife with cliques and cabals, backbiting and back-stabbing, preening and posturing. Probably the only true thing Henry Kissinger said was, “University politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.”

The most urgent problems regarding liberty of speech arise not from what can and can’t be said within the university but what can and can’t be said outside it. Apart from the constraints that professional autonomy imposes on intellectual inquiry, the social status conferred on academics may also impose limits on what they might say. Put otherwise, what you utter in your civilian life might be, or appear to be, so offensive to current sensibilities, so unbecoming your professional stature—so uncivil—that it will jeopardize your right to teach. If such a conflict rarely arises nowadays it is because most self-described dissenting academics inhabit a politically correct cocoon world, where the more bizarre one’s personal orientation, the more protected one is, especially if one loudly complains how oppressed one is. But if an academic steps into the public sphere and gives vent to genuinely heterodox opinions, it is at his or her peril.

It is highly improbable that the Israel lobby would have waged such a vicious campaign to deny me tenure had I restricted myself to an academic milieu. In fact, by the current standards of the ivory tower my opinions on the Israel-Palestine conflict are quite tame: I do not oppose a two-state settlement, I do not extenuate Palestinian terrorism, and I do not define myself as anti-Zionist. What provoked the national hysteria was my political activism. I wanted and was able to reach a fairly wide audience while, worse still, appearing reasonable. Meanwhile the lobby’s arsenal of conventional smears—“anti-Semite,” “Holocaust denier,” “crackpot”—wouldn’t adhere: I was Jewish, my parents survived the Nazi holocaust, and my professional credentials withstood scrutiny. In an earlier epoch but on a truly grand scale, the eminent British philosopher Bertrand Russell too endured the tribulations of a dissident public intellectual.

 

The Bertrand Russell Case

Russell3

In 1940 Russell was appointed to the philosophy department at the College of the City of New York. Almost immediately the Catholic Church and rightwing forces orchestrated a witch-hunt on account of Russell’s heretical opinions on religion and morality expressed in publications geared to a popular audience. A lawsuit was filed against the City of New York to rescind Russell’s appointment on the grounds of his being “lecherous, libidinous, lustful, venerous, erotomaniac, aphrodisiac, irreverent, narrow-minded, untruthful and bereft of moral fiber.”[iv] In short, he was alleged to be a pervert. Despite an outpouring of support from his former students, leading lights of higher education, and the liberal public, the court decided against Russell. “This appointment affects the public health, safety and morals of the community,” the judge stated in his opinion,

“and it is the duty of the court to act. Academic freedom does not mean academic license. It is the freedom to do good and not to teach evil. Academic freedom cannot authorize a teacher to teach that murder or treason are good…The appointment of Dr. Russell is an insult to the people of the city of New York…in effect establishing a chair of indecency.”[v]

 

Morally serious faculty members feel obliged to justify public statements or actions that appear outrageous rather than wave off criticism as “none of your business.”

Russell’s advocates pursued two seemingly complementary but really contradictory lines of defense. Some, such as John Dewey, mainly argued that the accusations were false and defamatory, Russell’s actual opinions having been grossly distorted by the court.[vi] His advocates said that he was of unimpeachable character in every respect. Others, such as Russell himself, mainly argued that his opinions on religion and morality were beside the point because he was hired to teach mathematics, logic and the philosophy of science. In other words, it was of no account even if his opinions were perverted.

It must be said that, however much the judge might have hyperbolized, Russell’s opinions on sexual mores did—by the public sensibilities of his time—constitute an outrage. The claim of Russell’s defenders that the court lifted all his opinions out of context was disingenuous. “Exhibit A” for the prosecution and the judge was Russell’s book Marriage and Morals (1929; reprinted, New York: 1970). Alongside many lyrical passages on love and sex quoted by his defenders, one could also read:

“this law [barring homosexuality] is the effect of a barbarous and ignorant superstition, in favor of which no rational argument of any sort or kind can be advanced” (pp. 110-11);

“it is good for children to see each other and their parents naked whenever it so happens naturally” (p. 116);

“uninhibited civilized people, whether men or women, are generally polygamous in their instincts” (p. 139);

“where a marriage is fruitful and both parties to it are reasonable and decent the expectation ought to be that it will be lifelong, but not that it will exclude other sex relations” (p. 142);

“I do not think that prostitution can be abolished wholly” (p. 148);

“I think that all sex relations which do not involve children should be regarded as a purely private affair, and that if a man and a woman choose to live together without having children, that should be no one’s business but their own” (pp. 165-66);

“I should not hold it desirable that either a man or a woman should enter upon the serious business of marriage…without having had previous sexual experience” (p. 166);

“No doubt the ideal father is better than none, but many fathers are so far from ideal that their non-existence might be a positive advantage to children” (pp. 196-97);

“Adultery in itself should not, to my mind, be a ground for divorce. Unless people are restrained by inhibitions or strong moral scruples, it is very unlikely that they will go through life without occasionally having strong impulses to adultery” (p. 230).

 

In addition to these politically incorrect opinions for his time, Russell also expressed many politically incorrect opinions for our time:

“during [the 19th century] the British stock was peopling large parts of the world previously inhabited by a few savages” (p. 245);

“one can generally tell whether a man is a clever man or a fool by the shape of his head” (p. 256);

“The objections to [sterilization] which one naturally feels are, I believe, not justified. Feeble-minded women, as everyone knows, are apt to have enormous numbers of illegitimate children, all, as a rule, wholly worthless to the community….it is quite clear that the number of idiots, imbeciles, and feeble-minded could, by such measures, be enormously diminished” (pp. 258-59);

“In extreme cases there can be little doubt of the superiority of one race to another. North America, Australia and New Zealand certainly contribute more to the civilization of the world than they would do if they were still peopled by aborigines.  It seems on the whole fair to regard negroes as on the average inferior to white men, although for work in the tropics they are indispensable, so that their extermination (apart from questions of humanity) would be highly undesirable” (p. 266).

 

It must also be noted that, following Dewey’s line of defense, if what was alleged about Russell’s opinions were true, it would be grounds for stripping him of his academic post.[vii] Russell himself could not have been pleased with this inference because it hit too close to home, which is perhaps why he primarily based his defense not on the court’s mangling of his opinions but on their irrelevance to his academic calling:

“I claim two things: 1. that appointments to academic posts should be made by people with some competence to judge a man’s technical qualifications; 2. that in extra-professional hours a teacher should be free to express his opinions, whatever they may be.”[viii]

 

And yet more emphatically Russell wrote, in a letter to The New York Times that lent him only tepid support, “In a democracy it is necessary that people should learn to endure having their sentiments outraged.”[ix]

How tenable is Russell’s position? In my opinion, not very. A collection of articles in defense of Russell included this sober reflection of a school administrator, which merits lengthy quotation:

As a reductio ad absurdum, think of trying to retain on any faculty teachers who openly advocate … the assassination of the President. …[T]here is always a limit. The teacher who thinks that this limit does not apply to him is not facing reality. The administrator must necessarily take this fact into account in employing and retaining faculty members. He must recognize that neither students nor the public will segregate a man’s teachings in one field from his general teachings, his statements in class from his public pronouncements, his philosophy from his life. He must recognize that, whether or not it ought to be so, students and public consider that the appointment of a teacher places a stamp of approval on him as a whole; it invests him with a prestige which seems to justify youth in considering him an example whom it might be well to follow. The teacher must be considered in his entirety. This does not mean that he must be a plaster saint, but it means that his assets must clearly outweigh his liabilities.[x]

 

I find it hard to quarrel with this opinion either as a factual statement—for better or worse a professor will not be judged only on his professional competence[xi]—or as a normative one—because students often defer to the moral authority of a professor and because the title professor carries unique moral prestige, a professor ought to acquit himself in a morally responsible fashion.  It cannot be plausibly maintained that a scholar, however gifted, who advocates the desirability of “lynching niggers” would, or should, be granted an academic post. Indeed, ought not professors take pride in the social capital invested in them and conduct themselves in a manner commensurate with this honor? Every responsible professor intuitively understands this. It is why we are embarrassed by a faculty member who in word or deed demeans the stature of the profession—i.e., carries on in public like an ass. It is also why morally serious faculty members feel obliged to justify public statements or actions that appear outrageous rather than wave off criticism as “none of your business.” The realistic and responsible question then becomes: What sorts of conduct should be reckoned unacceptable and accordingly liable to censure and sanction?

Before turning to this question I want to enter a crucial caveat. In the ensuing remarks I will be addressing legitimate constraints on speech outside the classroom. Inside the classroom I am rather old-fashioned on what is and is not proper. A lectern should not serve as a soapbox, a classroom should not be a venue for indoctrination, a professor should not be the conveyer belt for a party/politically correct line. Plato said, “The object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful.”[xii] It is not the worst aphorism, although I prefer a slightly amended, less authoritarian version: The object of education is to teach us to love the mind at play—while minds fully realized will probably concur on the beauty of many things. On most topics in the social sciences—really, social ideologies—arguments can be made on both sides and it is nearly always a question of weighing and balancing, of preponderances, not absolutes. There might be consensus on the evil of violent genocide and the inhumanity of chattel slavery, but no such consensus exists on the evil of capitalism, which arguably causes millions to perish each year from hunger and preventable diseases, and the inhumanity of wage slavery, Chaplin’s Modern Times notwithstanding. Although the issue of torture once appeared closed, it has now been reopened. So long as an enduring consensus does not exist on a particular topic, a professor should feel obliged to make the best case for all sides and let students find truth after weighing and balancing for themselves. “The university educates the intellect to reason well in all matters,” John Cardinal Newman wrote, “to reach out towards truth, and to grasp it.”[xiii] And the discovery of this truth “has to be made by the rough process of a struggle between combatants fighting under hostile banners” (Mill).[xiv] A professor must play both combatants—the advocate and the devil’s advocate. Insofar as the human psyche is so contrived that few are capable of playing a full-fledged devil’s advocate (i.e., making the very best case against themselves), it is vital that a student be exposed to those who are willing from conviction to play devil’s advocate. My primary responsibility in the classroom is to stimulate, not to dictate.

If invited to deliver a public lecture, however, I see my task as mainly to present my viewpoint, the results of my own process of weighing and balancing, just as others are invited to present theirs. The distinction might be analogized to the news pages versus the editorial pages of a newspaper.

 

Incivility in Public Life

I want to look now at varieties of incivility in public life. Consider first statements that might appear uncivil but which are nonetheless factually grounded. On the Charlie Rose television program, investigative journalist Allan Nairn claimed that the assistant secretary of state for Latin America during the Reagan administration, Elliott Abrams, should be prosecuted as a war criminal under the Nuremberg statutes, while Noam Chomsky has asserted that on the basis of the Nuremberg statutes every U.S. president since World War II would have been hung. In and of themselves such statements are no more objectionable than calling Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein war criminals.  It is an altogether separate matter whether the statements are factually accurate: Nairn and Chomsky might be guilty of misrepresentation, recklessness, or libel, but not incivility. Likewise, it is not ad hominem to accuse Jewish organizations and lawyers of turning the Nazi holocaust into a blackmail weapon, as I did in my book The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the exploitation of Jewish suffering, or to accuse a professor of being a plagiarist and falsifier of documents, as I did in Beyond Chutzpah. Such allegations denote definite crimes and misdemeanors, the veracity of which is subject to proof or disproof.

Consider next statements which are uncivil but might nonetheless be warranted by the circumstances. I want to emphasize that I am referring to incivilities directed against those wielding power and privilege. I see no virtue in holding up to ridicule and contempt the poor and powerless, the humbled, hungry, and homeless. Again, Chomsky dubbed Jeane Kirkpatrick “chief sadist in residence of the Reagan Administration.”[xv]  Kirkpatrick was serving as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, where she whitewashed atrocities being committed by the U.S. government and its proxies in Central America. Such a turn of phrase might be uncivil but under the circumstances hardly objectionable. Young people in particular yearn for a respected moral figure to speak the impolite and impolitic truth, to give vent to the purity of moral indignation they feel the occasion warrants. There are moments that might require breaking free of the shackles imposed by polite discourse in order to sound the tocsin that innocent people are being butchered while we speak due to the actions of our government. The problem is not uncivil words but an uncivil reality; and uncivil words might be necessary in order to bring home the uncivil reality. An ad hominem attack should not be a substitute for reasoned thought—and no one would accuse Chomsky of failing to argue his case or footnote it—but neither should a cri de coeur, however astringent, be ruled beyond the ambit of legitimate public discourse.

Beyond being a vehicle to convey moral indignation, incivility might also serve to expose pretense, fatuity, and charlatanry.

It is also pertinent to recall that Chomsky’s caustic phrase appeared in a book pitched to a popular audience. It might be the case that in content and form a publication hovers on the juncture between the civility of the ivory tower and the tempestuousness of the town square, and an author might want to reach these two constituencies at once. There is no necessary contradiction between the stolid scholar who meets the most exigent standards of academic protocol and the scrappy scholar who leaps headlong into the public fray. Karl Marx appraised Das Kapital a “triumph of German science,”[xvi] while even conservative economists such as Joseph Schumpeter reckoned Marx an “economist of top rank.”[xvii] Nonetheless, as Frederick Engels recalled at his comrade’s funeral, Marx wrote not just for “historical science” but also for the “militant proletariat”; he was “the man of science” but “before all else a revolutionary.”[xviii] Indeed, Marx applauded the French publisher’s serialization of Das Kapital, for “in this form the book will be more accessible to the working class, a consideration which to me outweighs everything else.”[xix]

It scarcely surprises then that Marx’s magnum opus seamlessly interweaves scholarly detachment and highbrow literary allusion with partisan polemic and lowbrow lampoon—or, in Schumpeter’s colorful phrase, “the cold metal of economic theory is in Marx’s pages immersed in such a wealth of steaming phrases as to acquire a temperature not naturally its own.”[xx] Bastiat is a “dwarf economist,” Young “a rambling, uncritical writer whose reputation is inversely related to his merits,” and MacCulloch “a past master…of pretentious cretinism”; Say’s standpoint is one of “absurdity and triviality,” Roscher “seldom loses the opportunity of rushing into print with ingenious apologetic fantasies,” while Ganilh’s tome is “cretinous,” “miserable,” and “twaddle.”  Even—and, in my opinion, inexcusably—Mill wasn’t spared Marx’s verbal rapier: “On a level plain, simple mounds look like hills; and the insipid flatness of our present bourgeoisie is to be measured by the altitude of its ‘great intellect.’” As for the subject of Marx’s scientific treatise, “Capital is dead labor which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks,” and came into the world “dripping from head to toe, from every pore, with blood and dirt.”[xxi] On the general question of partisanship and passion in scholarship, it merits quoting a top-rank intellect of vastly different temperament whom we have already encountered. “A man without a bias cannot write interesting history,” Bertrand Russell observed, “if, indeed, such a man exists. I regard it as mere humbug to pretend to lack of bias….Which bias is nearer to the truth must be left to posterity.”[xxii]

Beyond being a vehicle to convey moral indignation, incivility might also serve to expose pretense, fatuity, and charlatanry. Doesn’t the person proclaiming the emperor’s nakedness belong to an honorable tradition? When Steven Katz sets out to demonstrate that The Holocaust was “phenomenologically unique” in a “non-Husserlian, non-Shutzean, non-Schelerian, non-Heideggerian, non-Merleau-Pontyan sense,” it would seem fair game for the tag line, “Translation: The Katz enterprise is phenomenal non-sense.”[xxiii]

It is also cause for wonder why the clever, witty, or erudite putdown that is a staple of academic life should be preferred over incivility of language. Henry Louis Gates juxtaposes a pair of statements hypothetically addressed to a Black freshman at Stanford:

(A) Levon, if you find yourself struggling in your classes here, you should realize it isn’t your fault. It’s simply that you’re the beneficiary of a disruptive policy of affirmative action that places underqualified, underprepared, and often undertalented black students in demanding educational environments like this one. The policy’s egalitarian aims may be well-intentioned but given the fact that aptitude tests place African-Americans almost a full standard deviation below the mean, even controlling for socioeconomic disparities, they are also profoundly misguided. The truth is, you probably don’t belong here, and your college experience will be a long downhill slide.

(B) Out of my face, jungle bunny.

 

“Surely there is no doubt,” Gates concludes, “which is likely to be more ‘wounding’ and alienating.”[xxiv] He wants to illustrate the inherent inadequacies of politically correct speech codes, but the point might fairly be broadened to embrace the issue of incivility as well. I see no reason to prefer polished insults that, as Gates shows, might be more vicious and hurtful, to blunt language. Indeed, such stylishness is more often than not testament to a self-indulgent verbal pedantry and lack of a moral core.

In this regard the hypocritical use to which the incivility charge is typically put deserves mention. During my tenure battle Professor Alan Dershowitz posted on Harvard Law School’s official website the allegation that my late mother was—or I believed she was—“a kapo” who had been “cooperating with the Nazis during the Holocaust.” For the record, my late mother was a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, Maidanek concentration camp and two slave-labor camps. She lost every member of her family during the war and after the war served as a key witness at a Nazi deportation hearing in the U.S. and at the trial of Maidanek concentration camp guards in Germany. In a decent world Dershowitz’s crude and conscious defamation would, I think, be deserving of censure. He not only suffered no sanctions but then-Harvard Law School Dean (and current U.S. Supreme Court Justice) Elena Kagan refused to remove his posting from the HLS website.[xxv]

In a Haaretz interview, Benny Morris called the whole of the Palestinian people “sick, psychotic,” “serial killers,” whom Israel must “imprison” or “execute,” and “barbarians” around whom “something like a cage has to be built.”[xxvi] If directed against any other nationality, it is hard to conceive that Morris would not have suffered professionally. Yet his mainstream reputation as an objective scholar and commentator on the Israel-Palestine conflict survives intact and untarnished. It might be called Holocaust affirmative action whereby Jews wrapped in the mantle of the Nazi holocaust profit from moral immunity and impunity. It was also this affirmative action at work when Alain Finkielkrautin France he is regarded as a philosopher of equal stature to Bernard-Henri Lévy, rightly so—told Haaretz that France’s soccer team “arouses ridicule throughout Europe” because it was “composed almost exclusively of black players,” and that colonialism sought only to “bring civilization to the savages.”[xxvii] It cannot but amuse how the spewing forth of such venomous hatred is seen as courage. Finkielkraut packaged himself in the interview a martyr “striving to maintain the language of truth.”

I have acknowledged that the extramural life of an academic is bound to be, and should be, subject to some constraints. There are forms of incivility that might degrade a position on which society has conferred prestige and on which its principal constituency—students—rightly have higher than normal expectations. However, in nearly all the examples I have adduced—which draw from politics, not the more problematic domain of social mores—I either exculpate or extenuate an alleged incivility.  Indeed, it is my opinion that the supposed incivility of political dissidents pales beside what normally passes for civility in academic life. When you consider that our best universities eagerly recruit indubitable war criminals—Henry Kissinger, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Donald Rumsfeld; when you consider that many professors—as Edward Said put it, referring to the Vietnam War era—“were discovered to be working, sometimes secretly and sometimes openly, on such topics as counterinsurgency and ‘lethal research’ for the State Department, the CIA, or the Pentagon”;[xxviii] when you consider that a professor at one of our best universities advocates torture and the automatic destruction of villages after a terrorist attack: when you consider all this, it becomes clear that, however real, the question of civility—whether or not a dissident academic abides by Emily Post’s rules of etiquette—is by comparison a meaningless sideshow or just a transparent pretext for denying a person the right to teach on account of his or her political beliefs.

____________

***With permission from the author, this article was edited and adapted from an earlier version published in the South Atlantic Quarterly, Fall 2009. It was written after the author’s controversial tenure denial case at DePaul University in Chicago.***

[i] The classic account is Richard Hofstadter and Walter P. Metzger, The Development of Academic Freedom in the United States (New York: 1955) (“ward” at p. 114). The landmark battles to emancipate American higher education from clerical authority unfolded during the Darwinian revolution in the late nineteenth century, and from corporate authority as labor mobilized at the turn of the century. Broadly speaking, the scientific revolution brought home the desiderata of professional autonomy and freedom of inquiry (ibid., chap. vii), while the juggernaut of “big business” brought into sharp relief the precariousness of an academic’s extramural rights as a citizen (ibid., chap. ix, esp. p. 434).

[ii] Ellen W. Schrecker, No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and the universities (Oxford: 1986).

[iii] Louis Menand, “The Limits of Academic Freedom,” in Louis Menand (ed), The Future of Academic Freedom (Chicago: 1996), p. 9.

[iv] Horace M. Kallen, “Behind the Bertrand Russell Case,” in John Dewey and Horace M. Kallen (eds), The Bertrand Russell Case (New York: 1972), p. 20.

[v] “Decision of Justice McGeehan,” in ibid., pp. 222, 225.

[vi] John Dewey, “Social Realities versus Police Court Fictions,” in Dewey and Kallen, pp. 57-74.

[vii] Dewey seems to concede this by indirection; see his “Social Realities,” in Dewey and Kallen, esp. pp. 66-67.

[viii] Bertrand Russell, Autobiography (New York: 1998), p. 474.

[ix] Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian, and other essays on religion and related subjects, edited, with an appendix on the “Bertrand Russell Case,” by Paul Edwards (New York: 1957), pp. 252-55.  The New York Times editorialized that Russell “should have had the wisdom to retire from the appointment as soon as its harmful effects became evident.”

[x] Carleton Washburne, “The Case As a School Administrator Sees It,” in Dewey and Kallen, pp. 161-62.

[xi] In part this stems from a peculiarity of American higher education where boards of laymen ultimately govern the university.  See Hofstadter and Metzger, pp. 120ff.

[xii] Plato, The Republic, Book III.

[xiii] Said, “Identity,” in Menand, p. 224.

[xiv] John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, edited with an introduction by Gertrude Himmelfarb (New York: 1974), pp. 110-11.

[xv] Noam Chomsky, Turning the Tide: U.S. intervention in Central America and the struggle for peace (Boston: 1985), p. 8.

[xvi] Jerrold Seigel, Marx’s Fate: The shape of a life (Princeton: 1978), p. 329.

[xvii] Joseph A. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (New York: 1947), p. 44.

[xviii] Philip S. Foner, When Karl Marx Died: Comments in 1883 (New York: 1973), pp. 38-40.

[xix] Karl Marx, Capital: A critique of political economy, volume 1 (New York: 1976), p. 104.

[xx] Schumpeter, p. 21.

[xxi] Marx, pp. 175n35 (Bastiat), 314n3 (Say, Roscher), 339n13 (Young), 342 (“vampire-like”), 569n37 (MacCulloch), 575 (Ganilh), 654 (Mill), 926 (“dripping”).

[xxii] Russell, Autobiography, pp. 465-66.

[xxiii] Norman G. Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the exploitation of Jewish suffering, second paperback edition (New York: 2003), pp. 44, 45n8.

[xxiv] Henry Louis Gates, “Critical Race Theory and Free Speech,” in Menand, pp. 146-47.

[xxv] For details and references, see Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah, p. xlv.

[xxviii] Said, “Identity,” in Menand,  p. 224.


Norman G. Finkelstein received his doctorate in 1988 from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. For many years he taught political theory and the Israel-Palestine conflict. He currently writes and lectures. Finkelstein is the author of nine books that have been translated into 50 foreign editions.