Monday, May 02, 2005

The Boston Globe on the SIUC History Department Witch-Hunt

Cathy Young, a writer for Reason magazine and Boston Globe columnist writes that a McCarthyesque persecution is happening at my alma mater. She's right. Doctor Bean is being persecuted for his political affiliations. It's shameful that a public school would allow such things to occur. I feel shame for my professors, since they have embroiled themselves in a ploy to destroy a colleague's credibility in the name of politics. I wish my professors (Doctors Carr, McGuire and Stocking) would feel shame for the scrutiny they've brought upon themselves. This diminishes the name of Southern Illinois University just as much as its party-school image did in years past.

Consider this: public schools are for everyone of every faith, both sexes, and all political affiliations. That's why we have so many open Marxists and socialists (and even the occasional fascist) on campus. Should conservatives and classical liberals (in the John Kennedy sense) be kept out of academia because they're not willing to ascribe state control to everything? Should they be kept out of academia because they're willing to act along the lines of their more totalitarian partners, like denouncing the mass murders and deplorable conditions of Communist nations while glossing over darker parts of American history? Wait, that's right, liberals and conservatives in the field of history don't gloss over evils like slavery, racism and destruction of native culture. As I said in last week's post, we historians are keepers of cultural memory. We must remember our failures as much as our accomplishments. We remember our failures to prevent repeating them, and we remember our accomplishments to challenge ourselves to achieve even greater things.

I urge my professors to rethink their positions. Challenge Doctor Bean's sources on their merits, but do not succumb to having him fired for his political affiliations. That will do more for our school's reputation than your current attempt at a purge.

(Thanks once again to PowerLine for keeping on top of this situation.)

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