People We’re Not Supposed To Read In Canada

Philip Resnick thinks we shouldn’t read American neo-conservatives. He’s writing on the Inroads magazine chat line (March 10) in response to a post by an excited Ricardo Duchene, who has just discovered David Horowitz:

“I for one have had enough of Ricardo Duchesne and his endless rants in defence of western civilization against the barbarians. David Horowitz, an ex-Ramparts editor and new leftie of the 1960s turned hardcore neo-conservative, has been flaying away at the supposed takeover of the American classroom by mindless enemies of the American way for several decades now. He has been a vigorous participant in and proponent of the culture wars in American universities and his organization involves the endless “outing” of supposed exemplars of the enemy creed. Quite frankly, this is one American cultural import we can do without in Canada.”

Michele Pisa, who teaches on the science side at my university, thinks we shouldn’t read American neo-liberals. Writing on the faculty chat line to colleagues who are enjoying Stanley Fish’s  Save the World on Your Own Time and its suggestion that academics should refrain from political advocacy in the classroom, Pisa says (I’m paraphrasing):

Stanley Fish more or less explicitly admits to being a neo-liberal or libertarian a la Friedman and Hayek, neo-liberalism being a philosophy of life in which market considerations rule over all aspects of life including ethics, politics, science and art … He attempts to deflect criticism by saying that he is not against academics’ political advocacy and debate, if it is done outside the University, i.e., not paid for on university time. Apparently this grand Fish’s philosophy boils down to nickels and dimes: academics should only engage in work that has monetary value for both themselves and their students.

So there you have it friends. You know who (whom, sorry) not to read. The neo-cons and the neo-libs. Even if you are someone who can tell them apart, or perhaps especially if you can tell them apart, you should not read them.

I’ll just add that Resnick and Pisa represent themselves as strong advocates of freedom of speech. Of course they do.

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