It was another lively night at UMass yesterday as conservative writer and free speech crusader David Horowitz spoke at UMass as a guest of the campus Republican Club. As usual at Republican events, Horowitz's talk was punctuated by frequent outbursts from left-wing protesters and displays of radical political signage, an example of which can be seen below.
Now 71, in his youth Horowitz was a prominent leftist activist who worked extensively as a supporter and fundraiser for the Black Panther Party. In the 1970's however he began drifting further to the right, until by 1985 he had openly broken with the Left and became a major spokesman for right-wing causes. He especially focused on criticizing what he regarded as the takeover of American academia by leftists. He also became a well-known spokesman on issues of foreign policy as a militant defender of the state of Israel. It was his role as an advocate for Israel that perhaps inspired some protesters to hold up a Palestinian flag throughout his speech, despite the fact that Horowitz's talk was not intended to be about Middle-east policy and was actually entitled "Political Correctness".
One might have expected a general discussion of the concept of political correctness, but instead Horowitz zeroed in on specific examples of how it manifests itself at the University of Massachusetts. Horowitz explained that he had spent the day exploring the campus and visiting various departments. He openly mocked the "people not profits" motto of the student run People's Market, asking how you can expect anyone to work if nobody makes any money. Horowitz also stopped by the UMass Women's Studies department and read in a derisive tone from a pamphlet he picked up there entitled, "What You Can Do With a Degree in Woman's Studies." He described a degree in woman's studies as "worthless" in the real world.
Horowitz revealed that he had asked his student hosts whom they considered to be the most conservative professor on campus, and then arranged to sit in on an hour and a half class taught by that instructor. Initially Horowitz did not say who that professor was, but later let it be known that it was Sheldon Goldman of the Political Science Department. Horowitz was not impressed, accusing Goldman of presenting only one side of the issues discussed in his class and declared that if Goldman is the best example then "there are no conservative professors on this campus." He described that as typical at American universities, calling the removal of conservatives from college faculties "the most successful political purge in modern history."
However, Horowitz's judgement of UMass was not completely negative. He praised the University's Business, Science and Engineering departments because "they are rooted in the real world." But he declared that anyone who is taking Liberal Arts courses at UMass "is paying $17,000 dollars a year for a bad education."
Not surprisingly the leftists present, who made up almost half the audience, were not taking any of this very well, and catcalls, insults and obsenities were hurled at Horowitz throughout his speech, especially during the question and answer period at the end. While there were a couple of serious questions, most were merely rants designed to be inflamatory and insulting.
David Horowitz is a longtime veteran of speaking to hostile campus audiences and was completely unflappable under attack. When one student, with a Palestinian flag wrapped around his shoulders, shouted at Horowitz "You Pig!" and then ran out the door, Horowitz made the audience laugh by dryly suggesting "Get that guy to a psychiatrist." When another person repeatedly screamed "Fuck You!" at Horowitz and then also left the room before Horowitz could respond, Horowitz stated to audience applause, "I excuse that man's arrogance because I was once young and arrogant too, but I cannot excuse his ignorance."
Only once did Horowitz appear to be moved by the protesters. Referring to the heavy security at the event Horowitz asked, in a tone not of anger but of sorrow, "How has it come to the point that there needs to be police officers in the room for me to be able to express non-leftist opinions on this campus?"
Wow, it snowed so hard last night you could hardly read the street signs this morning.
The weight of the snow made the weaker trees along the woodland way bow down.
Some branches broke off and fell across the trail.
I'm glad I wasn't passing by when this mutha came crashing down.
Arriving at the end of the way safe and sound in downtown Northampton, where the snow was piled high in the streets.
I ran into my WHMP friend Kelsey Flynn.
Is there any weather so bad that Hampers won't ride their bikes?
The Music Section
A drummer and his dog in downtown Amherst yesterday.
Metallica at their absolute fuckin peak.