3 readers online now  |  69 million page views

Expand Campus Watch's reach

Reader comment on item: [Campus Watch and] Saving Mideast Studies

Submitted by John R. Fantry III (United States), Sep 19, 2003 at 15:11

Your article, "Saving Mideast Studies," brought back memories of my own campus experiences in the early '70's, when the academic specialists were employing similar intellectual spin on behalf of those fine fellows from North Vietnam, whose only wish was to liberate their fellow citizens and save them from the corruption of the West, delivering democracy and prosperity in the process. Yeah! Same game, different day! They were wrong then, they're wrong now. What do you suppose it is that compels these otherwise intelligent people, seemingly without fail, to misread and misinterpret all political, cultural, religious and social issues against American interests at every turn? We can't always be wrong, can we?

One of the foremost strengths of American thinking is our preference for deductive, as opposed to inductive, reasoning. For the most part, we let the facts speak for themselves, drawing our conclusions from the evidence, the Joe Friday, "just the facts, ma'am" approach. We want to know, what do the tea leaves say?

The academic specialists of whom you speak, not the majority or mainstream practitioners of their important craft, would seem to be inductive reasoners, by and large. They start with a conclusion; then they gather facts, quickly discarding anything that does not support their position, and elevate otherwise unimportant, mundane and even peripheral findings to undeserved and unjustifiable status if that is what it takes to reinforce their original bias. In this way, pretty much, anyone can make a supportable argument on behalf of anything, no matter how wrong they might be. The current beneficiaries of these spin doctors are radical Islam and Arab nationalism. Clearly they do not understand what is actually happening on the ground, yet are eager and swift to insinuate their own mistaken ideas into the debate. And they hold positions of authority with regular, direct access to youthful minds easily manipulated against their own best interest, which is really a scary thought, but nothing new. My bet is, based upon my own experience as a double major political science/history honors grad studying both US and USSR history and political systems at Stony Brook, that thirty years out, the same people who now nod in approval of the professor teaching them that US perspective and action relative to the Middle East (among other things) is all wrong, will be asking themselves, "what was I thinking?"

My suggestion: expand the reach of Campus Watch by recruiting post-academic people immune from manipulation by either university systems or individual professors, to audit classes and publish factual reports of the curriculum and the instructors. Let the parents (and taxpayers in the case of public institutions) know, through regular news forums to be established with local publishers, exactly what is being taught, without editorial input or personal bias; just the facts. Let the public be the judge.

I confess, I am totally unfamiliar with your body of work. Since I left Manhattan 25 years ago, I have rarely purchased the NY Post. Why yesterday, who knows? But I'm glad I did buy this particular edition. I was moved by your column...

Regards, John R. Fantry III
Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Expand Campus Watch's reach by John R. Fantry III

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2021 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)