The academic/media complex

President Dwight Eisenhower's departing message upon leaving office famously included a warning about a new phenomenon in the American political economy:

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex....We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberty or democratic process...so that security and liberty may prosper together."

While many on the left still decry the influence of military contractors such as Halliburton, military spending as a percentage of our economy is a fraction of what it was in the Cold War America of 1960. In the meantime, a new influential colossus has appeared, one which is at least as dangerous to our well—being through its ability to shape our perceptions to its own purposes.

Eisenhower never recognized the encroaching threat that a liberal academic/media  complex may pose to a secure America. In his day, these institutions largely shared the same general values and perceptions as the rest of society, and robustly supported America's drive to secure itself in the context of a dangerous world situation. Less than half a century later, they have formed a distinctive worldview, and have an ability to push the rest of us in directions dangerous to the national welfare.

We can see this in the case of the numerous editorial pages of American newspapers criticizing the State Department for revoking the visa of Tariq Ramadan, a Muslim "scholar" who was set to assume a teaching post at the University of Notre Dame, until his visa was revoked by the Department of Homeland Security on national security grounds. While DHS does not need to explain its decision, presumably this revocation was based on acquisition of information regarding his problematic public positions and his connection to terror suspects, as previously reported in The American Thinker  and other media outlets.
 
Recently, the Washington Post has seen fit to join other major newspapers in rallying to the defense of this man. . Other papers have permitted him to try to cleanse his name —— The New York Times in an op—ed reprinted here, The Chicago Tribune here and here, and the hometown paper of John Kerry, the Boston Globe.

The Washington Post itself recognized that visas are routinely denied and revoked after their issuance. Yet for some reason, Ramadan's inability to enter the country for an extended stay in an influential post seems to raise the hackles of weighty editorial pages from around the country. Why would this particular academic get such special treatment?

It is just another manifestation of class solidarity within the liberal academic/media complex. Those who arrogate to themselves the production of ideas and dissemination of information develop distinctive interests and perspectives, which lead to what the Marxists used to call 'class consciousness.' Class interests can be so strong that they overwhelm consciousness of larger but more diffuse interests

In the current instance, the academic/media complex would leave America open to the threat of Islamist doctrine penetrating and weakening us. History has seen that roles like "religious leader" and "academic" can be poses for people who harbor terrorist sympathies and who can be key links in terror chains. Indeed, this role can make them particularly important in spreading terror, because many people believe "academics" are just peaceful scholars dedicated to spreading wisdom to the masses. 

Instead, painful experience has shown that such people can be much more antagonistic to our security interests: threats who are merely garbed in scholarly robes and assuming the posture of liberal thinkers. We can see this disguise in the case of the Florida professor Sami Al—Arian, who, despite being defended by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff, seems to have been deeply involved in terror networks and who used his position to cloak his activities. Scholar  Daniel Pipes has set up CampusWatch to guard against this threat to academia. Investigative journalist Steve Emerson has also focused on exposing such posturing.

Nevertheless, such "academics" are often given a free pass by their peers and by the media, who prefer to look at the formal role, and not at the person and the specific activities and views.  For reasons of class solidarity, they are inherently biased in favor of anyone they deem a scholar, and see any restrictions as threats to their own freedom, power, and ability to say and do as they please.
 
Perhaps that is why self—important editorial boards can see kinship with academics. They both tend to hold fairly egotistical views of themselves (they are opinion—makers, after all, so this should not be a surprise).  The media can rarely find an academic unworthy of special kid glove treatment. Only dissident conservatives qualify. Mainstream (leftist) cademics often write op—eds for newspapers (one wonders how they can spend so much time protesting when they should be teaching their students). Purportedly they have the expertise that commends them to these projects. But can it be denied that experts who work for corporations also have this expertise? However, you rarely see op—eds from corporate employees accepted for publication; they are not part of the liberal  academic/media complex and therefore their views are shunted aside. And their views, when they do see the light of media exposure, are readily dismissed as corrupted by 'big money' and 'corporate interests.'

It is no secret that many in academia fanatically oppose George Bush, and you see a preponderance of their op—eds in papers. But beyond that favoritism, the media apparently also favors, for politically correct reasons, Muslim professors and religious leaders —— despite evidence, as in the case of Ramadan, that sometimes casts substantial doubt about their peaceful intentions. Having erected a robust apparatus of academic programs, government policies, hiring practices, and ideological filters based on the theory and practice of victimology, they rush to the defense of anyone who can be portrayed as the member of a victim class, all the more so when the individual in question occupies an academic role in a liberal institution, such as the 'peace studies' program at Notre Dame.

The security challenge faced by America is in no small part a battle of ideas. While radical Islam inside America is still comparative small and mostly invisible to outsiders, the presence of those who support it can be and are taken as an indication of our weakness and the coming triumph of the forces which wish to destroy us. Our enemies overseas are not in the least shy about proclaiming our divisions and the presence of their sympathizers here as a sign of our weakness. There is no reason whatsoever to import people whose careers, associations, and professional activities indicate their sympathies for the enemies we face in the War on Terror. National self—interest trumps narrow class interest.

President Dwight Eisenhower's departing message upon leaving office famously included a warning about a new phenomenon in the American political economy:

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex....We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberty or democratic process...so that security and liberty may prosper together."

While many on the left still decry the influence of military contractors such as Halliburton, military spending as a percentage of our economy is a fraction of what it was in the Cold War America of 1960. In the meantime, a new influential colossus has appeared, one which is at least as dangerous to our well—being through its ability to shape our perceptions to its own purposes.

Eisenhower never recognized the encroaching threat that a liberal academic/media  complex may pose to a secure America. In his day, these institutions largely shared the same general values and perceptions as the rest of society, and robustly supported America's drive to secure itself in the context of a dangerous world situation. Less than half a century later, they have formed a distinctive worldview, and have an ability to push the rest of us in directions dangerous to the national welfare.

We can see this in the case of the numerous editorial pages of American newspapers criticizing the State Department for revoking the visa of Tariq Ramadan, a Muslim "scholar" who was set to assume a teaching post at the University of Notre Dame, until his visa was revoked by the Department of Homeland Security on national security grounds. While DHS does not need to explain its decision, presumably this revocation was based on acquisition of information regarding his problematic public positions and his connection to terror suspects, as previously reported in The American Thinker  and other media outlets.
 
Recently, the Washington Post has seen fit to join other major newspapers in rallying to the defense of this man. . Other papers have permitted him to try to cleanse his name —— The New York Times in an op—ed reprinted here, The Chicago Tribune here and here, and the hometown paper of John Kerry, the Boston Globe.

The Washington Post itself recognized that visas are routinely denied and revoked after their issuance. Yet for some reason, Ramadan's inability to enter the country for an extended stay in an influential post seems to raise the hackles of weighty editorial pages from around the country. Why would this particular academic get such special treatment?

It is just another manifestation of class solidarity within the liberal academic/media complex. Those who arrogate to themselves the production of ideas and dissemination of information develop distinctive interests and perspectives, which lead to what the Marxists used to call 'class consciousness.' Class interests can be so strong that they overwhelm consciousness of larger but more diffuse interests

In the current instance, the academic/media complex would leave America open to the threat of Islamist doctrine penetrating and weakening us. History has seen that roles like "religious leader" and "academic" can be poses for people who harbor terrorist sympathies and who can be key links in terror chains. Indeed, this role can make them particularly important in spreading terror, because many people believe "academics" are just peaceful scholars dedicated to spreading wisdom to the masses. 

Instead, painful experience has shown that such people can be much more antagonistic to our security interests: threats who are merely garbed in scholarly robes and assuming the posture of liberal thinkers. We can see this disguise in the case of the Florida professor Sami Al—Arian, who, despite being defended by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff, seems to have been deeply involved in terror networks and who used his position to cloak his activities. Scholar  Daniel Pipes has set up CampusWatch to guard against this threat to academia. Investigative journalist Steve Emerson has also focused on exposing such posturing.

Nevertheless, such "academics" are often given a free pass by their peers and by the media, who prefer to look at the formal role, and not at the person and the specific activities and views.  For reasons of class solidarity, they are inherently biased in favor of anyone they deem a scholar, and see any restrictions as threats to their own freedom, power, and ability to say and do as they please.
 
Perhaps that is why self—important editorial boards can see kinship with academics. They both tend to hold fairly egotistical views of themselves (they are opinion—makers, after all, so this should not be a surprise).  The media can rarely find an academic unworthy of special kid glove treatment. Only dissident conservatives qualify. Mainstream (leftist) cademics often write op—eds for newspapers (one wonders how they can spend so much time protesting when they should be teaching their students). Purportedly they have the expertise that commends them to these projects. But can it be denied that experts who work for corporations also have this expertise? However, you rarely see op—eds from corporate employees accepted for publication; they are not part of the liberal  academic/media complex and therefore their views are shunted aside. And their views, when they do see the light of media exposure, are readily dismissed as corrupted by 'big money' and 'corporate interests.'

It is no secret that many in academia fanatically oppose George Bush, and you see a preponderance of their op—eds in papers. But beyond that favoritism, the media apparently also favors, for politically correct reasons, Muslim professors and religious leaders —— despite evidence, as in the case of Ramadan, that sometimes casts substantial doubt about their peaceful intentions. Having erected a robust apparatus of academic programs, government policies, hiring practices, and ideological filters based on the theory and practice of victimology, they rush to the defense of anyone who can be portrayed as the member of a victim class, all the more so when the individual in question occupies an academic role in a liberal institution, such as the 'peace studies' program at Notre Dame.

The security challenge faced by America is in no small part a battle of ideas. While radical Islam inside America is still comparative small and mostly invisible to outsiders, the presence of those who support it can be and are taken as an indication of our weakness and the coming triumph of the forces which wish to destroy us. Our enemies overseas are not in the least shy about proclaiming our divisions and the presence of their sympathizers here as a sign of our weakness. There is no reason whatsoever to import people whose careers, associations, and professional activities indicate their sympathies for the enemies we face in the War on Terror. National self—interest trumps narrow class interest.