The latest spying on UCLA's faculty by a conservative zealot resembles Germany's fascist anti-intellectual movement of the 1930s.
Andrew Jones is a man on a mission. A 2003 UCLA graduate and former head of the campus Republican organization, Jones is waging a war against the twin evils of women's and ethnic studies. He is also taking aim against specific devious leftist professors who poison the minds of freedom-loving students at UCLA with their anti-American foreign policy critiques.
In a most heroic move, Jones has created the Bruin Alumni Association, which targets 30 "dirty" professors and urges UCLA students to spy on their leftist professors by reporting them for deviant behavior -- anything that lies outside "normal thought," in Jones's words. Those who perform this patriotic service are to be rewarded with the bounties Jones has placed on the professors' heads.
This is all well and good and perfectly cheery. But, there is one serious problem with Jones's scheme: the bounty for handing in a suspect professor's class notes and materials is a mere $100. Such a low figure is a serious insult to a righteous cause.
Surely, Jones and his hardworking staff at the Bruin Alumni Association (namely, Jones, who is the staff) must understand the grave threat the leftist academics pose at UCLA. First, there are the cruel female professors who force young college women to think and reflect about their role in society when we all know - thanks to Republican values - that women are only supposed to exercise their upper body in the kitchen and their lower body in the bedroom. Then, there are Black teachers who tell their students fairy-tales about white-imposed slavery, segregation, disenfranchisement, unequal housing, banking, and state services. Last but not least are those anti-American professors whose detailed writings about the government's illegal wars apparently fuel the activities of terrorists abroad - terrorists who, without UCLA academic research papers, would have absolutely no idea that people in their own countries and of their own faith are always being blown to pieces all around them.
Given this stark reality, I propose to Mr. Jones that he significantly raise the bounties placed on deviant UCLA academics. After all, al-Qaeda leaders and similar terrorist figureheads have multi-million dollar bounties placed on their heads. Why shouldn't those who aid and abet them right here in our universities also be subject to similar treatment?
Similarly, while I must credit Mr. Jones for raising the stakes a notch with intimidation tactics like hit-lists and secret spying operations in the enemy's classrooms, I must say that Mr. Jones is dangerously close to erring on the side of girlie-men tactics. After all, why should we stop with mere spying and intimidating? Higher bounty rewards should be commensurate with even more patriotic, pro-American actions taken against these professors. This should include fly-by airstrikes, precision attacks, and home raids. Only through this comprehensive process of ensuring true academic freedom will the beacon of liberty be secured in the homeland.
It goes without saying, of course, that I have painted the scenarios above not as serious suggestions, but only as a means of illustrating that the "logic" pursued by zealots like Jones can easily lead down the path of insanity if pursued to its ineluctable conclusion -- just as we have already seen happen when it comes to untermenschen (literally: under-people) abroad.
Interestingly, the UCLA graduate's crusade against his university has alienated some fellow hard-right activists. David Horowitz, the leading proponent of the disingenuously named "academic freedom" movement, said Jones used to work under his tutelage, but had to be fired for trying to strong-arm students into filing false reports against leftists. Horowitz also derided Jones's tactics as "baiting people," and accused him of stealing his donor list. Since being reprimanded by Horowitz for going too far in attacking academia is a bit like being lectured on boxing etiquette by Mike Tyson, this is no small matter.
Horowitz, though, is not the only one with reservations. Though Jones's little "alumni" spy organization comprises only himself, it boasts a number of "advisers" (read: wealthy right-wing activists). Three of these "advisers" have defected on grounds that Jones's vigilantism is harming the movement: Harvard historian Stephan Thernstrom, Los Angeles radio talk-show host Al Rantel, and ex-congressman James Rogan. "Now what's happened is that the whole project is discredited. Now it looks like a bunch of crazies who were trying to go after innocent professors