Ohio State University has grandiose plans: " The Ohio State University aspires to become one of the world's great public research and teaching universities." As part of this vision, it advances core values it believes are inextricably intertwined with academic greatness:
- Pursue knowledge for its own sake.
- Ignite in our students a lifelong love of learning.
- Produce discoveries that make the world a better place.
- Celebrate and learn from our diversity.
- Open the world to our students.
Did you get that? "Pursue knowledge," "celebrate and learn from . . . diversity," "open the world." Clearly, the University is meant to be a marketplace of ideas, where students are exposed to vast amounts of information, and then taught how to analysis, categorize and utilize (I sound like Jesse Jackson) all of the broad-ranging materials to which they are exposed.
Unfortunately, the University seems to have forgotten to check out either its mission statement or its core values. How else can one explain the persecution the University is bringing to bear against Scott Savage for his having had the temerity to suggest that incoming students, in addition to reading the usual liberal stuff, get exposed to some conservative thinking as well? The Alliance Defense Fund is all over the matter, but I'll distill some of the more interesting bits here:
Scott Savage is head of reference at one of the University's libraries. For reasons the University can only regret now, he was invited to join the First Year Reading Experience Committee, a group that selects mandatory reading material for incoming freshmen. On the very first day the Committee met, its members starting putting forward ideas for books hewing to the usual Left (Jared Diamond, Maria Shriver, Jimmy Carter, etc.). Savage suggested broadening the reading list to include Stephen Dubner's Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, a book that just happens to top Amazon's bestseller list. Savage's suggestion was rejected.
Apparently shocked by the narrow filter the Committee was using to help "open the world to our students," Savage came back with a suggestion for four books that were unquestionably conservative: The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised As Freedom by David Kupelian (a healthy #178 on the Amazon rankings); The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America by David Horowitz (#797 on Amazon); Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Baat Ye'or (not quite such a bestseller as the others); and It Takes a Family : Conservatism and the Common Good by Senator Rick Santorum (a laggard on the Amazon list). Unbeknownst to Savage, he had just declared himself an enemy, and the preemptive strike against him was, well, savage, if you'll pardon the pun.
The Committee and its followers directed their animus against Kupelian's book, and they did so based on the Amazon blurb for that book (a blurb Savage was required to submit at the same time he submitted the book's title):
Americans have come to tolerate, embrace and even champion many things that would have horrified their parents' generation—from easy divorce and unrestricted abortion-on-demand to extreme body piercing and teaching homosexuality to grade-schoolers. Does that mean today's Americans are inherently more morally confused and depraved than previous generations? Of course not, says veteran journalist David Kupelian. But they have fallen victim to some of the most stunningly brilliant and compelling marketing campaigns in modern history.
The Marketing of Evil reveals how much of what Americans once almost universally abhorred has been packaged, perfumed, gift-wrapped and sold to them as though it had great value. Highly skilled marketers, playing on our deeply felt national values of fairness, generosity and tolerance, have persuaded us to embrace as enlightened and noble that which all previous generations since America's founding regarded as grossly self-destructive—in a word, evil.
In this groundbreaking and meticulously researched book, Kupelian peels back the veil of marketing-induced deception to reveal exactly when, where, how, and especially why Americans bought into the lies that now threaten the future of the country. For example, few of us realize that the widely revered father of the "sexual revolution" has been irrefutably exposed as a full-fledged sexual psychopath who encouraged pedophilia. Or that giant corporations voraciously competing for America's $150 billion teen market routinely infiltrate young people's social groups to find out how better to lead children into ever more debauched forms of "authentic self-expression."
Likewise, most of us mistakenly believe the "abortion rights" and "gay rights" movements were spontaneous, grassroots uprisings of neglected or persecuted minorities wanting to breathe free. Few people realize America was actually "sold" on abortion thanks to an audacious public relations campaign that relied on fantastic lies and fabrications. Or that the "gay rights" movement—which transformed America's former view of homosexuals as self-destructive human beings into their current status as victims and cultural heroes—faithfully followed an in-depth, phased plan laid out by professional Harvard-trained marketers. No quarter is given in this riveting, insightful exploration of how lies, both subtle and outrageous, are packaged as truth. From the federal government to the public school system to the news media to the hidden creators of "youth culture," nothing is exempt from the thousand-watt spotlight of Kupelian's journalistic inquiry.
In the end, The Marketing of Evil is an up-close, modern-day look at what is traditionally known as "tempation"—the art and science of making evil look good.
From the Back Cover
"The Marketing of Evil is a serious wake-up call for all who cherish traditional values, the innocence of children, and the very existence of our great country." —Dr. Laura Schlessinger, talk-show host and author
"It's often said that marketing is warfare, and in The Marketing of Evil, David Kupelian clearly reveals the stunning strategies and tactics of persuasion employed by those engaged in an all-out war against America's Judeo-Christian culture." —David Limbaugh, syndicated columnist and author
"David Kupelian's research brings into sharp focus what many have sensed and suspected for a long time. … [An] important and groundbreaking book." —D. James Kennedy, Coral Ridge Ministries
"From pitching promiscuity as 'freedom' to promoting abortion as 'choice,' the marketers of evil are always selling you something destructive—with catastrophic results. Kupelian shines a light on them all." —Michelle Malkin, Fox News Channel
"Like the dazzling disclosures found in the final page of a gripping whodunit or the fascinating revelation of a magician's secrets, The Marketing of Evil irresistibly exposes how it was done." —Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Toward Tradition
"The game's over, folks—the con men have been exposed. I urge every parent to read this eye-opening book." —Rebecca Hagelin, the Heritage Foundation
"The Marketing of Evil offers Americans real hope—because when our problems come this sharply into focus, so do the solutions." —Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily.com
"Excellent! Simply excellent." —Donald E. Wildmon, American Family Association [Colored emphasis mine.]
It was the language I've highlighted in red that really got the other side's dander up. How dare someone challenge Kinsey? (In fact, I saw a PBS special a year or two ago — PBS! — that was fairly unabashed about Kinsey's more peculiar habits, which included his obsession with pedophilia and his repeated homosexual encounters. It might also have mentioned his painful practices with the business end of a toothbrush, although I may have read about that last one elsewhere.)
Three of those with bristling dander were gay faculty members. And when I say gay faculty members, I don't simply mean faculty members who teach neutral subjects and just happen to be gay in their private lives. (I've expounded elsewhere on my views about gays, so I'll link here, before anyone draws wrong conclusions about my beliefs.) To these militant faculty members, education is personal. Thus, one protester was Assistant Professor Norman Jones, who teaches a course in "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender literature" (something that might just offend a conservative's sensibilities). He's also soon to be the author of one of those books with a meaningless post-modern, gobbledygook title: "Gay & Lesbian Historical Fiction: Sexual Mystery and Post-Secular Writing." Yeah, whatever.
Another was Associate Professor J.F. Buckley, who has written, among other things, "The Social Critic: The Rise of Queer Performance Within the Demise of Transcendentalism". He also wants to bring his teachings to the younger fry, since he's working on "the pedagogy of teaching Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender literature in secondary schools." Again, this is not something that will endear him to conservatives or even, dare I say, to moderates who really don't want to have their eleven year olds exposed to teaching that's grounded in a sexuality many find too far from the heteronormative life their families live.
These men, who apparently think nothing of disseminating their lifestyle and belief system far and wide, nor of teaching it to young America, were offended, deeply offended. So offended that they charged Savage with sexual harassment for daring even to suggest that there are ways of thinking that differ from Jones' and Buckley's. In other words, in a university environment that advocates as core values "Open[ing] the world to our students" and "diversity," faculty members are trying to one of their own for having the temerity to suggest that students should be exposed to ideas that go beyond the usual liberal mantras.
Yeah, the conservative blogosphere is up in arms, as well it should be. What's sad, of course, is that the entire establishment is not up in arms as well. Academic freedom is something that benefits all. Right now, the liberals hold the catbird seat in America's colleges and universities. With the increasing level of conservative activism on the campus right, however, liberals may not have their hold on the curriculum forever. At that point, they're going to begin deeply regretting the fact that, while they had the power, they didn't do everything possible to preserve academic freedom for all, since it will then certainly be denied to them — and under precedents that they set themselves.
UPDATE: Thanks to Laer, I learned that OSU had the good sense to back down and dismiss the charges against Savage. The story is still an important one, I think, because it strongly demonstrates the thought policing going on at America's colleges and universities.