At the Democracy Project, Phil Orenstein continues to take on the publicly supported censors of the academic left. Please read the entire post.
“More on Fantasizing "The New McCarthyism"
I continue to deal with the contentious themes of “guilt by association” and the imaginary new sacred cow, “the New McCarthyism” in response to a comment on FrontPage Magazine's reader forum.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article on my experience at a CUNY Forum titled, "Academic Freedom and the Attack on Diversity at CUNY” which was published on FrontPage Magazine, posted here on Democracy Project, Campus Watch, and also picked up on Daniel Pipes’ blog, demonstrating the urgency of these issues. The CUNY forum featured the panelists, Deborah Almontaser, founder and former principle of the Arabic language public school, Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), and CUNY faculty union official Susan O’Malley who filed a $2 million defamation lawsuit against Professor Emeritus Sharad Karkhanis.
There were a few interesting comments on FrontPage Magazine's reader forum one of which I chose to respond to online. The writer challenged my “obsession” with “guilt by association” which is basically similar to the accusations at the CUNY forum leveled at such awesome figures as Daniel Pipes, Dr. Karkhanis and CUNY Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld. They charged that a vast rightwing campaign of Islamophobia which they call “the New McCarthyism” is spreading throughout the nation “attacking” Arabs, Muslims, college professors and Senator Barack Obama as well, based upon the false premise of “guilt by association.”
In my article I argued that such allegations are pure fantasy that has risen to a new level of hysteria, with wild accusations of “racism” and “Islamophobia,” which has precluded any rational discussion about national security threats and sober concerns about stealth Islamic infiltration into government, education and academia. The title of my article initially was to be “Guilt by Association and Recruitment” but was changed by the editors of FrontPage Magazine. My original intent was to report on one of the panelists, Susan O’Malley who has endorsed and made efforts to recruit convicted terrorists for teaching jobs at CUNY. My interest was primarily in the lawsuit against Dr. Karkhanis, the real victim in all this furor, for having the courage to blow the whistle on O’Malley’s dubious activities within the CUNY system. The intent of her lawsuit was to bully and silence her critic, and trample his constitutional free speech rights in order to protect herself from scrutiny.
Slandering a good man from the auspices of a CUNY forum, and arguing on the merits of her case against Dr. Karkhanis is a disgrace and embarrassment to the entire CUNY system. O’Malley, a long-standing academic public figure had the gall to sit piously on the panel and use the forum for her personal agenda to paint a far-fetched portrait of lies as the victim of 13 years of “attacks” by a “crazy man” who has plagued her with false accusations of guilt by association similar to those directed at Muslims, Arabs, Ms. Almontaser, and Senator Obama. Susan O’Malley and company, who hold respectable positions of authority in academia as tenured professors and public officials, unsurprisingly want to deny the significance of their associations and support for criminals and terrorists, in order to avoid scrutiny and accountability for their actions. Regrettably, due to their status and authority, such paranoid fantasies as “the New McCarthyism” and frantic denials of “guilt by association” have trickled down into the body politic to become some of our latest sacred cows.”
"....Ms. Vera is dreadfully confused about the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” let me attempt to enlighten her about the legal system of the United States and basic civic duties of citizens, of which she seems to be sorely misinformed. The "presumption of innocence" is a basic doctrine of criminal law in which the government is required to prove the guilt of a criminal defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. For public service responsibilities, however, the process is the other way around. The people, not a government court of law must make critical judgments and informed choices in selecting the people who will serve them, and there is no presumption of innocence in this public domain. The burden of proof is on the individuals or institutions that aspire to public service, whether they’re public school principles, CUNY union officials or president of the United States. It is the civic duty of the citizens in a democracy, to judge their fitness to serve, and to continue to hold them accountable while in office. The “guilt” we’re talking about here, is their fitness for the job, not whether they’re good or evil people. Ms. Almontaser was the principle of a public school and O’Malley is a CUNY public figure, in both cases municipal positions paid for by taxpayer monies. The best way to judge public figures is by the company they keep, not just sugar-coated promises. They are working for you and me and their resumes must include good personal references, in order to be hired with our tax dollars. If they have numerous shady associations and dealings in their past, I wouldn’t hire them. I certainly wouldn’t hire someone with radical Islamic connections, or who endorses convicted terrorists."