August 24, 2005
In Monday’s UCLA Daily Bruin article
about the Bruin Alumni Association, a
number of outrageous criticisms were leveled at the BAA by faculty
radicals. The most usual of the usual
suspects, Sociology professor Maurice
Zeitlin, made the laughable claim that I
or other concerned Bruin alumni don’t have a “shred
evidence anywhere about the suppression” of conservative voices at UCLA.
Not a shred,
about my personal
experience with the Executive Director of the Southern California ACLU,
about the 12-1 ratio of
Democrat to Republican professors in the UCLA departments of Economics,
English, History, Philosophy, Political Science and Sociology?
And if Maurice
wants to talk literally about ‘voices’ – well, in the past 10 years
has not featured a single
conservative or Republican speaker at a graduation ceremony. And that’s out of 39 speakers (the high
number accounts for the fact that UCLA, from 1994-2001, had separate
at every single Letters and Science division). Surely,
if UCLA were so scrupulously
evenhanded, we would find a
conservative or Republican somewhere
in that group.
I could go on
like this, but ultimately, I have to admit that Maurice is right. It’s true that I don’t have a “shred of
evidence.” I’ve got reams of it.
The “who me?”
rhetoric from Zeitlin
is not all that surprising. As
conservative legend David Horowitz revealed in 2003, Zeitlin is not
garden variety white-guilt liberal.
and LA Times columnist
Robert Scheer founded in 1960 the first journal of the New Left, titled
Root and Branch. That
first issue featured Zeitlin’s
with the blood-soaked revolutionary Che Guevara. As
Horowitz tells it:
In 1960, long
before the creation
of Ramparts, Zeitlin had visited Cuba and interviewed Che Guevara, who
the second most powerful man in the dictatorship. We published the
the first issue of our Berkeley magazine, Root and Branch, which one of
political journals that launched the new left (Robert Scheer was also
editor). The rest of us were both shocked and impressed when we read
interview and realized what Maurice had done.
He had not just interviewed Guevara, already a radical legend. He had
challenged Guevara's policies and in effect called into question his
revolutionary credentials. Maurice had asked Guevara about the role he
the trade unions should play in a socialist country, specifically Cuba.
they be independent - as new left socialists like us wanted - or would
appendages of the state, as Lenin and Stalin had made them? Maurice
Guevara that the elimination of independent unions, the organizations
of the revolutionary class, had paved the way for the Soviet gulag.
angered by the question and by Maurice's temerity in raising the
would not criticize the Soviets and abruptly changed the subject.
Zeitlin had put Guevara to the test and Guevara had failed. The
revealed that Guevara was a Stalinist himself. We all recognized the
significance of what he had said. Yet to our shame, we continued to
Cuban regime anyway, knowing that it was destined to be a totalitarian
because that was the intention of its creators. Maurice did write a
critique for Ramparts. But like us, he continued to support the regime
attack the United States and its efforts to restore freedom to Cuba.
when I had second thoughts about my political commitments and left the
left and comrades like Maurice Zeitlin, I wrote about my regrets for
a regime that has become the most sadistic dictatorship in Latin
history. Except for Ronald Radosh and other "second thoughters" who
have also turned their backs on the left, I don't know of any new
have done the same.
no regrets about his support for Fidel Castro, Che Geuvara, and the
socialist revolutionaries who ensured that for nearly half a century,
remained an island prison. Indeed, Zeitlin,
at a 1997 academic conference, proclaimed Guevara “a leader of the
first socialist revolution in this hemisphere,” and that Guevara’s
embodied in the fact that Cuban revolution is alive today despite the
of the Soviet bloc.” Completing his
endorsement, Zeitlin declared, “No social justice is possible without a
It is this
“revolutionary spirit” which sends radicals like Zeitlin on
of rhetorical fancy. The revolution which
would sweep in this long-desired age of “social justice” would also
the slaughter, as it always has, of the bourgeoisie and petty
bourgeoisie – of
which college professors are most certainly a part.
Zeitlin would do well to remember the
about getting what you wish for.
Zeitlin is a
man of contradictions. The underlying
between Zeitlin’s social vision and the inevitable outcome should that
be realized, is one such example. Just
as illustrative is the dissonance between his status as an American,
hatred for this country. Because of this
country’s religious and political tolerance, and generous taxpayer
funding for the
University of California system, Zeitlin has achieved a rare level of
comfort and professional success. But
that’s not enough. And it never will
be. Because with radicals like Zeitlin,
the greater their success, the greater the feelings of inadequacy.
All of this
points directly to a new area of sociological study, one in which
play both doctor and patient:
investigating political radicals’ irrational hatred of America, and the
psychological disturbance underpinning that loathing.