As a lifelong Yankee who moved to Atlanta almost 20 years ago, and a long-time Kossack, I often find myself standing up for "the South" in diaries of the "F*ck the Southern F*cktards" genre.
The common problem, I tend to remind people, is the broad brush, which paints everyone in the South as being clones of Haley Barbour, whereas many Southerners do bear a stronger resemblence to MLK. "And Kerry got more popular votes from Georgia than from Wisconsin yadda yadda yadda."
That said, we do have a lot of f*cking f*cktards here, and the ones who inhabit Atlanta's northwest suburbs - Cobb County, Gingrich's old district - are a special breed. I challenge anyone anywhere to find a county with a greater number of aggressive and obnoxious Neanderthals. Their target today: The Threat of Marxism.
According to today's edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kennesaw State University is not going to get the new Provost they had thought they were getting. Dr. Timothy Chandler of Kent State University has withdrawn his acceptance of the position at this Cobb County-based section of the state's public university system.
The Provost of a university is its chief academic officer. S/he oversees the faculty, to the extent that any faculty is "overseen," and helps drive the research and teaching missions of the place. The position is usually occupied by an experienced scholar. You know, someone who has written stuff.
And that stuff can be problematic, especially to people who start out with deep skepticism of - or hostility to - what American Higher Education is about. People who think, for example, that universities are essentially brainwashing institutions, platforms for liberal thought, and hostile to American values. That is, to the people who dominate the workings of places like Cobb County.
An executive search firm found Dr. Chandler at Kent State during their search for this key position, and after an extensive vetting process, the university search committee choose Chandler and offered him the job. He accepted.
Chandler is a UK native and Stanford PhD who earned his US citizenship 3 years ago. His academic career has spanned both the US and Canada. (Can you spot the red flags in this paragraph?)
Enter the Marietta Daily Journal. In a March 4 "Around Town" column topped with the retro lede "KSU's new colors ... black, gold - and red?" columnists dug into a 1998 paper that Chandler co-authored and deemed him to be anti-American, anti-capitalist, and essentially a Marxist. They scarcely needed to connect the dots for their readers: This guy is not one of us, and he does not belong at our public university.
The language they used would be funny if it were not also so chilling:
MARXISM? GOOD. Capitalism? Bad. Very, very bad. And the United States? Why, it is "the most violent nation-state in history."
No, we're not quoting Nikita Khrushchev or Hugo Chavez. Not Moammar Gadhafi or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Those sentiments and that quote can be found in a lengthy research paper by Kennesaw State University's new $228,000-a-year provost, Dr. Timothy Chandler of Kent State University, who will be the second-highest administrator and right-hand man to President Dr. Dan Papp...
Drawing excerpts from a long paper from the Journal of Higher Education, the columnists pounce:
Though Marx is mentioned by name only a few times in their magnum opus, they seem to have swallowed Marxist theory hook, line and sinker. Some excerpts:
* "Although the close connection of capitalism to violence is easily shown, it is seldom acknowledged. The allocative resources, which are increasingly disproportionably possessed, were obtained by individuals and groups, at one time or another, by physical force, coercion."
* "Increased competition results in increased ethnicity and racism."
* "Militarism, the development and use of weapons of mass destruction, occurs for the primary purpose of accumulating and protecting ownership of material wealth and obtaining or maintaining domination and is thus an effective goal of capitalism."
* "The goal of accumulating material wealth in the context of a hierarchical social structure influences an individual's desire for power, privilege and self-determination toward characteristics of greed and selfishness, which in turn produce inequality and conflict with others."
* "Capitalism requires an ever increasing consumption (growth) and can easily lead to the destruction of the physical environment. Because of its hegemonic nature, capitalism penetrates into every aspect of life ... and often with devastating effects. Capitalism is hierarchically structured and characterized by a high degree of inequity and an extreme disproportioned distribution of wealth and power. ... As a result, masses of people are forced to succumb to the economic system in order to survive. An asymmetric distribution of resources guarantees high levels of competition, greed, and violence. These three outcomes are important explicit goals of capitalism."
* "While the United States has the most sophisticated propaganda apparatus ever assembled, it is also the most violent nation-state in history."
* "Ownership is taken for granted in capitalistic societies and is central to the accumulation of wealth and domination. All ownership of land or material means of production was at one time or another obtained by force. One prominent means of maintaining ownership and control is through generational inheritance, a concept that is accepted without question, whereas reparations for certain groups, which can be argued for with the same logic, is not."
* "The record of Western science is mixed. Along with all the advances in technology and industry comes five hundred years of oppression and destruction. Universities must take a major responsibility for this destruction, as they must take a major role in halting the slide down the slippery slope of self-elimination. The university in the context of capitalism clearly must be evaluated."
The columnists did contact Chandler:
...Chandler suggested the flap over his writings was much ado about nothing and described himself as a political "moderate." "I am certainly not a Marxist," he said. "I see it as one way of looking at the world. It's not the way I personally choose to look at the world. But as an academic I have to be open to a variety of points of view. It's not my own personal point of view. I would consider myself anything but a Marxist, but I think there's still good reasons to think about it from a variety of perspectives."
Chandler conceded, however, that he and Davis wrote the paper "partly through a Marxist lens."
"Certainly there are aspects of that paper where we looked through a Marxist lens, and I think that's perfectly acceptable in academic circles to do that," he said. No doubt.
Not content to smear Chandler for the crime of thinking from multiple perspectives, they went after President Papp, who buckled:
Papp implied that his provost search committee... had failed him by not raising any red flags (pardon the pun) about Chandler's views.
"I would point out that there was a faculty team on the search committee that reviewed his publications including that one," he told MDJ reporter Jon Gillooly, who contributed to and helped research this report. "I have not read the paper per se, but as I said, the faculty review team went through his research materials and was aware of this."
Of course, many will argue the fact that a team of academics could read such a paper and see its Marxist worldview as no big deal is indicative of how prevalent such thinking is in the faculty lounges at some campuses.
"I believe if you look at his entire body of work that you cannot reach the conclusion that he is a Marxist by any stretch of the imagination," Papp told AT.
We'll let readers be the judge of that...
...It all brings to mind the old joke about how there aren't any Marxists left in the old Soviet Union - because they've all found professorships in American universities.
The columnists mused about the possibility of university supporters closing their pocketbooks if Chandler took the job. President Papp, in response, was forced to declare his allegiance to the US and to capitalism.
Now, I think it's fair to say that Chandler's co-author in this controversial piece is himself a piece of work; Walter Davis' other writings would get him auto-banned here a DKos for 9/11 CT infractions. Chandler is on record disagreeing with Davis on this issue, and Pres. Papp said that Davis' anti-Bush rant was "a piece of trash." Nonetheless, CT Craziness is apparently treated as cooties to the Cobb County power-brokers, and Chandler was judged infected-by-association, despite his repudiations.
On the other hand, consider the implications: Some editors of a local newspaper appoint themselves defenders of local values and initiate a smear campaign of an academic whose primary crime is researching and writing things they don't agree with.
And if you can stomach it, look at the comment thread that accompanies the Marietta paper's column: Along with the concerns about witch-hunting come red-meat accusations about education, an invocation of Hitler, and calls for further investigations and resignations at KSU.
Sigh. This could be happening in Wisconsin now, I suppose. Or as part of Oklahoma's brave defense against Sharia Law. But it's not - it's in the part of Georgia that gave us all Newt Gingrich and helped launched a thousand "F*cking F*cktard" diaries.
Sorry about all that, rest of the US!