Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Ward Churchill's Mistake

I guess everyone has heard the idiotic ravings by the tenured Professor of something at the University of Colorado. Now with the publicity he seems to be challenged to come up with more and more outrageous pronouncements. A few years ago, this would have been a local story with maybe a furor involving only the Colorado Board of Regents and the governor. Now, however, we have bloggers and Ward Churchill has unleased a mighty hoard of fact checkers and background diggers. Here is an example from Powerline.com. He will retain his free speech, but lose his job, I predict.

Ward Churchill has publicly stated that more 9/11-type attacks on our homeland may be "necessary" to prevent the U.S. from doing evil. He has built his academic career on unsubstantiated claims that he is a Native American. In addition, according to University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos, Churchill apparently has fabricated a story about the U.S. Army intentionally creating a smallpox epidemic among the Mandan tribe in 1837. Citing a paper by Thomas Brown of Lamar University, Campos reports that Churchill simply invented almost all of the story's most crucial facts, and then attributed these "facts" to sources that say nothing of the kind.

In addition, according to Campos, John Lavelle, a Native American scholar, has documented what appear to be equally fraudulent claims on Churchill's part regarding the General Allotment Act, one of the most important federal laws dealing with Indian lands. Lavelle also accuses Churchill of plagiarism.

HINDROCKET adds: Two readers have submitted comments on Professor Churchill that I think are of interest. Tracy Allen notes that "His degrees are from Sangamon State University, an 'experiment' in Illinois that appears to have been designed to create a convergence of Marxists and anarchists. Here is a link from a couple of the believers about how the Corporate State destroyed their utopia:"

http://www.dennisfox.net/uis/state-agent.html

Among its other unusual qualities, Sangamon State recruited professors via ads in Rolling Stone magazine and didn't grade its students. The experiment was terminated in 1995 when Sangamon State became a "normal" member of the Illinois system, as the University of Illinois at Springfield. Churchill thus came out of an academic background in which activism was prized more highly than scholarship, which would seem consistent with his later practice of fabricating historical evidence to support preordained political conclusions.

David Bell worries that Churchill may not be as outlandish a specimen of academia as one would hope:

It is a good thing that you and others are pointing out the frauds and misdeeds of Ward Churchill. But there are two larger points that need to be made about this.

First, how did the University of Colorado allow such a preposterous fraud to rise so high in their institution? And how many other such frauds are on their tenured faculty, and why? What strange mission is UofC on (with taxpayer money, no less?)

Second, what does this say about the state of American academia? The fact is that Churchill is only one of the most ludicrous examples (let us hope) of what has become business as usual on even the most prestigious of campuses. To wit, as long as someone claims to be a member of an officially-sanctioned victims’ group, and as long as he says and writes “controversial” (read “polemical”) attacks on The Man, who really cares whether his credentials, his writings or his utterances have the slightest basis in fact? After all, “fact” itself is a quaintly na├»ve notion in the lofty redoubts of academia today, except for all the facts the deconstructionists, polemics and Oppression Studies charlatans get to assert, with immunity from the laws of deconstruction, contextualism and so on that they impose on all others.

Ward Churchill is only an absurdly extreme example of a pandemic that has all but destroyed the great universities of this country... But the real story is the iceberg of which Ward Churchill is merely a small broken off chard. The larger story is one people like David Horowitz are flogging, but I think it is important one for the blogosphere to pick up---as important as the exposing of the fraudulent and seditious MSM. And the Churchill incident is the perfect occasion to begin to raise the broader theme.



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