I am dismayed by the prominent and dispassionate coverage given by the CDT to a specious organization, Turning Point USA, and its alarming practice, through its Professor Watchlist, of stigmatizing ‘radical’ professors, a practice reminiscent of the blacklisting of teachers during the McCarthy era.
Nowhere, though, do we learn what constitutes “radical” ideas or the “radical agenda” that offending professors are attempting to “advance.” We can only surmise — as the article suggests — that “radical” is code for any number of beliefs or values associated with the branch of the Republican Party for which Charlie Kirk claims to be the standard bearer.
We do not learn, specifically, what are the “things you don’t exactly support” in the research of distinguished professor of political science Pete Hatemi, whose funding by national agencies, thousands of citation counts, and methodological rigor based on the standards of his discipline seem to matter little to the ideologues behind Professor Watchlist.
As an educator, I am in the business of encouraging young adults to think about and debate ideas that resonate with them and those that discomfit them, to advance evidence to support arguments, to second-guess broad generalizations and labels, and to be attentive to rhetorical strategies.
The attempts to muzzle freedom of expression that lie behind the Professor Watchlist represent a dangerous portent, necessitating vigilance on the part of individuals and the press. “Normalizing” such activities through an article presenting “both sides” — as if the playing field were even — demands protest.
Willa Z. Silverman,