Tag: Sidney Hook

The Bullshit Beyond Ideology

I have a great impatience with people who—whether for normative or empirical reasons (the second is often driven by the first)—claim that we need to dispense with terms like “left” and “right.” The world is too complicated, they say, for such simpleminded categories. We need a Third Way, they say (and have said since the French Revolution). My ideology is “neither Right Nor Left,” they say, which is what fascists so often said of themselves. I am beyond ideology. Some of the reasons for my impatience were laid out by the Italian political theorist Noberto Bobbio in a short masterpiece he penned in the last decade of his life: Left and Right: The Significance of a Political Distinction. But another reason has to do with the bad faith—and political […]

The New McCarthyites: BDS, Its Critics, and Academic Freedom

As the attacks on the BDS movement and the ASA boycott escalate, the arguments grow wilder. It’s no longer enough, it seems, to make unfounded claims that the academic boycott violates academic freedom. The new line of march is that mere advocacy of the boycott is itself a violation of academic freedom. What’s more, it’s not crazies who are peddling this claim; as Haaretz reports, it’s coming from the heart of the academic establishment. “The mere calling for a boycott will impede the free flow of ideas,” Russell Berman, a comparative literature professor at Stanford University and a past Modern Language Association president, said on the conference call. “The calling of a boycott will have a chilling effect on academic life.” […]