Progressive Witchhunt

Over at the Guardian, Gary Younge writes about the witchhunt against liberals currently taking places at U.S. campuses.

Few would argue there are direct parallels between the current assaults on liberals in academe and McCarthyism. Unlike the McCarthy era, most threats to academic freedom – real or perceived – do not, yet, involve the state. Nor are they buttressed by widespread popular support, as anticommunism was during the 50s. But in other ways, argues Ellen Schrecker, author of Many Are the Crimes – McCarthyism in America, comparisons are apt.

“In some respects it’s more dangerous,” she says. “McCarthyism dealt mainly with off-campus political activities. Now they focus on what is going on in the classroom. It’s very dangerous because it’s reaching into the core academic functions of the university, particularly in Middle-Eastern studies.”

Either way, a growing number of apparently isolated incidents suggests a mood which is, if nothing else, determined, relentless and aimed openly at progressives in academe.

And he recounts some very, very unsettling anecdotes.

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