Make Thy Neighbor Conform for Diversity’s Sake

Months ago I pointed out the creation of website KnowThyNeighbor.org. KnowThyNeighbor.org’s operators, Thomas Lang and Alexander Westerhoff, name those who have signed a petition to bring gay marriage to a vote in Massachusetts, because they think the best way to achieve their stated goal of “promoting dialogue on marriage equality in Massachusetts” is to intimidate their opponents into silence.

Nevertheless, a number of voters did sign the petition, including BU School of Management Dean Louis Lataif, as BU’s student newspaper, The Daily Free Press, reports. Lataif had no comment, but the paper’s reporter had no trouble finding students willing to describe the current state of campus free speech:

“I’m surprised,” SMG sophomore Natalya Kamenetsky said. “You wouldn’t expect that from a dean from any school because BU is so diverse.”

Who would ever expect diversity of thought at a “diverse” university?

Now, you might think that only a reactionary conservative would oppose making website lists of one’s political opponents. Consider this: recently the conservative “Bruin Alumni Association” of UCLA published website lists of UCLA professors it considers liberal proselytizers. What do liberal academics think of that?

Adrienne Lavine, chairwoman of UCLA’s academic senate, agreed that the university could do little more at this point. She said she found the profiles on the alumni group’s website “inflammatory” and “not a positive way to address the concerns that Mr. Jones has expressed.”

. . .

On one of its websites, the Bruin Alumni Group names education professor Peter McLaren as No. 1 on its “The Dirty Thirty: Ranking the Worst of the Worst.” It says “this Canadian native teaches the next generation of teachers and professors how to properly indoctrinate students.”

McLaren, in a telephone interview, called the alumni group’s tactics “beneath contempt.”

“Any sober, concerned citizen would look at this and see right through it as a reactionary form of McCarthyism. Any decent American is going to see through this kind of right-wing propaganda. I just find it has no credibility,” he said.

The website also lists history professor Ellen DuBois, saying she “is in every way the modern female academic: militant, impatient, accusatory, and radical — very radical.” In response, DuBois said: “This is a totally abhorrent invitation to students to participate in a witch hunt & against their professors.”

What of KnowThyNeighbor.org? Is it “inflammatory” and “not a positive way to address the concerns”? Is it true that “any sober, concerned citizen would look at this and see right through it as a reactionary form of McCarthyism [and that] any decent American is going to see through this kind of [left]-wing propaganda”? Perhaps it’s “beneath contempt” as “a totally abhorrent invitation to [citizens] to participate in a witch hunt against their [neighbors].” You decide.

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