My feelings are hurt.
The “Bruin Alumni Association (which consists, as far as I can tell, of one self-promoting wingnut too slimy and too crazy even for the taste of David Horowitz) has posted a list of thirty-one radical leftist professors at UCLA and I’m not on it! What am I, chopped liver?
Now, a carping critic might point out that I’m not actually a radical leftist. Technically, I suppose that’s true. But neither is Jonathan Zasloff, and he made the list. I’ll stack my radical leftist credentials up against Jonathan’s any day of the week. It’s rank discrimination, that’s what it is!
[Why, Walter Williams himself, a member of the BAA Advisory Board, once called me “a friend of tyranny” on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. (Williams disagreed with something I’d written on tobacco policy; naturally, as a believer in free discourse, Williams refused to allow me on the air to defend myself.)]
It’s true that I try to keep my political partisanship out of the classroom; but, as Steve Bainbridge points out, the BAA doesn’t seem to distinguish in-class from out-of-class activity. Any inclination toward liberalism by someone who also teaches at UCLA seems to be enough to put someone on BAA’s “dirty thirty” list.
My first reaction to the whole BAA nonsense was to ignore it, and urge my colleagues to do likewise, in order to starve BAA’s promoter of the publicity he so craves. I was happy leaving the task of criticizing pseudo-conservative nonsense to real conservatives like Bainbridge and Eugene Volokh (twice) and Steven Thernstrom, and the task of promoting it to other pseudo-conservatives: Glenn Reynolds, for example. I have even refused a couple of interview requests. But that strategy clearly didn’t work.
Anyway, if spying on your “radical leftist” professor is worth $100, why should my students be left out? I need to remain competitive in the marketplace, after all.
So I think I’m going to help the Bruin Alumni Association continue its good work, and spend whatever wingnut money it raises from its current publicity burst. As it happens, all of my lectures are already taped, and posted on my course websites. So I’m going to encourage all my students to nark me out to the junior brownshirts. And I’m such a nice guy that I won’t even ask for a cut of the take.