Well, InsideHigherEd today reported that NCA has withdrawn its invitation to David Horowitz to debate at its annual meeting this November. See story at http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/02/19/horowitz .
Here is my response:
My reasons for not welcoming Horowitz have less to do with his anti-intellectualism (for he is, in a Gramscian sense, an intellectual organic to the ruling class) than with with decidedly opportunistic and explicitly McCarthyist m.o. The man is about persecuting intellectuals, not engaging them.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again: We may remember these years as the “Horowitz years” in the same way that people remember McCarthyism if we do not successfully interrupt his campaign to purge critical intellectuals from the academy.
NCA’s decision is proof, in fact, that protest (even simply the “threat” of protest) works. I find it ironic that a communication association housing some prominent social movement scholars fears peaceful protest so much. But the implication that I or others would pose a physical threat to DH is ridiculous. He can play the martyr but the fact of the matter is, he is not getting a credible hearing. He can whine all he wants to.
Getting Ann Neal, instead, however is no victory and now we must strategize as to how to respond productively but strongly to her agenda as well. ACTA (her outfit) was the organization behind the Churchill firing; their report called him “low hanging fruit,” and intimated that his case was just the beginning of their quieter efforts to rid universities of activists.
I believe that the influence of these folks is waning given recent shifts in the national political climate. However, I believe that they must always be challenged in public in the way that McCarthy–once dismissed as a crank–should have been from the get-go.