The Leftist Assault on Reason

Monday, December 12, 2005

This post has been updated. See PS below.

Two stories I encountered today show how hostile to the free exchange of ideas the left has become.

First, via Objectivism Online, I have learned that the works of Ayn Rand have been pulled from the library shelves of the University of the Philippines, a hotbed of Marxism.

In 2002, a student named Francisco (a pseudonym) at the University of the Philippines read my book, The Making of Modern Economics (ME Sharpe, 2001). The book is a popular textbook that tells the story of the great economic thinkers, from Adam Smith to modern times, all written from a free-market perspective. (It's now in its third printing, and has been translated into three languages.)

One of the most controversial chapters is chapter 6, "Marx Plunges Economics into a New Dark Age." The student was a member of a Communist front student organization at University of the Philippines, but was so impressed with my critique of Marx that he typed the entire chapter into an email and sent it to all his Marxist friends and sociology professor. As a result, they all abandoned Marxism in favor of free-market economics, including his professor.

Now apparently my book has become so effective in countering Marxism in the Philippines that it has been removed from the major university libraries in Manila -- along with Ayn Rand's books!
And second, this self-described "Crypto-Conservative" woman describes what it is like to live in a blue state after her post September 11, 2001 abandonment of the left.
I was at a party last year when a woman I know suddenly burst out, "I hate Bush. He's evil. I wish he'd just drop dead" – and everyone around her verbally applauded that statement.

At a lunch with some very dear friends, the subject of the Iraq war came up and one of my friends, a brilliant, well-read, well-educated man, in arguing against the War, announced as his clinching argument the "fact" that "Bush is an idiot."

An acquaintance who had to go to the Midwest for business commented with wonderment, "They're different in the flyover states. They don’t think the way we do."

A woman apologetically explained that, although her husband votes Republican, "he’s very nice."

The elementary schools, without parental permission, have their students send petitions to Washington protesting the Iraq War; or to Sacramento, protesting Stanley "Tookie" Williams' imminent execution. [link omitted, bold added]
From my own experiences living in and visiting in blue states, the picture, which she only begins to paint here, is very accurate. The cultural atmosphere is as stifling, though in different concrete ways, as any I've experienced in the rural South.

The left can no longer claim to be the home of the independent thinker.

-- CAV

PS: On further thought, I am more skeptical of the claim made in the first story. Mike over at Passing Thoughts has this to say about the mass conversion of communists to capitalism mentioned above.
Um, I’d like that to be true. But in my experience this kind of thing just doesn’t happen. Sounds like someone is trying to push his book using fairy tales about the Philippines. Or maybe Marxists in the Philippines are just a whole lot more honest than those in the U.S.
Given the demonstrable failure of communism for the past several decades, the level of evasion needed to accept it in the first place would probably preclude someone from having his mind changed by mere arguments. Not that it's impossible....

Furthermore, big government types haven't always had such a great track record of "knowing whom to ban", as the famous story of the making of the movie version of We the Living, in Fascist Italy illustrates.


12-13-05: See PS.

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