Your morning jolt: Kennesaw State and a ‘Red scare’

It very much feels like we should be having this discussion in black-and-white, with a smoldering cigarette between the fingers and a fedora tilted slightly down and to the right.

Last Saturday, an editorial column in the Marietta Daily Journal – carrying the triple byline of Otis Brumby, Bill Kinney, and Joe Kirby – unloaded on a new hire announced by Kennesaw State University.

Kennesaw State University President Dan Papp. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Kennesaw State University President Dan Papp. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Timothy Chandler, a British-born academic from Kent State University in Ohio, was recently named as KSU’s new $228,000-a-year provost, the university’s No. 2 administrator.

The MDJ trio had discovered a 1998 research paper co-authored by Chandler that cites Karl Marx, five times over 22 very dense pages. The column accused Chandler of having an “obvious fondness for Marx and vehement dislike of capitalism.”

Late last night, KSU issued a statement from Dan Papp, the university president and former Sovietologist:

”Over the course of the last several days, I have engaged in extensive discussions with Dr. Tim Chandler about his 1998 co-authored article that aroused such debate. After these discussions, I am convinced that Dr. Chandler is neither Marxist nor anti-American, as some have alleged.

“During these discussions, Dr. Chandler also expressed appreciation for the support for his appointment that he has received from the academic community, and declared that ‘attacks on my character, including the suggestion that I am undemocratic, are baseless.’

“Further, Dr. Chandler said that he is ‘not inclined to withdraw from the provost position under the cloud of a Red scare.’”

Shades of Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss, of Richard Nixon and Joe McCarthy and Ed Murrow.

The MDJ had already posed to Chandler the same question asked in that era:

“I am certainly not a Marxist,” he said. “I see it as one way of looking at the world. It’s not the way I personally choose to look at the world. But as an academic I have to be open to a variety of points of view. It’s not my own personal point of view. I would consider myself anything but a Marxist, but I think there’s still good reasons to think about it from a variety of perspectives.”

“….Certainly there are aspects of that paper where we looked through a Marxist lens, and I think that’s perfectly acceptable in academic circles to do that,” he said.

Papp, who is about to become Chandler’s new boss, was the founding director of Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. For years, if you were a journalist headed for the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, Papp was the fellow you had a chat with before you left.

He knows his Marx, Lenin and dialectic materialism.

“Speaking as a national security expert – the guy is not a Marxist and not anti-American,” Papp said in a conversation Wednesday. “The tone of the discussion so far has taken unfortunate quotes out of context from a 13-year-old co-authored article and leaped to some extreme conclusions that I believe are unwarranted.”

Let us pick our way through some of this fuss:

– First, the 1998 article in question was published in the Journal of Higher Education, a local product of Ohio State University Press. Not the prestigious Chronicle of Higher Education. We would post the entire 22 pages for your reading pleasure, but the publisher wanted $500 for reprint rights. It probably would have been the only money ever made off the article. We’ll offer you some excerpts instead.

– The article is truly, truly terrible. Badly written. Boring and self-reverential. Marx be damned – from a writer’s point of view, here’s the worst non-thought in the entire piece:

… [C]hange can and often does have both negative and positive outcomes, or either one.

The purpose of the paper appears to be an attempt to theorize on the organization of universities, and the economics that surround their operation. But it is hard to say.

Indifferent writers often move into management (a very un-Marxist thing to do). We assume that’s the case here.

– As in journalism, double bylines on academic papers mean something. The author named first generally has the larger role. Chandler’s writing partner in 1998 — the first author named — was Walter E. Davis of the same university, whose political leanings appear to approximate those of former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney. Since Sept. 11, 2001, Davis has achieved some notoriety as a conspiracy theorist who believes President Bush was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center. But the fact that Davis’ expertise is in sports education theory deprives him of any real authority on the matter.

Today’s MDJ states that the article is “saturated” in Marxist ideology. Marx is mentioned five times – twice to refute the economic philosopher. Thomas Hobbes also rates a mention.

Papp concedes that much of the wording in the paper is “unfortunate.” One of the more problematic passages:

Capitalism is hierarchically structured and characterized by a high degree of inequity and an extreme disproportioned distribution of wealth and power (see Sklar, 1995 for recent data). As a result, masses of people are forced to succumb to the economic system in order to survive. An asymmetric distribution of resources guarantees high levels of competition, greed, and violence (Nagel, 1995; J. W. Smith, 1994). These three outcomes are important explicit goals of capitalism.

Yet, as Papp points out, Thomas Jefferson was also a critic of the excesses of capitalism – as were the men who went on to form the Confederacy. But quoting Jeff Davis would have caused another form of trouble. Possibly, Chandler would have been better off citing a few popes.

– Some have found themselves upset by this passage from the 1998 article:

The connection of the university to power and violence is straightforward in that without scientists in the physical sciences, weapons of mass destruction would not be built…[Overly complicated and largely meaningless academic jargon] ….While the United States has the most sophisticated propaganda apparatus ever assembled, it is also the most violent nation-state in history.

Emphasis added. Again, it is an uncomfortable sentence. But it is also an ironic one, if you realize that Chandler is about to move to the spot where William Sherman, another product of Ohio, perfected the concept of total war.

– Critics have overlooked a very non-Marxist bit of philosophy expressed by Chandler – one that’s no doubt important to Kennesaw State:

The goal of universities is learning in its various forms and purposes, but it is very much limited as well as enabled by the economic context in which the university is embedded. Because monetary resources are required to operate a university, securing these resources is a necessary goal.

When resources are scarce, they become more important than scholarship. Today, universities are run like businesses, driven by “the bottom line,” and knowledge is a commodity for both the university and for the individual scholar.

What capitalist can argue with that?

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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58 comments Add your comment

Centrist

March 10th, 2011
11:28 am

What non-technical universities are NOT run and taught by leftists?

Aquagirl

March 10th, 2011
11:33 am

Well, none, Centrist, if you define “leftist” as someone who acknowledges the existence of Marx, and thinks that capitalism is not 100% perfect.

HL

March 10th, 2011
11:42 am

Aquagirl, Greenspan the great libertarian in the sky has even admitted that capitalism is not perfect and has blamed the Wall Street fiasco on private greed. .
I guess the right would now view Greenspan a liberal.

Ayn Rand's ghost

March 10th, 2011
11:48 am

Greenspan hasn’t had a good night’s sleep since he said that. Turncoat.

Young Lady

March 10th, 2011
11:51 am

As you know Aquagirl reality has a distinct left-wing bias!

The snippets from this paper (which is definately not worth 500 dollars for reprint from the sounds) pretty much conclude this is much ado about nothing. It’s a piece of academic fluff from the sounds of it. It doesn’t sound substantial nor insightful and sounds more like some writing done by a guy looking for a cushy job than an idealogue.

NameRequired

March 10th, 2011
11:52 am

The real question is what did this guy ever do to Otis Brumby? Or is Papp the real target?

eye-rollin' forehead slappin'

March 10th, 2011
11:54 am

“The article is truly, truly terrible.”

Well, good to see that KSU is getting the quality personnel it needs.

ProgressivePeach

March 10th, 2011
11:56 am

Sounds like Otis has a new rag doll to beat on in his newspaper for the next few months. Yawn. He and his publication are such a joke, that less than 1 out of every 50 people in the county even read it.

Last Man Standing

March 10th, 2011
11:58 am

“Capitalism is hierarchically structured and characterized by a high degree of inequity and an extreme disproportioned distribution of wealth and power”

Does Hussein know about this guy?

Obviously not or he would have been appointed to some high level governmental position, such as Economic Czar!

Frontman

March 10th, 2011
11:58 am

Aquagirl,
Name me the great successes of Marxism…
The Soviet Union? Cuba? China? 3rd world countries? Wow, a whole lot to hang the Marxist hat on there.
That is irrelevant here, however.
Should his politics disqualify him from being a professor? No.
Should his politics disqualify him from being the Provost? Maybe. It’s a much more influential position which can control the culture of the entire university.
HL, if you think Greenspan is a libertarian, you’re insane.

Jim, the last quote could easily have come from an avowed Marxist; he’s just recognizing reality. There is nothing non-Marxist in that quote at all. The Marxist understands perfectly well that resources are required to operate things. He just firmly believes in his right to take those resources from whomever he feels like in order to make the thing operate.

DannyX

March 10th, 2011
12:00 pm

How in the heck are all these “liberal, Marxist, commie, leftist universities” able to help produce all those brand new-envy-of-the-world huge new capitalist companies? (Google, Apple, Microsoft, and on and on and on …………..

What are the results of the conservative universities?

GaBlue

March 10th, 2011
12:02 pm

The solution to all Georgia’s problems, social, economic, water, and traffic, are clear: DISBAND ALL INSTITUTIONS OF LEARNING. Well, except for expensive, private church-run schools. Shut down every college and university, and close every single K-12 facility in the state.

Not only will our good goldy legislators be able to finally balance our budget, but they’ll have enough budget cash left over to award their contractor buddies all SORTS of cushy gov’t contracts for building prisons and cutting down these annoying TREES that grow everywhere, trying to take the good healthy smog out of our air. Come on, kickbacks!

Without education to corrupt the minds of good godly citizens (if you memorize the Lord’s Prayer, that’s all the learnin’ you need!), the jobs will ROLL in! Hallelujah!!!! Pass the ‘nanner puddin!

HL

March 10th, 2011
12:04 pm

Frontman, His former close friend Ayn is turning over in her grave. Of course she was just a novelist anyway.
the last quote could easily have come from an avowed Marxist; he’s just recognizing reality. There is nothing non-Marxist in that quote at all.
What does that even mean? It could have come but maybe it didn’t . Gee Do they still have lynching trees in Marietta?

Frontman

March 10th, 2011
12:06 pm

Also, from Dr. Papp’s extensive background in Soviet studies, Marxist tripe might just be water off a duck’s back to him.

Ayn Rand's ghost

March 10th, 2011
12:13 pm

Frontman, if you want to hear more about Marxism, ask a Marxist. Oh, look, I typed the word, I must be one!

Actually I was quite the communist when I was in the military. Everything owned in common, group based, basics of life always guaranteed, less economic stratification. Ah, the irony.

Aquagirl

March 10th, 2011
12:15 pm

Oops, busted myself semi-sockpuppeting. lol.

Warrior Woman

March 10th, 2011
12:18 pm

In academic circles, the first name on a double byline may be the primary author, or it may be whomever comes first alphabetically. The identification of the corresponding author is more important in determining thought driver. Either way, if your name is on it, you own it.

Frontman

March 10th, 2011
12:19 pm

What does lynching have to do with anything?
In case you didn’t read Jim’s tag to that quote, here it is:
“Critics have overlooked a very non-Marxist bit of philosophy expressed by Chandler”
The point was that Jim’s quick attribution of that quote as a non-Marxist philosophy is simply wrong.
So Greenspan’s a Libertarian because Ayn Rand was his friend? A Libertarian would never have taken the position as head of the Federal Reserve. Also, I have gay friends. Does that mean I’m gay, too?
The real question for all to answer is whether or not they think that having a Marxist as the Provost could be detrimental to KSU.
Dr. Papp obviously puts little value in the article and is convinced that Dr. Chandler is not a Marxist. He should know a whole lot more about the total picture than we do.
But what would you think if the person being hired had written a strongly worded anti-abortion article years ago? Would that be relevant?
Stop shutting off debate with the statement,”There’s the idiots and then there’s what I think.”

Aquagirl

March 10th, 2011
12:25 pm

Front, Greenspan is a libertarian because he calls himself one. He outed himself, instead of just letting those rumors about his “friends” go unaddressed.

gatsby

March 10th, 2011
12:32 pm

I love the way none of you rocket scientists dare weigh in on Dialectic Materialism, a subject so complicated that our esteemed host only googled it to see how it’s spelled.

Phoneys.

Diogenes

March 10th, 2011
12:33 pm

Frontman is ignorant. Stop bellowing the rhetoric from FoxNews from atop your mountain and start studying.

Honestly, and maybe this is you, I had to deal with this garbage last week on campus when a 34 yr old Tea Party “patriot” with less than a 7th grade education was telling me we do our jobs and that we should be more capitalistic. Define capitalistic!? You can not. Just because you read Wikipedia’s page on capitalism or marxism does not mean you either know the material or are any more versed in those topics than the trailer trash that makes up your party.

findog

March 10th, 2011
12:45 pm

LMS @11:58,
Are you claiming the quote is in error?
American’s are the hardest working people ever to populate the earth because they can all make it to the good side of the extreme distribution of wealth through hard work and intellect. Others too are comfortable because of daddy’s name, hand outs, or knowledge of special handshakes.
What is wrong with American Capitalism is that government prevents the destructive recreation of markets [see Bush with Banks or Obama with Car Companies] that is supposed to weed out the inefficient.

findog

March 10th, 2011
12:55 pm

Gatsby, all dialectics have limits of use based on electro-magnetic or physical properties of what they are dialecting. Just like the argument that all liberals are democrats, or that by claiming Greenspan is a Libertarian makes him any less likely to vote Republican than local Libertarian Neil Boortz.

Last Man Standing

March 10th, 2011
1:01 pm

findog:

“Are you claiming the quote is in error?”

No. My inference was that Hussein wants to “change” this scene. I don’t want to see that changed. I have never attained wealth – but neither did I seek it. I am not envious of those who have worked hard and sacrificed to achieve wealth. It should be exactly as you stated it, “they can all make it to the good side of the extreme distribution of wealth through hard work and intellect”. That is as it should be for it has produced the highest living standard in the world.

findog

March 10th, 2011
1:04 pm

Thanks, I thought I might have misread

Centrist

March 10th, 2011
1:06 pm

This is common sense, too – http://www.dkosopedia.com/wiki/Politics_and_Profession

Politics and Profession

There are strong links between a person’s profession or subprofession, and that person’s likely political preferences. A summary of some of the stereotypes (often accurate, but not always) is provided below:

Professions Reputed To Be Liberal and/or Democratic

* Unionized Employees
* Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Lawyers
* Criminal Defense Lawyers
* K-12 Teachers in Public and Secular Private schools
* College Professors in the Humanities and Social Sciences
* Non-Evangelical Christian Ministers
* Artists and Entertainers
* Reporters (who come from the liberal schools of journalism)

findog

March 10th, 2011
1:34 pm

Centrist you left out: muggers, rapists, child molesters, and other sub-profession miscreants
Not to mention: Illegal aliens registered to vote, dead voters [Chicago], welfare queens, and anyone without a gun.

Frontman

March 10th, 2011
1:44 pm

Diogenes,
I don’t watch Fox News and get very little from its web site.
Upon what do you base your statement that I am ignorant, O great seeker of truth?
Also, please enlighten us with your vast wisdom.
BTW, I am not a member of the Tea Party movement either.
Let’s just stick to honest debate and forget insults, OK?
First you say I can’t define capitalism. Then you say that anyone can get it from Wikipedia. What are you looking for, a term paper?
As I said before, it’s totally irrelevant to the debate. Don’t get hung up on the semantics of what capitalism and Marxism are. Instead, let’s address the real question: do and/or should someone’s previously held or currently held views affect their ability to be hired in specific positions?
My take is: the less important the position, the less it matters. I maintain that as the head academic person for a major university, it does matter.

Last Man Standing

March 10th, 2011
1:44 pm

Centrist:

I’ve never seen any figures on it, but I’d like to know the percentage of conservative law enforcement officers as opposed to liberal law enforcement officers. I would venture to say that the conservatives are far and away in the majority.

Gary

March 10th, 2011
2:15 pm

As a KSU grad I still resent the school for not doing a better job of defending both Newt Gingrich and Dr. Christina Jeffrey during the republican revolution and the personal attacks that occured in a smear campaign against both. To this day few people know waht Newt was actually charged with as House Speaker. He was a teacher teaching a class with huge demand for the class. He made the class available on TV using PAC money. Conservative lawyers say it was OK. Liberal lawyers say it wasn’t. A house vote punished him. Kennesaw kept its mouth shut. Dr. Jeffrey was one of the best teachers at the school and was accused of being a Nazi sympathiser because she felt text books should be balanced and explain why people think the way they do. The anti-def league felt otherwise and with help from liberal opponents had her fired as house historian. Kennesaw was silent. The school was pretty far to the left at the time in the administration and I think they enjoyed watching conservatives suffer. As a result I am pretty sympathic that he is having to defend a small portion os a document written years ago. Kennesaw should provide him %100 support publically and end these type of political attacks. However, they should do it for both sides of the political spectrum.

Zoomie

March 10th, 2011
2:17 pm

“An asymmetric distribution of resources guarantees high levels of competition, greed, and violence (Nagel, 1995; J. W. Smith, 1994). These three outcomes are important explicit goals of capitalism.”

If the author believes this characterization, he is either ignorant, a liar, or lacks the basic ability to reason cause and effect. In any event, as a life-long academic, any and/or all of these suit him well in his chosen profession.

Former Hooter

March 10th, 2011
2:21 pm

KSU has hired enough Commis from China so he should fit right in!

the original and still the best John Galt

March 10th, 2011
2:32 pm

Someone above suggested that class analysis in the style of Karl Marx might be a useful exercise, and I agree, except I find Marx’s division of society into Worker, Middle Class, and Capitalist to be dated. These days society can easily be classified into two divisions in economic terms: as Taxpayer and Tax consumer, or Host and Parasite. In political terms, the classes are: The Ruling Class and the Country Class, or the Elite and the Rubes.

Academia becomes more and more disconnected from reality, demonstrating that disconnect by providing one of today’s homes for Marx. Only Hollywood rivals academia as a hotbed of 19th century utopian Communism based on “Capital” and “The Communist Manifesto.”

As I mentioned above, it’s easy to admire Marx when you make well into six figures supported by the taxpayer. When you are the Host rather than the Parasite, however, it’s a different story.

I suspect many of the folks whose kids attend Harvard in the Pines are not admirers of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

Jeff

March 10th, 2011
2:35 pm

The relevant question here should not be whether the new KSU provost is a Marxist but whether he is worth $228,000 per year (add a few more thousand for benefits & retirement). I’d bet most folks, even faculty at KSU, would conclude no.

jd

March 10th, 2011
2:38 pm

By the criteria found here — Adam Smith is a marxist… geez — ignorance reigns supreme.

Left wing management

March 10th, 2011
2:54 pm

jd : “By the criteria found here — Adam Smith is a marxist… geez — ignorance reigns supreme.”

Actually there’s plenty of reason to think if he were around today, Adam Smith would easily be attacked as a socialist. After all, he was very much in favor of wealth maximization not for purposes of its concentration but for its more equitable distribution. I think he’d look on what’s going on now with disgust.

Call it like it is

March 10th, 2011
2:57 pm

“The column accused Chandler of having an “obvious fondness for Marx and vehement dislike of capitalism.”

Okay that pretty much describes every teacher I had in college.

gatsby

March 10th, 2011
3:02 pm

“From each according….” “To each according….”

These phrases have no meaning whatsoever.

Nother phoney.

majii

March 10th, 2011
3:27 pm

Anyone who has done any type of scholarly research or writing knows that it is an examination of a concept from different perspectives and doesn’t necessarily reflect directly on the worldview of the writer/researcher. I think this is an instance in which those who did not produce this research/writing have seized on the part that they think will promote their POV for personal/political gain and/or to use in raising funds for their next political campaign.

the original and still the best John Galt

March 10th, 2011
3:33 pm

Mr. Gatsby, are you saying that Marx didn’t write this most famous quotation? He most certainly did, in 1875, though he was quoting earlier authors.

Otis Brumby is a Pig

March 10th, 2011
3:49 pm

If all employers were as bad as Otis Brumby, there would be a lot more Marxists.

OwlToo

March 10th, 2011
5:03 pm

I am both an MBA grad of KSU, and current grossly underpaid employee of KSU…and I am also a huge supporter of Dr. Chandler. I am fascinated about how so much fury can be raised by journalists whose sole intent is apparently to stir up controversy where there is none by using quotes out of context. The MDJ’s editorial piece failed to communicate what the main focus of the research paper was…it had nothing to do with personal political views or beliefs in any specific social system, it was, in fact, an alternate academic viewpoint to the theories proposed by Boyer in “Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered”. The official abstract of the paper reads: “Davis and Chandler argue that, despite well-intended efforts, “Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered” fails as an analysis of and recipe for change in the university, because he ignores the broader socioeconomic context within which it functions.” To support their theory, Davis and Chandler outline a global model of various organization systems that demonstrate why they feel Boyer’s theory for university change fails. The mention of Marx, Giddens, Darwin, Plato, and other notables are used to systematically explain various social systems, and the implications of those systems. I had the honor of seeing both final provost candidates present. Dr. Chandler has a fresh and intelligent vision from a global perspective of what needs to be done to improve the quality of higher education, and increase the level of education of the American population as a whole. His viewpoints are well entrenched in the definition of democracy (democracy and capitalism are generally paired, whereas communism and socialism are generally paired with each other). His counterpart, on the other hand, though quite accomplished as well, offered nothing new that would help KSU become a world-class institution rather than just another large university in the south. Those with degrees from KSU will likely see their “stock go up” in terms of the future value of their degrees from this institution as the result of the contributions of Provost Chandler.

poorcobbco

March 10th, 2011
8:26 pm

I don’t think they hired the guy to form a new government, but just to help run a University. Why is so much being written now about an academic paper that was co-written so long ago, and in what way does that define this person? Cobb County may become a laughing stock again because of the attention these sloppy editorials are getting, but at least Dan Papp is showing some class!

KSUer

March 10th, 2011
8:38 pm

The paper is freely available online at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb172/is_n1_v69/ai_n28703466/. I’ve read it. Mr. Galloway’s description as “truly, truly terrible” is right on, which should be disqualifying in and of itself since the provost is the chief academic officer. At the very least it should give cause for people to stop calling Chandler a “respected scholar” – he is a hack.

However, the paper is more than bad. It is a proposal on how to structure universities. It contains many daffy ideas such as: rewards for achievement are counterproductive; research grants harm true scholarship (and this guy is going to run a university aiming to enhance its research profile?); that “Western science” is bad and responsible for “500 years of oppression”; all dominant-subordinate relationships are to “be challenged”. There’s more, each idea dumber than the last.

Forget the Marxism (which, incidentally, is there more than the 5 outright Marx cites) – the paper reveals the author to be thoroughly unqualified for the job. And to top it all off, the search committee almost surely didn’t even look at it though it’s the only thing Chandler has ever published that relates to the job at hand – pretty much everything else is pseudo-scholarship about various aspects of rugby and masculinity, rugby and religion, rugby and blah blah blah. I think he likes rugby.

Otis Bumbee

March 10th, 2011
8:46 pm

Ma names Otis un I got me a papur thut I use tu tell folks a thang ur 2 an this Anglush feller rote a papur a while bak tu say a thang ur 2 an I was figgeren that ain’t jus what I thank an that shur aint rite. Jus cuz that thar, I figger on given this Anglush feller what fer an all thees folks sayd that aint rite Otis cuz he be gonna wurkin at the colluj thar an sos I says a thang ur 2 agan an thats that.

Mike

March 11th, 2011
11:01 am

I find it interesting that ones’ so-called academic writings are almost always ‘prized possessions’ until we read one that is far out of bounds. Then it becomes rhetorical and not the authors’ real opinion. How much of this garbage are we supposed to consume, and accept under these terms? I would agree that if it was an anti-abortion piece, the gallows would await the offender….. Political correctness as usual!!! Sickening.

Frontman

March 11th, 2011
11:09 am

KSUer, you are dead on. I read the paper as well, and it is a complete piece of crap. I sure hope that this guy has better ideas than this, because if he doesn’t, KSU just made a VERY big mistake. I don’t think he would style himself as a Marxist or anti-American, but isn’t that the way with all of the left now? Labels are so limiting… change is what is important. Sound like anyone else you can think of?

the original and still the best John Galt

March 11th, 2011
12:05 pm

KSUer, Mike, Frontman, I think you have this one figured out. Communism, Fascism, Marxism, it’s all collectivism, and it stinks just as bad whatever it’s called.

LawDawg

March 11th, 2011
1:00 pm

Citing Marx 5 times over 22 pages in an academic article makes one a communist? I guess that makes Anne Frank a Nazi.

This is so, so, so stupid.