Phi Beta Cons

Re: Churchill

To follow David’s analogy – 
Churchill apologists seem to be demanding an exclusionary test for his misdeeds. Their logic seems to mandate that Churchill’s academic improprieties be overlooked because of, in their view, the “unreasonable search and seizure” that was the investigating commission.
Consider the meandering comment in the Chomsky-Wallerstein-Cole-Zinn NYRB ad.  

It may be that aspects of Churchill’s large body of published writings were vulnerable to responsible academic criticism, but the proceedings against him were not undertaken because of efforts to uphold high scholarly standards, but to provide a more acceptable basis for giving in to the rightwing pressures resulting from his 9/11 remarks.

Nothing proven against Churchill should carry weight because the act of finding it might have been influenced by his political statements – the latest in Mapp v. Ohio protections, courtesy of the modern academy. Radical politics – the surest means for plagiarists to become free speech martyrs. If only Doris Kearns Goodwin had thought of it.

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