If you’re interested in studying left-wing social movements like organized labor, civil rights or feminism, there are dozens of universities and colleges that have created special programs and research centers devoted to the subject. But hardly any similar institutions exist in academia for those looking for a place to study the right wing in America and abroad.
The distinction, of course, is that left-wing social movements are studied in order to promote them, while any study of the right wing will be after the manner of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Case in point:
Now, with backing from an anonymous donor, the University of California, Berkeley, where ’60s-era students stood atop a police car and ignited free-speech protests, is creating a Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements. According to experts in the field it is the first of its kind in higher education.
What kind of a study of right-wing movements will you get in Berkeley? Oh, sort of like the study of ebola you get at the Center for Disease Control.
The New York Times, of course, is totally clueless:
For more than 30 years the right in America has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into education and research efforts, lending support to efforts like establishing an extensive network of research institutes outside of academia and pumping up efforts to teach Western civilization and American history on campuses. But little effort has been expended toward studying the movement’s own history or putting it in a global context.
Let’s see: Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk, George Nash…. Naw, not much effort at all.
From which political direction the financing for this latest effort is coming is masked.
Oh, really? What a surprise.
The donor’s request for anonymity may be more to ward off requests for other contributions than for political reasons. The donation, $777,000, is relatively small, but enough, Mr. Rosenthal said, for the center to sponsor lectures, conferences and colloquiums; offer fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students; and publish papers.
No doubt on how to “fix” it.
Ms. Bacchetta insisted that researchers’ own political orientation was irrelevant. “It’s a question we always get asked,” she said. “But we really like to think of ourselves as scholars in the academy,” working on evaluating these groups without any agenda. “We’re not a political organization.”
Yeah. And if you believe that one, they’ll tell you another one.