Saturday, July 28, 2007

Exchange with John W. Epperson, Ruth Harp Professor of Political Science, Simpson College

Professor Epperson wrote the following in response to my recent Frontpagemag article. My response follows.

Dear Mr. Langbert,

I read with interest your article on the possibility of the IRS changing the tax status of some universities because of their alleged political activities including anti-Semitism. Your evidence for anti-Semitism on the part of the various educational institutions or the educational establishment is extraordinarily thin. For example in one paragraph you cite as evidence two events: a student running for student government was spit upon and called an epithet when she ran for student government and secondly an emeritus professor wrote a letter attacking Judaism that was published in a student newspaper. In the latter instance I would point out the professor was “emeritus” which as you should know means she is retired. Secondly newspapers, even student ones, publish letters. How does either of these events indicate a consistent (or even episodic) pattern of anti-Semitism? As for the student, who attacked her--Official representatives of the university, outsiders on campus, or other students? Is this something that happens all of the time? Did it happen more than once or was this just one incident of very bad behavior? As regrettable as these incidents are neither of them comes anywhere near supporting your argument. You have erected a “straw-man” to support what is an extremely weak argument for propaganda purposes. You have to do better than this.

John W. Epperson
Ruth Harp Professor of Political Science
Simpson College
Indianola, Iowa

My e-mailed response was as follows:

>"Hi--thanks for your interest. I think I referred to Gary Tobin et al.'s Uncivil University in the article, which is a book-length treatment of anti-Semitism in universities that came out last year. My article was targeted at the tax issue, and I had just read Uncivil University, which as I had e-mailed to Gary Tobin, shocked me, so I included a few examples. There is hardly any shortage of evidence.

Moreover, my article was focused on the more narrow subject of tax implications. You might be interested in my blog here:

which is a review of Uncivil University. You might be interested in further information from Dr. Tobin at the Institute for Jewish Research. Their website: has information. I have copied Dr. Tobin of the Institute for Jewish Research on this e-mail. You might be interested in reading Uncivil University, sold at at

and raising any questions with Tobin, as he is much better qualified to discuss his book than I am.

As well, you might take a look at David Horowitz's book, < 101 Most Dangerous Professors also available at at:

There are so many examples of the politicization of universities that my 1,000 word article on tax issues could not have reviewed them all. This has already been done in several well-known books, to include:

Kors and Silverglate, The Shadow University
Dinesh D'Souza, Illiberal University
Roger Kimball, Tenured Radicals

The idea that universities engage in political activity is not something that requires new evidence, as there has been so much available for so long that I am surprised that (you) are unfamiliar with the extensive literature. The point of my article was to discuss the tax implications of the political university, which is virgin territory.

Why don't you read the above material, and then get back to me if you are still surprised at the idea that radical activisim, (e.g., "peace studies"), propaganda, political advocacy and one-sided chanting of extremist views, to include anti-Semitism, are common in universities. Frankly, I (was) surprised that you're surprised.

Mitchell Langbert

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write in my site something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog?