Capitalism? Bad. Very, very bad.
And the United States? Why, it is "the most violent nation-state in history."
No, we're not quoting Nikita Khrushchev or Hugo Chavez. Not Moammar Gadhafi or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Those sentiments and that quote can be found in a lengthy research paper by Kennesaw State University's new $228,000-a-year provost, Dr. Timothy Chandler of Kent State University, who will be the second-highest administrator and right-hand man to President Dr. Dan Papp.
Papp, meanwhile, told Around Town on Friday that he was "blindsided" to learn what Chandler had written. Papp was reached by phone at the investiture ceremony for popular former KSU Provost Dr. Lendley Black, who is the new Chancellor of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Chandler's paper was published in the Jan.-Feb. 1998 issue of The Journal of Higher Education and titled "Beyond Boyer's 'Scholarship Reconsidered': Fundamental Change in the University and the Socioeconomic Systems." (The "Boyer" referred to is Ernest Boyer, author of "Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate.")
Chandler co-authored the piece with fellow Kent State professor Walter E. Davis, Ph.D. - who has gone on to greater fame (or notoriety) as one of the foremost 9/11 conspiracy theorists, charging that President Bush was complicit in the attacks. When Davis's name is "Googled," the very first item that appears is his 7,000-word screed arguing that it is "not logical" and "impossible" that bin Laden was responsible; that the U.S. was planning to invade Afghanistan before the attacks; that the Bush family "got their start as key Hitler supporters," and much more. But one can't hold it against Chandler that he co-wrote a paper with such a kook when the 9/11 attacks were still years in the future.
Chandler on Friday said he disagrees with Davis, and Papp told AT that Davis' anti-Bush rant was "a piece of trash."
Far more serious is Chandler and Davis' obvious fondness for Marx and vehement dislike of capitalism, which underpins much of their paper. Though Marx is mentioned by name only a few times in their magnum opus, they seem to have swallowed Marxist theory hook, line and sinker. Some excerpts:
* "Although the close connection of capitalism to violence is easily shown, it is seldom acknowledged. The allocative resources, which are increasingly disproportionably possessed, were obtained by individuals and groups, at one time or another, by physical force, coercion."
* "Increased competition results in increased ethnicity and racism."
* "Militarism, the development and use of weapons of mass destruction, occurs for the primary purpose of accumulating and protecting ownership of material wealth and obtaining or maintaining domination and is thus an effective goal of capitalism."
* "The goal of accumulating material wealth in the context of a hierarchical social structure influences an individual's desire for power, privilege and self-determination toward characteristics of greed and selfishness, which in turn produce inequality and conflict with others."
* "Capitalism requires an ever increasing consumption (growth) and can easily lead to the destruction of the physical environment. Because of its hegemonic nature, capitalism penetrates into every aspect of life ... and often with devastating effects. Capitalism is hierarchically structured and characterized by a high degree of inequity and an extreme disproportioned distribution of wealth and power. ... 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. These three outcomes are important explicit goals of capitalism."
* "While the United States has the most sophisticated propaganda apparatus ever assembled, it is also the most violent nation-state in history."
* "Ownership is taken for granted in capitalistic societies and is central to the accumulation of wealth and domination. All ownership of land or material means of production was at one time or another obtained by force. One prominent means of maintaining ownership and control is through generational inheritance, a concept that is accepted without question, whereas reparations for certain groups, which can be argued for with the same logic, is not."
* "The record of Western science is mixed. Along with all the advances in technology and industry comes five hundred years of oppression and destruction. Universities must take a major responsibility for this destruction, as they must take a major role in halting the slide down the slippery slope of self-elimination. The university in the context of capitalism clearly must be evaluated."
The 25,000-word paper mixes leaden prose and an onslaught of academic jargon. It's almost as long as "War and Peace" but without the latter's thrills. It clearly wasn't written for the general reader. We hope for the sake of Chandler's students that his lectures are more interesting than his writings.
Chandler, 59, is a native of the United Kingdom who became a U.S. citizen just three years ago. He holds a Ph.D. in education/physical education from Stanford University in California and has spent the bulk of his academic career teaching and/or studying in this country and Canada.
Chandler and Davis argue that students and faculty should have "real academic freedom, and real socioeconomic security."
They also state that their paper's major contention is "that all dominate-subordinate relationships are to be challenged." We'll see how Chandler likes being challenged by students - and how well Papp likes being challenged by Chandler.
WHEN CONTACTED Friday by AT, Chandler suggested the flap over his writings was much ado about nothing and described himself as a political "moderate."
"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."
Chandler conceded, however, that he and Davis wrote the paper "partly through a Marxist lens."
"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. No doubt.
But why not look at it through a "capitalist lens"? If Chandler and Davis had wanted to choose an utterly discredited political theory to look at things through, why didn't they choose a "Nazi lens," or a "segregationist lens" or a "colonialist lens"? What's so special about Marxism?
Papp implied that his provost search committee (which was headed by Dr. Arlinda Eaton, dean of the KSU Bagwell College of Education) had failed him by not raising any red flags (pardon the pun) about Chandler's views.
"I would point out that there was a faculty team on the search committee that reviewed his publications including that one," he told MDJ reporter Jon Gillooly, who contributed to and helped research this report. "I have not read the paper per se, but as I said, the faculty review team went through his research materials and was aware of this."
Of course, many will argue the fact that a team of academics could read such a paper and see its Marxist worldview as no big deal is indicative of how prevalent such thinking is in the faculty lounges at some campuses.
"I believe if you look at his entire body of work that you cannot reach the conclusion that he is a Marxist by any stretch of the imagination," Papp told AT.
We'll let readers be the judge of that.
He added that he now has read some of the excerpts of Chandler's paper "and some of them are anti-capitalism, but I would point out that some capitalists criticize capitalism as well."
True, but they are rarely as scathing as Chandler, unless perhaps writing for The Daily Worker.
Papp told AT that had he been fully briefed ahead of time about Chandler's writing, "I would have asked a whole lot more questions."
We don't doubt that. Papp noted that his focus throughout his career has been "supporting and helping American national security policy and strategy. I strongly oppose the concepts of Marxism and Leninism and anti-capitalism."
But as to the hiring of Chandler, he added, "It's a done deal."
That may depend on how the Chandler hiring plays with KSU's alumni and business supporters - nearly of them "capitalists," we would suppose. They might not cotton to the idea of having someone with an outlook so inimical to theirs helping run the show there. They might decide to "vote with their pocketbooks" and withhold their contributions. That might get the attention of Papp, who is committed to raising the millions of dollars necessary to field a football team for KSU.
It all brings to mind the old joke about how there aren't any Marxists left in the old Soviet Union - because they've all found professorships in American universities.