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The Claremont Institute and Dr. John Eastman

September 30, 2021

Political science professor John Eastman was removed in a faculty “putsch” from his one year appointment as Colorado University-Boulder’s “Conservative Thought” professor. I described what happened from my perspective and should have called it a faculty “putsch,” but higher education is controlled by tenured faculty. Blocking political conservatives from employment or kicking them out before they qualify for “tenure” is what faculty do.

Here’s some background on what happened: The Ward Churchill scandal aroused conservatives among CU alumni and they decided to fund a one-year appointment of “Conservative” scholars.  The first two academics chosen in the first two years did well. But tenured members of the Department took control of the selection process in the third year when I was a finalist and was passed over. Tenured faculty blunted the “conservative” purpose of the program and chose a less “political” candidate whose reputation as a political conservative were nigh invisible. Somehow John Eastman passed scrutiny until he supported President Trump’s effort to delay or reverse the Electoral College counting of votes in the 2020 election.

“Out” “Out” he was told and Eastman disappeared until this week’s annual convention of the American Political Science Association commonly referred to as “APSA.”

Since political conservatives are seldom retained as teachers in American higher education except “in exile” at colleges like Hillsdale College, their numbers as members of APSA are not many.

Alternatives like the Philadelphia Society and Academy of Philosophy and Letters have arisen to discuss important issues without the “baggage” of Progressive ideology present at professional association meetings. These gatherings enable faculty to promote their wares in hopes of improving their condition of employment by progressing from positions in community colleges or four-year backwater colleges located in rural areas of “fly over” states.

The opportunities for advancement are very slim, however, and annual meetings like APSA offer hope only by giving papers on uninteresting subjects. In order to do that you must be a member and submit a summary of your paper to the APSA and or a participating “Related Group.”

I am a student of the work of Eric Voegelin and gave a paper several years ago at APSA under sponsorship of the Voegelin Society. The Claremont Institute is also a participating “Related Group” and this year featured John Eastman on two panels at APSA’s annual meeting in Seattle, a riot torn community whose Mayor has referred to her city as “a city of love.”

APSA was attacked for giving the Claremont Institute a place for Dr. Eastman to speak, and the Institute’s physical panels were made “virtual.” APSA argued that Dr. Eastman’s presence raised concerns for the safety and security of attendees at his events.

You have to be a member of a college faculty in today’s “Woke” environment to appreciate the furor that this caused.

Dave Karpf, an associate professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University, wrote an open letter to APSA’s governing council saying “Eastman has violated our discipline’s professional ethics by participating in the dangerous attempt to overturn the institution of electoral democracy in the U.S..”

A related group like Claremont, “provides a material benefit to an institution that is expressly at odds with the goals and values of [APSA] and its membership.”

James H. Rudy, Professor of Political Science at Indiana University at Bloomington, joined Karpf saying “ Is 21st century American fascism beyond the pale” of APSA?

According to another professor, Eastman did “more than offer a controversial ‘republican’ reading of the law to Trump” and others leading up to Jan. 6, Isaac also said. Eastman “conspired with them to overthrow an election by offering a twisted argument that was beyond the pale of serious legal scholarship.”

Tempest in a teapot or evidence of “Woke” rot in American higher education?

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