Something rotten in academia (letter)by Doug BrownNews Weekly
, July 8, 2006
John Miller rightly praises Ion Pacepa's Red Horizons: Chronicles of a Communist Spy Chief
, June 24, 2006), a book about the former Ceausescu communist regime in Romania.
I bought the book several years ago (the 1989 edition) and read it carefully, twice. The book rings eyewitness-true on every page, as well it might, being the memoirs of someone who was once at the heart of that evil regime.
I am currently undertaking a postgraduate history degree at Macquarie University, NSW. In 2004, I submitted an essay for one of the subjects for that degree and quoted from, among other books, Pacepa's Red Horizons
, Jung Chang's Wild Swans
(on Mao's China) and Martin Meredith's Our Votes; Our Guns
(on Mugabe's Zimbabwe). My essay was about food-shortages and famine.
The academic marking my essay commented: "You hang out your ideological colours for all to see. Perhaps at some stage you could be more self-reflective in your writing, or at least give an appraisal of the sources you have used."
I take some pride in writing clearly. Writing clearly means that a reader can quickly understand one's point of view.
I have, however, a different point of view from the predominantly left-wing view at the Department of Modern History at Macquarie University. I am not afraid to show my point of view in my essays, backed by quotations from relevant sources, preferably eyewitness sources.
But, for my efforts, I have received many negative comments and, presumably, have also received lower marks than I may have received if I had simply regurgitated the views of the markers.
I fully agree with Miller's comment that "something is rotten in Western academia".Doug Brown,