Monday, January 5, 2009

Jim Horn Comments on Bill Ayers' Comments on Duncan

Jim Horn over at School Matters has some thoughts on the Bill Ayers Huffington Post article on Arne Duncan. Read it all

Bill Ayers on Arne Duncan: "the smart choice, the unity choice"

Here are a few of Horn's nuggets to chew on:

Ayers says:
Arne Duncan was the smart choice, the unity choice--the least driven by ideology, the most open to working with teachers and unions, the smartest by a mile-- and let's wish him well.
Horn says (excerpts):
Here we see a sad, though precise, example of the mirror image of the Far Right: you are still limited to being "with us or against us," but now the good and the evil have simply changed hands. So if, according to Ayers, public circumstance does not allow our modern Presidential rail splitter from Illinois, or is that rail sitter, to choose from the good, then let him, with our blessings, choose the smartest of the evil. After all, we are smart, too, and if we are going to make a deal with devil, at least we want to deal with someone smart enough to respect our intelligence. Someone who drives a stylish juggernaut is much preferred, don't you think, to one of those noisy, clunky locomotive types.

There is, too, a peculiar kind of fatalism emanating from the Ayers piece, even for a good Marxist. Sort of oh well, so what's new, stop your whining and get to back to work. Welcome the new boss, same as the old boss, blah, blah.

Public education cannot survive eight years of the male version of Margaret Spellings, and there is no reason to pretend that it can. We could have a Secretary of Education that, yes, might not be fully with us, but one, too, that is not fully against us. To pretend and to advise that we should roll over for a choice whose primary postive attribute is that he is the smartest of the enemies of public education represents an invitation to the continued and extended domination of education by corporate interests--and those interests are not public, or even national, ones.
On the other hand, if you have built your own small empire as one of the most marginalized academic silverbacks among the perpetually disenfranchised intellectuals, then it could be that Duncan is not, indeed, such a bad choice, but one who represents the kind of reasonable repression that actually embraces the discourse of dissent as long as nothing changes outside the covers of the academic journals where such dissent safely rages.


  1. Jesus this guy just slit Ayers down the middle so cleanly on his defense of Duncan -- right to the point. The only thing missing is the likelihood that somewhere down the line Ayers and company hope if they shut up now they will get thrown a few scraps from the table -- maybe a grant here and there.

  2. You these things, I have read twice, for me, this is a relatively rare phenomenon!
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