McCarthyism is alive and well in US academia:
As chair of African American studies in Yale, Paul Gilroy had an…experience recently after he spoke at a university-sponsored teach-in on the Iraq war. “I think the morality of cluster bombs, of uranium-tipped bombs, [of] daisy cutters are shaped by an imperial double standard that values American lives more,” he said. “[The war seems motivated by] a desire to enact revenge for the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon … [It’s important] to speculate about the relation between this war and the geopolitical interests of Israel.”
“I thought I was being extremely mealy-mouthed, but I was accused of advocating conspiracy theories,” says Gilroy, who is now the Anthony Giddens professor of Social Theory at the London School of Economics.
Scot Silverstein, who was once on the faculty at Yale, saw a piece in the student paper about Gilroy’s contribution. He wrote to the Wall Street Journal comparing Gilroy to Hitler and claiming his words illustrated the “moral psychosis and perhaps psychological sadism that appears to have infected leftist academia”. The Journal published the letter. Gilroy found himself posted on Discoverthenetworks.org, a website dedicated to exposing radical professors. The principle accusation was that he “believes the US fabricated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein”.
Then the emails started coming to him and his colleagues, denouncing him. “Only one person said anything,” says Gilroy. “Otherwise, nobody looked me in the eye. There was something about the way it never came up that made me realise how nervous and apprehensive they were.”