Professor Describes al-Qaeda As Freedom Fighters

by Aaron Bandler - Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on January 24, 2014

OPINION: How Professors Indoctrinate Students: A Prime Example

How would you define al-Qaeda? Most would use the word “terrorists.”

But here is my professor’s stab at it: “The Al Qaeda movement of Osama bin Laden is one example of an attempt to free a country (in this case, Saudi Arabia) from a corrupt and repressive regime propped up by a neocolonial power (in this case, the United States).”

That’s word-for-word from his own textbook, “The Other World: Issues and Politics of the Developing World, Ninth Edition.” Here is the full quote in context:

“Much of the political instability endemic to Other World political systems stems from the fact that governments operated openly for private gain (or kleptocracies) have little legitimacy among, or acceptance by, a significant proportion of the population, in neo colonial times as in the past. The Al Qaeda movement of Osama bin Laden is one example of an attempt to free a country (in this case, Saudi Arabia) from a corrupt and repressive regime propped up by a neocolonial power (in this case, the United States).” *

There’s a lot of talk among higher education circles about how professors “indoctrinate” students with leftist, socialist viewpoints – how they take students who may not know much about a subject and teach a one-sided, biased course, creating  like-minded minions who may even take action for professors’ pet causes.

Allow me to tell you about a quintessential course I just took which proves out that generally agreed-upon understanding about the modern college experience: World Food Systems at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. It’s the class in which we used “The Other World” textbook, co-authored by the same scholar who taught the course: Emmit B. Evans, Jr.

It fulfills either a political science or elective requirement, and I enrolled during the fall semester.

I can sum it up as follows: Big Oil and greedy capitalists are the reason for the war in the Middle East, the reason Global Warming is (not might be) destroying the planet, and the reason why a new world order based on equality and fairness must emerge.

It’s also the reason we, as students, must rise up and take action against these evils.

Oh yeah, and al-Qaeda is just a bunch of freedom fighters.

Think I’m exaggerating? Read on.

The official description of the course states it’s an “integrated, interdisciplinary study of the technologies of global food production, environmental and social issues related to the application of those technologies, and moral and ethical issues associated with global food production and distribution. Emphasis on the politics of change.”

With that, Cal Poly Professor Evans – a funny professor with a lot of interesting things to say – liked to talk about hot-button issues like climate change, the Iraq War, Iran and oil.

I found the course to be very thought-provoking. These issues should be discussed in a college class. But Evans only showed the liberal side of each issue. While I enjoyed the class, I would have liked to have heard counter arguments.

Climate change was a recurring theme throughout the course, but not once was the notion that climate change isn’t man-made ever raised.

Evans even showed us a lengthy clip from Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” but never mentioned it can’t be shown in the U.K. without acknowledging that 11 different scenes are factually incorrect.

He assigned us readings from the far-left environmental activist Bill McKibben to highlight what he viewed were the dangers of man-made climate change. But nary a word on how there are legitimate arguments that climate change is not man-made, including reports that say that say it is caused by sunspots rather than by CO2.

Oil was another recurring theme, and my professor left me and my peers with the impression that oil production causes nothing but pollution and wars because the planet will soon run out of the commodity.

Nevermind that studies show the U.S. has enough oil and natural gas to last more than 500 years; that wasn’t mentioned. Instead, Evans told us the Iraq war, the one launched after the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks, was started over oil.

C’mon. Even far-left politicians like Barbara Boxer, Barack Obama and Ted Kennedy – who were critical of the war in Iraq – never once referred to it as a war over oil.

But I recall one test question that even asked what the cause of the war was, and the correct answer was “oil.”

Evans also never brought up that Saddam Hussein violated U.N. resolutions and harbored terrorists, both among the arguments for invading Iraq.

There was no love-loss between Professor Evans and President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, two politicians he frequently threw under the bus. 

Another doozy from his textbook? Conservatives view the poor as “poor because of shortcomings within themselves, often considered to stem from race, gender, or class.”

So, no surprise: One day last fall Professor Evans let a Covered California representative talk in class for 20 minutes about the Affordable Care Act, a speaker who tried to convince us Obamacare is a great thing and we should all sign up.

(This had absolutely nothing to do with the syllabus, nor was it on the final exam, thankfully.)

At this point, are you thinking what I am thinking? The class is called “World Food Systems.” When do we talk about food? It came up here and there. We learned corn ethanol damages the environment, genetically modified food is an abomination, chemicals in food hurt humans, topics such as that.

Our professor also liked to disparage big corporations for taking government subsidies, and for poisoning the population with chemicals like BPA.

At the end of the course, we were taught how to affect change for all these alleged ills: he touted microlending and socialistic policies. He praised the occupy Wall Street movement, the Arab Spring, and protests to raise the minimum wage as examples of positive change movements.

If I were to have come into that course without any political leanings or knowledge on these issues, I would have likely walked away believing businesses are greedy and evil and people just pollute the Earth.

After my grade was recorded in my transcripts, I emailed Professor Evans to ask him about the slant in his class. He did not deny it.

“This focus drives the content of the course: from an examination of how systems work and what makes them stable, to how current food systems work, to what more sustainable systems might look like, and to how current systems might be changed to be more sustainable,” he stated. “It would seem difficult to justify teaching the other side of this focus – exploring how we might build more unsustainable food systems.”

“Course evaluations sometimes include comments similar to yours, which encourage us to make the goals and focus of the course as explicit as possible. I’m sorry if I didn’t accomplish that as well as I could have in your case, but am pleased you didn’t un-enjoy the class!”

Fair enough, but his slant does a disservice to Cal Poly students, and in my mind it rises to the level of academic malfeasance.

College Fix contributor Aaron Bandler is a student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

*‘The Other World’ textbook was co-authored, but the citation comes from a section Evans penned and assigned as reading.

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  • Larry Rappaport

    I say this supposed professor Evans should take a solo take a trip to Kabul. Yeah Prof, just land and start walking around until you lose your mind while the Freedom Fighters will have a new soccer ball……pathetic. Hey parents, this is what you’re paying for and yes you can vote for Obama again. A clinical sociological dynamic in what some deem higher education.

  • marywnm

    He needs to live under the rule of the radical islamist for awhile and see if he would then consider them “freedom fighters” or terrorists–

    • Pathfinder306

      A classic example of ‘Whos ox is being gored.’. Their cry living under raical islam would be “It’s not fair.”.

    • Carolus

      Freedom fighters fight for freedom-which Osama Bin Fishfood and his murderous minions did not.

  • tha92106

    Linked here from FrontPageMag; interesting site. I didn’t know Cal Poly had such fluff. Your parents could have saved a lot of money by sending you to the local Starbucks to read the free “alternative” newspapers.

  • Bonnie Journo

    Academia is where life’s losers go to be among their angry ilk. Imagine how it must feel to realize that you are a fringe misfit that will never find happiness in a society where most everyone else enjoys their lives and loves their country.

    In academia, the lunatic fringe can hold onto the skirt of mommy liberalism while they angrily, desperately lash out at normal society. They have captive an audience of impressionable teenage students who aren’t sophisticated enough to see through the pathetic rationalizing of failed socialist and communist doctrine as being superior to the American system of government.

    Every year they pull out the same tired old textbooks and spew the same old twisted lies to a new batch of clueless kids, who are seduced by the theoretical topian fantasy world promised to them by their “enlightened” professor.

    And every year, another generation grows up and finds their way out in the world, where they quickly realize that America isn’t at all the terrible place their professor ranted and raved about. They begin to see him as he really is; a sad oddball, trapped in his angry delusions and doomed to a lifetime of unhappiness.

    • Pathfinder306

      @Bonnie Journo….Very well said!!

  • Tanks-a-lot

    by definition every muslim that emulates mohammad is a terrorist that fights to end freedom in support of abject submission to allah.

  • blair152

    A far cry from my college textbook. Civilization Past & Present, Twelfth Edition, (1980).

  • NotASheep

    He’s not a professor, a longterm lecturer (23 yrs). This says truckloads of what his peers think. Maybe after like 10 yrs an asst prof position would have opened up for him. Simply a man with a captive audience who gets royalties off of new editions of his co-authored book.
    ************************************************
    http://cla.calpoly.edu/pols_emmit_evans_vitae.html

    CHRONOLOGY OF WORK EXPERIENCE:

    California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA

    September 1990 – Present: Lecturer, Department of Political Science

    January 2002 – June 2002: Faculty Resource Developer, Center for Teaching and Learning (develop a Faculty Development Program for Lecturers at Cal Poly)

    September 2000 – June 2001: Faculty Liaison and Co-Director of Service-Learning Programs, Division of Academic Affairs

    October 1999 – June 2000: Faculty Development Director, Class and Community Connections, Division of Student Affairs

    September 1993 – August 1994: Co-Director, Multidisciplinary Team Teaching Project, Colleges of Liberal Arts and Agriculture

    January 1993 – Present: Government Instructor (Part-time), Social Sciences Division, Cuesta Community College, San Luis Obispo, CA

  • snafubar

    I suppose he thinks that the Tea Party are freedom fighters as well, since they are fighting an oppressive American regime……

    ….oh forget it.

  • casaler

    I will state up front that there are many highly skilled and competent teachers at both the high school and college level. However, those few come no where near the rest of the cadre described in this article. As an Associate Professor for five years, it was my observation that college students with the lowest GPA’s seemed to gravitate toward teaching degrees. Now why would you think that would be so?

  • Che

    Look, crap like this gets published all the time, and students get subjected to it all the time. Shame on Pearson for publishing this book into its 9th edition, but it is a sign of how bad things are in some academic institutions–and I use the term “academic” in the loosest possible terms–that a book like this would have enough of a market to get to the 9th edition. There are professor somewhere requiring students to buy this book.

    The rather glib comment about teaching about unsustainable food systems missing the point big-time. The point is not that you are asking him to teach about unsustainable food systems. Instead, there is a balance between what he means as sustainability and other values, such as feeding people, that should be given fair coverage; his dismissal of GMF is a case in point, insofar as many researchers see GMF as a major part of the effort to create a sustainable food system. Obviously, not everyone agrees that his definition of “sustainability” is what should govern discussions of “sustainable” food practices. Moreover, based on your description it appears that the course quickly deteriorated from a course on “sustainable food processes” to one on whatever radical left topic he wanted to cover on any given day.

    My advice: get a group of students in the class who felt the same way and schedule a meeting with the dean–not the department chair–to raise your complaints. Having 10 students meet with the dean will make it clear that you are not just some crank but that your complaints are shared by others. When you meet with the dean, bring the syllabus and show the dean how the course content deviated from the purpose of the course. Good luck!!

  • Byrd Westbrook

    The professor should go to Saudi Arabia and spill his beans.

    • Carolus

      Moral insanity is rife in faculty lounged-and its contagious.

  • Tanks-a-lot

    “The Cell” of what? The Cell of islamic imperialism.

  • SmokeyBehr

    I feel sorry for the other Mustangs that are required to be subjected to this teacher’s obvious ignorance and bias.

  • CJ Mooney

    If you only want a Conservative, nationalistic, viewpoint of the world, you shouldn’t have gone to University.

    The entire point of academia is thinking outside your comfort zone

  • Guest

    Al-Qaeda probably do consider themselves Freedom Fighters, and probably did justify their attack because of US occuptation.

    The IRA attacked the UK for similar reasons, killing innocent people. And considered themselves freedom fighters. Many people in the US considered them freedom fighters as well.

    This is the entire point of academia – getting beyond politics, and looking at events.

    The political bias, is the Conservative students inability, to accept anything that isn’t neo-conservative

    • Newyorker

      Wow

  • CJ Mooney

    Al-Qaeda probably do consider themselves Freedom Fighters, and probably did justify their attack because of US occuptation.

    The IRA attacked the UK for similar reasons, killing innocent people. And considered themselves freedom fighters. Many people in the US considered them freedom fighters as well.

    This is the entire point of academia – getting beyond politics, and looking at events. And debating them.

    The political bias, is the Conservative students inability, to accept anything that isn’t neo-conservative

    • Michael Kaufmann

      Your logic is flawed, Monkey Boy. The conservative student wanted BOTH sides aired, NOT just the leftist side. Read the article.

      • ryan

        Facts don’t have two sides.

      • tomthespud

        ‘Monkey Boy’ – very impressive vocabulary. It’s good to know that a college education is still raising the level of public discourse in our country. It is Aaron’s logic that is flawed – an actual conservative has always fought against the idea of forcing people to ‘present both sides.’ These conservatives don’t want Fox News or Rush Limbaugh forced to present liberal views, and if they are consistent they would not want Mr. Evans forced to present conservative views. Frankly, the last person I would want representing conservative views would be a leftist wing-nut like Evans.

      • Newyorker

        Liberals only read into what they want sir. They are too oblivious to see what they are doing to this once great nation. Key word, once.

    • Czrolus

      CJM: What “occupation” are you drooling about?9-11 happened long before Saddam got the boot. And US troops in Saudi Arabia were there by invitation to stop Saddamite invasion.

  • CJ Mooney

    If you only want to look at the world, from a nationalistic, neo-conservative way, you really shouldn’t go to University

  • CJ Mooney

    The whole point of university is opening your eyes, stepping out of your comfort zone, and trying to think about thinks in a different way.

    You’re quite obviously completely unable to do this. It’s hardly the teachers fault

    • Carolus

      Thinking in a different way isn’t praiseworthy if it leaves you thinking that 2+2=5 or that Osama Bin Fisgfood was a
      ‘freedom fighter”or “agrarian reformer’s whatever the left prefers to call its avorite blood-dripping A,erica-haters this week.

  • CJ Mooney

    As in, enviromentalism, world food, global politics quite obviously has a slant on sustainability.

    This is just logic. The problem is your own political bias doesn’t allow you to consider it in such a way.

  • CollegeGrad

    Wow, unbelievable! It boils my blood to experience such intolerance in a classroom. I took a class called “Music of the 20th Century” in 2013, which did include some music history, but also covered the professor’s copious rants on how our current conservative leaders need to get voted out, how evolution is true, and how our Founding Fathers were NOT Christians. He even equated the modern day tea party to “anti-semitic, uneducated country bumpkins.” He never once showed conservatism in a positive light. They’re the ones preaching tolerance…but they obviously do not practice in the presence of conservatives!

    • Ryan Andrake Manning

      Um….. the majority of founding father were not christians….. lol. They wanted to establish a country with freedom of religion as well as other freedoms. England was a christian country back then, so why fight for religious freedom when your religion is established? Ben Franklin was known for holding occult rituals under a church in England before he came to the new land. Many of the founding fathers held the same beliefs. SMH….. SMH.

  • Doug

    How disgusting of this professor. He should have been stuck on the top of the trade center on 9/11 and not the other good folks. Also, the nerve of this guy to be a champion of raising the minimum wage. He undoubtedly makes well over 100K a year as a tenured professor AND his pension payments will more than likely be close to 200K a year.

    Also, I hate it when these academic types fake it that they are so concerned for the ‘little people’ when they and their Unions have made it impossilbe to get an education for less than $100K due to the high labor costs at colleges and universities.

    Shame-shame-shame

  • tomthespud

    I would encourage Aaron to look into and reflect more on what ‘conservative’ is supposed to mean. For decades the FCC enforced an equal access policy on radios stations, requiring them to offer ‘balanced’ opinions. For decades conservatives opposed this policy for what it was – a restriction on free speech. True freedom of speech requires us to allow people like Emmit Evans to say what they believe no matter how misguided we believe them to be. If you could somehow force Mr. Evans by threats of being fired or being jailed to offer ‘the other side,’ he would certainly do a terrible job of it. You are enrolled in a California public university. You would have to have been raised on Mars to not know that most of your professors will be wildly liberal. You are adults and one would hope that you could discern objective fact (al-Qaeda planned the 9/11 attacks in order to pressure the U.S. to change its policies towards Saudi Arabia and Israel) and lunatic-fringe opinion (Bin Laden was a brave and noble freedom fighter). If a student can’t figure this out by the time they get to college I don’t think there is much hope that any college education will be worth much to them.

    The opening statement here is as biased as you are accusing Evans of being. The only what that you could accurately say that ‘most’ people consider Bin Laden a terrorist is to define ‘people’ as people who live in North America or Western Europe. In fact, ‘most’ people live in Asia. Many of them do believe Bin Laden to have been some combination of Robin Hood and George Washington. I would also suspect that billions of people have no strong opinion about him one way or another – my best guess is that the average Chinese factory worker or rice farmer doesn’t have a well-informed opinion about Bin Laden. Evans’ opinion is on the lunatic fringe in the U.S., but I would imagine that is a very mainstream view in Pakistan.

    You are probably right about one thing – if you enroll in a California public university, sign up for a course which in all likelihood will be taught by a leftist wing-nut, and do all this “without any political leanings or knowledge,” then you are likely to buy everything your professor tells you. I weep for the future if this is really an accurate description of the average college student.

  • Ryan Andrake Manning

    Aaron Bandler, you are an idiot. You started this whole mess over statements you took in the wrong context. This should be a lesson not to open your mouth unless you know what you are talking about. You wanna hear that Bin Laden was always considered a terrorist, but at one time the US government worked side by side with the guy. We gave him the money and weapons that he used against us to fight the soviet union. At one time the US government called them freedom fighters. Also, that statement was not an opinion of Evans, but a observation of what Bin Laden considered himself. You are throwing a fit because Evans wrote about what Al Queda considered itself. This was so over the line and I hope I meet you on campus to let you know just what I think of you and your idiotic complaint. Way to go moron.

  • BackwaterBill

    Dear Aaron, I wish that I could send the following to you privately; but after reading your piece, I really wanted to personally contact you and say, “Thanks!” and this public forum is the only way I know to do that. You seem to be a very fair and objective young man who made the best of your experience with Professor Evans. Your course analysis and measured personal responses with the learned professor were courageous, charitable, and wise. Wise-far-beyond-your-years, I believe. In addition to praising you, however, I want to direct you to the work of two great scholars and writers in the field of sustainable agriculture. The first is the incomparable Wendell Berry from Kentucky. Berry is a poet and novelist of great renown, but his writings and essays in the field of agriculture are simply the finest I have ever read. The second scholar is Duke University’s Norman Wirzba. Wirzba is Research Professor of Theology, Ecology, and Rural Life at Duke Divinity School. Among his works (as either author or editor) are: FOOD & FAITH: A THEOLOGY OF EATING and THE ESSENTIAL AGRARIAN READER: THE FUTURE OF CULTURE, COMMUNITY, AND THE LAND. After reading about the biased course content, with its sole emphasis on warmed-over, vacuous, failed Marxist bullshit, I can only say prepare to be enlightened and truly inspired by the seminal thinking of these two great scholars. Reading their works was, for me, transformational and I trust it will be for you as well.