Libraries & Culture 37.2 (2002) 211-212
[Access article in PDF]
To the Editor:
Thank you for publishing a review of my book Silencing Scientists and Scholars in Other Fields in Libraries & Culture (Spring 2000, review by John Budd).
I think there are some errors in the review that should be corrected, and I would like to ask your permission to include these corrections in the Communications section of your journal. Along this line, Charles Ginenthal and Prof. Serge Lang requested me to bring some information to your attention.
Basically, the errors cover three categories:
(1) Contrary to what Prof. Budd writes, there were no cries of foul in my book, much less "shrill cries of foul."
(2) Prof. Budd gives the impression that I accused Goldsmith specifically of censorship, and also gives the impression that Velikovsky and his followers were not censored. I did not accuse Goldsmith of censorship. Instead, in discussions under the heading "Silencing by Means of Isolation," I cited Rose's description of how what started out as a debate among 3 pro-Velikovsky (including Velikovsky himself) scholars vs. 3 anti--Velikovsky scholars turned out, in the publication about the debate, to 7 anti--Velikovsky scholars without opposition. That's exactly what happened. Whether or not Velikovsky was silenced/suppressed/censored, here are some words from an anti-Velikovsky scholar, Henry Bauer: "Critics of Yelikovsky boycotted a publishing house in the attempt to suppress a book . . . Critics of Velikovsky were instrumental in the loss of livelihoods. . . . Journals of science have refused to publish articles, letters, and advertisements . . . " (in BeyondVelikovsky . . . , University of Illinois Press, 1984, p. 226). Regarding followers, practically no academic libraries have the scholarly journal The Velikovskian.
(3) Prof. Budd claims that Prof. Lang's criticisms of Prof. Huntington were politically motivated, based on Budd's reading of Zakaria. But it was Zakaria who claimed (with no denial by Huntington) that when Huntington studied South Africa and called it a satisfied society (using questionable, bogus math), there had been no riots, strikes, or disturbances in South Africa. In reply, Lang compiled a collage of 50 pages of articles from the NY Times alone, documenting a very large number of riots, strikes, disturbances, including the Sharpeville massacre, (See Serge [End Page 211] Lang, Challenges, NY: Springer--Verlag, 19.98, pp. 62--68.) (I think you would do well to publish a review of Lang's book in Libraries & Culture.)
As a general consideration, based on the rhetoric, mission, and ethics of your profession, librarians and professors of library science should be opposing censorship, not trying to justify it, and not pretending it doesn't exist in the face of specific evidence for concrete cases of it.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
(dated Dec. 6, 2000)