It’s Not Paranoid if They ARE Really Out to Get You

Fresno, CA (PT) – Friday Evening, while scrolling through my Facebook feed I saw an astonishing announcement about a dear professor of mine, Dr. Lars Maischak — pronounced “my-check” — saying that he will not be teaching this Fall. What? How? Why?

Astonished, I read the linked statement. It seems that on 17 February 2017 he commented to his 28 Twitter followers, “To save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and the higher, the better.” The college did not, according to the timeline, hear about the tweet until 7 April when contacted by a reporter from The Daily Caller. The reader will observe that this a right wing, click bait site. A few days later, the news was on Breitbart, and that story was picked up by Fresno’s local newspaper, The Fresno Bee.

At the outset of this report, I stated that Dr. Maischak was a “dear professor of mine” because I knew him personally. I had a class with him for the second semester of Western civilization. Dr. Maischak, unlike so many other professors, taught without using expensive textbooks; further he used thoughtfully created Power Point presentations and downloadable documents, thus saving students money.

It was in his class that I first read “The Communist Manifesto”; however, understand that Marx’ easiest work was introduced along with Kant, Nietsche, and Adam Smith in a schema that compared Romanticism and Classicism… In other words, writers and ideas that any educated person in the Western world should know. For many students, this was their first introduction to Enlightenment era philosophy and economics, both of which are simply necessary if one is to understand modern history.

One day, before we had reached the colonialism part of the semester’s teachings, we happened to meet in the smoker’s area of the Social Science Quad, and we had a chance to speak on a personal level. I told him I liked the way he had designed his class, and I said, “You are the first rational Marxist I’ve ever met. Usually you guys are just these angry nut jobs.”

This only made him laugh.

We are taught — think in South Park’s “Mr. Mackey voice” — “Communism is baaaad, m’kaay?” No one who claims to understand history or economics can neglect Marx’s critiques of Capitalism in its current form and its evolution. Further, contrary to the feces Americans have been fed, no socialist opposes democracy. It is totalitarianism that is the opposite of socialism, not democracy.

Such views were refreshing. A world where people did jobs for joy and community rather than purely personal gain? Yes please! It was so very nice to chat with him over coffee and cigarettes throughout the semester.

Dr. Maischak told me about growing up in Germany and his politicized youth. He told me to call him “Lars” because that expressed equality. After that, I would jokingly say “Comrade Lars,” and he always got a kick out of that. I never did ever stop challenging him about Socialism or Marxism, and he never failed to be patient and kind with me.

Some people are natural born teachers. Some people are idealists! Dr. Maischak is both.

He never converted me to Socialism. I do not think he even tried (too hard), but he did teach me that I had many wrong ideas about the subject, and I really need not be such an ignorant puppet in the future.

Anyone who thinks this “leave of absence” is not the college caving in to political pressure is, in the words of Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations “frightfully naive” about how “The Masters” operate.

This article was prepared by Richard G. Crockett for The Pontiac Tribune.

This article was prepared by Richard G. Crockett for The Pontiac Tribune.