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Rationalizing Academic Repression: The Allen Formula

Rationalizing Academic Repression: The Allen Formula

(p.135) Chapter 6 Rationalizing Academic Repression: The Allen Formula
The Philosophy Scare
John McCumber
University of Chicago Press

The California Plan had one major hurdle: it needed the cooperation of the faculty. How could they acquiesce in so clear an attempt at repression? The Plan required a cogent and persuasive rationale, and received it from America’s leading academic red hunter—and the first chancellor of UCLA—Raymond Allen. Allen argued that Communists should be fired even if there was no evidence of pedagogical wrongdoing, because they were incompetent: Party members said what the Party told them to say, and eschewed the scientific method basic to all fields. They were therefore unfit for employment. Allen’s argument, called the “Allen Formula,” is a major document of anti-Communism in the early Cold War—and, like rational choice theory, it has important and systematic philosophical implications. It basically parallels the Cold War philosophy discussed previously, but with the added point that anyone not adhering to its tenets about reason is unfit for employment. The Allen Formula was adopted by almost all institutions across the country, and the victory of Cold War philosophy was complete.

Keywords:   Raymond Allen, Allen Formula, anti-Communism, medical education, objectivity, adversarial philosophy, reason, scientific method

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