Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Wish I'd Said That

I wrote about UC Davis' decision to un-invite former Harvard prez Larry Summers from a campus speaking engagement. I've written about Columbia's decision to invite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak there (here, for example).

But I didn't draw the two together and contrast them as they so juicily need contrasting -- but Victor Davis Hanson did in RCP, where he also wrote this:
Along with a general lack of common sense -- and decency -- the powers that be at Columbia, for all their erudition, don't seem to understand the line between responsible debate and crass propaganda.
Hanson faced collegiate intolerance at Stanford, where his employer, the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, invited Donald Rumsfeld to serve on a task force -- only to be met with a petition signed by 2,000 theoretically liberal profs and students. The Institution persevered, and Rummie's in.

I went to college at a pretty radical time -- the late 60s and early 70s -- and I'm trying to think what would have happened if a controversial speaker had been invited to our campus. Sorry to say, I think the students I hung out with would have welcomed Ho Chi Minh, but would have protested an invitation to Dean Rusk or Gen. Westmoreland. However, I can't imagine the administrators of the day inviting Ho or dis-inviting Rusk or Westmoreland.

The ones among my collegiate peers who never grew up, never tasted the real world, and opted instead to stay in academia, are the faculty and administrators of today, and they haven't gotten any more tolerant with time.

Now they're inviting the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak on their campuses, are fighting to stop the firing of the likes of Ward Churchill, and are protesting whenever someone like Donald Rumsfeld threatens to walk past their ivory towers.

It's times like these that remind us of the foul stench the 60s left behind, a stench that will take some generations to eradicate.

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