The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Assholes and Assassins

I once had a friend and colleague, who in fit of anger at other members of the faculty with whom we had major disagreements, looked at me and said, “What we’re dealing with here, folks, are assholes and assassins.” I laughed and never forgot his coarse but brutally accurate assessment of our adversaries.

As I watched Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad parade in front of the UN and give inflammatory speeches in colleges, forums, and churches in New York City, I couldn't help recalling my colleague's comment. But unlike harmless, if misguided, faculty members who posed no real threat, Chavez demonstrates the virulent anti-American sentiment that has pervaded the UN (and some institutions within the US) and Ahmadinejad demonstrates how a purveyor of a vicious Islamofascist ideology can appear to be almost reasonable as he lays plans to subjugate the West.

There is a consistent meme that pervades the speeches of both men. The West (really, the USA) is an hegemonic power, trying to control the actions and resources of “non-aligned” nations. All the world’s problems could be rectified if only the “devil” (George Bush) weren’t in office and the United States would reject “imperialism” and treat others with respect. It’s the same mime that the angry Left has been espousing for years.

Here we see Chavez change the Venezuelan constitution to stifle dissent, jail a labor leader (sentence: 16 years) for a perfectly legal work action, and rake in billions in oil revenue while his country’s poor suffer from historically high malnutrition. I’m not surprised that student’s at Cooper Union and a congregant’s of a church in NYC gave him a standing ovation. What a guy!

And Ahmadinejad, the leader of a country that funds terror groups who purposely murder innocents, that advocates the destruction of Israel (but don’t worry, he stated yesterday that he has “nothing against Jews”), that stifles dissent of any kind in the name of religion, that oppresses women in both small and significant ways, that ... the list is tediously long. I’m not surprised that he was warmly received by the UN general assembly.

Both men decry the tyranny of the West -- our media, our technology, our fashion, our culture, our impact on the world.

Armed Liberal at discusses this when he writes:
I don't delude myself enough not to believe that many people see our Western power as tyranny - and in some ways it has been and it is.

But the choices offered are not between the tyranny of Western values and institutions and an idealized freedom, but between the tyranny of MTV and Citibank to that of the burqua, public stoning, and the Ministry For The Protection Of Virtue.

So when you hear these “leaders” talk of tyranny, think of my friend's words: “What we’re dealing with here, folks, are assholes and assassins.”