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

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Robust Debate

If it weren’t so dangerous to future generations of college students, the academic Left would be nothing more than a sad parody of logical inconsistency coupled with rabid ideological repressiveness. Kathleen Parker comments on a recent case in point:
The latest smack-down of former Harvard President Lawrence Summers should extinguish any remaining doubt that political correctness is the new McCarthyism.

Summers, you'll recall, was driven out of his university post in 2005 after he suggested at a conference that gender differences might account for an underrepresentation by women in science, math and engineering.

Never mind that scientific evidence suggests as much. One simply doesn't say -- ever -- that men and women aren't equal in every way.

Summers' remarks were seized upon, taken out of context and misinterpreted by many, including one female biologist from MIT, who walked out on the president's talk, later saying that she felt she was either going to faint or throw up … .

For thinking improper thoughts, Summers the Blasphemer was banished into the outer darkness. There's no debating that he was punished for saying something that made a special group feel bad -- the new blacklisting offense. To be called a sexist, racist or homophobe today is tantamount to being a communist sympathizer 50-60 years ago.

Fast-forward to this month. Summers was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the University of California Board of Regents bimonthly board meeting.

And then he wasn't.

Maureen Stanton, an evolution professor at UC Davis, was "stunned and appalled" when she learned of Summers' upcoming speech and circulated a petition to have his invitation withdrawn.

Sinning against the sisterhood not only isn't forgotten, apparently it isn't ever forgiven.

But wait just a minute. The President of another august university, an Ivy, no less, sees things differently. Columbia University has decided to invite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—a poster child for sexism, racism and homphobia—to speak next week. You remember Ahmadinejad—he’s the guy who is perfectly willing to have women stoned to death for “sexual offenses.” He’s the leader who has implemented Sharia Law, you know, the one that requires the death penalty for gay men who have sexual liaisons.

Fox News reports:
Columbia President Lee Bollinger, in announcing Ahmadinejad's upcoming appearance, described the event as part of "Columbia's long-standing tradition of serving as a major forum for robust debate." He said the Iranian president had agreed to answer questions on Israel and the Holocaust.”

Hmmm, looks to me like “robust debate” isn’t likely. In fact, the invitation to “debate” has very little to do with the vicious Islamofascist who was invited, and everything to do with the Academic Left’s warped sense of moral equivalence and its bizarre infatuation with the “struggle” of Islamists and the delusional notion of the West's culpability for terrorism.

If you're the ex-President of Harvard University and you ask a legitimate question about gender differences, it appears you’re permanently banned from debating the question on elite university campuses. After all, such a debate might rock the delicate sensibilities of faculty members. But if you’re the leader of a Islamofascist country that murders women (more specifically, stones them to death) for sexual offenses and murders gay people for being themselves, it’s important to conduct a “robust debate.”

Makes perfect sense to me.

Update (9/22/07):

In an eerie historical footnote, George Mason University History News Network reports:
Seventy years before this week’s invitation to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Columbia rolled out the red carpet for a senior official of Adolf Hitler’s regime. The invitation to Iran’s leader may seem less surprising, but no less disturbing, when one recalls that in 1933, Columbia president Nicholas Murray Butler invited Nazi Germany’s ambassador to the United States, Hans Luther, to speak on campus, and also hosted a reception for him. Luther represented "the government of a friendly people," Butler insisted. He was "entitled to be received ... with the greatest courtesy and respect." Ambassador Luther's speech focused on what he characterized as Hitler's peaceful intentions. Students who criticized the Luther invitation were derided as “ill-mannered children” by the director of Columbia’s Institute of Arts and Sciences.

Columbia also insisted on maintaining friendly relations with Nazi-controlled German universities. While Williams College terminated its program of student exchanges with Nazi Germany, Columbia and other universities declined to do likewise. Columbia refused to pull out even after a German official candidly asserted that his country’s students were being sent abroad to serve as “political soldiers of the Reich.”

Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.