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

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Robust Debate—II

Columbia University’s decision to invite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak on Monday is an interesting look into the consciousness of the Academic Left (and I suspect, many Left-leaning folks throughout the USA). On the one hand, I suppose it really doesn’t matter whether or not the event occurs. Ahmadinejad will condemn the current administration, will suggest that his country is a victim, will deny his murderous intent, and will move on. The media will soften its reporting and, as it has done in the past, provide little context that might make the uneducated viewer look askance at this little man (literally and figuratively).

But on the other hand, it does say something about us. Wretchard of the Belmont Club is eloquent in his discussion of those who cheer Ahmadinejad’s presense at Columbia:
I'm looking out the window on a perfect day. The streets are clean. There's no disorder. The sounds of happy people getting together in a little garden restaurant not far away can heard when it's quiet enough. If I had lived in Australia all my life I could believe the whole world was that way.

And then I might sign those Greenpeace petitions; listen to speakers at those Bush=Hitler demonstrations expound on how bright the world might be if only we saw it so. And then I might think things were only a matter of words; to be listened to, considered afterward with friends at a cafe; and thought of while lying quietly in bed in a home that is always there.

But if you are unfortunate enough to know at first hand the evil that men do when you are not on your guard; if you have had to devote many years of your life to obtaining freedom; sleeping fitfully like the fugitive you are in a different place every night. If you knew that -- then you would know that the happy voices in the garden restaurant down the street are only safe because some men keep them safe and that the day may come when weariness or inattention will drop the guard. And then you look out the window with other eyes and hear the wind with other ears.

The Left frequents the garden restaurant, where things are tranquil and most everyone agrees on most everything. It’s all about words, and debate, and understanding differences. It’s all about learning to embrace the mindset that there is no good or evil, only different cultures. And the “oppressed,” well, they have a moral authority that superceeds all others.

There will be no debate at Columbia University. No attempt to shred Ahmadinejad with hard facts and harder arguments. The President of Iran, a primary sponsor of worldwide Islamofascism and as anti-liberal a person as I can think of, will respond to every question with a wink and a smile, and the faculty and students, always courteous to those from non-Western countries who advocate the destruction of virtually everything that is Liberal and Western, will NOT shout him down (that’s reserved only for speakers from within the US who espouse politically incorrect views) but instead will smile and shake hands afterward.

And the storm clouds gather, but they are far from the garden restaurant. So far, in fact, that the sun shines, the birds chirp, and all is peaceful in the world.