Saturday, September 29, 2007

Do unto others as they have done unto others

Peggy Noonan writes:

Is it necessary to say when one speaks of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that you disapprove of him, disagree with him, believe him a wicked fellow and are not amused that he means to have missiles aimed at us and our friends? If it is, I am happy to say it. Who, really, isn't?
But this has been our history: to let all speak and to fear no one. That's a good history to continue. The Council on Foreign Relations was right to invite him to speak last year--that is the council's job, to hear, listen and parse--and Columbia University was well within its rights to let him speak this year. Though, in what is now apparently Columbia tradition, the stage was once again stormed, but this time verbally, and by a university president whose aggression seemed sharpened by fear.

There were two revealing moments in Ahmadinejad's appearance. The first is that in his litany of complaint against the United States he seemed not to remember the taking and abuse of American diplomatic hostages in 1979. An odd thing to forget since he is said to have been part of that operation. The second was the moment when he seemed to assert that his nation does not have homosexuals. This won derisive laughter, and might have been a learning moment for him; dictators don't face derisive from crowds back home.

Even a couple of years ago I would have agreed wholeheartedly but I have undergone an evolution in my thinking. There are some people who ideas or actions are so repugnant and so actually or potentially dangerous that decent people should not even recognize a common humanity with them.

Would Ms. Noonan seriously consider having a nice polite sit-down with Adolph Hitler to exchange views on the place of Jews in the world on the same afternoon in which he issued orders to implement his "Final Solution"? If she would then she is a moral leper.

To show even a scintilla of common courtesy to a creature like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to spit on every innocent person murdered by the Iranian regime, and there are tens of thousands of them.

To be civilized is a fine thing, but like anything it can be taken too far. The West is in danger of civilizing itself right into the graveyard.