Monday, October 01, 2007

Calling good evil and evil good

The New York Times has another editorial, this one by Stanley Fish, attacking the president of Columbia University for his remarks directed at the crazy little Dinnerjacket:

Nevertheless, it does seem to me that as a general rule what an administrator should do when a controversial speaker comes to campus is lower the stakes and minimize the importance of the occasion. Not minimize the importance of the issues, but minimize the role of the university, which is not a player on the world stage but (at most) a location where questions of international significance can be raised in an academic manner.

Bollinger was correct when he said in his remarks that it is appropriate “for the university to conduct such an event,” but it is not appropriate for the university to be a front-and-center protagonist in the event. When Bollinger hurled his challenges at Ahmadinejad, he was saying explicitly. “here’s where I stand on these issues,” and therefore saying implicitly, “here’s where Columbia University stands.”

But Columbia does not, or at least should not, stand anywhere on the vexed issues of the day, and neither should its chief executive, at least publicly. After it was all over, Bollinger was applauded by some faculty members and students who are pro-Israel, and criticized by others who see Israel as the oppressor of the Palestinian people and lament the influence of what has been called the Israeli lobby. It would have been better if neither constituency was pleased or distressed by what he said, which means that it would have been better if he had said nothing, at least nothing substantive enough to amount to a position. (If the Israeli prime minister shows up on campus, he will have to attack him from the other side or explain himself if he doesn’t.)

First of all Fish's contention that the modern university is not a player on the world stage may be a nice thought, but the ship on it sailed so long ago that its already trading North African gold for Chinese jade in Shanghai. And the fact is that the attitude of strict moral neutrality which Mr. Fish seems to prize only looks admirable when seen at a distance and when removed from context.

As someone who has spent his entire adult life in the academy I know that this concept will be difficult for Mr. Fish to grasp but there really is such a thing as right and wrong - good and evil.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is evil. He is the front-man and mouthpiece for a regime which takes its moral and legal structure from a 7th century death-cult. In the nation of which he is the chief administrator women who have been the victim of rape are routinely murdered by their families for "bringing shame to the family". Homosexuals are routinely murdered by hanging or stoning. People who seek to leave the death-cult for another religion or no religion are routinely murdered by their families or the state.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad himself never passes up an opportunity to deny the historical reality of the Nazi perpetuated Holocaust and then, usually in the same breath, state his desire to see Israel, and its Jewish citizens, wiped off the map.

Ahmadinejad is busy presiding over his nation's attempt to both create nuclear weapons and build or acquire an effective delivery system so that he can serve his "god" by putting into action that desire to see Israel (for starters) destroyed. The latest chapter in the unfolding story or Iran's nuclear ambitions is the attempt by Iran, with help from the other "Axis of Evil" member North Korea, to spread its nuclear program into its client state Syria.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government is providing monetary and material assistance to the terrorists in Iraq. Assistance which includes providing the terrorists with sophisticated anti-vehicle mines which are responsible for the deaths of many American soldiers.

Ever since the Islamic Revolution in Iran that nation has been the leading sponsor of global terrorism. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not lifted one finger to stop that support. He has not said one word which even hints that he has a problem with it and in fact has increased Iran's support for terrorism using their proxy organization Hamas.

As I said, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is evil, but sane and informed people knew that going in. The question before us is this. What's wrong with Stanley Fish? Is he uninformed? I doubt it but I can't totally rule it out. Maybe professor Fish only watches the BBC and MSNBC and talks only to other academics and university students. If one cuts himself off from reality in that way they could very well miss hearing the truth about most of what's going on in the world. But again, I doubt it.

The more likely explanation is found in this statement, "If the Israeli prime minister shows up on campus, he will have to attack him from the other side or explain himself if he doesn’t." The obvious question which any sane and non-evil person would ask is WHY? Why would the fact that Mr. Bollinger incur an obligation to "attack" the prime minister of Israel because he told the truth about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Ahmadinejad's face?

The only explanation is that Stanley Fish suffers from the condition which I call moral leprosy. The physical disease of leprosy destroys the body's ability to feel pain. Small wounds go untreated because the leper is either unaware of them or thinks they are no big deal because they don't hurt. Those small wounds become infected and the infection spreads causing the body to eventually rot away. Moral leprosy (more commonly called moral relativism) is a disease of the soul in which the sufferer loses the ability to discern the difference between right and wrong - good and evil.

Let's say that Iranian sponsored and supplied terrorist group Hamas sets up a rocket launcher between a school and a hospital, with the approval of the Palestinians in the area, and starts shelling a city in Israel. As the Israelis see the rockets falling on their schools and hospitals and residential neighborhoods they seek to silence the Hamas rocket launcher by counter-battery fire (sending artillery back to the source of the incoming rockets or launching an airstrike to destroy the terrorists and their launcher). In the process the Palestinian school or hospital might be struck and civilians might be killed or injured. This is a part of Hamas's plan. They want those civilian deaths and injuries for propaganda purposes. That is why they put the launcher there in the first place.

In the world of the moral leper there is no difference between the Hamas attack on Israel and Israel's response. This is why Mr. Fish believes that the president of Columbia must now attack the prime minister of Israel; because he has lost the ability to tell the difference between the freely elected leader of a civilized democratic nation and the "elected" (but off of a list of candidates handpicked by the evil mullahs who hold the real power in Iran) front-man of a murderous and illegitimate rogue regime which aspires to finish the work which Hitler started and dreams of mass murder on a scale that would make Stalin green with envy.

Stanley Fish must know, on some level, that if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had the power he would force Mr. Fish to convert to his medieval death-cult or chop off his head. That Mr. Fish does not see that this makes Mahmoud Ahmadinejad categorically different from any Israeli politician and absolutely not deserving of the same kind of treatment should be all the evidence needed to prove that there is something sadly lacking in the unfortunate professor's soul.

If Mr. Fish were a lone voice from the margins of America society we could feel sorry for him, drop a dime in his cup, and move on. But he is not an isolated voice. In many ways he is the voice of American academia. This is a very serious problem and if it takes an odious little cretin like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to wake the population up to that fact them perhaps the little troll will have served at least one good purpose in his life.