Back in the fall of 2003, when Dr. Dean was still riding high in the Presidential primary, I’d listened in on a conversation among undergraduate Deaniacs outside my office at Cooper Union in the East Village. "This just doesn’t feel like America any more," one of them said to a friend, who replied, "Fuck Bush," and pointed to a button on his jacket bearing the same slogan.While radical professors, disguised as "academics", ponder questions like, "Who are we to judge Saddam Hussein?"; and as political activism--rather than the pursuit of knowledge-- became their main activity; it transpired that policymakers had to look elsewhere for a source of ideas. The academic's role was thus taken over by think tanks, which...well, think., as opposed to just emoting and spewing slogans.
It’s an old professor’s habit, but I had to engage them. "What does that mean?" I asked the fellow with the button. "Bush is bullshit," he replied, "the most evil man in the world." When I said that wasn’t an argument and pressed him, he acknowledged that "Saddam isn’t a good guy," but "who are we"—he pointed both to me and his like-minded friend—to "judge Saddam Hussein?"
"Why not?" I asked. He replied with an answer right out of the postmodern playbook. Americans can’t judge another culture, he insisted, because there is no common morality. But if that’s the case, I asked, why then was George Bush "undoubtedly the most evil man in the world?" He seemed puzzled by the idea that his version of an emotional truth might seem incoherent to others.
Like the fascist writers of the 1930’s from whom their postmodern teachers had drawn their ideas, these Deaniacs were both engaged in politics and deeply cynical about democracy, which they saw as a game manipulated by nefarious forces led by Fox News. As they see it, there is little to argue; the only question is "which side are you on?" Doubtful that informed debate could settle much, they hoped to impose their will on a backward country that wickedly refused to see the appeal of a "Fuck Bush" platform.
I was taken aback by my conversation with the Deaniacs; their sheer coarseness stunned me. Even at the height of the "Ronald Reagan is going to blow up the world" mania of the 1980’s, I had never seen a "Fuck Reagan" button. But the coarseness was consistent with the dominant mood in academia outside of the sciences.
Recently, the professoriat has been embarrassed by a series of dustups exposing the irrationalist underside of academic life. After Hamilton College invited a former Brinks holdup terrorist to take a faculty position, it compounded its problems by asking "Indian" poseur Ward Churchill of the University of Colorado to speak, only to back off when he was found to have delivered a rant about how the people killed in the World Trade Center were "little Eichmanns." Columbia’s alumni, if not its administration, has been discomfited by the ravings of Joseph Massad, a professor so extreme in his support of Palestinian terrorism as to have labeled Yasir Arafat a collaborator with Israel. Harvard president Larry Summers has been forced to don the sackcloth and ashes after he commented reasonably that the differences between men and women might—and his stress, the transcript shows, was on might—be one part of the reason why there are fewer females in the sciences.
The transformation of our "intellectual" centers of knowledge into vast emotional swamps of multicultural victimhood, offended by any idea that they don't like, can be best appreciated by the fact that in this last election, academia contributed little or nothing in the way of usable ideas--though it was a major source of Democratic Party funding. In fact, one might arguably equate the almost complete lack of ideas (except for the repetitive mouthing of the words, "I have a plan") and the knee-jerk opposition to any Republican idea just because it was Republican-- as one of the most significant factors in the decisive defeat of the Democratic Party.
You see, like the radical professors discussed in this article, no longer are the Democrats bothered by pesky ideas, which might actually have to be defended by reason and logic. No, they rely almost totally these days on the primacy of their feelings, which they proudly point out need no defense, since they are honest feelings. Howard Dean's recent comment that the Republicans are brain-dead; and Senator Byrd's equation of Republicans with Nazis are a perfect examples of the emotional nothingness the current Democratic Party has to offer.
Don't like bringing Democracy to the Middle East - NO BLOOD FOR OIL!
Don't like Bush's policies? BUSH IS HITLER!
Don't like this or that? NO NO NO NO!
From their perspective, they can readily identify with poor Saddam, who was just another helpless victim of U.S. imperialism.
Having had no new ideas since the Vietnam era, is it so surprising that they eagerly recycle those old slogans that were popular from that era? They meant little then, and less now; but are symbolic of a time in history when the Left felt it was winning. But they stopped thinking too soon.
Having lost the Cold War, they now intend to dress up their socialist/communist agenda in a new set of anti-U.S., anti-Israel; anti-Freedom; anti-Democracy; anti-Capitalism clothing. But even after 20 or more years, the emperor is still naked. Genocide is tolerated if it comes from their side of the political spectrum. Moral equivalence is applied to situations that demand moral judgement. Freedom of speech is touted, unless they don't like what you say. I could go on, but I haven't the inclination to waste so much of my time documenting what has already been documented everywhere.
And running through it all, like a river of denial and projection, is a vast, pervasive cluelessness. A lack of insight or self-awareness so incredible and so blindingly transparent that it is almost awe-inspiring in its magnitude. This kind of mindless emoting in lock- step on the part of large numbers of the "intellectual elite" is a Totalitarian's dream! The slogans and banners are the stuff of dictator's fantasies. For these professors and their minions, the mindset of Orwell's 1984 is a deliberate lifestyle choice.
These are our new intellectuals. Is it any wonder that a fraud like Ward Churchill is their poster boy? And that tyrants like Saddam and Fidel are their cause celebre? Vive la revolucion!