To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal ...
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance ...
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.
And those who can't tell the difference are idiot savants of the worst kind. For some it is only ever a time to prattle. One man who might have held seminars on the combustibility of the human body while ovens at Auschwitz consumed their ghastly fuel is in the video below. What is moral blindness but the inability to tell right from wrong, friend from enemy, love from hate? And what is moral deafness but a man who can hear words and never understand their meaning?
He goes on to post a video of John Coatsworth, dean of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia, defending Columbia's decision to invite the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak, and declaring he would have also invited Hitler to speak if he'd had the chance.
Coatsworth and Bollinger are only two of the many academic examples of children who were carefully marinated in the nihilism of postmodernism and are now bursting with its aeductive flavor.
As such, they firmly and passionately believe in nothing and stand courageously for nothing.
They make up the ranks of today's political left and utter the same old tired and worn self-serving platitudes about"free speech" and "academic freedom" etc. etc., but they have distorted and twisted those concepts, and many others, to make them almost completely unrecognizable.
Let us consider the idea of "free speech", shall we?
Freedom of speech is a right of the people that is recognized in the Bill of Rights. It is in the Bill of Rights to insure that the government not infringe on speech and make any limit on that fundamental freedom. Only by force of the government can this politicial right be restricted or abridged.
I, however, am free to restrict your speech on my blog. A commenter's "right" to say what he/she wants here does not supercede my right to exclude their comments for whatever reason I deem important.
Any parent is free to restrict the speech of their children.
A university or any school is free to determine who can speak and who cannot on their campus. They can be philosophically consistent about it, or not; and, as we have seen recently, they generally are not. Check out this article from the Harvard Crimson, for example, reporting the argument that because Larry Summers words "still sting", he should not willy-nilly be allowed to speak--“It’s not necessary for [Summers] to be able to speak anywhere and everywhere".
It really doesn't really matter how inconsistent and ridiculous any particular campus chooses to be. BECAUSE THE RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH IS ONLY IN DANGER WHEN ANY ARM OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT IS THE ENTITY THAT IS BLOCKING IT.
Let us also not forget that the Bill of Rights applies to American citizens. It does not mean that we American citizens must eagerly extend the rights granted to us by our constitution to every non-citizen Tom, Dick and Mahmoud.
Columbia University does not, as one person has astutely pointed out have to "give a soapbox to every lunatic in the world" to somehow "prove" that it believes in free speech or the free exchange of ideas. Giving a soapbox to a Hitler or a Bin Laden or a pipsqueak like Ahmadinejad is merely yet another histrionic display of narcissistic self-indulgence by a politicized academia; just as the decision to recind Larry Summers invitation to speak was at another institution of higher learning.
What both incidents have in common is the dedication and committment to a particular political ideology, rather than to any value or belief in "the free exchange of ideas." And both incidents allow the academic world to plump themselves up self-righteously as the champions of politically correct thought.
"Look at how tolerant we are! Look at how much we believe in freedom of speech! See how bravely we intend to engage this tyrant (or, how bravely we prevent an awful person like that sexist Larry Summers from speaking). Why, he is going to be stunned at our courageous stand for freedom and may actually see the light! Aren't we wonderful?" And so on, ad idiota infinitum.
But that narcissistic display is only the tip of the iceberg. If you really want to see the moral and intellectual bankruptcy that lies underneath the histrionic and self-serving posturing, you will have to read this stunning take-down of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and their encyclical on "Freedom in the Classroom".
To quote from just the introduction of Wood and Balch's response to the AAUP:
The American Association of University Professors issued a report titled Freedom in the Classroom on September 11, 2007. In a press release accompanying the report, the AAUP characterized it as a defense of "the right of college faculty to make comparisons, contrasts, and analogies across the whole range of subjects and historical periods-no matter what course they are teaching." But in effect the report is an attempt to answer critics who have complained of the widespread practice in American higher education of professors bringing their politics into the classroom. (Emphasis mine)
As a vehicle for obtaining political power, postmodern philosophy and its attendant rhetoric are unparalleled in today's academic world. Through the deliberate manipulation of reality, truth, and reason, the children of postmodern nihilism have figured out a way to win any and all arguments. They have pretty much taken over the curriculum from kindergarden through college and thus no major area of that curriculum is now free from political interference.
In the UK, for example, this report on the educational systems found that:
"The traditional subject areas have been hijacked to promote fashionable causes such as gender awareness, the environment and anti-racism, while teachers are expected to help to achieve the Government's social goals instead of imparting a body of academic knowledge to their students...."
It goes on further to say:
History has become so divorced from facts and chronology that pupils might learn the new "skills and perspectives" through a work of fiction, such as Lord of the Rings, it says.
Teenagers studying for GCSEs are being asked to write about the September 11 atrocities using Arab media reports and speeches from Osama bin Laden as sources without balancing material from America, it reveals.
Does this sound familiar? It should, because the same process has been ongoing on American campuses for the last few decades. Professors not only expound on their area of expertise, they now also are inclined to indoctrinate their students in politics, specifically their politics. And they use "academic freedom" to justify the brainwashing.
For more on postmodernism and its rhetorical techniques, see here, here, here, here, here and here, for example.
The children of postmodern nihilism are not afraid of someone like Ahmadinejad. They completely understand someone like him from the top of his irrational little head to the tips of his anti-semitic toes. No, the children tremble in fear whenever the real world presents them with something or someone who contradicts their religiously held beliefs and thus threatens their self-indulgent narcissism.
They are in a great deal of terror at the moment. Not, of course from Jihadis or terrorists (which would be rational) but because their world view is under attack whenever a George W. Bush is elected; or a Sarkozy or Merkel. They cling to the Hugo Chavez types for dear life, celebrating them openly; and pray that thugs like Ahmadinejad and Zawahiri are able to humiliate and defeat their real enemy--which is America and all it stands for.
These children were raised on postmodern milk; and their brain development has reached a point of no return and is functioning now for the sole purpose of blocking out the real world; rather than trying to understand it. Reality, truth and reason are far too dangerously threatening to their childish beliefs and behaviors. So are genuine committments to free speech, academic freedom or political liberty.
If you can convince children that objective reality is an illusion; that A does not equal A; that black is white; and that good is bad; if you can make them accept that everything is subjective and relative; then you own them. They will believe any drivel. Through the appropriate manipulation of language, everything can be distorted, without the messy need to resort to facts, logic, or reason.
Without a rational metaphysics--or worldview--that explains the nature of existence and reality; and without an epistemology that says our minds are able to acquire knowledge of that reality; then it is easy to enforce conformity, totalitarian thinking, and political passivity.
Ethics, or the study of how man should behave in the world--or, what is good and what is evil--is totally dependent on both metaphysics and epistemology, because it is impossible to make choices withoug knowledge; just as it is impossible to have knowledge without a reality that can be known by our minds.
What matters in the postmodernist's convoluted thinking is not truth or falsity--only the effectiveness of the language used. Lies, distortions, ad hominem attacks; attempts to silence opposing views--all are strategies that are perfectly satisfactory if they achieve the desired effect. Ideas and reason must make way for reification of feelings; and freedom is replaced by thought control.
If you wonder why they exhibit so much animosity and emotional hysteria directed against traditional values and ideas; and against Republicans, neocons, Christians, Males etc. etc.; then understand the nature of the postmodern nihilism that defines and sustains them. The pervasive and unrelenting trickle down of postmodern theories and thinking in education, art, politics and all the social areas of life has resulted in a crop of humans who are opposed to thinking because it is far too dangerous to their secular religious beliefs. Even science has not been immune from the nihilism and anti-reason, anti-reality agenda of the postmodernists (just consider the hysteria regarding global warming and the attempts to convert a scientific issue into a political one).
If you want to understand why nothing seems to make sense and the most blatant contradictions and relativistic meanderings are presented as absolute truth; why language is abused and words don't seem to have the same definitions anymore; and can sometimes even mean the opposite of what they used to; why photographs can lie; why contradictory discourses and distortion of truth; and ad hominem attacks and a distinct reluctance to face reality are all a part of the "reality-based" community--you need look no further than postmodernism.
If you want to understand why a presumably serious institution of higher learning, founded on the principles of truth and knowledge, reaches out to a confirmed and dedicated apocalyptic terrorist; a man who has repeatedly announced his intention of destroying Israel and the Jews; a man who cheerfully oppresses his own citizens--including those in academia; a man who is a focal point for holocaust denial; who encourages the hanging of homosexuals and uppity women; a man who has declared war on our country; a complete and total lunatic who desires to hold the world hostage with nuclear weapons...then you need not look any further than the toxic relativism and endless narcissim of children like Bollinger and his ilk.
And finally, if you want to understand why that which is truly evil --embracing death, slavery, and nihilism--is now presented and even trumpeted as the "good" while the good is dismissed, denigrated and mocked; then you would do well to understand the psychology and ideology of the covert enemies of America and of civilization--the adult children of postmodern nihilism.
Keep all this in mind today as you watch what happens at Columbia. If you think that President Bollinger stands on some sort of moral high ground; or that his debating skills will humble the megalomanic he will courageously "challenge", then consider this imaginary exchange written by John Podhoretz, via Betsy's Page:
B: And what about saying you are going to wipe Israel off the map?
A: What about it?
B: Well . . . that's not very nice, is it?
A: Actually, I was once very pro-Israel.
B: You were?
A: Yes, I was. Until I read the works of a Columbia professor named Edward Said.
B: Really, that is absolutely . . .
A: It was reading Said that convinced me Israel was an apartheid nation guilty of monstrous crimes and, therefore, that it should cease to exist. Well, now I am in a position to give aid to that cause. What kind of person would I be if I failed to heed the guidance provided by a respected Columbia professor?
B: Now wait a . . .
A: He was very august, wasn't he, Edward Said? I mean, you even have a professorship named after Edward Said here at Columbia. Oh, who's that I see in the front row? It's the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies here at Columbia, Mr. Rashid Khalidi!
Khalidi: Not now, Mahmoud. I'll Skype you later.
B: I can understand your anger at Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, Mr. President, but surely 5 million Israelis shouldn't be wiped off the map.
A: Why not? After all, at your sister school, Barnard College, you are in the process of granting tenure to Nadia Abu El-Haj, who has written a book that proves there was no ancient Jewish kingdom in Israel. Her work has had a great deal of influence on me. After all, if there is no Jewish claim on the land dating back to the time before Christ, there really is no reason for Israel to be where it is, right, Bollinger?
B: I have no say over Barnard tenure decisions, Mr. President, but I must say that there are some questions about the quality of her scholarship because she does not take account of the archaeological evidence.
A: That is uncalled for. Ms. El-Haj says in her own book that she rejects your "positivist commitment to scientific method," Bollinger. She has a narrative. A narrative, Bollinger! So shut your pie hole.
B: Now about your state support of terrorism . . .
A: What is terrorism, Bollinger? I take my wisdom from another newly tenured professor here at Columbia, Mr. Joseph Massad. You remember him. He's the one who Jewish students claimed had intimidated them in his classes.
B: That was never conclusively . . .
A: Right here on this campus, he called Israel a "racist state" and then said: "Every racist state should be destroyed." I don't know why you are upset with me, Bollinger - I'm learning so much from people who are paid by your institution!
What do you suppose will happen when the children of postmodern nihilism (also known as the political left) interact with a postmodern master of annihilation? Here's a nice preview of how the former will likely react.
I predict something of the sort will happen today at Columbia, as all those postmodern children struggle to "keep an open mind" to terror, oppression, and evil.