Monday, October 01, 2007


In case you missed Mark Steyn's column, "Democracies Talk, Tyranies Act", from yesterday, here are some relevant passages :
"I'm proud of my university today," Stina Reksten, a 28-year-old Columbia graduate student from Norway, told the New York Times. "I don't want to confuse the very dire human rights situation in Iran with the issue here, which is freedom of speech. This is about academic freedom."
Isn't it always? But enough about Iran, let's talk about me! The same university that shouted down an American anti-illegal-immigration activist and the same university culture that just deemed former Harvard honcho Larry Summers too misogynist to be permitted on campus is now congratulating itself over its commitment to "academic freedom." True, renowned Stanford psychology professor Philip Zimbardo is not happy. "They can have any fascist they want there," said professor Zimbardo, "but this seems egregious." But, hey, don't worry: He was protesting not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presence at Columbia but Donald Rumsfeld's presence at the Hoover Institution....

So much of contemporary life is about opportunities for self-congratulation. Risk-free dissent is the default mode of our culture, and extremely seductive. If dissent means refusing to let the Bush administration bully you into wearing a flag lapel pin, why, then Katie Couric (bravely speaking out on this issue just last week) is the new Mandela! If Rumsfeld is a "fascist." then anyone can fight fascism. It's no longer about the secret police kicking your door down and clubbing you to a pulp. Well, OK, it is if you're a Buddhist monk in Burma. But they're a long way away, and it's all a bit complicated and foreign, and let's not "confuse the very dire human rights situation" in Hoogivsastan with an opportunity to celebrate our courage in defending "academic freedom" in America. Ahmadinejad must occasionally have felt he was appearing in a matinee of "A Chance To Hear [Insert Name Of Enemy Head Of State Here]." Could have been Chavez, could have been Mullah Omar, could have been Herr ReichsfuhrerHitler himself, as Columbia's Dean John Coatsworth proudly boasted on television.

...Bollinger got raves even from the right for "speaking truth to power." But so what? It's like Noel Coward delivering a series of devastating put-downs to Hitler. The Fuhrer's mad as hell but at the end of the afternoon he goes back to killing, and dear Noel goes back to singing "The Stately Homes Of England." Ahmadinejad goes back to doing – to persecuting, to murdering, to terrorizing, to nuclearizing – and Bollinger cuts out his press clippings and puts them on the fridge.

Far be it from me to psychologically rain on the left's self-congratulatory parade, but their artificial sunshine needs to be replaced by a little reality.

In fact, they make my job as a psychiatrist easy. For example, consider this cartoon:

Though they believe that this cartoon and others like it expose the "brutality" and "oppression" of America, it really reveals far more about how members of the antiwar crowd view themselves:
  • The lone, courageous and morally righteous troubadour, speaking truth to power

  • Theirs is a simple message of peace...

  • But the bullying, thuggish rightwing nutjobs will use any means--including violence to shut them up and prevent that message from being heard

  • Their brave dissent is crushed by the evil that is America

This heroic self image must comfort them greatly, since in fascist state that is the America of their imagination, this is the only kind of vile "persecution" they suffer when they dare to question or oppose the BushHitler and Darth Cheney.

Nevertheless, at the risk of catastrophically cracking that wondrous bubble of narcissism the left hangs out in, I must point out that they desperately need to do a great deal of soul-searching and open their eyes to reality and get a grip.

Beneath the priggish self-righteousness; beneath that romantic and suffering image off moral superiority that they cultivate religiously, they have become nothing more than the appeasers and enablers of those who represent the very opposite of peace.

Here is reality--if they have enough of that courage to face it instead of the rightwing strawman they are constantly speaking their "truth" to:
  • Iran is not only pursuing a nuclear program in order to "wipe Israel off the map", they are also actively engaged in direct military conflict with the US and responsible for the loss of both American and Iraqi lives.

  • Caroline Glick writes about those "peace-loving", oppressed Palestinians: 2006, the Palestinians imported 30 tons of explosives into Gaza from Egypt. Hamas has dug 10 tunnels into the western Negev from which it will be able to launch attacks against the IDF or against civilians. The situation along the breached Gaza-Egypt border is even worse. Diskin referred to the weapons and personnel smuggling tunnels there as "one big rabbit warren."

    As the Palestinians prepare themselves for battle, this week they invented their justification for attacking the Jews. Just as they did in September 2000, this week Palestinian and Israeli Arab leaders opened their propaganda campaign for war by falsely accusing Israel of conspiring to destroy the mosques on the Temple Mount.

    Like its excavation by the Western Wall that has been going on quietly for the past several months, the Israel Antiquities Authority coordinated its salvage dig by the Mughrabi Gate of the Old City with the Islamic Wakf, the Jordanian government and all other relevant authorities before its archeologists began their work this week. Everyone understood that the excavation is being conducted 70 meters away from the Temple Mount and will in no way affect it.

    But facts are irrelevant. The Arabs are not interested in the facts. They are interested in war. Sheikh Abdullah Nimer Darwish, the head of the southern branch of the Israeli Islamic movement, made this point clearly Thursday morning when he told Israel Radio that the war will likely begin when the heads of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh, return from Mecca.

  • How about some moral outrage at Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel and its continued committment to it's destruction :
    Hamas said Friday that it would never recognize Israel and will not, as a movement, abide by previously reached Palestinian peace accords with Israel as urged by President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah. “We will never recognize Israel. There is nothing called Israel, neither in reality nor in the imagination.

  • Even when the beasts of Hamas or the psychopaths of Iran don't bother to disguise their genocidal and apocalyptic agenda (which is not particularly peaceful), the antiwar crowd somehow remains completely oblivious.

It would seems obvious to even a child that the biggest imepdiment to any real or lasting peace is not conservative or neocon ideas; not capitalism; not America and not Israel; not, in short, any of the strawmen so carefully set up by the left just so that they can protest and feel good about themselves (see some recent photos of self-congratulation and risk-free dissent here).

If they care to demonstrate real courage, then I suggest the leftist antiwar clowns speak their peaceful truth to the real warmongers and barbarians. Of course, they should then bravely prepare themselves for some real persecution and oppression which will likely suffer as a result.'

Or, as Steyn suggests (and you should read his entire column) do the needs of the humanitarians always outweigh the needs of ordinary humans in the lefty la-la land, where being virtuous and courageous means never having to do anything in the real world.

All I am suggesting is what I've suggested many times on this blog: give reality a chance....

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