Posted by: quiscus | April 25, 2012

April 25, 2012

1. “Let’s not broaden the ‘War on Despair’

I caught a couple of recruitment ads for America’s armed services with an oddly touchy-feely tone.

The first showcased the Navy’s new slogan, “A Global Force for Good.” “I have heard the call to serve,” the narrator proclaims, and he’ll carry that call close to his heart until “the anguish of those less fortunate has been soothed.”

The second featured a voice-over intoning that: “Marines move toward the sounds of tyranny, injustice and despair — with the courage and resolve to silence them … by ending conflict, instilling order and helping those who can’t help themselves.”

Noble sentiments, to be sure, but the War on Despair sounds even broader than the amorphous War on Terror that’s consumed American blood and treasure for over a decade now. And “helping those who can’t help themselves” is a far taller order than fighting “our country’s battles” on air, land and sea. When did the U.S. military morph into the Peace Corps with guns?

That’s something to ponder as Washington ponders yet another “humanitarian” intervention in a civil war that threatens no vital American national interest. ”

2. “Top Ten Reasons Israel tried to Censor Bob Simon’s Report on Palestinian Christians

3. “Tarp Overseer Debunks Bailout Myths: Big Companies HAVEN’T Repaid Tarp Funds … And Funds to Help Homeowners HAVEN’T Been Disbursed”


UK Government: “It’s Worth the Risk”…”

5. “UCLA Professor warned about Israel views

What kind of person goes to college and demands to be shielded from political views they dislike?

But I want to leave to the side the obvious threats to academic freedom this poses. My real question is this: what kind of person goes to an academic institution and then demands to be shielded from political ideas that they find objectionable? Of all places, academia is supposed to permit and encourage the challenging of one’s assumptions and beliefs. At least in theory, that’s the prime value of studying at a university: learning how to think critically, which requires subjecting one’s views to rigorous dispute. The petulant entitlement needed to demand that nobody in that setting ever cite or mention objectionable political views is just staggering; it also reveals a severe lack of confidence in the validity of one’s own views. Whatever one thinks of it on the merits, the belief that Israel should be targeted with boycotts and divestment for its apartheid policies the way South Africa was is one that is embraced by many people in many places around the world. It’s hard to express how anti-intellectual and oppressive it is to demand that such a view never even be discussed or aired — of all places — on an academic campus, and to formally complain against a Professor who merely mentions it on a website.

But, as the completely unhinged and bitter (and predictable) reaction to Peter Beinart’s new book about Zionism (and his proposal to boycott Israeli settlements) demonstrates, there are a sizable number of people conditioned to equate criticisms of Israel with some sort of deficiency worthy of punishment. That view is always odious, but particularly so when it asserts itself in an academic setting.”

6. “It would be very difficult for me to think of any term that disgusted me more than those words uttered continuously in the presence of virtually any soldier in the United States: “Thank you for your service.”


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