Many People Saying Bad Things

by Jon Carroll

San Francisco Chronicle
Nov. 27, 2001

THE AMERICAN COUNCIL of Trustees and  Alumni has in its hand a list of 177 unpatriotic people. This list could grow as more instances of unpatriotism surface. The evidence is damning. Let's look at the evidence.

Wasima Alikahn of the Islamic Academy of Las Vegas is on the list for saying, "Ignorance breeds hate." Patriots believe that ignorance breeds love. Todd Gitlin, a communications professor at New York University, said, "There's a lot of skepticism about the administration's policy of going to war."

That's controversial: the existence of skepticism. A patriot would not mention it. A patriot would trust the government. A patriot would consult the list of approved utterances, and utter them. I hope "professor" Gitlin is pleased with himself, giving aid and comfort to skeptical people.

Remember: You must not be skeptical. You must think the right thoughts. If you do not know the right thoughts, a list will be provided to you.

Joel Benin of Stanford University said: "If Osama bin Laden is confirmed to be behind these attacks, the United States should bring him before an international tribunal on charges of crimes against humanity."

Patriots spit at international tribunals. Patriots like the new Bush tribunals, where citizens are anonymously accused, privately tried and rapidly executed. If foreigners get involved, the process gets too messy.

Look at Spain. Law enforcement officials there catch a whole bunch of terrorists, which is more than John Ashcroft's Justice Department has been able to do, and now they're refusing to extradite them because of those Bush tribunals. Some loony notion about a fair trial.

Patriots want justice, swift and sure. "Fair" is just a word that trial lawyers use. Patriots really hate trial lawyers -- until they get accused of something.

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THE AMERICAN COUNCIL of Trustees and Alumni is a think tank with conservative tendencies. One of its founders is Lynne Cheney, wife of the Undisclosed Location. It believes that professors "are the weak link in America's response to the attack."

The council apparently believes that patriotism consists of looking at American history in one way and reaching one set of conclusions. Academia is devoted to the notion that students should be encouraged to look at American history in many ways and reach their own conclusions.

Shockingly, professors even argue that this is the highest form of patriotism -- offering your nation your most considered and thoughtful opinions. Whenever you see injustice, you speak out. Whenever you see freedom attacked, you speak out. Whenever you see the highest principles of the Constitution sold out for temporary political advantage and large campaign contributions, you speak out.

Professors have been known to make provocative statements in an effort to force students to have provocative thoughts. Professors have been known to have opinions based on an eccentric view of history. Professors have even been known to be wrong.

It used to be OK to be wrong. That's one of implications of freedom of speech. We say what we think, and if later events prove us wrong, that is the nature of error; that is the nature of academic inquiry. Oh well.


I SPENT SOME time on college campuses. I heard  a professor say: "Resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."

And another said: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."

And another said: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you."

How far would we get if the nation were guided by sentiments like that?



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