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Monday, February 07, 2005

Let's Kick Him One More Time

I had my fun with Colorado University professor and defrocked Cherokee chieftan Ward Churchill. I and hundreds of others ridiculed his idiocy, got our jollies from the effort, and quickly moved on to other equally stimulating matters. Like the state legislator who wants to fine young women if they expose their underwear in public. In 2005. "Girls Gone Wild" look out.

But I have to return to the Churchill subject for a brief moment. Paul Campos, a CU professor of law, writing in the Rocky Mountain News, raises an interesting point with regard to Churchill's status at CU.

But while the question of whether a brilliant scholar with a fascist streak ought to be considered for a place on a university faculty retains at least some academic interest, it has nothing to do with Churchill, whose writings and speeches feature an incoherent farrago of boundless paranoia, wildly implausible theories, obscene celebrations of murder, and atrocious prose.

The question of whether a serious research university ought to hire someone like Churchill is laughable on its face. What's not so funny is the question of exactly how
someone like him got hired in the first place, and then tenured and named the head of a department.

That, in the end, is a more important question than what will or ought to happen to Churchill now. Churchill is a pathetic buffoon, but the University of Colorado is far from alone in having allowed itself to toss intellectual integrity and human decency overboard in the pursuit of worthy goals.

Speaking truth to power, giving a voice to those who have been silenced, pursuing controversial and unpopular ideas in an intellectually rigorous way - these are all things that the university in general, and this university in particular, has done and continues to do.

That through whatever combination of negligence, cowardice and complicity we have allowed Ward Churchill to besmirch those ideals by invoking them in the defense of his contemptible rantings is now our burden and our shame. (

Truth be known, college campuses today are chock full of "intellectuals" who can't put a sentence together. Who are illiterate. Unread. Unable.

But unchallenged.

How can this be, you ask? A university striving for excellence wouldn't tolerate mediocrity in its midst, you say? Wrong. Hatred and ethnicity (as well as sexual incongruities), especially in combination, will get one a chairpersonship at most any accredited university today. The fact that that person is completely inarticulate - or even insane - is of secondary importance. As long as they spew their venom in the appropriate direction - towards the rest of us.

One More Thing

I made mention of an insightful article in the Rocky Mountain News earlier by Paul Campos. In it he provides a definition of the word fascism which I found to be close to the mark. Most of you reading this have no real interest, I'm sure, in what fascism is or is not. Perhaps you should. People like me who espouse conservative ideas and values, and who are prone to denounce the leftists in this country as being weak-kneed apologists and craven miscreants are often called fascists.

My thought has always been: That's obviously not a good thing. I'll bet it's a bad thing. But what exactly does it mean?

All I've learned to this point in my life is this:
  • Adolf Hitler was a fascist.
  • Benito Mussolini was a fascist.
  • The dictionary defines it as: An adherent of fascism or other right-wing authoritarian views.

Hmm. There is something missing between the first two bullets and the third. A whole lot of something. Dachau. Black-shirts. Brown-shirts. Auschwitz. Zyklon B. Chrystallnacht. Lebensraum. The holocaust. An adherent of fascism or other right-wing authoritarian views? Please.

So, thank you, Paul Campos, for filling in the blank.

  • The worship of violence as a purifying social force. This often manifests itself as an aggressive and romanticized militarism, that produces a kind of cult of the warrior, and that advocates violent action as a mechanism for social change, and an appropriate way of crushing dissent.
  • A hyper-nationalistic ideology, that casts history into a drama featuring an inevitably violent struggle between Good and Evil, and that obsesses on questions of racial and
    ethnic identity.
  • The dehumanization and scapegoating of opponents, who are characterized by turns as demonically clever conspirators plotting to undermine the possibility of a virtuous society, and soulless automatons mindlessly carrying out the orders of a vast and evil bureaucracy. This dehumanization often leads to demands that the evil in our midst be eradicated "by any means necessary," up to and including the mass extermination of entire nations and
  • The treatment of moral responsibility as a fundamentally collective matter. The supposed virtues and sins of a nation or people are ascribed to all of its individual members, so that, for example, one speaks of "the Jew" (meaning all Jews collectively and each Jewish person individually) being responsible for the decadence of modern culture. (link)

Excellent. For two reasons:

  1. It fits. This definition certainly describes the Nazi and the Italian fascist regimes of the 1940's.
  2. I can now say unequivocally: I am no fascist. Just an adherent of right-wing views. Which should be enough to scare most weak-kneed leftist apologists and craven miscreants to death.

Who Do You Trust?

The government of the United States of America denies that it has tortured prisoners at Guantanamo.

The terrorist allies of those that slaughtered 3000 Americans on 9/11 claim they became "disoriented and despairing, have been shackled like slaves and left to soil themselves with their own urine and feces. [They were] frequently kicked, punched, beaten and sexually humiliated" at the Guantanamo detention camp. (link)

Who are you going to believe?

Bob Herbert, an infrequently cogent writer for the New York Times, doesn't hesitate. Ever.
This is all being done in the name of fighting terror. But the best evidence seems to show that many of the people rounded up and dumped without formal charges into Guantánamo had nothing to do with terror. They just happened to be unfortunate enough to get caught in one of Uncle Sam's depressingly indiscriminate sweeps.
Bob was probably one of those who stood at the window of the office building that shielded him from the falling debris - as well as from the mortal remains of fellow New Yorkers who leaped to their deaths rather than be consumed by the horrific flames - and cheered.

We deserved it, you see. In Bob's eyes, we will always deserve more and more of the same.