Friday, July 25, 2003

CRAZIER THAN YOU THOUGHT. Leah at Eschaton has the proper attitude toward U.S. Institute of Peace board nominee Daniel Pipes. But I'm afraid she doesn't know the half of it (though the half she does know is pretty damning). In addition to his kill-'em-all-let-Michael-Ledeen-sort-'em-out approach to Middle Eastern affairs, Pipes has some interesting ideas about academic freedom here in the U.S. As I wrote back in November:

Columnist Daniel Pipes is unfailingly hard on Arabs, but he's murder on American professors of the antiwar persuasion. In this New York Post throwdown, he says our typical university is "a topsy-turvy world in which professors consider the United States (not Iraq) the problem and oil (not nukes) the issue." He also says the cloth-eared crowd "despise their own country," and describes them as "inept," "cranky and mistaken," and "the major American institution most alienated from the rest of the country."

After he's got that off his chest, Pipes gets down to prescriptions: "The time has come," he says, "for adult supervision of the faculty and administrators at many American campuses. Especially as we are at war, the goal must be for universities to resume their civic responsibilities."

One might wonder when unthinking compliance with Administration policy became an educational responsibility, but Pipes has no time to explain--he's got a plan: "This can be achieved if outsiders (alumni, state legislators, non-university specialists, parents of students and others) take steps to create a politically balanced atmosphere, critique failed scholarship, establish standards for media statements by faculty and broaden the range of campus discourse."
(Well, if I don't quote myself, who will? By the way, I'm the new new Orwell. Pass it on.)

Pipes' plan to send flying squads of thought police to college seems to me reason enough to keep him away from power, and perhaps sharp objects, for the duration.

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