Taliban Dude

A recent email from one James Kirchick invited me to read his article – My Fellow Yalie: The Taliban Dude.

I found it interesting for the insight it granted into the thinking of young Yalies. It is worth a read for that purpose, especially considering that Mr. Kirchick is associated with America’s Future Foundation whose mission:

…is to find and publish young and undiscovered conservative and libertarian writers.

One thing you will learn is that, much as the word liberal has come to describe socialists when it originally meant what we would today call conservatives, or at least libertarians, conservative now means “anything some leftist does not appreciate.”

To wit, Mr. Kirchick acquiesces to the Liberal idea that Bill O’Reilly is a conservative. Liberals base this opinion on their suppositions about O’Reilly’s associations rather than his philosophy. McCarthyism Pelosi-ism rampant. Liberals automatically regard any successful Fox News personality as a rabid right-wingnut.

In fact, O’Reilly is a simplistic pandering populist. If he were a politician he’d be Huey Long’s evil twin. O’Reilly’s reputation as a “conservative” rests, it seems to me, primarily on the fact that he has been able to take apart a few leftists who are not very bright and are so far outside the mainstream that deflating them is easily achieved by just letting them talk. Which they most certainly will.

I mean, and I’m speaking intellectually, could you skewer Madonna or Cher or that blonde ditz, Cameron Diaz, who equated voting for Bush with approving of rape? Could you beat Barbra Streisand in a spelling bee? (Hint, can you spell “Irag”?)

So can Bill. It does not make him a conservative, and certainly not a libertarian.

Michael Moore gets negative mention for his promotion of Hashemi in the fantasy documentary film Fahrenheit 9/11. While I have no respect whatsoever for Michael Moore’s honesty, intellect or dietary practices, I did watch him in an O’Reilly interview. O’Reilly was overmatched. This tells me something. O’Reilly has no principles from which to argue. Populists don’t need any.

It also tells me that George Clooney, subject of several withering O’Reilly attacks, is a real lightweight – since he refuses to come on the show.

Mr. Kirchick writes:

…most liberals on campus have failed to make any statement in opposition to Hashemi–not because they support his being here, but because they cannot stand those calling for Yale’s head.

I think this displays some narcissism and naivete about Yale and academia in general.

The situation was perfectly suited to the right’s popular caricature of America’s institutions of higher education as incubators of extreme cultural relativism.

Yep, the anecdotal evidence, of which this is a prime bit, is overwhelming. Not to mention that the voting patterns of faculty are damning in this regard. Extreme anti-Americanism manifests in the Sally Jacobsens, Noam Chomskys, Juan Coles, Ward Churchills and a vast host of other professors; and it’s fine that students are exposed to such ideas, but when’s the last time any classic liberal/libertarian/conservative professor got such attention as these minions of the extreme left? Simon and Garfunkel should reunite to record Where have you gone Larry Summers?

Mr. Kirchick is overly respectful of the left, perhaps because of his environment. The Yale Campus Liberals have not objected to Hashemi partially because to do so bleeds into asking dangerous questions about affirmative action programs, and primarily because to do so would hold the United States up to repute. That is, disrepute is what they desire. If the “conservative” Bill O’Reilly is foaming at the mouth then it’s OK to dismiss the conservative John Fund’s rational arguments. Taking several weeks to recognize this is possibly just a matter of experience.

Mr. Kirchick’s main point is that this sloppy knee-jerk of fevered Liberal sentiment is the cause of conflating the ideas of these men. But, his acceptance of Bill O’Reilly’s random populism as even remotely related to conservative or libertarian thought is an undersight. Even bringing it up is disrespectful of Mr. Fund.

Overall, Mr. Kirchick does an excellent job of showing the paucity of principle and the shallowness of thought of fellow students like Della Sentilles, though her name never comes up.

As I say, you’ll learn something from reading it. It may not have the conservative intellectual panache of something out of Hillsdale, but it is a more hopeful sign than I would have predicted out of Yale.

Thank you, James Kirchick.