Jonah Goldberg has a valuable new LA Times column with more thoughts on David Horowitz’s recent encounter with pro-jihad sentiment at UC San Diego. We all reacted with disgust (though not surprise) at Jumanah Imad Albahri’s words, but how did her school’s administration take it? Goldberg decided to find out:
I asked UCSD, via e-mail, whether the woman in question was censured in any way for endorsing bigotry and genocide, or if the video was somehow misleading. In response, I received boilerplate about how, in the tradition of Aristotle, UCSD treasures “discourse and debate” and how “the very foundations of every great university are set upon the rock-solid principles of freedom of thought and freedom of speech.”
I wrote back, in part: “Thank you for your response. I must say I find it fairly non-responsive. Out of curiosity, if a UCSD student publicly called for the extermination of gays and blacks, would this be your only response as well?”
I then received an even less responsive primer on how student groups are funded on campus.
Sadly, this moral backwardness from academia is also to be expected. The Left’s professed allegiance to “academic freedom” is really a refusal to acknowledge that not all moral values are relative, that some cultures really are inferior to others, and that there exists ugliness in the world that cannot ultimately be blamed on America. We can see the same principle—victimhood determines reality—at work in Phillip Klein’s recent musings on Israel:
As sickening as it sounds, Jewish liberals see their fellow Jews as noble when they are victims being led helplessly into the gas chambers, but recoil at the thought of Jews who refuse to be victims, and actually take actions to defend themselves. It isn’t too different from American liberal attitudes toward criminal justice or terrorism, where morality is turned upside down and the lines between criminals and victims become blurred, and in certain cases, even reversed.
Of course, it goes without saying that UCSD doesn’t have the same standard for “real” evils (read: those perceived as coming from the Right):
Now, I could write at length about UCSD’s hypocrisy. After all, the school recently launched a “Battle Hate” campaign in response to some idiotic stunt called the “Compton Cookout” at which a fraternity held a racially offensive event off campus during Black History Month. Administrators went into overdrive, the Black Student Union issued 32 demands, the vice chancellor righteously explained to students that although the event may have been beyond the school’s “legal jurisdiction,” it was not beyond UCSD’s “moral jurisdiction.”
“We have the moral high ground!” she shouted before trying to start a chant of “Not in our community!”
Well, Albahri’s statements were not only within the UCSD community, they were well inside the school’s legal and moral jurisdiction. And yet in response, we don’t get the familiar kabuki of official outrage. Instead we get: This endorsement of genocide is brought to you by Aristotle.
Goldberg concludes that left-wing elites are hopelessly dominated by a “dog-eared script” determining reality and identifying the usual cast of heroes and victims for them. Of course, not every conflict can be so neatly categorized, and when they’re forced out of their comfort zones, they can’t process it.
It should be abundantly clear that left-wing academia’s script is chock-full of plot holes—perhaps none more so than their self-congratulation for embodying “rock-solid principles of freedom of thought and freedom of speech.”