Thursday, April 06, 2006

Live from GWU!

Lynn and I are at George Washington University tonight (Thursday) for the Great Academic Freedom debate between David Horowitz and Ward Churchill. We had to leave a few minutes early because we've got a 9:10 p.m. West Coast show to be on. The GW College Republicans were kind enough to set us up with phones, etc.

This debate was AMAZING, chiefly to see the sophistry of Ward Churchill, master of the polysyllabic filibuster. Churchill's basic point was (I paraphrase):

A. There is no truth.
B. There is only power.
C. Therefore, all education is political.

This perspective will seem impressive only to anyone who hasn't read Allan Bloom's classic, "The Closing of the American Mind," or to those who have never heard of the Sokal Hoax.

Is there such a thing as objective truth? Of course there is. What happened on Dec. 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii? And what happened in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963?

Whatever the motivations of the Imperial Japanese Navy, or whether or not Oswald was alone responsible for JFK's death, some things can be definitely known. The aircraft carriers were real; the bullet that killed Kennedy was real. These are objective truths, which are not subject to debate.

As the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan sagely observed, every man is entitled to his own opinion, but he is not entitled to his own facts.

Ward Churchill will not humble himself as inferior to the reality of objective truth. By his way of thinking, even the law of gravity is a mere opinion -- with which he may "argue" by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Churchill's argument was basically the puerile and vacuous conversation you had as a college sophomore, about two hours into the bong hits, shortly after reading a bit of Nietzsche.


DONKEY CONS: Rave review
DONKEY CONS: About the book

UPDATE 4/7 (Fri. a.m.): After the debate, I spoke to some GWU students who thought Churchill was ... awesome, dude! What is it about the overprivileged children of affluent America, that they so frequently buy into Marxism?

I just checked U.S. News & World Report's site and found this about George Washington University:

Endowment: $927,199,000
Tuition and fees: $34,030
Room/board: $10,470

I believe the Anglo-American system of private property, free markets and the rule of law is the most equitable economic order in world history. My oldest daughter is a senior in high school, a National Honor Society member, and my wife and I could never afford to send her to GWU. (A free-market choice: Even if we could afford it, why spend such a huge sum to send our daughter to a school that allows its students to graduate with minds full of unexamined Marxist claptrap? George Washington would be shocked.) I am not privy to the financial status of the Vincent household, but I rather doubt they could afford to shell out $45,000 a year for their sons' college education.

Yet the kids whose parents can afford a GWU education not only hate the system that made their parents so wealthy, but also hate the system that contributed so generously to GWU's endowment -- now nearly $1 billion.

At the University of Colorado, Ward Churchill probably makes twice the combined income of my wife and I, and doesn't work any 21-hour days (like Lynn and I did the past two days while promoting the book). Churchill hates capitalism, so why don't we? After all, the Vincent family and the McCain family are the exact sort of "working families" that liberals so frequently claim to represent.

Rich liberals, poor conservatives. And the GOP is the "party of the rich." Right. Students of ancient history perhaps will appreciate why Cicero's first oration against Catiline provides the epigraph for Chapter One, and students of more recent history perhaps will see why we chose a certain passage of Burke as the epigraph for Chapter Nine.