Kudos to Jay Nordlinger for his fine piece on middle east studies programs in our universities. When we wonder why our leaders, journalists, and deep thinkers so often have a silly view of the world, the content of their education is high on the list of explanations. As Jay says, this may well be one of the basic failings of American civilization; Tocqueville was at pains to note that Americans prefer “big theories” to the hard work of learning the facts about the world at large. Tops among these “big theories” is the twofold delusion that peace is the normal condition of mankind, and that men are everywhere the same, and basically good. So long as these follies dominate our “debate,” there’s little hope of getting the policies right.