Phi Beta Cons

The Kind of Reasoning Your Tuition Buys

Buried within the IHE piece that John links below is a wonderful nugget of wisdom from a Middlebury student.  Reacting to a poster (the same poster detailed in John’s post), he says:
“The message it conveys is of an isolated America facing the menace of militant Islam. For a college that prides itself on a high percentage of international students, and of exemplary programs of international study, it is unbecoming of Middlebury to tolerate this kind of rubbish on its walls,” wrote Andrey Tolstoy, a sophomore.

Anyone with a sufficient knowledge of history could point to the dangerous errors embedded in the poster. The events illustrated on it — the Iranian hostage crisis, embassy bombings in Africa, September 11th, flag-burning, and others — are separated not only by time, but by motivation and political context. By weaving them into a unified chain — or, to be more precise, quilt — the College Republicans attempt to incite panic and muddle our understanding of the political challenges facing America, not to mention carelessly promoting racist — and, more importantly, false — generalizations about Arabs, Islam and their relationship to structures of international terrorism.

Andrey is learning the lessons of modern academia well.  Sneering condescension?  Check. (“Anyone with sufficient knowledge of history . . .”)  Depersonalized postmodern gibberish?  Check.  (Nice reference to “structures of international terrorism”).  Failure to see the hand in front of your face?  Check.  (So what common characteristics do the hostage crisis, embassy bombings, and September 11 share?  Anything?).  As one astute IHE commentator noted, if those events were all the work of Catholic terrorists, people like Tolstoy would be awash in anti-Catholic rhetoric. 
Those are some expensive blinders.  Purchased at the low, low price of about $30K per year. 


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