Phi Beta Cons

Nihilism at Penn

University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann not only misses the point but shows her insensibility to civilized norms when she says in her statement regarding the student who came to her Halloween party dressed as a suicide bomber that he ”had a right to wear the costume.”  Leave it to left-liberals to put everything in terms of rights.  This is not a question of civil rights but of civilized behavior in a private, or at least non-political setting.  The suicide-bomber costume is an offense against all civilized norms. She not only had the “right”, she had the obligation to disallow it, especially as a person in a position of authority. The fact that she didn’t do so, and doesn’t really apologize even now, indicates how decades of nihilism, relativism, postmodernism, postcolonialism, and hating the West have eroded values. And in a way, it mirrors how the self-hating West has tolerated suicide bombing itself, the real thing, continuing to give credence to Palestinian demands, for example, even as these have been advanced through this uniquely despicable form of violence which by rights should have made clear to all the world that people who employ it are not fit to be part of civilization, let alone have their own state.  And of course now suicide bombing has become the weapon of choice of Islamic fundamentalists all over the world who realize that so far from being discredited by this savagery, they can actually make gains by it.
Also, saying that she didn’t realize what the costume signified when she allowed herself to be photographed with the student sounds very lame. Evidently, the student himself has said that Gutmann “did not seem to take his costume too seriously.” When he asked her to be photographed with him, Gutmann joked with him about the costume, asking him, “How did they let you through security?”  (Actually, that’s not a bad question. There was security? And the costume didn’t raise any questions of propriety for them?) 
Finally, why was he left free to carry on his charades with other guests posing as hostages about to be murdered by the mock-bomber reading from the Koran? Gutmann still did not realize what was going on? And no one else did either? And the guests who posed as hostages? They thought that was funny? Didn’t anyone protest? Onset of early dhimmitude, perhaps.


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