The Chronicle of Higher Ed (no free link) also reports on the Mason controversy, and links to Ashland prof John Lewis’s controversial article:
Mr. Lewis had been invited to speak by the Objectivist Club, which promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand. His speech was to have been based on an article that he published in the Winter 2006-7 issue of The Objective Standard: A Journal of Culture and Politics.
In the article, he compares contemporary Iran to Japan during World War II and calls for an all-out assault on Iran as the center of what he calls “Islamic totalitarianism,” which manifests itself as “an authoritarian, state-centered religion, replete with state-funded educational indoctrination, a massive suicide cult on behalf of the deity and state, and hope for a final battle over the Americans.”
“This is not a clash between civilizations,” he writes. “It is a clash between civilization and barbarism. Until civilized people assert themselves with a depth of moral confidence exceeding that projected by those who submit to the ‘will of Allah,’ America will remain permanently on the defensive … and the war will continue to its logical conclusion: a mushroom cloud over America. … Every Muslim intellectual must denounce the Islamic State as an aberration and a monstrosity, as being contrary to the requirements of life on earth. Immediate, personal destruction can be the only alternative.”
“I am opposed to religious law in all forms,” Mr. Lewis wrote to The Chronicle. In his e-mail message, he described his speech as condemning “the imposition of Islamic law by the state.”
“Such use of state power,” he wrote, “harnesses Islam to the service of a totalitarian political ideology. My lecture calls for separation of church and state, and for the defense of that separation by military force if necessary. This is the only way to preserve freedom of individual thought and speech, for people of every philosophic and religious orientation.”
The exact nature and source of the complaints against Mr. Lewis’s scheduled appearance last month were unclear on Sunday.