I have just read about a new high-water mark in the persecution of intellectuals. Or just the intelligent. For setting it, the world can thank the Hon.
Forgive me if I lose track of the exact titles now used by the higher-ups of the
Lest we forget, as late as 1940 some found even A. Hitler a figure of vaudevillian fun -- see
But today let's give the devil/grand dragon/Supreme Leader his due. For the first time in my admittedly limited knowledge, a regime has decided to identify its most promising students not in order to make use of their minds and talents, but to bar them from further study, or maybe from society in general.
That's right: If you're a star pupil in
If one star appears beside a student's name in the extensive dossier kept by
But if you're awarded two stars by Big Brother, uh oh. You're suspended from school and become eligible for interrogation by the authorities. After which you may be required to write a letter (if your hand still works) pledging you'll forgo any unapproved politics.
It would be no surprise to learn that that there's an Anti-Iranian Activities Committee modeled on the old
If you rate three stars, which means you've been spotted attending a protest rally or daring to openly support an opposition candidate, you are banned from any of the country's institutions of higher education. For life.
Remember the case of
So will all these star students. Some of them, denied places in graduate school, are quoted as wondering what will happen to them in life. I take this opportunity to hazard a prediction: One of them will turn out to be prime minister of a new, free
Despite their bully boys and all the other accouterments of a police state, the mullahs in transient power in
However long it takes, freedom will sprout. Naturally it was a Russian --
The American method of suppressing dissent is more subtle, and effective.
Here anyone who dares challenge the reigning orthodoxy in this country's politically correct, well-policed groves of academe may find himself facing just as well-calibrated a system of penalties, from a failing grade to being denied tenure. But there is no need in a free country to use an instrument as blunt as force. In the supposedly free world, intellectual fashion reigns, and ostracism is the instrument of choice.
Note the tactics used by the "scientists" who contributed those revealing emails out of the formerly respected Climatic Research Unit at the
To quote one of the hacked e-mails: "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow -- even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!" That was Professor
The moral of this story: When it comes to anti-intellectualism, no one practices it so assiduously as the West's own intellectuals.
Haiti - Tragedy and Opportunity for Haiti
Kara C. McDonald
The January 12 earthquake that devastated Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, is the first test of the Obama administration's ability to mount a full-scale international disaster response, and it is no ordinary test. Haiti is the poorest nation in the hemisphere, with abysmal infrastructure, struggling to stabilize
Haiti - Sometimes the Earth is Cruel
Leonard Pitts Jr
That is ultimately the fundamental lesson here, as children wail, families sleep out of doors, and the dead lie unclaimed in the rubble that once was Port-au-Prince, Haiti
A bracing critique of U.S. military intelligence in Afghanistan came from an unlikely source earlier this month: the head of U.S. military intelligence in Afghanistan. Widely circulated and hotly discussed, the report was remarkable for its blunt candor regarding the intelligence community's mode of operation in Afghanistan.
Politics Behind Hugo Chavez's Currency Devaluation
A lot has been written in recent days about the economic impact of drastic devaluation of the Venezuelan currency announced by Venezuela's authoritarian-populist President Hugo Chávez. But the measure's political impact may be just as important, if not more.
(C) 2010 Paul Greenberg