Carry on Cutting, says Brandeis
It's easy to see why our lefty friends would want to defenestrate poor Brandon Eich, just like they did in the Thirty Years War, for the heresy of contributing money to hate and the exclusionary idea of man-woman marriage. Everybody knows that sort of thing just can't be allowed in the 21st century.
But then Brandeis disinvites Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the extraordinary Somali woman that escaped tribal (yeah, and patriarchal) servitude to get an education in the Netherlands and launch a foundation to advocate for women's rights in the developing world.
Why is the left on the same page as the jihadis? The world wants to know.
To seek out the answer I went straight out to HalfPriceBooks to get a copy of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's latest book Nomad: From Islam to America.
First takeaway from Nomad: Muslims at U.S. universities have been attacking Ayaan Hirsi Ali for years.
Second takeaway: Ayaan Hirsi Ali asks the question liberals don't want us to ask. How can we best help the tribal people of the world become citizens? From her point of view we are going about it all wrong.
There are many good men and women in the West who try to resettle refugees... and strive to eliminate discrimination. They lobby governments to exempt minorities from the standards of behavior of Western societies they fight to help minorities preserve their cultures, and they excuse their religion from critical scrutiny. These people mean well, I have no doubt. But I believe that... their efforts to assist Muslims and other minorities are futile because, by postponing or at best prolonging the process of their transition to modernity – by creating the illusion that they can hold on to tribal norms and at the same time become a successful citizen -- the proponents of multiculturalism lock subsequent generations born in the West into a no-man's-land of moral values.
You can see why the lefties and jihadis at Brandeis didn't want Ayaann Hirsi Ali on campus. The very idea of dignifying such an opinion!
And the liberal discomfort with her didn't start at Brandeis. When Ayaan Hirsi Ali made the tour of U.S. lefty think tanks looking for a job in 2006 they were “polite” but “tentative.” The guy at Brookings worried that she “might offend Arab Muslims.” Then she went to AEI, even though she'd heard it was “arch-conservative.” To her surprise, AEI loved her.
Here was another political lesson... American liberals are more uncomfortable with my condemning the ill-treatment of women under Islam than most conservatives are.
The liberal discomfort with Ayaan Hirsi Ali is in the very idea of the “transition to modernity,” from “tribal norms” to “citizen.” The whole program of the left from Marx to Zinn is to make a scandal of the transition, to question its necessity, to keep people in their tribal silos and away from universal citizenship.
And the whole war to keep people in tribal, racial, sexual silos is called the fight against racism and sexism!
The Muslim jihadis are frank tribalists. They want to keep the old patriarchal traditions where the man of the house makes all the rules and women are nothing but a potential stain on his honor.
The modern left is a movement of tribal nostalgia: neo-tribalists. They want people divided up in little tribes, each burning with carefully nurtured resentments as in old days, and each tribe led by a reliable lefty from Harvard or Yale – or in special cases, Brandeis.
The tribesman is a person of the collective self; there is no identity outside the tribe. But the citizen is an individual, a person of the responsible self. It is up to the citizen to create an identity, as an individual, on her own.
Liberals tell the tribesmen: you vote for us and will take care of you. Conservatives know that this attitude is the natural instinct of the modern ruling class. There must be victims, there must be helplessness, or there is no need for government and its force, and no need for liberals.
The world has already suffered two great rebellions against the new post-tribal order, in Nazism and its neo-tribalism of race and in Bolshevism with its neo-tribalism of class. Both times, after endless shilly-shallying and craven appeasement, we eventually rose to the challenge and defeated the neo-tribalist reaction.
No doubt in the end we will meet the jihadist challenge. But we probably cannot start until our current ruling class is utterly discredited and disgraced.
Meanwhile the president of Brandeis should go to work on the university's motto. Obviously the present “Truth, even unto its uttermost parts” is a dead letter. How about “Carry on Cutting”? At least the Brits would get the joke.
Christopher Chantrill (mailto:email@example.com) is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism. Get his Road to the Middle Class.