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Prof. Churchill
Posted: 18 February 2005 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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global village idiot said

The university, however, is under no obligation to seek out controversial or offensive professors, just for the sake of offending people.

Now, I have no idea what the academic standards of “ethnic studies” are (I am suspicious, though); but if Churchill meets them fairly and hasn’t done anything unethical, then I think he should be allowed to stay.

He has put his finger on the heart of the matter!

Most all will agree this guy is a nut. Many will call for his dismissal from a tax supported pulpit while just as many will rightly support his freedom of speech. But the question should be how did he get so far in the first place?

Its a delicate question, but one that needs addressing. As global village idiot has also said:

The problem with that, though, is that it establishes a precedent whereby the party in power can decide to fire people solely on the basis of their political beliefs. And that way lies the one-party state.

Sam Harris addressed this danger in terms of religion. It is either you believe (teach) as we do or you are a heretic worthy of scorn (or worse). Professors/Priests, they are merely different sides of the same coin, that being the coin of the realm (politics).

Why has the so called Enlightened Left (or the Fundamentalist Right for that matter) fallen into the same trap as ancient religious cults have done?

How do we as an enlightened society keep the coin of the realm free from bias without using prejudice to do so?

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Posted: 19 February 2005 04:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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The new word is NeoCon, for the New Conservatives !

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Posted: 20 February 2005 05:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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[quote author=“Doniphon”]global village idiot said

The university, however, is under no obligation to seek out controversial or offensive professors, just for the sake of offending people.

Now, I have no idea what the academic standards of “ethnic studies” are (I am suspicious, though); but if Churchill meets them fairly and hasn’t done anything unethical, then I think he should be allowed to stay.

He has put his finger on the heart of the matter!

Most all will agree this guy is a nut. Many will call for his dismissal from a tax supported pulpit while just as many will rightly support his freedom of speech. But the question should be how did he get so far in the first place?

Its a delicate question, but one that needs addressing. As global village idiot has also said:

The problem with that, though, is that it establishes a precedent whereby the party in power can decide to fire people solely on the basis of their political beliefs. And that way lies the one-party state.

Sam Harris addressed this danger in terms of religion. It is either you believe (teach) as we do or you are a heretic worthy of scorn (or worse). Professors/Priests, they are merely different sides of the same coin, that being the coin of the realm (politics).

Why has the so called Enlightened Left (or the Fundamentalist Right for that matter) fallen into the same trap as ancient religious cults have done?

How do we as an enlightened society keep the coin of the realm free from bias without using prejudice to do so?

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Posted: 20 February 2005 05:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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I have but one thing to say to both the “Conservatives” such as Ann Coulter and the “Liberals” such as Prof. Churchill:

“WISDOM is sold in the desolate market place
  Where no one comes to buy” 

  from The Price of Experience by William Blake

 

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Posted: 20 February 2005 12:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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[quote author=“Iisbliss”]I watched Ward Churchill on C-span then read the entire essay that caused this.

My opinion is that what he has to say is valid, he believes in a national type of karma, and that what happened to the world trade center had its roots in previous actions of our country and our government.  This to me is a valid hypothesis, there is no action without first cause.

I just read through most of the posts on this topic, and it seems like you were the only poster who actually read Churchill’s essay.

I happen to have downloaded the essay yesterday along with a printed interview he did about the current controversy, and I have to say to that I don’t disagree with most of the points he has to make.

I don’t have the essay with me right now, but if the 9/11 attack was truely done from the outside (we may never know if it wasn’t), those acts of aggression were not carried by insane men. Their targets were not the Malls of America, they were targets, as Churchill points out, of some America’s highest capitalist and military institutions. It was blowback pure and simple. And this is where I disagree with Harris’s view about Islamic terrorism. On the one hand he rightly fears religious inspired war, but it seems if he sees Islam as the greatest mondern-day fear that we must put a stop to. But. as Churchill also points out in his essay if you READ IT—the weight of the attack America directly and indirectly has made on Arab and non-Arab states in the two decades is no where close to what Islamic “terrorists” have carried out, and especially not Iraqi people or their disposed dictato for that matter.  So while Harris is right to worry about Islam, the evidence of slaughter at the hands and backing of America should give him nightmares.

Also, I just saw Harris today on Book Notes, and he pointed out how much of a monster Bin Lauden is, but somehow, I don’t think he knows any more about this man than the average American does. The only way that I can believe that Bin Lauden is a mad man or that he is even still alive is that this government says he is. Other than that, he’s just the modern day red scare that political leaders told us about during the cold war.

I hope this discussion will continue and that it will be based on people who have actually read what Churchill wrote.

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Posted: 20 February 2005 06:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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[quote author=“Anonymous”]I just read through most of the posts on this topic, and it seems like you were the only poster who actually read Churchill’s essay.

What, so you think it’s impossible to have read the essay and still think the guy is full of crap?

I don’t have the essay with me right now, but if the 9/11 attack was truely done from the outside (we may never know if it wasn’t)

We know for a fact that it was done from the outside. The fact that you decline to pay any attention at all to the facts disqualifies you from being taken seriously.

as Churchill also points out in his essay if you READ IT—the weight of the attack America directly and indirectly has made on Arab and non-Arab states in the two decades is no where close to what Islamic “terrorists” have carried out, and especially not Iraqi people or their disposed dictato for that matter.

And this is where Churchill is a flat-out liar. Just to show you that I have read his essay, I’ll address the factual claims he makes in it.

1) The “highway of death” incident during the first Gulf War did not kill anywhere near 100,000 people, let alone civilian contract workers. At most, it killed a few hundred retreating Iraqi soldiers. Which Churchill could easily have determined if he’d bothered checking the source material.

2) It was Saddam, not the US, who killed 500,000 children. The deaths occurred as a direct result of his refusal to implement UN programs designed to alleviate the sanctions (which were imposed by the UN, by the way, not the US). This was from 1991 to 1996. After he finally gave in, the drastic death rate stopped.

So while Harris is right to worry about Islam, the evidence of slaughter at the hands and backing of America should give him nightmares.

Followers of the Muslim Religious Right have killed three million people in the Sudan (and are in the process of killing more of them in Darfur), a hundred thousand in Algeria, and tens of thousands across the rest of Middle East. Far more than even America’s indirect actions anywhere in the world. Maybe you can explain how the genocide of three million Africans in southern Sudan is “blowback”?

Your analysis is the result of not actually looking up the facts. The facts are that the Islamic world is in the midst of a civil war, started by the most extreme elements of the Muslim Religious Right, who have been making war on their own civilization for decades—in response to absolutely nothing that America ever did—trying to reduce it to the slavery and patriarchy of the 7th century. They’ve been steadily losing that war, and made a calculated decision to lure America into it, hoping that our entry would radicalize the locals into the “fundamentalist” camp. 9/11 was a right-wing assault against decadent liberalism, carried out by the Muslim Religious Right (which we can know simply by reading what Bin Laden and his followers have told us their reasons were).  In any event, the primary victims of jihadist fascism have always been other Muslims, and that would be true even if the United States never existed.

Also, I just saw Harris today on Book Notes, and he pointed out how much of a monster Bin Lauden is, but somehow, I don’t think he knows any more about this man than the average American does. The only way that I can believe that Bin Lauden is a mad man or that he is even still alive is that this government says he is. Other than that, he’s just the modern day red scare that political leaders told us about during the cold war.

This claim is pure superstition. Nothing else.

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Posted: 20 February 2005 07:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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Michael Walzer nails it. This essay was written around the same time as Churchill’s idiotic screed, and it serves as an excellent thematic rebuttal to the “left” whose voice Churchill represents (which I’d argue isn’t the left at all, but that’s for another thread).

http://www.dissentmagazine.org/menutest/archives/2002/sp02/decent.shtml

Couple of quotes (with emphasis added):

Perhaps the most striking consequence is the inability of leftists to recognize or acknowledge the power of religion in the modern world. Whenever writers on the left say that the “root cause” of terror is global inequality or human poverty, the assertion is in fact a denial that religious motives really count. Theology, on this view, is just the temporary, colloquial idiom in which the legitimate rage of oppressed men and women is expressed.

But ideologically primed leftists were likely to think that they already understood whatever needed to be understood. Any group that attacks the imperial power must be a representative of the oppressed, and its agenda must be the agenda of the left. It isn’t necessary to listen to its spokesmen.

solidarity with people in trouble seems to me the most profound commitment that leftists make. But this solidarity includes, or should include, a readiness to tell these people when we think they are acting wrongly, violating the values we share. Even the oppressed have obligations, and surely the first among these is not to murder innocent people, not to make terrorism their politics. Leftists who cannot insist upon this point, even to people poorer and weaker than they are, have abandoned both politics and morality for something else. They are radical only in their abjection. That was Sartre’s radicalism, face-to-face with FLN terror, and it has been imitated by thousands since, excusing and apologizing for acts that any decent left would begin by condemning.

Not everything that goes badly in the world goes badly because of us. The United States is not omnipotent, and its leaders should not be taken as co-conspirators in every human disaster. The left has little difficulty understanding the need for distributive justice with regard to resources, but we have been practically clueless about the just distribution of praise and blame. To take the obvious example: in the second half of the twentieth century, the United States fought both just and unjust wars, undertook both just and unjust interventions. It would be a useful exercise to work through the lists and test our capacity to make distinctions-to recognize, say, that the United States was wrong in Guatemala in 1954 and right in Kosovo in 1999. Why can’t we accept an ambivalent relation to American power, acknowledging that it has had good and bad effects in the world? But shouldn’t an internationalist left demand a more egalitarian distribution of power? Well, yes, in principle; but any actual redistribution will have to be judged by the quality of the states that would be empowered by it. Faced with states like, say, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, I don’t think we have to support a global redistribution of political power.

The world (and this includes the third world) is too full of hatred, cruelty, and corruption for any left, even the American left, to suspend its judgment about what’s going on. It’s not the case that because we are privileged we should turn inward and focus our criticism only on ourselves. In fact, inwardness is one of our privileges; it is often a form of political self-indulgence. Yes, we are entitled to blame the others whenever they are blameworthy; in fact, it is only when we do that, when we denounce, say, the authoritarianism of third world governments, that we will find our true comrades - the local opponents of the maximal leaders and military juntas, who are often waiting for our recognition and support. If we value democracy, we have to be prepared to defend it, at home, of course, but not only there.

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Posted: 20 February 2005 07:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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Another good leftist rejoinder to the “ideas” expressed by Churchill comes from the pen of Christopher Hitchens—http://slate.msn.com/id/2109377/

Money quotes (emphasis added):

Only one faction in American politics has found itself able to make excuses for the kind of religious fanaticism that immediately menaces us in the here and now. And that faction, I am sorry and furious to say, is the left. From the first day of the immolation of the World Trade Center, right down to the present moment, a gallery of pseudointellectuals has been willing to represent the worst face of Islam as the voice of the oppressed. How can these people bear to reread their own propaganda? Suicide murderers in Palestine — disowned and denounced by the new leader of the PLO — described as the victims of “despair.” The forces of al-Qaida and the Taliban represented as misguided spokespeople for antiglobalization. The blood-maddened thugs in Iraq, who would rather bring down the roof on a suffering people than allow them to vote, pictured prettily as “insurgents” or even, by Michael Moore, as the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers. If this is liberal secularism, I’ll take a modest, God-fearing, deer-hunting Baptist from Kentucky every time, as long as he didn’t want to impose his principles on me (which our Constitution forbids him to do).

George Bush may subjectively be a Christian, but he — and the U.S. armed forces — have objectively done more for secularism than the whole of the American agnostic community combined and doubled. The demolition of the Taliban, the huge damage inflicted on the al-Qaida network, and the confrontation with theocratic saboteurs in Iraq represent huge advances for the non-fundamentalist forces in many countries. The “antiwar” faction even recognizes this achievement, if only indirectly, by complaining about the way in which it has infuriated the Islamic religious extremists around the world. But does it accept the apparent corollary—that we should have been pursuing a policy to which the fanatics had no objection?

Secularism is not just a smug attitude. It is a possible way of democratic and pluralistic life that only became thinkable after several wars and revolutions had ruthlessly smashed the hold of the clergy on the state. We are now in the middle of another such war and revolution, and the liberals have gone AWOL. I dare say that there will be a few domestic confrontations down the road, over everything from the Pledge of Allegiance to the display of Mosaic tablets in courtrooms and schools. I have spent all my life on the atheist side of this argument, and will brace for more of the same, but I somehow can’t hear Robert Ingersoll* or Clarence Darrow being soft and cowardly and evasive if it came to a vicious theocratic challenge that daily threatens us from within and without.

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Posted: 21 February 2005 06:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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Some of these viewpoints seem to overlook the capability that there are multiple guilts. Is this really an either/or situation? I would argue that in addition to the aggression of fundamentalist Muslims, the U.S. is also guilty of an obnoxious world viewpoint that fans the flame of anger in many other countries. While religious fanaticism is indeed a problem, this truth doesn’t in any way eliminate that possibility that we need to make some adjustments in our treatment of other.

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Posted: 21 February 2005 07:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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Guest, please go and express your hatred for America on some other forum!

Thanx for your consideration.

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Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful…..Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman (3 BC - 65 AD)

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Posted: 21 February 2005 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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One of the (many) things that make this country great is the right of each individual to express sentiments regarding the political workings of our government. To imply that I hate America because I don’t think that we have a perfect track record in terms of foreign policy is misdirected and simplistic. Perhaps you can instead show how U.S. involvement in foreign affairs has always been justified???

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Posted: 21 February 2005 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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I would like to ask posters here who insist upon calling Churchill a “Liberal” or someone on hte “Left” to please refrain from doing so. He is no such thing. He is an egomaniac more interested in drawing attention to himself rather than the cause he lies about caring, oh so very much about.

I am a proud Liberal and I know stupidity when I see it and I see it in Churchill in abundance.

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Posted: 21 February 2005 11:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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[quote author=“Anonymous”]Some of these viewpoints seem to overlook the capability that there are multiple guilts. Is this really an either/or situation? I would argue that in addition to the aggression of fundamentalist Muslims, the U.S. is also guilty of an obnoxious world viewpoint that fans the flame of anger in many other countries. While religious fanaticism is indeed a problem, this truth doesn’t in any way eliminate that possibility that we need to make some adjustments in our treatment of other.

Yes, it really is an either/or situation. Some things in the word really are black and white, even if George Bush says so. When it comes to understanding the threat of the Muslim Religious Right, the history of U.S. foreign policy is 100 percent irrelevant. The leaders and followers of the movement really do hate America for its good ideas, not its bad policies. We have met an enemy who is not us.

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Posted: 21 February 2005 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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[quote author=“Happy Apostate”]I would like to ask posters here who insist upon calling Churchill a “Liberal” or someone on hte “Left” to please refrain from doing so. He is no such thing. He is an egomaniac more interested in drawing attention to himself rather than the cause he lies about caring, oh so very much about.

I am a proud Liberal and I know stupidity when I see it and I see it in Churchill in abundance.

I echo this sentiment. Churchill is not leftist or liberal; on the contrary, he is a reactionary buffoon making excuses for and common cause with the most visciously right-wing political movement in the modern world. So is anyone who talks like him.

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Posted: 21 February 2005 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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If Churchill is not a liberal and leftist, then he is doing a great impersonation of the typical liberal mantra of “blaming America first” for most of the world’s ills.

In doing so, he is in lock-step with, Ted Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Barbara Boxer, Fidel Castro,George Soros and Michael Moore………to name just a few.

To the liberal left, America is to blame for everything from global warming to global terrorism and “globalism” in general.  According to the left, we should feel guilty for world poverty, the spread of AIDS, the Asian Tsunami, the “heartbreak of psoriasis” and a myriad of other sins too numerous to mention.

Yes, in this particular instance, Churchill’s “blame game” is aligned with the right-wing Islamic fundamentalists but that is incidental to the overall leftist theme that when bad Sh*t happens, it is somehow America’s fault.

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Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful…..Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman (3 BC - 65 AD)

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