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Location: Montgomery Area, Alabama, United States

Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Friday, February 25, 2005

He Turned Me Into A Newt!

And I got better!

Say what you will about Gingrich's political mistakes in the 90s, he's hitting on all cylinders today:

We ought to favor freedom everywhere on the planet – even when it embarrasses our so-called allies. We are in a war with Irreconcilable Islam. It’s only three or four percent of Muslims, but it’s still 30 to 40 million people, funded by Saudi Arabia and increasingly based in Europe… We are seeing a cancer growing in Europe. You saw it in Holland, when Van Gogh was killed by fanatics who were Dutch, not foreign. This is a long war. It will take 30 to 70 years to win this if we’re lucky, longer if we’re not lucky. And it is a threat to our survival if they get biological or nuclear weapons…

Ward Churchill is a viciously anti-American demagogue. He has every right to free speech, and I support his free speech… We should give him free speech by not paying him.

You don’t need tenure in this country anyway. The idea that he would be oppressed without tenure is nonsense. There are 75 whacked-out foundations that would hire him for life. Dozens of Hollywood stars would hold fundraisers for him. His life will become a film by Michael Moore. The question here, is ‘What obligation does society have to fund its own sickness?’

We ought to say to campuses, it’s over…We should say to state legislatures, why are you making us pay for this? Boards of regents are artificial constructs of state law. Tenure is an artificial social construct. Tenure did not exist before the twentieth century, and we had free speech before then. You could introduce a bill that says, proof that you’re anti-American is grounds for dismissal.

I agree entirely. He is dead spot on about the war, who it is against, and how it is evolving.
He's also correct about about Ward Churhill, who is one of those individuals that encourages right-wing extremists like me to throw around "traitor" so easily. Of course, Newt is right about his rights. Finally, Newt is also right about tenure. It is a Screwtapian corrective--remember that the Devil warns us against those sins we are least likely to commit.

But perhaps we should take things a few steps further than Newt suggests--try the Pol Pot solution. First, abolish all the colleges (after assigning all the faculty to life breaking rocks, or shooting them outright). Then drive the students out into the countryside and force them either to get real jobs or starve to death. After ten years or so of sink or swim (and after cleaning up the thousands of desscated academic corpses along America's roadways), reopen a number of colleges and allow only those few students who had demonstrated extraordinary common sense (evidenced by such things as joining the Republican Party) to enroll. Subjects such as "ethnic" and "gender" studies and "comparative philosophy" would be banned forever and those who advocated reviving them would be taken to St Louis and drowned in factory vats of Budweiser (to improve the taste). All college sports would become professional, children would be recruited based purely on genetics at age 2, and the maximum salary for all athletes would be capped at $20,000. Teams winning world championships would be sacrificed and eaten, a la victorious Mayan poc ta poc players.

Doesn't that sound like a paradise?

No? Why not? I'm just using a little good ol' Enlightenment "common sense" after all. It meets MY test of reason. And who's to say my test is any worse than anyone else's? (Ward Churchill's, say...)

I'm just knowing myself then, presuming not God to scan,
Since the proper study of mankind is man...

PS: Back to Newt's original topic: If I were a muslim, I should be a Wahhabi (and perhaps still attend school in Alexandria VA), since it is islam properly thought through--taken from its first principles and reasoned to its logical end state. Christianity, thank God, leads to somewhat different ends.

PPS: Last gratuitous Age of Reason dig: Gibbon--hail, O shining creature of Enlightenment!--had nothing but praise for early islam, thinking it purer and less adulterated than Christianity, as did many other 18C intellectuals. And isn't that where reason should lead us?

Update: The last link above is mistaken (I expected too much of islamic scholarship). The quote is actually from Simon Ockley's (not Ocklay's) History of the Saracens (not Saracen Empire), published in London in 1708 (not 1870). Gibbon was an admirer of Ockley's, and was influenced by his thinking on islam, but the words are not his. They do, however, accord with Gibbon's thinking on islam.


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