Intelligentsia on both sides of the Atlantic rationalized that, while we of course (ahem) champion free expression — “Je suis Charlie!” and all that — columnists and cartoonists who dare lampoon a totalitarian ideology are bringing the jihad on themselves.(Hillary told Chelsea it was a terrorist attack, the video story was for the sheeple, but I digress.) And a Salon writer, Sonia Saraiya, suggests that the People of Privilege just lower their voices.
It was a familiar story. In 2012, jihadists attacked an American compound in Benghazi, killing our ambassador and three other officials. The president responded by . . . condemning an anti-Muslim video that had nothing to do with the attack, and by proclaiming that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
[Comedian Bill] Maher confuses compassion with idiocy. Compassion is a quality that has nothing to do with how smart or how right you are. It’s a quality that is at the root of not wanting to make generalizations, and at the root of wanting to say things that do not horrifically offend other systematically oppressed people. I fully believe that Maher doesn’t understand those well-meaning liberals, those politically correct assholes. I would just rather be one of them, I think, than to merely be right; I would like to be able to understand another point of view, from time to time. And especially on a day like yesterday, I would like to be able to feel compassion.That's the logic of safe spaces and trigger warnings. So I suppose the Sillies could claim that drinking wine and enjoying amplified music was sufficiently problematic (which is PC for haram) that its offensive presence made it a target for whatever grievances they had against French policy in Syria.
That seems a long way removed from a few aggravated students giving the house-mother grief about Hallowe'en costume advice. But in all vanguards, whether we're talking about the jihad or the rainbow coalition or the Vietnam protests, there comes a time when "Finally, some members of this movement decided to stop talking, to stop asking that the place be shut down, and so they blew the place up." Coming soon to a fraternity house or an Oktoberfest near you? Perhaps. But that's an editorial comment in the University of Wisconsin's Daily Cardinal, shortly after the August 1970 truck bombing of Sterling Hall. Here's a recollection, 45 years on, from economist Barkley Rosser, whose father, mathematician Barkley Rosser, directed the (Army) Mathematics Research Center, the institution that triggered the antiwar protesters.
Army Math had become a focal point for anti-war efforts on campus. Its removal was demanded by SDS under the slogan “Bring the war home.”Yes, understanding the other fellow's point of view is a good thing, but when you indulge the other fellow's anger because you think his circumstances are less favorable, you're tilting the balance of power away from an environment of reasoned discourse, comity, and some sort of coexistence.
And in the summer of 1970, the New Year’s Gang, which now included 24-year-old Karl Armstrong, 19-year-old Dwight Armstrong, 18-year-old David Fine and 22-year-old Leo Burt, turned its sights on Army Math’s destruction.
“They believed things had reached such a horrid state in terms of what the Nixon government was doing … that it was the obligation of students to become part of a resistance that waged war against the war machine,” [war protester and subsequent alderman and Madison mayor for life Paul] Soglin said.