Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Liberal Art

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not a publicity-shy person, and the Western media never tire of him either. According to the latest report from the BBC he has declared war on liberal university lecturers in Iranian universities. He says "a student must ask why a secular teacher gives low marks to a student that does not have the same ideas as him." This rhetorical flourish, down to the gruff refusal to use the politically correct "he or she" (and more than fifty percent of Iranian students are female) is reminiscent of the complaints of right-wing US commentators during the Culture Wars of the early 90s, and more recently, of the rabid morons that subscribe to Daniel Pipes' sinister Campus Watch. Liberal bias, you know. Nice to see that the Iranians have the same problem. Is there a distant planet where we can send these charming fundamentalists, both Persian and American, to found their brave new world, free of left-leaning academics? The advice Joe Queenan gave the American conservatives in the early 90s holds as true today for the Iranian mullahs: "Marxists and liberals on campus? Hell, you've got them where you want them. When they start handing Union cards out to WalMart clerks, then you should start getting worried." Or whatever the Iranian equivalent of WalMart is.