Monday, July 21, 2003

This is not progress 

There's a long history of governments from the Middle East buying academic research. Candace de Russy writes in the NAS Forum of the latest attempt by Saudi prince -- the same fellow that had his $10 million donation to the victims of 9/11 returned when he decided to blame US-Israeli relations for the attacks -- to create "pillars" (his word) between the American and Islamic worlds. The writers at FrontPage Magazine have noticed the parlous state of Middle Eastern studies (here's one recent example from them -- I could link a couple of dozen others), and as I've already noted, Stanley Kurtz and Jay Nordlinger have been critical as well. Armenian scholars are fuming over the purchase of a professorship at Princeton for a scholar that denies the Armenian genocide. de Russy notes that Martin Kramer covers this ground well, but she adds what I find a very telling point:
Academic "bridge-builders" of this anti-American and anti-Western persuasion would also likely propagate doctrines such as "transnational progressivism," which has gained a hearing on prominent American campuses. John Fonte of the Hudson Institute describes professors in this camp as proponents of a new transnational regime, or world government, that is post-liberal democratic and, in the American context, post-Constitutional and post-American. From these "progressive" teachers, Arab nations would be tutored in a brave new world order whose key political unit would not be the individual citizen who voluntarily associates with fellow citizens but the ethnic, racial, or gender group into which one is born. How helpful, notably, to the beleaguered citizens of Iraq, where a constitutional democracy is struggling to emerge, and where Islamists hostile to democratic values oppose self-government!
The Fonte article, if you've not read it, is worthy of study. It's the logical extension of the creation of so many Faculty Caucuses, where the fill-in is whatever group you identify with. And most of these people already label themselves "progressives" while they promote tribalism.