Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The War and the Universities

Of the many advantages of going to war against Saddam, there is one important long-term possibility I haven’t seen mentioned. After the determined efforts of France and Germany to prevent the fall of Saddam, the war may go ahead anyway and we may discover that those two European powers were complicit in Saddam’s programs of WMD. Even if that doesn’t happen, plenty of ghastly information about Saddam’s tyranny will emerge, and during the war Saddam will almost certainly do something horrible like gassing the Shiites or blowing up a major dam. In either case, Saddam’s main international protectors, France and Germany, will bear a great deal of the odium. This can only have a beneficial effect on our universities. Readers of this blog are all too aware that the American academy is virtually enslaved to an intellectual life shaped by German and French thinkers - Weber, Foucault, Derrida, Heidegger, Lyotard, Dewey (whoops, I mean Hegel), to name only a few. If the policies of the countries that nourished these folks could be discredited through war against Saddam maybe the thinkers too would be discredited. Ok, I’m dreaming here. But surely it would help. After all, what student would want to study with professors who defended the approach that led to friendship for Saddam? And it seems to me that liberation from this stream of Franco-German thought is a precondition for genuine American independence - one is tempted to say, genuine unilateralism.

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