Liberals enjoy claiming that they are intellectuals, thrilled to engage in a battle of wits. This, they believe, distinguishes them from conservatives, who are religious fanatics who react with impotent rage to opposing ideas. As one liberal, Jonathan Chait, put the cliche in the New Republic: Bush is an "instinctive anti-intellectual" and his administration hostile to "fact-driven debate." In a favorable contrast, Clinton is "the former Rhodes scholar who relished academic debates." Showing his usual reverence for fact-checking, the New York Times' Paul Krugman says the Republican Party is "dominated by people who believe truth should be determined by revelation, not research."
I'm not sure how these descriptions square with the fact that liberals keep responding to conservative ideas by throwing food. (Remember the good old days when liberals' "fact-driven" ideas only meant throwing money at their problems?)
Last October, two liberals responded to my speech at the University of Arizona ? during question and answer, no less ? by charging the stage and throwing two pies at me from a few yards away. Fortunately for me, liberals not only argue like liberals, they also throw like girls. (Apologies in advance to the Harvard biology professors who walked out on Larry Summers in a demonstration of their admiration of "research," not "revelation" ? but this may account for the dearth of female pitchers in Major League Baseball.)
Unfortunately for them, Republican men don't react favorably to two "Deliverance" boys trying to sucker-punch a 110-pound female in a skirt and heels. The geniuses ended up with bloody noses and broken bones.
It's really outrageous how conservatives respond to liberals who are just trying to engage in a "fact-driven debate." How typical of Republicans to go on the offensive just because a female has been physically attacked. Instead of capturing and subduing my attackers, those strong Republican men should have been trying to understand why they threw the pies.
In the five months following the liberal ass-whupping in Arizona ? I mean "fact-driven debate" ? all was quiet on the Eastern Front. College liberals still couldn't formulate a coherent argument, but they seemed to want to avoid ending up in jail having to explain to their cellmates that they were in for trying to hit a girl (and missing).
Then on March 19, all charges were dismissed against the "Deliverance" boys ? including a felony charge for $3,000 worth of damage to school property. Inexplicably, this outcome did not instantly lead to widespread rioting and looting in South Central Los Angeles.
Democrat Barbara LaWall is the Pima County attorney who allowed the liberal debate champions to walk. LaWall brags on her website about "holding criminals accountable." She didn't say anything about liberals, however. Be forewarned, conservatives: Do not expect the law to protect you in Pima County.
In the three weeks following the dismissal of all charges against my attackers, three more conservatives were attacked on college campuses.
On March 29, liberals' intellectual retort to a speech by William Kristol at Earlham College was to throw a pie. On March 31, liberals enjoyed the hurly-burly of political debate with Pat Buchanan at Western Michigan University by throwing salad dressing. On April 6, liberals engaged David Horowitz on his ideas at Butler University by throwing a pie at him.
If you close your eyes, it's almost like you're listening to Ludwig Wittgenstein!
If there had been that many attacks on Muslims in the weeks following the 9-11 attack, we'd still be watching Showtime specials about it. (In liberals' defense, this is what they must resort to when there are no student newspapers with conservative editorials to burn.)
At the risk of provoking one of those brainy liberals to throw more food, here's an idea: In order to reduce physical assaults on conservative speakers, maybe we should increase the price. But, to the contrary, when conservative speakers are physically attacked on college campuses, university administrators ignore the attacks, Democrat prosecutors somehow manage to get the charges dismissed, and Democrat flacks like Chait and Krugman pretend they missed the news that day.
What might work better is some form of disincentive to liberals who engage in violent behavior whenever they hear an idea they don't like but can't come up with words to dispute. The punishment doesn't have to be severe ? just a small fraction of the wailing and healing that occurs every time there's a hoax "hate crime" on a college campus. (But which still serve a valuable function by calling attention to the issue of hate crimes.)
Last year, classes were canceled and demonstrations held at Claremont College after a white, Catholic visiting professor claimed her car had been vandalized with racist and anti-Semitic slurs. This ? at the very moment she was giving a talk on intolerance!
It was just a little too ironic. The incident had all the exquisite timing of an "ABC After-School Special" about hate crimes. But as one student angrily told the Los Angeles Times, the suggestion that it was a hoax is "so sick. They are in denial. People don't want to accept that a well-educated, liberal community can have hate." Needless to say, the vandalism turned out to have been perpetrated by the professor herself.
Or maybe physical attacks on conservatives could merit a small slice of the rage and indignation directed at the display of racist symbols. Last year, a white student at a high school in Washington State was accused of taunting a black student with a noose. In response, the white student was immediately expelled from school. He was charged with a felony. There was a series of town-wide discussions. The U.S. Justice Department sent in mediators. And two more years were suddenly added to Whoopi Goldberg's career.
I think Kristol, Buchanan, Horowitz and I would be perfectly happy if college liberals merely brandished symbols at us. Speaking for myself, I would be unhappy if they didn't. But these Rhodes scholar geniuses with a taste for "fact-driven debate" can't even achieve the level of argument practiced by the average juvenile delinquent. They're still stuck at the intellectual level of 2-year-olds in high chairs throwing food.