"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

OK, What Am I Missing?

Head above water, temporarily; only one last paper to finish this year. Just read---sorry, I'm a couple of weeks behind everything right now---that Harvard and Georgetown have accepted a ton of cash from some Saudi potentate for Islamic studies, or something. Can that possibly be true? These are universities that now are trying to get the Solomon Amendment thrown out, on the grounds that allowing those evil military recruiters on campus, with their "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" bigotries, would eviscerate the universities' free speech rights. Or something; they just can't say "No" to all that federal money. Anyway, at the same time that they make that utterly hypocritical argument, they accept tens of millions from the Saudis, who are happy to behead anyone who comes out of the closet. The modern university: Diversity in all avenues of shamelessness. Monty Python lives.

4 comments:

Tlaloc said...

there is a difference. In the first case the school is getting money for letting the military recruit on campus.
In the second case I very much doubt any gays will be beheaded on the Harvard property.
Accepting money doesn't connotate acceptance of the giver. Giving them a room does.

James Elliott said...

I dunno. I'm kind of with Dr. Zycher on this one. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that they think the good of funding an Islamic Studies department outweighs any perceived endorsement of Saudi policy, but I also think that turning away military recruiters on the grounds of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and then accepting money from countries that behead people for being homosexual is pretty disengenuous in the extreme.

James Elliott said...

Aha. I see the flaw in Dr. Zycher's logic. The money came from an individual within the Saudi royal family. Essentially, Dr. Zycher, you're holding one man responsible for his entire country's policy.

That's rather extreme. It's not like they accepted the money from the official Saudi government or even someone with a minsterial post. If they had, I'd be right there with you in your outrage.

Tlaloc said...

"but I also think that turning away military recruiters on the grounds of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and then accepting money from countries that behead people for being homosexual is pretty disengenuous in the extreme."

As I said there is no endorsement just because you cash a check. If the military just wrote checks to universities nobody would bat an eye. The thing is the military is renting space with their money and that does imply an endorsement of their position. Totally different things.

Put it this way if I, as an anarchist with liberal leanings, cut a check to the NRA do you think they'll mull the moral implications of cashing it? Of course not. But if I approach them and say "I'll give you this money so long as you include my tract on anarchism with your newsletter" is it a different thing? Hell yeah.