- The Washington Times - Monday, January 5, 2004

Debunkers

“For a certain kind of academic historian or debunking journalist nothing could be more insupportable than this notion of the Great Man, the Heroic Founder. What, the outraged professor or muckraking editorial writer wonders, has gone wrong? How, in so up-to-date an age as our own, could some very dead white males manage to be so … popular?

“Our friends have nevertheless found a way to stamp out this resurgence of barbarism. As a strategy in the culture wars, their maneuver is a brilliant one.

“The cover of the Dec. 14, 2003, issue of the New York Times Book Review sums up the matter with a certain blunt beauty: ‘Never Forget: They Kept Lots of Slaves.’”

Michael Knox Beran, writing on “Never Forget: They Kept Lots of Slaves,” Dec. 29 in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

The joy of hate

“Local hostilities, even outright racism, ought to be the easiest sort of legacy for global soccer to erase. When people have a self-interested reason for getting along, they are supposed to put aside their ancient grudges and do business. But there’s a massive hole in this argument: Glasgow, Scotland.

“Glasgow has two teams, or rather, existential enemies. Celtic represents Irish Catholics … Across town, there is Rangers, the club of Tory unionism, … Crosstown rivalries are, of course, a staple of sports, but the Celtic-Rangers rivalry represents … the unfinished fight over the Protestant Reformation. … Ethnic hatred, it seems, makes good business sense. … Even in the global market, they attract more fans because their supporters crave ethnic identification — to join a fight on behalf of a tribe.

“There are plenty of economic causes for illiberal hatred … but none of those material conditions is especially widespread in Glasgow. Discrimination has faded. The city’s unemployment problem is no better or worse than the rest of Britain. Glasgow has kept alive its tribalism … because it provides a kind of pornographic pleasure. Thousands of fans arrive each week from across the whole of Britain, in ferries from Belfast and buses from London, all aching to take part in a few hours of hate-filled tribalism. Once they release this bile from their system, they can return to their comfortable houses and good jobs.”

Franklin Foer, writing on “Soccer vs. McWorld,” in the January-February issue of Foreign Policy

Communist affection

“The faculty at Bard College, a liberal arts school at Annandale, N.Y., includes a scholar who glories in the title Alger Hiss Professor of Social Studies. Anyone aware that Hiss was a Washington bureaucrat who spied for the Soviet Union will consider this as sensible as a John Dillinger Chair in Business Ethics or a Jack the Ripper Chair in Criminology. … [A] lingering affection for communism remains part of American university life. …

“Long ago, Senator Joseph McCarthy did American communists the enormous favour of setting himself up as their enemy. …

“Because of McCarthy, passionate anti-communism came to be considered proof of embarrassing bad taste. … Today, despite the revelations of its monstrous crimes, communism still has many hard-working academics on its side, now laboring, without much opposition, to provide the old-time admirers of Moscow with the retroactive moral upgrade they continue to believe they deserve.”

Robert Fulford, writing on “Communism’s true believers won’t give up,” Saturday in the National Post

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