Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Michelle Malkin is a dangerous idiot

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I can barely bring myself to post on this, mostly because I don't want to waste my time thinking about the mad, mad ravings of Michelle Malkin, but here goes:

As Heraclitus mentioned earlier, some conservatives are already responding to the Virginia Tech shootings with their typical brand of bloodthirsty insanity, and it should come as no surprise whatsoever that Malkin is leading the way. In this grotesque piece published at RealClearPolitics, she claims, with all attendant hyperbole, that "American colleges and universities have become coddle industries". Students are being protected "from hurtful (conservative) opinions" and "vigorous intellectual debate," while "Big Nanny administrators" are "allowing mob rule for approved leftist positions".

Now, I was rather critical of speech codes and the like when I was an undergraduate at Tufts -- and I wrote extensively on how higher eduction was giving way to social engineering and therapeutic soul-searching as an op-ed columnist for The Tufts Daily -- but this is patently ridiculous. It's the same old propaganda from the right, a self-serving assault on an imaginary PC paradise that exists only in their warped minds.

But my point here isn't to defend liberal education -- and institutions of American higher education -- from such ignorance and stupidity.

Malkin argues not just that students are not being taught how "to defend their beliefs" but that, rather more generally, "our higher institutions of learning stoke passivity and conflict-avoidance". And by this she means not just intellectual passivity but physical passivity as well. Which is to say, students are neither being taught how to stand up for themselves nor being allowed to stand up for themselves.

This brings us to the Virginia Tech shootings. Malkin asks: "What if just one student in one of those classrooms had been in lawful possession of a concealed weapon for the purpose of self-defense?" Yes, that's right, Malkin's twisted argument comes down to support for the possession of concealed weapons on college campuses: "Enough is enough, indeed. Enough of intellectual disarmament. Enough of physical disarmament. You want a safer campus? It begins with renewing a culture of self-defense -- mind, spirit and body. It begins with two words: Fight back."

Malkin supports intellectual armament -- for conservatives only, of course; she is no proponent of the sort of liberal education that truly empowers us to turn our heads from the shadows on the cave walls to the light above -- but her explicit focus here is armament in the more literal sense. In response to a violent act, she wants college students to carry concealed weapons around campus and into classrooms -- and to use them. For her, as for others like her, more guns mean more safety. Do I even need to point out what's wrong with this line of thinking? Just imagine a college campus -- just imagine a society, Malkin's perfect world -- where everyone is carrying a concealed weapon. Would you trust your classmates? Would you feel safer? Would not any confrontation be occasion for a shooting?

This is truly one of the ugliest and most loathsome things I have ever read. I call Malkin a dangerous idiot, as I have others before her, but that epithet hardly does her justice. She spews reprehensible opinions into the public space, and I can only conclude from this that she herself is a reprehensible human being.

What else to call someone who advocates a culture of killing?

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