Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Insanity of [TSM] Hatred

This WSJ piece by Peter Berkowitz (a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and a professor at George Mason University School of Law) is worth a read for several reasons. As you follow the news about all things Ave Maria we suggest that you ask yourself whether the sources for your information are mad and vengeful, as are the people described in this [altered] excerpt:

Alas, [alleged] intellectuals have always been prone to employ their learning and fine words to whip up resentment and demonize the competition. [TSM] hatred, however, is distinguished by the pride intellectuals have taken in their hatred, openly endorsing it as a virtue and enthusiastically proclaiming that their hatred is not only a rational response to the [chairman] and his administration but a mark of good moral hygiene...

To get the conversation rolling at that ... dinner--and perhaps mischievously--I wondered aloud whether [TSM] hatred had not made rational discussion of [institutional] politics [at Ave Maria] all but impossible. One guest responded in a loud, seething, in-your-face voice, "What's irrational about hating [TSM]?" His vehemence caused his [like-minded] fellow[s] to gather around and lean in, like kids on a playground who see a fight brewing.

Reluctant to see the dinner fall apart before drinks had been served, I sought to ease the tension. I said, gently, that I rarely found hatred a rational force in [institutional] politics, but, who knows, perhaps this was a special case. And then I tried to change the subject.

But my dinner companion wouldn't allow it. "No," he said, angrily. "You started it. You make the case that it's not rational to hate [TSM]." I looked around the table for help. Instead, I found faces keen for my response. So, for several minutes, I held forth, suggesting that however wrongheaded or harmful to the [institutional] interest the [chairman's] policies may have seemed to my ... colleagues, hatred tended to cloud judgment, and therefore was a passion that a citizen should not be proud of being in the grips of and should avoid bringing to public debate. Propositions, one might have thought, that would not be controversial among intellectuals devoted to thinking and writing about [law, morality and Catholic ideals].