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The Revenge of the intellectuals

Reader comment on item: Profs Who Hate America

Submitted by Jonathan Pfeffer (Canada), Nov 14, 2002 at 23:15

There has always been a curious association that academics make between opposing war, or pacifism, and a sense of intellectual sophistication. Like a badge of passage, academics feel that they can only express intelligence if they are against man's basic instincts and find the complexity hidden in things rather than the obvious. One of these complex ideas is that of the "arab street".

It is sad that such a beast as Saddam Hussein should be a beneficiary of such a complexity. They take what is a simple notion and complicate this notion with warnings of grave dangers posed by this "Arab street".

The "Arab street" can't vote out friendly governments since there are no free elections in these Arab countries. And if they could, who cares. Will Egypt stop accepting aid from the United States and instead go ask the Chinese or the Russians for this aid. The "Aarab street" cannot embargo the US since it buys little from the US. It can't withdrawal its labour as in a strike, from the US, since it makes nothing vital to our economy; in fact after 30 years of windfall oil profits the "Arab street" has no industrial power to speak of. It can't withhold oil since they are more dependant on our industry then we on their oil. It can't attack us since, they can't even find an answer to tiny Israel, The "Arab street" won't stop the US onslaught against Saddam. In fact the "Aarab street" is a myth made up by western academics. In it, academics find profound understanding, as if they and not we, see through traditional and shallow notions of diplomatic relations and the conduct of governments and war. They see into the heart of the matter, the people.

So why are these academics so concerned about this "arab street" that they keep telling us about. I think one problem may be that the notion of: "Iraq is evil, and a threat to its neighbors, therefore the US, being a world superpower should wack it" sounds way too simple for them to understand it. They try and find more meaning, hence they try and find deeper more complicated notions. So they must warn us of what their brilliant minds have conjured up, notions of things even Bush himself doesn't fully appreciate, so profound that they are compelled by conscience to warn us about.

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