"Don't let your life make a mockery of your values". These are the words Bill Ayers claims he was given by a schoolmate in college, in the early days of his career as an "activist". He spoke before the Freshman class of Monmouth College (they were required to attend, as part of the curriculum on "exemplary lives") plus a portion of the faculty and a scant handful of us locals.
Well, surprise, surprise, Bill Ayers used the better part of his 50 minutes of time at the lectern to sell his anti-war, "the government lied" meme to young students with little or no real background in current or historical events. The title of his speech was "My Heart Is Not Weary: Reflections of a Life on the Run", but it seemed to me he has done little reflection, other than in a shaving mirror. He tossed around a couple of bits of the usual education catchphrases, such as "Resist the notion that you can sum up an individual in a single term", "avoid labels", and other trite "diversity" training phrases, and "see evey human being before us... is a three-dimensional creature.. on a voyage" . And then he subsequently oversimplified 1960s history as "the government lied to get us into Vietnam, and we went door-to-door to discuss and persuade Republicans to our side."
Hmm, I think he left out a few points. Such as the BOMBS that he and the members of the SDS and later the Weather Undergound used in order to "persuade" people. Such as the fiction that our armies did nothing but harm the Vietnamese people (gee whiz! let's bring up My Lai! isn't that the standard of conduct for all our troops, and why we didn't have hearings and prosecute the offenders?). Oh, and let's compare that to ... what? Should we trot out Abu Ghraib, and the hideous torture of prisoners at Gitmo, and the "secret torture prisons OUR OWN CIA is operating"?
It's funny, in Ayers' speech, he says, "I myself despise the 60s as a myth", and yet, he presents the standard post-war myth that "If they'd told us the truth, we'd have never gone to war." They told the truth. The people of Vietnam were our allies, and the standing government had asked for our help in driving back the Chinese- and Russian-backed rebels. When we left them in the lurch, MILLIONS died who didn't have to, because our cut-and-run gave heart to the worst despots in southeast Asia. Ayers said our leaders told us "we went to defend free trade, and we couldn't afford to lose a big trading partner, and -- guess what? -- they're a big trading partner today!" as if the fall of the old, ugly communist regimes didn't have a LOT to do with that actually happening. As it the human cost in the intervening years was so paltry a sum as to be ignored.
Ayers even dragged in the absurd "we spoke truth to power" twaddle. As if that couldn't have been predicted. And, he had the lovely Freudian slip, where he commented on the return of troops: "When the kids came back from Iraq... er... Vietnam..." Hew referred to both wars as "war of conquest", then went on to tell the students that AMERICA IS BAD because "only 4.2% of the world's population lives here, and we use 50% of the energy and we consume 50% of everything produced". (He fails to mention that we actually produce over 50% of that, and that we also export stuff like, oh, you know, food and medicines.) Of course, vast numbers of students, according to Ayers, can't find Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Israel/Palestine on a map (must be all the educators like him screwing up the ability for kids to look at a picture and draw genuine data from it). He followed that with the old "You can't bomb a country if you can't find it on a map... especially George Bush". Wow. that was deep.
Ayers, in all his own privileged position, asked "What are we anaesthetised against seeing in the world by our privileged position?" I could only assume he was talking about the blindness to the deadly flaws in the old socialist systems he continues to support. I can assume he was talking about the anti-war crowd who continue to support the UN's corruption. I can assume he was talking about the laissez-faire attitude toward the buildup of arms by NoKo, by the murder of innocents by Hamas, al Qaeda, al Aksa, et al. He must have been talking about the corruption and death under the iron fist of Castro, the theft from the people of Venezuela by Chavez, the deliberate destruction of the homes of the poor by Mugabe, and all those other things done while the privileged few look the other way.
Ayers warned against being caught up in orthodoxies, as the throng did in Life of Brian, outside Brian's window, when all the people in unison said, "we have a mind of our own," and the one who spokeup saying, "I don't feel as if I have a mind of my own" was beaten over the head by the crowd. I will admit, Ayers was dead on the money, over that one. Liberal orthodoxy of today says that war = evil. Liberal orthodoxy says that you can't trust anything that comes from a Republican. Liberal orthodoxy says that you can rewrite history to make it say whatever you feel like saying. And liberal orthodoxy says that hate isn't hate if it's directed at conservatives. He might consider curing himself of orthodox thoughts.
On the up side, before the crowds began arriving, I had a chance to meet with (1) Benjamin Sauer, the principled young man at the head of the new conservative student movement on campus, who thoughtfully printed out a stack of leaflets with some choice quotes from Ayers' autobiography, in which he continues to proclaim his pride at having been a terrorist, and (2) Professor Ira Smolensky, who proclaimed that his presence there was strictly as a reporter. Smolensky took a quote from me: "we need to get this man and the events of the time up and out for discussion, to get all the facts, and not allow something like this to be slid under the carpet". In other words, if we are inviting a terrorist to speak to the students, if we are paying for his visit and mandating that all freshman students attend this speech, then the students and the public need to understand exactly what they're getting for their money, and keep no secrets.
Of course, discussion of actual facts may be a problem for members of the elite left of the ivory tower.
Afterthought: all in all, I wonder how Ayers sleeps at night, if, indeed, his life didn't make a mockery of his values... or should I wonder more about who else is sleeping well, knowing his life and values?
Update: In going back over my notes, it seems I missed the part about where Ayers said that the Iraqis are "MUCH worse off now than they were under Saddam". For some reason, our "war of conquest" has caused them to draft a constitution that "guarantees civil war", and "with 50,000 Iraqis dead, obviously the families have suffered beyond anything that Saddam did to them". Tell that to the Kurds. Tell that to the people who used to live in the wetlands, and who are only now returning after years of the Saddamming of the waterways which deprived them of their livelihoods. Tell that to Iraqi vice president Adel Abdul Mehdi and the rest of the Iraqis mentioned in Gateway Pundit's report. Hmmph.