Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Academic Logic 

As Arte Johnson used to say on Laugh-In, "Verrrry in-ter-ess-ting." Yale Law School fights tooth and nail (until yesterday) to ban US military recruiters from their campus because of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on homosexuals. At the same time, Yale University regards former Taliban spokesman Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi as a prize catch.

If the US military discovers that one of its members is homosexual, that person is given a discharge and returns to civilian life to live however he or she chooses. If the Taliban discovered that any person was homosexual, that person was either subjected to high-level defenestration (without a net!) or forced to lie in a ditch while a masonry wall was collapsed onto him/her (sort of a medium-tech stoning).

Somehow, in the minds of the Yale academics, the US military's rules are abhorrent and intolerable, while the Taliban is given a pass because Western society has no standing to judge the ethos and mores of another culture. I suppose that makes sense if you believe that logic is merely a societal artifact.

I think it's bullshit. More specifically, it's a sophistic mechanism to allow those pinheads to take inconsistent stands on moral issues without having to explain themselves or experience cognitive dissonance, not to mention guilt.

Cheers to the SCOTUS for injecting a little reality into the ivory tower. It's about time.

Judges, unlike professors, work in the real world, where their reasoning and decisions have real consequences to the parties who come before them. Often the questions on which they must rule are very close, and I suspect that many judges agonize over the effects their decisions will have on the losers. (Since yesterday's decision was 8-0, the Justices evidently didn't think the issue in Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, Inc. was one of those close ones.) I suspect the academics at Yale who see no inconsistency in their positions regarding miltary recruiting and the institution's embracing a Taliban leader don't agonize about much of anything. Except, perhaps, that Bush occupies the White House.

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