You might recall Kevin Barrett, the University of Wisconsin professor who claimed American officials, not al-Qaida terrorists, destroyed the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
Well, now Barrett is forcing his students to buy a $20 book of essays that happens to contain his cockamamey brain-farting ... and there isn't a thing Wisconsin can do about it. Academic freedom and all that. The incumbent governor and his opponent even agree: Barrett should be fired. But it ain't gonna happen because we have confused free speech with the right of idiots to teach our kids.
In his essay, Barrett employs the lamest rhetorical tool since "I know you are but what am I?" when he writes:
"Like Bush and the neocons, Hitler and the Nazis inaugurated their new era by destroying an architectural monument and blaming its destruction on their designated enemies."
He invokes the "Bush is like Hitler" argument when he refers to the Reichstag fire of 1933, a pivotal moment in the Nazi rise to power. But, he said in an interview yesterday, he wasn't really comparing Bush to Hitler (See Franscell's Corollary: "If I tell a lie and say it's not a lie, then it's not a lie because I told you so.")
"Hitler had a good 20 to 30 IQ points on Bush, so comparing Bush to Hitler would in many ways be an insult to Hitler," Barrett said.
Barrett is entitled to his opinion, of course. He may rant it on any street corner in America, like other brain-damaged bums. But it's unlikely that his classroom is the model of free speech that he hides behind ... do you think he spends a lot of time making equally radical but opposing views accessible to his students (and forces them to buy the book)? I don't. Besides, in this case, the opposing view is that terrorists hijacked some planes and crashed them into buildings. What is so damned hard to believe about that?
Americans needn't look to Tehran, Damascus or Pyongyang for enemies. They're here and at least one of them lives in Milwaukee.