Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stanley Fish on Ayers and Obama


Stanley Fish goes too far in his defense of Obama. Had he argued that he had attended every gathering where Obama was in the presence of Ayers and Dohrn and nothing radical was said, that would be a convincing argument. I would have no reason to doubt a thing like that. I would believe him.

If he said that he had been present at all the “sorts of” gatherings Ayers and Dohrn held and nothing radical was ever said in any of them, that would still be a pretty good argument, and that is almost what he says. Had he ended there I might have been impressed.

But he doesn’t end there. He writes “‘Respectable’ is too mild a word to describe the couple [Ayres and Dohrn]; rock-solid establishment would be more like it. There was and is absolutely no reason for anyone who knows them to plead the fifth or declare, ‘I am not now nor have I ever been a friend of Bill’s and Bernardine’s.”

Now, because Fish went too far, we must consider his qualifications as a judge. We have seen the four You Tube Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2yYXVmrj5A&NR=1 (Dohrn part 1)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46PdO3yEXdU&feature=related (Dohrn part 2)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HP15wJl9YPo (Ayres Part 1)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNzYDnlpBDc&feature=related (Ayers, Part 2)

Of course people who view these videos will have different opinions about them. We have already seen that Polly thinks everything said is acceptable, but the views expressed in these videos are from the extreme left – not what I would call “rock-solid establishment.” The occasion was a reunion of the radical SDS. Both Ayers and Dohrn were in the SDS but at some point left it in order to form the Weathermen. Listen to these two. Does it sound like they have changed much since their SDS days?

Well, you might say, they aren’t violent any more. Indeed. Then this can become the sort of argument I had with Ahmed. He referred me to Muslims he called “moderate” [his word, I suppose, for “Rock-Solid establishment”] I studied these moderates of his and they believed the same things the radical Islamists believed minus the violence. In other words their goals were the same. They just disagreed about the means. Watch these videos of Ayers and Dohrn and you will see that their goals haven’t changed. You don’t just change when the 60s decade is over, Ayers said. You continue on with your “insurgency,” with your beliefs and do what you can and hope it will be enough.

Sorry, Stanley Fish, if you judge that Dohrn and Ayers are Rock Solid Establishment; then I don’t trust your judgment.

Lawrence Helm

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