I defy you to find the original in his published work, but Howard Zinn famously paraphrased Camus as saying that in history, “it is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.” Certainly, this principle has guided academia. Virtually all of the humanities are taught within the framework of historical injustices. We decry the liberal arts major for not knowing much, but he knows about oppression and the system of values it determines. He knows not to be on the side of the executioners. But what happens when two historically oppressed groups come into conflict? One becomes an executioner, and the other suffers oppression of the same kind as latinos in the United States. So runs the logic of the campus debate on divestment from Israel, which the Times reports is breaking the historic coalition between Jews and other minorities.
I’ll admit it: I did not think Mitt Romney was going to be a funny candidate for president. In a primary season that gave us Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, it was hard to see Romney as anything but the wealthy dowager who hires the Stooges to move her piano. How wrong I was. Fresh from his passive-aggressive tour of London, Romney went to Israel to praise the beautiful per capita income—so much nicer than what you get in Palestine. He attributed this discrepancy to “the power of culture and at least a few other things,” presumably making a praying-exploding gesture with his hands, before adding that it might also be “providence.” He was a hit in Poland.