Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Line o' the Day: Hitler airs his mind at Columbia

Regarding the comment made by John Coatsworth, acting dean of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, that "if Hitler were in the United States and . . . if he were willing to engage in a debate and a discussion... we would certainly invite him."

In "Terror and Liberalism" (2003), Columbia alumnus Paul Berman observes the way in which prewar French socialists--keenly aware and totally opposed to Hitler's platform--nonetheless took the view that Germany had to be accommodated and that the real threat to peace came from their own "warmongers and arms manufacturers." This notion, Mr. Berman writes, rested in turn on a philosophical belief that "even the enemies of reason cannot be the enemies of reason. Even the unreasonable must be, in some fashion, reasonable."

...the fact that their ideas were finer and better than Hitler's will have done nothing to keep them and millions of their countrymen from harm, and nothing to get them out of its way.

                                                                       -- Bret Stephens, WSJ

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