October 14, 2008

You'll never guess who's defending William Ayers

Academia! Somebody named Jack Stripling at Inside Higher Ed wrote a whole long thing about college professors supporting him, but you really only need to read the first paragraph. That's as far as I bothered with it, anyway:

William Ayers has been trashed by conservative pundits and labeled "an unrepentant domestic terrorist" by Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, but the University of Illinois at Chicago professor has garnered the support of a growing number of peers who admire his scholarship and see the attacks on him as an affront to academic freedom.

This is a pretty complex issue, but I'll try to break it down:

  1. The reason we call William Ayers a terrorist is because he co-founded a group that employed terror tactics in service of spreading their political views. In other words, they blew stuff up (including several of their own members, fortunately), robbed banks, killed cops, and tried to kill soldiers, all while telling themselves they were doing it to stop the Vietnam War.
  2. The reason we call him a domestic terrorist is because he did these things to his own countrymen, within his own country.
  3. The reason we call him an unrepentant domestic terrorist is because he has not repented.

Of course, this "trashing" makes sense only if you believe that words mean things. So it's no surprise that the really really smart fellers ain't havin' it.

Oh, and there's now a supportbillayers.org. (Which I'm sure is a completely spontaneous reaction and has absolutely nothing to do with David Axelturf.) Check out the list of professors and teachers who've put their names on the online petition supporting the unsupportable. If you see your alma mater represented there, it might be something to remember the next time they hit you up for a donation.

(thx, doubleplusundead)

P.S. If Ayers is such a great guy, such a productive member of society, such a wronged innocent... why isn't he defending himself? He did that dopey cartoon last month, but has he made any sort of public statement since then? I'm sure I would have seen it. He's never been shy about reminiscing over the good old days. Until now. Talk to us, Bill!

Posted by Jim Treacher at October 14, 2008 09:00 PM