Saturday, July 15, 2006

Political Correctness: A Case Study

Look what the email brought in!

I hope I never lose my penchant to accept challenges. So the stuff below arrived via email in bad shape, requiring rigorous re-formatting on my part. So here goes my effort to make it legible:
Hooray for Michigan State (The Spartans) and Professor Wichman!

Well, what do we have here. Looks like a small case of some people being Able to dish it out, but not take it. Let's start at the top. The story begins at Michigan State University with a mechanical engineering professor named Indrek Wichman.

Wichman sent an e-mail to the Muslim Student's Association. The e-mail Was in response to the students' protest of the Danish cartoons that portrayed The Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist. The group had complained the cartoons Were "hate speech."

Enter Professor Wichman. In his e-mail, he said the following:
Dear Moslem Association:

As a professor of Mechanical Engineering here at MSU I intend to protest your protest.

I am offended not by cartoons, but by more mundane things like beheadings of civilians, cowardly attacks on public buildings, suicide murders, murders of Catholic priests (the latest in Turkey!), burnings of Christian churches, the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims, the rapes of Scandinavian girls and women (called "whores" in your culture), the murder of film directors in Holland, and the rioting and looting in Paris France.

This is what offends me, a soft-spoken person and academic, and many, many, many of my colleagues. I counsel you dissatisfied, aggressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Moslems to be very aware of this as you proceed with your infantile "protests." If you do not like the values of the West-see the 1st Amendment-you are free to leave.

I hope for God's sake that most of you choose that option. Please return to your ancestral homelands and build them up yourselves instead of troubling Americans.

Cordially, I. S. Wichman

Professor of Mechanical Engineering
As you can imagine, the Muslim group at the university didn't like this Too well. They're demanding that Wichman be reprimanded and mandatory Diversity training for faculty and a seminar on hate and discrimination for freshman.

Now the Michigan chapter of CAIR has jumped into the fray. CAIR, the Council On American-Islamic Relations, apparently doesn't believe that the good Professor had the right to express his opinion.

For its part, the university is standing its ground. They say the e-mail Was private, and they don't intend to publicly condemn his remarks. That will probably change. Wichman says he never intended the e-mail to be made public, and wouldn't have used the same strong language if he'd known it was going to get out.

How's the left going to handle this one? If you're in favor of the freedom Of speech, as in the case of Ward Churchill, will the same protections be demanded for Indrek Wichman? I doubt it.
Well there it is: Are there any comments for my correspondent whose anonymity I am protecting?


  1. For the Moslem Student association's pre-emptive acculturation, I recommend the film To the Netherlands which I mentioned on March 17th.

  2. Of more interest to me is the motives and level of understanding behind the anonymous author of the email: who does she exactly see as 'of the left'. Other than Churchill, of course.

  3. Soros, your link didn't work for me. I think this one mo' betta:

    Dutch Immigrants Must Watch Racy Film

  4. Very interesting dilemma, and I have come, long after the Danish cartoon squable, to think quite differently than before.

    I have been perhaps a bit too acommondating and sensitive in the past with cultural, religious, political etc. issues and tended to side with those whom had grievances with my way of life and believes. However, doing so, I have inevitably chipped away some of the incredients that make our Western type democracies possible.

    I don't quite know whether this is a manifestation of my radicalization or is it a realization that there are elements in this world that should not be allowed to get a toe hold outside their presently exsisting regions. I am certainly not talking here about the Islam as such but the radical brand that is pushing it's insane ideology (not religion) by all means possible. It would be a sad step backward for the humanity if in our eagerness to prove our political correctness we would allow weakening the democratic foundation; equality, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and so on, by accepting this facist ideology as a welcome and viable option to be concidered.

    However, I think that Professor Wichman played into the hands of those he so obviously loathes. To send such an vitriolic e-mail to the Muslim Association and not expect to see it circulated more widely is naive even for a 25 year old unemployed men's room attendant. There was a time, not too long ago, when I would have said that he should face some penalty by being such an agressive, in your face, ass, but not any more. For his stupidity, though, he should recieve a punch to his learned nose.

  5. Here is were a decision must be made concerning the basic liberties we say we believe in America. The points he brought up happen to be, to my information, very real issues about how the various Moslem countries behave concerning rights and basic liberties. The tolerance we practice in this country is non-existent in most of the Islamic world. Some conservatives have rightly pointed out that a gay or woman’s rights movement in those countries would find its members thrown in jail or worse.
    The decision we face in this country and the West in general is that while we should never purposely try to insult someone else’s religion some backbone must be found to tell those who come to live in the Western nations that our societies are open to all sorts of satire, parodies, and debate on a whole spectrum of questions and beliefs. And simply put, you must learn to live with it like all the others of the West who may find their core beliefs placed under a spot light which shows all it’s points even the ugly and bad ones. Anything less is a betrayal of our liberties and worse leaves open the possibilities that another group will feel insulted over some statement and want that person or group silenced.
    I do not feel the good professor was over the top but even those like the KKK and Nazis still are protected by the first amendment. And in the case of extremists groups like the Klan I would much rather have them able to voice their vile beliefs in the open rather than forcing them underground giving them the claim of persecution and martyrdom. So instead of diversity training for the professor the CAIR members should be sent to a class on the Bill of Rights and civics 101.

  6. I would argue that we Americans must make an asset out of our crazy-quilt diversity. Therefore, in theory, there's a place for anti-hate speech rules & regs. In practice we can always debate about which words are fight words and which are not. That's a much more wholesome questioning than whether or not all Muslims are ass holes, for example.

    Personally, I think Wichman went over the top, stereotyping Muslim students as beheaders. The professor, wandering off his professional reservation of mechanical engineering, clearly walked in over his depth. He had a valid point to raise and I'm sorry it was lost in his boundless rant.

    However, he certainly escapes censure on the technical grounds that his email was not public speech.

    Personally, as a student or faculty member, I could see myself easily publishing that rant over my own signature in the campus newspaper. But I would have certainly omitted the second sentence in the third paragraph.