Cynthia Strikes Again

     When I heard that a black congresswoman had slugged 
a security guard and accused him of racism for asking her 
for identification, I immediately suspected it was -- who 
else? -- Cynthia McKinney, the firebrand Georgia 

     I was right.

     McKinney seems to be obsessed with the idea of 
racism, which she views as the explanation of every 
irritation that afflicts her. The capitol's chief of 
police, perhaps aware of her notorious temper, said the 
officer had acted properly. Even white people are 
supposed to show their identification before being let 
into the office building where the incident occurred. Or 
is the universal rule itself racist? In the name of 
security, we are all being harassed nowadays, but the 
harassment is strictly nondiscriminatory.

     Since racial discrimination is now illegal, racial 
lynchings are relatively infrequent, and racial prejudice 
is decried on all sides, why are charges of racism more 
frequent now than ever before? Am I the only one who 
suspects that the victory of social justice over racism 
has been a little too lopsided? Isn't that what 
McKinney's serial tantrums suggest?

     This may seem a little thing, but it's surely a sign 
of the times. Certain hypersensitivities have been 
nourished by success. To hear McKinney squawk, you'd 
think this was the Golden Age of Racism.

Pummeling the Profs

     Or is it the Golden Age of Anti-Semitism? Judging by 
the number of people who are accused of it, you'd think 
the Nazis were riding high these days.

     Last week I wrote about the smear campaign 
against Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, who 
are being accused of you-know-what for their long article 
about the baneful effects of the Israel lobby on American 
foreign policy.

     Now it would seem almost self-evident that different 
countries have different interests, that what is good for 
one country may sometimes be bad for another, and that a 
lobby working for Country A inside Country B may be 
detrimental to the interests of Country B. But these 
rather unexceptionable truths, when applied to Israel, 
suddenly become "anti-Semitic." When you criticize 
Israel, you are persecuting Jews.

     The latest neoconservative smear, as I write (and 
there is no reason to think it will be the last), is an 
op-ed piece in THE WASHINGTON POST by Elliott Cohen 
subtly titled "Yes, It's Anti-Semitic." Cohen denies that 
the Israel lobby is unusual or especially powerful. Which 
must come as news to every staffer on Capitol Hill, where 
every elected representative quivers when the lobby 

     Clearly, Mearsheimer and Walt have hit a nerve. The 
question is why Cohen and other neocons are so brazenly 
denying the obvious and indeed inescapable facts about 
Israel and its lobby. Do they think they're as powerful 
as Stalin, who really could utter sheer nonsense and make 
short work of anyone who dared to dissent? Things aren't 
quite =that= bad yet!

     But the neocons may figure it's now or never. The 
American public is sick of Iraq and in no mood to attack 
the real neocon target, Iran. Bush's poll ratings are 
still low, and the neocons themselves are in bad odor for 
the first time. Even most pro-Israel Jews are leery of 
the rabid neocons and their equally rabid Christian 
allies. If the United States can't be goaded into 
aggressive action against Iran soon, the opportunity may 
never come again.

     So to the neocons, this must seem the moment to 
gamble all that's left of their shrinking influence. They 
have little choice. And a scholarly article, with 
academically prestigious credentials, exposing their 
influence and methods, is just what they don't need right 
now. Their situation is desperate. They face the dreadful 
danger of peace.

     In TIME magazine, meanwhile, another leading 
neocon, Charles Krauthammer, explains why war on Iran is 
urgent. Containment worked with the mighty but relatively 
rational Soviet Union, he argues, but it won't work with 
Iran. The Soviets didn't want to die, but the Iranians 
do; they are suicidal fanatics who would welcome an 
apocalyptic showdown with the infidel, look forward to 
martyrdom, drool at the thought of all those virgins in 
Paradise, and so forth. In that case, one wonders, why do 
the Iranians seem rather anxious to avoid war right now?

     Well, there is more than one kind of fanatic, and 
some are closer to home than Tehran.

Darwin's Dilemma

     The late David Stove, who died in 1994, was a noted 
Australian philosopher, an atheist, and a fearless 
thinker. His last book has just been republished by 
Encounter Books in New York. Its scathing wit has me 
howling with delighted laughter.

     The book is DARWINIAN FAIRYTALES. Stove treats 
Darwin himself with some respect, but he thinks the 
general Darwinian position is nonsense, especially as it 
has been presented by Darwin's successors. He doesn't 
even bother much with the scientific evidence; he just 
says its account of human nature is plainly false, indeed 
"a ridiculous slander on human beings."

     And you don't need biology, the fossil record, or 
learned speculation to tell you this; just look around 

     A bloody competition for survival of the fittest? 
How much of our lives does this describe? Why does our 
species engage in so darned much cooperation? Why are 
there charities, hospitals, and laws against the kind of 
violence on which, Darwinism tells us, our existence 
depends? Why do people protect their own children, if 
life is a Hobbesian "war of every man against every man"? 
Has human nature changed? If so, just when did =that= 
happen? How =could= it happen, if man is what Darwinism 
says he is?

     Do you know any people who resemble Darwinian Man? 
(Excluding in-laws and tax collectors, of course.)

     Stove has great fun with "Darwin's Dilemma" -- the 
utter inconsistency between its theory of men as 
competing unto the death and the fact of real men as 
cooperating to preserve the "unfit" -- the sick, the 
weak, the poor, the elderly. Some Darwinians even deplore 
these acts of mercy on grounds that they are eugenically 
destructive! If Nature wants to kill some people off, 
they ask, why should Grace get in her way? But they 
forget to ask how Grace got into the act in the first 
place. Darwinism has no room for Grace.

     I can't improve on Owen Harries's comment on this 
book: "David Stove took no intellectual prisoners. A 
deadly serious (and hilariously funny) enemy of 
intellectual cant and the higher pretensions, he wrote to 

     If that makes him sound a bit like Darwinian Man, I 
can only say that he slays me. A thrilling writer and 

                 +          +          +                  

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