It takes an “intellectual” to be this stupid

Apparently, a history degree from Harvard doesn’t protect you from making absolutely boneheaded mistakes. Frank Rich’s latest column in the New York Times contains the following gem (link in the original):

It’s also mistaken, it seems, for anyone to posit that race might be animating anti-Obama hotheads like those who packed assault weapons at presidential town hall meetings on health care last summer.

Why do I make a point of the fact that the link was in the original? Because Frank Rich obviously never read the link. If he had, he would have seen this photo:

From CNN: Black man carrying assault rifle outside Obama town hall meeting

From CNN: Black man carrying assault rifle outside Obama town hall meeting


I ask you: is this man animated by racial prejudice when he criticizes Obama?

Now, I’m not saying that black people can’t be racist; that would be a ridiculous claim. There are black people who are anti-Semitic racists, or anti-white racists, or anti-Asian racists, just as there are white people who are anti-black or anti-Semitic or anti-Asian. But how many white people are anti-white racists? How many black people are anti-black racists?

I hate to have to explain this to you, Mr. Rich, but the entire point of your “anti-Obama protestors are racist” column is that President Obama is black, and that the racism allegedly directed against him is supposedly reminiscent of racism during the Civil Rights era. And the very article your column links to disproves this point with a single photo.

Perhaps Frank Rich didn’t insert that link himself, but it was inserted after his column was written by the Web editor(s) at the New York Times. In which case Mr. Rich’s failure is not one of reading comprehension, but one of failure to do the research. Even so, it doesn’t give me much faith in Harvard’s American History program: research into sources is a fundamental part of doing history right. As C.S. Lewis so memorably put it in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, “What do they teach them at these schools?”

At my alma mater, Wheaton College, there was a standard joke that we were the “Harvard of the Midwest,” or sometimes, that Harvard was trying to be the “Wheaton of the East Coast”. I’m now thinking that we should have been joking about a better university, because Harvard’s education clearly isn’t up to snuff.

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