I just found out a couple days ago that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be speaking at my alma mater, Columbia University, this coming week.
Yes, there is a connection to modesty here. Not that Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial is directly related, nor his dreams of wiping Israel off the face of the earth. The connection though, is in the moral bankruptcy of the institutions of higher learning in this country today, and when I saw a video clip online this evening of a Columbia dean explaining that if Hitler were alive and available today, he'd be a welcome guest at Columbia, I thought I was going to hurl (and mind you I had very little in my stomach after a Yom Kippur fast!)
I grew up believing that an Ivy League education was the be-all and end-all. That the best and the brightest studied and taught there. But I had a few interesting experiences at the beginning of my stint at Columbia which soon made me think otherwise.
During orientation week of my freshman year, one of the events that I sadly missed, but heard about later, was a pair of lesbian contortionists contorting in provocative positions for all to see in the middle of campus. There was also the yearly tradition, which again I so sadly missed out on, of the Columbia track team streaking through campus (good thing those guys run fast, right?) And finally, there was my freshman year R.A. who welcomed us to the dorm by pointing out where the condom box hung, because face it, we were in college, and we were all having sex, right?
I recently got into a discussion with a guy who explained to me that he only believed in true and false, but not right and wrong. When I asked him who he loved most in the world, he answered like any good son would - his mother. But apparently this guy didn't love his mother too much, because when I then asked him if someone suddenly grabbed his mother and slit her throat, if this would be considered wrong, the guy told me no because, like he said earlier, there is no right and wrong.
I think this above conversation illustrates the problem with Columbia and other like institutions. They're only willing to teach fact and fiction. No one is comfortable taking a stand when it comes to right and wrong. The danger with such a philosophy, though, is that universities like Columbia are entrusted with the responsibility of producing the next generation of world leaders. And if the alumni have only walked away with facts, but have no moral compass to help process that information, we end up with a very scary, perverted world where Hilters and Ahmedinejads become honored guests.