An Opportunistic Political Class Dithers

Today’s New York Times features an article about a horrible attack against a professor by members of a radical student group. But don’t click yet to find out where, or what university. See if you can tell by reading this:

The university’s plight encapsulates [the country’s] predicament: an intolerant, aggressive minority terrorizes a more open-minded, peaceful majority, while an opportunistic political class dithers, benefiting from alliances with the aggressors.

While an opportunistic political class dithers, benefiting from alliances with the aggressors.

Striking to me is the Mad-Lib quality of this article, about a radical student group terrorizing professors and students at the University of the Punjab in Lehore, Pakistan. If you take out references to militant Islam, Pakistan, and Jamaat-e-Islami, substituting militant Christianity, the United States, and your choice of right-wing nutball groups (Tea Party, Operation Rescue, the Minutemen, the anti-healthcare demonstrators), much in this article could just as easily have been written about our own country.

Disclaimer—I realize that none of those right-wing nutball groups I listed above have ever sent students into professors’ offices to beat them violently with pipes.

I’m simply making the point that those groups, whose members participate in very aggressive, in-your-face advocacy that seems to fall just below the boiling point for actual violence, are carrying out their barely-legal activities while an opportunistic political class dithers.

Pakistan and the United States have more in common than many people might want to admit.

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