Saturday, February 1, 2014
Back in the thirties, Stephen Vincent Benet wrote a famous story about Dartmouth’s most well known (with the possible exception of Dr. Seuss) graduate, Daniel Webster — The Devil and Daniel Webster. In that story, the devil is not portrayed as a scary figure in horns and a tail but as a more refined gentleman, ”a soft-spoken, dark-dressed stranger,” who “drove up in a handsome buggy.” That’s Bill Ayers these days. Watch out.
◼ The Devil and Bill Ayers: D’Souza Debates Ayers at Dartmouth - Roger L. Simon/PJM
It’s a testament to Dinesh D’Souza’s mettle that he even showed up for his scheduled debate at Dartmouth (his alma mater and mine) with Bill Ayers last Thursday. D’Souza is only recently under what is apparently selective prosecution by the federal government for campaign law violations (see “Amnesty, but Not for D’Souza” by Andy McCarthy) and that was probably some of the reason the pundit/filmmaker seemed off his game.
He fared much better debating the existence of God with the late Christopher Hitchens. But that was in part because Hitchens played fair, enjoying the intellectual jousting and search for truth between two exceptionally bright people. D’Souza’s Thursday adversary, Mr. Ayers — former Weatherman revolutionary and retired professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he held the titles of Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar — did everything but.