The worst strains of European thinking seem to have infected America. As cultural relativism, spinelessness and an inability to stand up for our own values have become more and more dominant in Europe, some of us have continued to look to the U.S. as a society safeguards its founding principles and remains willing to uphold them in the face of opposition. Apparently not for much longer.
There have been troubling developments for some time. But an event earlier this week speaks louder than any so far. This is the decision of Brandeis University to revoke the offer of an honorary degree to the human rights hero, Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
In case anybody needs reminding of her story, two decades ago the Somali-born Hirsi Ali fled an arranged marriage and gained asylum in the Netherlands. She learned the language, worked for a university education and became a member of the Dutch Parliament all in the space of a few short years. But the country she had integrated into had lost its moral compass. As violent and oppressive inroads were made by some segments of its Muslim minority, Hirsi Ali became one of the few to speak out. She knew there was a price for doing so. And sure enough she was vilified and physically threatened. In 2004 she saw her colleague and friend, the film-maker Theo van Gogh, brutally murdered for his part in a film they had made together that highlighted the plight of many Muslim women.