The Chutzpah of Bernard Lewis

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A small group of Middle East studies academics, led by Bernard Lewis, have formed a new professional group, the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa, according to InsideHigherEd. Their stated reasons for establishing the group are “the increasing politicization of these fields, and the certainty that a corrupt understanding of them is a danger to the academy as well as the future of the young people it purports to educate.” Funny, that, because Lewis, from his perch at Princeton, is probably the country’s greatest practitioner of Mideast studies in the service of politics. A few of Lewis’ greatest hits:

  • Participated in a pre-9/11 “study of ancient empires, sponsored by [Donald] Rumsfeld’s office, to understand how they maintained their dominance,” according to the Times.

  • Became one of the earliest and most public proponents of war with Iraq soon after 9/11, writing op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, including “A War of Resolve” and “Time for Toppling.”

  • In a series of personal meetings after 9/11, helped disabuse Dick Cheney of “his former skepticism about the potential for democracy in the Middle East,” according to Time.

  • Earlier this year, received standing ovation after defending the Christian crusades in his speech accepting the Irving Kristol Award at the American Enterprise Institute.

The new association rounds out its apolitical “Academic Council” with U.S. News columnist Fouad Ajami, National Review writer Victor Davis Hanson, and former Secretary of State George Schultz.

—Justin Elliott

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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