19 APRIL 1997, Page 55

High life

The truth hurts


once wrote in these pages that, whenev- er a tank comes up against a student, I root for the tank. It was, I admit, a bit over the top, prompting a couple of loyal Speccie readers to forget their loyalty and cancel their subscription. (Speaking of Spectator subscriptions, Joseph Heller has just given One to Christopher Buckley, America's pre- eminent satirist, which puts me in a Catch- 22 situation, pun intended.) Let me explain. Chris Buckley, my best man on a day that shall forever live in infamy (5 March 1980), is the son of William Buckley, the conservative writer- thinker-novelist-lecturer who founded National Review 42 years ago. Both Buck- leys went to Yale and were rather brilliant While they were there. A couple of weeks ago National Review, now edited by proba- bly the nicest man alive — definitely far too nice for such a despised profession as journalism — John O'Sullivan, ran a cover depicting Bonnie and Clyde Clinton and Al Gore as Chinese, under the heading 'The Manchurian Candidates'.

This was the good news. The bad is that the Ethnic Grievance Industry, the fastest growing business in America, went into overdrive sooner than one could say the word gook. It was an orchestrated protest easily recognisable by the fact that the bad guys used identical phraseology.

O'Sullivan, however, took none of that crap. Unlike Texaco, he went on the offen- sive and refused not only to apologise to Asians but demanded an apology from them for calling him a racist. So far so good. The balance of opinion ran strongly for NR. Then the intrepid editor went up to Yale University to deliver a political speech. No sooner had he finished, when profes- sional rabble rousers, many of them slitty- eyed, started a brawl trying to abduct O'Sullivan. Some of the 'Red Guards' tried to punch my hero, while others attacked the cops kamikaze-like. They did not suc- ceed. Radical students rarely do succeed, especially after leaving campus. O'Sullivan a mild-mannered man to the point of lassi- tude man, did not even get nervous. 'They hardly hit me,' was all he said. Needless to say, I'm outraged at those Asian-Americans, as they now call them- selves, as well as at Yale. I know that in America ideology has replaced pedagogy, but this is ridiculous. Other students should have stepped in and beaten the living day- lights out of the troublemakers, free speech, after all, being the cornerstone of the soi disant educated elite.

The trouble is leftist ideology. It has betrayed millions by teaching them such spurious ideas as equality, non-competi- tiveness and self-expression. The result, of course, has been total illiteracy. As Paul Johnson wisely pointed out in the Speccie not long ago, universities nowadays are hothouses of extremism, intolerance and prejudice. All students learn is PC and the ideology of the Left.

Still, it rankles like hell to see a decent man being assaulted for having run a cover-cartoon depicting Clinton and his wife as buck-toothed and wearing a conical hat and a Maoist uniform. The truth obvi- ously hurts. The Clintons and Gore took yellow gold, no ifs or buts about it. The Chinese government managed to influence American policy by paying under the table. The so-called students should have been protesting about the sale of the White House. Instead, they tried to kill the mes- senger.

Fighting the sword of fact with the wet noodle of ideology is an old trick. Soon I shall be back in dear old London for a David Mellor election-night defeat party. But, before that, I have a surprise to spring on those ghastly Yalies. It involves a tank and some . . . well, I better not advertise the fact as my Prussian military adviser, Wilhelm von Raab, insists that surprise is an important factor when trying to run over students in a Panzer tank. Wilhelm once told me the sweetest sound he ever heard was when the bones crack. I can't wait. New Haven, here I come.