Antonin Scalia’s Prophetic Speech on the Crisis of Higher Education

 The current crisis on college campuses, as Mosaic readers know, has been a long time in coming. In a 1997 speech marking Holocaust Memorial Day, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia seemed to predict it, as Rabbi Meir Soloveichik observes:

Scalia stressed that it was not enough to remember the Holocaust. Rather, he said, one must mark the sort of society in which it occurred: “The one message I want to convey today is that you will have missed the most frightening aspect of it all, if you do not appreciate that it happened in one of the most educated, most progressive, most cultured countries in the world.” The Germany of the early 20th century, he noted, “was a world leader in most fields of art, science, and intellect.” Its universities were some of the most celebrated on earth. Yet this did not prevent Nazism from suffusing society; in fact, German education and Nazism went hand in hand. . . .

American parents, Scalia reflected, place so much value today on what is taught in academic institutions, yet the opportunities afforded there, he argued, are “of only secondary importance—to our children, and to the society that their generation will create.” The Holocaust, Scalia argued, is a reminder of the importance of imparting moral wisdom above all else, and it is this, he was implicitly saying, that parents must bear in mind as they ponder the intellectual future of their progeny.

The goal of stopping something like the Holocaust from happening again, Scalia went on, “can be achieved only by acknowledging, and passing on to our children, the existence of absolute, uncompromisable standards of human conduct. Mankind has traditionally derived such standards from religion; and the West has derived them from and through the Jews.”

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antonin Scalia, Holocaust remembrance, Judaism, University

How America Sowed the Seeds of the Current Middle East Crisis in 2015

Analyzing the recent direct Iranian attack on Israel, and Israel’s security situation more generally, Michael Oren looks to the 2015 agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program. That, and President Biden’s efforts to resurrect the deal after Donald Trump left it, are in his view the source of the current crisis:

Of the original motivations for the deal—blocking Iran’s path to the bomb and transforming Iran into a peaceful nation—neither remained. All Biden was left with was the ability to kick the can down the road and to uphold Barack Obama’s singular foreign-policy achievement.

In order to achieve that result, the administration has repeatedly refused to punish Iran for its malign actions:

Historians will survey this inexplicable record and wonder how the United States not only allowed Iran repeatedly to assault its citizens, soldiers, and allies but consistently rewarded it for doing so. They may well conclude that in a desperate effort to avoid getting dragged into a regional Middle Eastern war, the U.S. might well have precipitated one.

While America’s friends in the Middle East, especially Israel, have every reason to feel grateful for the vital assistance they received in intercepting Iran’s missile and drone onslaught, they might also ask what the U.S. can now do differently to deter Iran from further aggression. . . . Tehran will see this weekend’s direct attack on Israel as a victory—their own—for their ability to continue threatening Israel and destabilizing the Middle East with impunity.

Israel, of course, must respond differently. Our target cannot simply be the Iranian proxies that surround our country and that have waged war on us since October 7, but, as the Saudis call it, “the head of the snake.”

Read more at Free Press

More about: Barack Obama, Gaza War 2023, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy