We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Two years ago the separate $20 million gifts to Harvard and Georgetown for Middle Eastern Studies programs by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal sparked a short-lived focus on what such academic programs are doing.
From a piece by John Miller at Students for Academic Freedom:
Because Middle Eastern studies aspired to immediate relevance, it became vulnerable to mixing scholarship and activism, with combustible results. Many professors believed they should become activists for positive change, such as modernization in the Arab world -- a helpful concept, but perhaps a job best left to diplomats and nonprofit groups.
"A lot of what they do is just glorified advocacy journalism," says Rubin of AEI. To complicate matters, Middle Eastern studies isn't rooted in a traditional academic discipline. Like African-American studies and women's studies, it's an interdisciplinary response to dramatic events and social movements. Because of this, the field has a tendency to attract teachers and students with passionate political beliefs that can get in the way of objective research. Although several sub-fields of Middle Eastern studies have flourished, especially in early history, art and architecture, and a few other areas, these subjects are far removed from the modern strategic concerns that Middle Eastern studies might be able to address.