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Careerism and Islamist repression

January 18, 2007

Re "Did kissing up bring us down?" Current, Jan. 14

In reading Corey Robin's unmistakably academic cogitations on the possible outcomes of "that pinched desire for self-advancement," I get the distinct impression he hasn't thought to look in the mirror while musing on this notion of "careerism," or at least hasn't thought that the institution he has safely harbored himself in is veritably founded on the same careerism he's warning the rest of us against.

The university's history is largely one of professors carving out a foxhole in an arcane piece of academic turf and then hunkering down until the firing has stopped -- when it's safe to pop their heads up to offer just the type of intellectual pronouncement Robin has here.

The question he directs at journalists is also to be directed at him (and his colleagues): Why did so few academics stand in the way of the march to war? The answer: careerism.

TOM WILDE

Santa Monica

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Robin is at least partly correct in suggesting that Islamists are "driven by their anger at long-standing U.S. support for Israel and repressive Arab regimes," but the adjective "repressive" describes his political priorities, not theirs. If there is one aspect of rule the Islamists would not alter upon attaining political power, it is heavy reliance on repression. Intimating otherwise is seriously misleading.

FABIAN BIANCARDI

Temecula

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