Thursday, March 06, 2008

A rule to live by: WWHO: Did you read the story about Harvard setting aside gym hours for Muslim women only? Now, a principled administrator would have looked at how other religions on campus were treated and would have concluded that it is not fair to give preferential treatment to one religion. You might respond that the ethics of a liberal require that we favor the little guys, and Islam is a small group in America. My answer is that Pentecostals are a small group too, but we can imagine Harvard's response to a request for special treatement from them.

I think I might have the answer to crack the mystery of elite ethics. Really, it's so simple even a toddler could grasp it. It could be called the "WWHO rule" (pronounced "who"). WWHO means What Would Hitler Oppose. If Hitler is against it, it must be the right way to go. If a Muslim girl comes to you and asks for the gym several hours a week all for herself, well obviously Der Fuhrer would snarl a "NO!" at her, so it must be a good policy.

The rule really applies to everything. Racial issues are obvious: mass non-white immigration is a must since that would drive the NSDAP nuts. And social issues are clear too: Gay marriage must be right because Herr Hitler loathed homosexuality (except for when he was a male prostitute in Vienna, they say). But the rule even works in the area of taste. Jazz is the greatest music ever since the Nazis hated it. Even science must conform to this principle: biological sources of behavior must be false since You-Know-Who would like that idea.

The Golden Rule or the old "What Would Jesus Do" might work for the hicks, but WWHO is the only way to go for the truly enlightened.


  1. That might about sum it all up.

    One exception I've always wondered about is the popularity of Volkswagen Beetles, which were sponsored by Hitler. Did advertising man David Ogilvy somehow charm people into forgetting that back in the 1960s?

  2. Well, Hitler put Jehovah's Witnesses in concentration camps (purple triangles). And apparently he suppressed the Pentecostal church as well.

    So WWHO isn't too far off, but there are a few exceptions. Mostly it has to do with New England class privilege, I think; traditionally oppressed groups OK, low-status rural groups not OK.

  3. sfg: Yes, I thought about JWs. To be more precise, WWHO is What Do I Imagine Hitler Would Oppose. Liberals would guess that Hitler likes JWs, for example, because they're hardcore religionists, so it's not the actual Hitler I'm speaking of, just the crude image.

  4. Oh, to a first approximation you're pretty spot-on. Hitler is the bugaboo of the left kind of like Communism is the bugaboo of the right. (Notice that 'socialist' is still an effective term of abuse in many circles.) That's how you can have silliness like the 'Soup Nazi' and 'grammar Nazis'.

    Liberals would guess that Hitler likes JWs, for example, because they're hardcore religionists, so it's not the actual Hitler I'm speaking of, just the crude image.
    Depends on how educated the liberal is about history. Unfortunately I really can't call the guys at Harvard uneducated, now can I?

    What I really think the Harvard guys' rule is is WWRO: what would rednecks oppose. Or, rather, what would Harvard's image of a redneck oppose. The anti-Mormon bigotry of the Republican base was lost on a lot of people I know. Recall, Harvard thinks they're defending civilization against proletarian red-state hordes.

    OK, here's the test: can you think of something where Hitler and the rednecks would split? I'd say the American flag (remember Harvard made an employee take it down), but of course the proper analog would be the German flag for Adolf. So then our real question is: what would an American version of Hitler oppose?

    Well, domestic neo-Nazis aren't too big contrary to the beliefs of some of my friends and neighbors. But here's an interesting thing that I think would split the Christian right and the American Nazi party: Israel. As I'm sure you're well aware, the Christian Right is in love with Israel, and the Nazis, well, are not.

    What's Harvard's opinion on Israel? Not sure, but given the fondness of modern lefties for the Palestinian movement, I'd suspect moderately anti (at least relative to America as a whole; you might think America is too pro-Israel, but political positions are relative; what matters here is less how pro-Israel the university is in the absolute sense than how they position themselves relative to the USA in general).

    Can you think of another issue where the American Nazis and the rednecks split? I don't want to bring Israel into this if I don't have to, just because all the commenters will start talking about that instead of the original topic.

  5. I'd also like to point out that an extant domestic group would be a more likely choice of antithesis than a German politician who died over 60 years ago, but I really need another issue to cement this theory. Can you think of anything?

  6. It was only a very small number of Muslim female students who had asked for women-only gym hours. I've heard that there may have been as few as six of them. The proposal probably would've gotten nowhere, but then Harvard's main women student group picked up the cause and got it implemented. This women's group is overwhelmingly non-Muslim, in fact given Harvard's demographics I would imagine that it has a substantial Jewish percentage.

  7. Anonymous6:44 PM

    Isn't it gym time reserved for women in general, not just Muslim women? Seems reasonable enough. Granting a request from a Muslim groups doesn't make you a dimmi automatically.


  8. "Can you think of another issue where the American Nazis and the rednecks split?"

    It's pretty minor, but the link between cigarettes and lung cancer was discovered in Nazi Germany, and Hitler instituted strict smoking bans throughout the country. It's mostly the 'rednecks' that argue against smoking bans in favor of operator choice and leftists who advocate such public bans.

  9. Way too late, but: environmentalism. The Nazis were environmentalists. Rednecks are not (though they certainly enjoy the outdoors much more than their enemies in Cambridge and the Upper West Side!). Harvard is quite, quite green. I'd say they're opposing the rednecks. :)


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