Via Instapundit, I see that everyone's favorite postmodernist law professor Stanley Fish, the speech-code loving author of There's No Such Thing As Free Speech, and it's a Good Thing, Too, has shown up in the most improbable of places, offering an effusive blurb for Dinesh D'Souza's What's So Great About Christianity (note the missing question mark). After the vile Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, it's a miracle D'Souza wasn't forced to recycle Bill Bennett blurbs from his previous books. Says Fish of D'Souza:
"The great merit of this book is that it concedes nothing. Rather than engaging in the usual defensive ploys, D'Souza meets every anti-God argument head on and defeats it on its own terms. He subjects atheism and scientific materialism to sustained rigorous interrogation, and shows that their claims are empty and incoherent. Infinitely more sophisticated than the rants produced by RichardDawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, What's So Great About Christianity leaves those atheist books in the dust."
Skeptic Magazine editor Michael Shermer, himself an ex-christian, also blurbs, calling D'Souza "a first-rate scholar whom I feel absolutely compelled to read," despite his own atheism. (Doherty on Shermer's book Why People Believe Weird Things)
Thumbing through an old copy of There's No Such Thing as Free Speech, I came across the following passage, which might explain Fish's enthusiasm for D'Souza, whom he often debated in the early 90s:
[D'Souza and I] dined together, traveled together, and played tennis whenever we could. (When his serve was on–and it was on more often than I liked–Mr. D'Souza would always win.) After the formal sessions we would continue the conversation in a bar or restaurant, and on one occasion, when we ended up in a Hardee's (the only place open in town), a few students wandered in, and for twenty minutes or so we did the whole thing over again. In May I danced happily at his wedding…"
Bonus nuttiness from Fish: When the ridiculous Jim Gilchrist, president of the Minutemen, was invited to speak at Columbia, students rushed the stage and, according to the Columbia Spectator, "sparked a chaotic brawl involving more than 20 students, other attendees, and guests." Writing at his New York Times blog, Fish argued implausibly that such political theater shouldn't fall under the rubric of "academic freedom" or "free speech":
Once one understands the true nature of the event, one understands too the scope (and limits) of the university's responsibility. In the context of what is essentially a piece of entertainment, Columbia, or any other university, does not have the responsibility to protect free speech or encourage democratic debate or stand up for academic freedom. These resonant phrases, invoked at the drop of a hat by parties on every side, are simply too large for what is going on.
Cathy Young on D'Souza's The Enemy at Home.