Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bloomberg's Ennui

In the aftermath of the Ahmadinejad controversy, we are once again struck by the mayor's bloodless response to the event. It appears that the passions that roil this kind of contretemps simply pass right by Mike Bloomberg. As the NY Sun reported yesterday, the mayor took a totally different position on the affair than the one taken by Speaker Silver, who had raised questions about the levels of state funding that Columbia receives.

Bloomberg, on the other hand, demurred: "I think Columbia's budget should be, or whatever help the state gives them, should be based on the quality of the institution and the need for that institution to grow, thrive and be here and to advance science and the arts," Mr. Bloomberg told reporters." So let's get this straight. The mayor feels that hosting a Holocaust denier who wants to wipe Israel off of the map is advancing the sciences and the arts?

We suppose, in defense of Mike Bloomberg, that at least the Iranian guy hadn't come out in favor of chain smoking or fast food-the only things that seem to really get a passionate response from the mayor. Which is quite typical of an end of ideology liberalism, one that has no real beliefs to take a stand for-that, because of its bankruptcy of beliefs, needs to elevate health to a moral end in and of itself.

This is something that we're seeing all over a Europe that no longer believes in the value of its own civilization and is, in the words of Claire Berlinski, a place with "No past, No Future, No Worries." It is in the context of this spiritual void that Europeans, and the health nannies like the mayor, raise health into a final value for living. In the end, however, it is a pale substitute for the robust Islamic worldview that Ahmadinejad represents, and it dramatically underscores why Mike Bloomberg's brand of apolitical politics is simply wrong for our challenged times.