Friday, February 28, 2003

A new use for advancement 

Stephen at Cold Spring Shops writes about a diversity workshop being put on at his campus for "department chairs". (I have always followed Walter Williams on this and insist on being called chairman; proof of my "chairmanness" available upon request.) But what is fascinating here is the last line of the memo, "Sponsored by Office of the Provost and Pepsi Cola General Bottlers, Inc." Ka-ching!

We've sold our entire campus' soda franchise to the local Pepsi bottler, and the Coke bottler no longer gives to SCSU (they used to.) Here's a great opportunity for branding, folks! "This seven-hour mandatory workshop brought to you by a piss-poor consent decree, Coca-Cola, and the letter D!"

Maybe instead Budweiser? I mean, if they just want us to say "True" to whatever they tell us...

Affirmative Action's A.N.S.W.E.R. 

There's a very thorough analysis by Nathan Newman of a group called By Any Means Necessary and its attempt to hijack the affirmative action movement just as A.N.S.W.E.R. has hijacked the peace movement. And just as leftist but peaceful groups allowed the Stalinists in A.N.S.W.E.R. to run their show, more useful idiots are allowing BAMN to run their protest against the possible end to affirmative action. (Link via No. 2 Pencil.)

Protestors have a pajama party 

Sometimes a foul mood takes over me (remember, I'm twisted) and I decide to put the needle to people on our campus' listserv. Our campus leftists, the same ones that brought PETA to campus, are taking part in the "sleep-in" and boycott of classes on campuses around America next Wednesday, replete with a sleep-in at the student union the night before. This is a national effort being organized by the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, whose front page lists the usual mishmash of socialist, communist and environmentalist groups. I pointed this out in an email on a campus email discussion list, and immediately was accused of fostering guilt by association. The howls of protest were loud.

But listen to the purpose of this boycott:

During the One-Day International Student Strike, students will walk out of class to oppose the war, and make anti-war demands on Bush, Congress and their local administrators and officials.
Local administrators and officials? I didn't realize the mayor could declare war.
We hope to shut down our schools for a day to demonstrate our power to disrupt our institutions if we go to war.
Yeah! You'll show them! So why a sleep-in? To disrupt the institution of peaceful sleep?
We also hope to promote real democracy and display our voting power by casting our votes against the war and for education in a nationwide Anti-War Election, and mail the ballots in to our Congressional Representatives.
Yet the instructions on the back of the ballot (already filled out for you, comrades!) have you fill in your personal information and send it to NYSPC. They will send it to your representatives for you.

As to my colleagues' complaints of tarring them using guilt by association, it really is quite simple. We've all heard of the KKK's filing an intent to assemble to support Augusta National's right to exclude women from the site of the Masters' golf tournament. "It is not a surprise that the KKK supports Augusta National Golf Club, since the club embraces and flaunts discrimination,'' said Martha Burk, chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations. "It must expect support of a like-minded group.'' I've pointed this out as well on the discuss list, but some think I just wanted to say "you too". But the people at Augusta National demonstrated the proper response:

As a result of the controversy created by political activists, a number of organizations -- some of them extreme -- have sought to voice their political views. Anyone who knows anything about Augusta National Golf Club or its members knows this is not something that the club would welcome or encourage.
When will the pajama party at Atwood choose to distance itself from the peace protestors holding signs asking to free cop killers or supporting the destruction of Israel? Don't hold your breath.

Birdbrains are people too 

Tuesday we mentioned PETA's use of Holocaust imagery to discuss factory farming. OpinionJournal strikes again:
In a letter to the editor of WorldNetDaily, PETA's Matt Prescott explains his group's position: "Tragically, those who dismiss the abuse of animals on factory farms today sound hauntingly similar to those who dismissed the suffering of Jews because they were 'subhuman.' "

Matt, you birdbrain, chickens are subhuman.

Deja vu all over again - Yogi Berra 

Yup. Yogi would scratch his head if he read Andrew Sullivan�s quote of the day:

"What if [Saddam] fails to comply and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route, which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction? ... Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you he'll use the arsenal."
- President Bill Clinton, 1998

Error correction 

Scott Bushee has an article in today's University Chronicle that discusses online faculty evaluation sites. He points out to me that my previous article on mistook two sites. He's right, so I've taken down the erroneous post. I apologize for the mistake.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Thin-skinned pacifist 

Oh, isn't this nice?
[P]eople here in the US are still sharply divided over Iraq. Many anti-war demonstrations in recent days show the sharp division between those calling for peace and those wanting war.

That became clear in San Antonio Thursday when [University of Texas at San Antonio] UTSA teachers and students on both sides of the issues clashed.

"They're lying to you, kids," yelled Fredd Bergman, a student at UTSA who attended what was supposed to be an informational session at the school. Bergman got up to leave in protest of what he perceived to be an anti-war rally. As he left, a professor flipped Bergman's jacket hood in retaliation.

UTSA's vice-president said the brief encounter between the student and teacher is now under investigation by the school. "We have 23,000 people in our University community and I have a feeling that we have 23,000 different opinions concerning the world situation right now," said vice-president David Gabler.

How many of those 23,000 are faculty that think it's OK to flip the jacket hood of someone who disagrees with them?

Absolutely right 

Michael Lopez goes yard on the Toni Smith question (where a woman basketball player turns her back on the US flag during the national anthem to protest inequality in America and the "upcoming war"):
The reason for this, the operative principle behind this action, is that college students desperately need to prove that they matter. You see, if you acquiesce with the power structure, you are simply another one of the faceless, passive masses. But if you rebel - no matter how symbolic or futile the gesture - you are an actor.

"The inequalities" that are "embedded in the American system" are clearly important to this young lady. In time, I hope, she will understand that it is precisely because we are all a part of the American system that we are free to work to remedy those inequalities. We may never succeed, but we have the freedom to try. And for that reason, we should put our hands over our hearts when saying the pledge, and we should look at the flag when the national anthem is being played.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Evil Snowmen in Evil Huts 

A student just sent me this. Every time I say the world can't get more bizarre...

Snowmen, huts, yachts banned from textbooks by language police

You won't see any references to bookworms, busybodies, craftsmanship, cults, dialects, dogma, extremists, fairies, heroines, huts, jungles, lumberjacks, limping, Navajos, one-man bands, slaves, snowmen, straw men, or yachts in today's textbooks. That's because these terms are among the hundreds that turn up in lists of banned words and phrases, lists now widely used by writers, editors, and illustrators when preparing textbooks or tests. They've all been banished as sexist, ethnocentric, offensive to the
handicapped, inauthentic, elitist or otherwise troublesome. The Atlantic Monthly has published a short glossary of banned words compiled by Diane Ravitch; the list is an abridgement of a longer list that will appear in her new book, The Language Police, to be published in April by Knopf.

"The Language Police," by Diane Ravitch, The Atlantic Monthly, March 2003 (not available online)

I'm sure my wife agrees 

Oh dear!

How evil are you?

I suppose you all agree with this, too? (Link from InstaPundit.)

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Taxation with too much representation is . . . bureaucracy! 

Eighteenth-century revolutionary James Otis is said to have coined the original version of this phrase before he was �rendered harmlessly insane� during an altercation. But even throughout his years of lucidity, it�s doubtful that Otis could have been able to comprehend the twisted nuances behind this blog�s title. Today, however, increasing numbers of our colleagues on this campus are coming to understand that over-representation by burgeoning bourgeois bureaucracies represents a uniquely insidious and insane form of tyranny.

Try to imagine yourself as both a taxpayer and a tenured professor at a large taxpayer-supported university in the middle of an unnamed state that�s surrounded by Wisconsin, Iowa, the Dakotas, and Canada. Regardless of how it�s measured, your state�s per capita tax burden consistently ranks among the top five in the nation.

But at least you have representation. In fact, per 100,000 citizens, your state has by far the highest number of legislators who represent you. Who pays for this legislative labyrinth to represent you? You, as taxpayer do.

To get themselves reelected these representatives decide to establish the most number of state-supported community and/or technical colleges and universities (53) spread from border to border across their legislative districts. Who pays for this porcine largesse? You, as taxpayer do.

To govern this sprawling web of higher education - that offers an incredible diversity of courses that range from Plumbing Materials & Tools, to Manicuring Techniques, to Understanding Oppression, to Classical Philosophy - an overarching central bureaucracy, headed by a Chancellor, is mandated to represent the interests of diverse programs. After all, �diversity is our strength,� these representatives of yours tell you. Who pays for these administrators to represent your discipline and university when carving up state appropriations? You, as taxpayer do.

To get more of your own tax dollars from legislators (who are paid for with your tax dollars) to pay for the central administration of your academic program that he represents, the Chancellor of the central office adds staffers as directors of government relations to lobby the legislature on your behalf. Who pays for these people? You, as taxpayer do.

To oversee the work of the central administration, you are represented by a statewide Board of Trustees and its Audit Committee. They employ the state�s taxpayer-paid office of legislative auditor to audit the system�s books. Who pays these people to represent your interests? You, as taxpayer do.

To audit the taxpayer-paid office of legislative auditor, an outside accounting firm is hired to represent your interests as taxpayer. Who pays for this firm? You, as taxpayer do.

But your own campus needs representation also. To represent your interests to the Chancellor your campus needs its own President, Provost, Vice Presidents, and an expanding office of administrators. Who pays for this representation? You, as taxpayer do.

To represent your collective interests as a faculty member, your taxpayer-paid legislature says that you must form a single inter-faculty union to represent all of your diverse interests as university professors across the state. In order to represent all professors, your own salary must never be linked to your personal performance. Even if you do not want that kind of representation, without your approval you�re still �taxed� a �fair-share� of $554 a year by the union.

To represent the interests of all university campuses to the taxpayer-paid legislators, a centralized statewide union, complete with a professional lobbyist, is established in your state�s capital city. Who pays for the representation that you don�t want? You do, through your �fair share taxes.�

Back on your campus, your local Faculty Association deems it necessary that you should be represented against any possible egregious behavior committed against you by your university�s administrators for whose services you have paid with your tax dollars. So they elect a local union president and senators to establish oversight governance committees to watch over and micro-manage every action by the university�s administrators for whom you pay. And of course, they'll represent you no matter what kind of nefarious deed you commit . . . even academic fraud; for you see, they'll represent you as a "victim." Who pays for the local union president�s release time and the work of the local senate? You do, both as taxpayer to the state and as �taxpayer� to the union through your �fair share� assessments.

If some of your colleagues perceive any wrong doing committed by any individual on your campus, of course the administration (and hence the taxpayer) must be vicariously liable. Lawsuits abound. But guilt must never be ascribed to any individual; collective �representative� guilt is the order of the day, as plaintiffs allege discrimination and win huge out-of-court settlements based on age, gender, race, and religion. Who pays for these settlements to plaintiffs and their attorneys? You, as taxpayer do. But at least you�re represented.

Bureaucracy rules! Just try not to get into an altercation, as James Otis did. After that incident he lapsed into insanity, and later died when he was hit by lightning.

Chicken soup for PETA's soul 

OpinionJournal points to this campaign webpage by PETA which compares the mass slaughter of chickens for food to the Holocaust. PETA, of course, is big with campus liberals, and a local activist is pushing a PETA campaign on our campus. As one might expect, Jewish groups are not pleased. The Anti-Defamation League is up in arms over PETA's tactics. In a press release issued today in response to PETA's request for understanding and approval of its campaign, the ADL's Abraham Foxman replies:
The effort by PETA to compare the deliberate systematic murder of millions of Jews to the issue of animal rights is abhorrent. PETA's effort to seek "approval" for their "Holocaust on Your Plate" campaign is outrageous, offensive and takes chutzpah to new heights.

Rather than deepen our revulsion against what the Nazis did to the Jews, the project will undermine the struggle to understand the Holocaust and to find ways to make sure such catastrophes never happen again.

Abusive treatment of animals should be opposed, but cannot and must not be compared to the Holocaust.

So to our local campus friends pushing for PETA (and I sympathize as a longtime vegetarian and one-time contributor to PETA) I warn you: If you put up those posters, be careful with your cameras.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Miami University newspaper -- a vision of our future? 

Erin O'Connor has an article about the firing of a student, Aaron Sanders, writing for the newspaper at Miami University. A column in the Cincinnati Enquirer yesterday follows the story. The student wrote of a faculty member showing a video of a man urinating on another man in a French course. The chair of the French and Italian Dept, Peter Strauss, has responded to both the student editorial and another column by Peter Bronson in the Enquirer. (See also the earlier O'Connor writeup here and the comments below.) And the Miami Review seems to re-run the original student article.

In Stauss' editorial he writes:
In fact, singling out sex from the vast array of materials that we do study reveals a fascination with it on the part of the article's author. Well fine, to each his own. But more than that, his piece makes clear that he wants to stop other people from talking about this particular subject in their own ways. I can easily imagine that our classes would be very threatening to someone like that, because they encourage a free exchange of divergent ideas about all sorts of topics. The real issue here isn't sex; the issue is controlling people's right to express themselves and think through their opinions without undue fear.
There's a very common pattern here. He wants to allow this "thinking through their opinon" as long as it is occurring in his classroom, but when it's done in a student newspaper people need to be terminated. (This is in fact Bronson's point.) The parallels to other events such as the Israeli flag debate are too keen to ignore.

The University Chronicle has had a wonderful effect on this campus of engaging in solid, balanced editorial pages and reporting that has tended to be evenhanded. This year's staff is to be commended for a very good paper. But we all remember that last year student government tried to pull the plug on the Chronicle over its criticism of the UND mascot issue. There is at this time no alternative paper to the Chronicle for a campus of 14,000. So far all is well, but there may come a time where we too will need a separate place for the Aaron Sanders of our campus.

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Pitchers and catchers 

Busy engaging in my trivial pursuit of a good fantasy baseball team. I'll be lightly posting through Monday. For the politically inclined, you can check out the new PoliticalTheory.Info, a great site to complement the Library of Economics and Liberty. This link via Jacob Levy, who also points to a great exchange on how to read in academia between Matthew Yglesias and Kieran Healy.

Thursday, February 20, 2003


Thanks for the plug of the Winter Institute, Dave, which started tonight and carries on to tomorrow. Federal Reserve Governor Ben Bernanke is up tomorrow morning, and tonight he told a story of how he got back to DC (leaving a day early, still only barely making it) to give a vote this week through their driving snow, only to find out that the vote was postponed due to snow. Tremendously funny. If you'll forgive a plug for economics and the Economics Department where I work, this is simply the best time I have as a professor at this campus. Tonight we had several alumni back in town for the Outlook, three of whom I had not seen in several years. Catching up, laughing, visiting -- if only academia could always be like this! And most of the faculty were there; we're a department that enjoys each other, and when I read stories like the troubling tenure decisions at Brooklyn College, I think to myself that in spite of all the things we document here as being wrong with SCSU, there are some real joys that come with our jobs.

So I'm home late perusing the blogs and I read simply the funniest line I've heard all week on AtlanticBlog. Discussing philosopher Sidney Morgenbesser of Columbia, Bill writes:
At a conference, a linguist was explaining that although there were cases where a double negative meant a positive, and cases where a double negative meant a negative, there were no cases where a double positive meant a positive. From the back of the room, Morgenbesser says, "Yeah, yeah."
That, my friends, is Lileksian.

UPDATE: Bernanke's speech Friday morning turned out to be a policy speech, and a big one at that.

Guns and Butter 

Even as the markets react negatively to this morning's news of a significant spike in the Producer Price Index, the Economics Department of St. Cloud State University is kicking off its renowned annual mid-winter economics forum. Seminar participants, speakers, and blog readers alike would do well to reflect on Andrew Sullivan's sobering analysis of the economics of war, posted this past Sunday.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Kifr Infiltrates San Francisco Parade 

A friend told me this morning about these pictures. Power Line has them. Bee-you-tiful!

CR advisor on the radio 

College Republicans advisor Dick Andzenge was featured on the university radio station yesterday and today discussing his own investigation reported here. He also visited our SCSU Association of Scholars meeting Tuesday along with members of the College Republicans. He reported that he spoke at length with Prof. Karasik, who was apologetic about the affair. This was reported here by us (the St. Cloud Times link is broken):
"Yes, I immaturely went for the camera, but I didn't harm him. I didn't grab his neck," she said. "It looked a lot worse than it was. I did not try to hurt the man. Am I sorry? Yes. Do I regret it? Yes. Did I assault him? No."
But Prof. Andzenge pointed out that whenever a faculty member does something that might require an apology or some other acknowledgement of wrongdoing, the Faculty Association immediately turns them into a victim who should get compensated. In my view, this is why it took so long for the poster issue to become a focus. A victim requires a crime and perpetrator, and their search finally fell upon the poster. This positioning by the Faculty Association may hinder the resolution of the case, as it precludes an unqualified apology.

I found the inteview well done by both the news editor at KVSC and by Prof. Andzenge. Tough questions were asked, as an interviewer should. He did probe for bias -- Dick responded that he was representing students that he felt had been wronged. He had asked students to write individually what they saw and remembered, and compared those notes to what he heard on the phone with Prof. Karasik and the written statement by Prof. Greenberg. His is not an official investigation, but the university seems to be saying that the official one is not available to the public due to data privacy laws.

To date, though faculty members have argued that Prof. Andzenge overstates his case by calling his report to be based on "irrefutable facts", nobody has refuted one.

Cookie theater update 

Rand Simberg reports on a bake sale at the University of Michigan that parallels the UCLA bake sale reported here a couple days ago. Illustrating the UM 20-point add factor for minority students, the wonderfully devilish Michigan Review had a sale (I hope the picture is still up at the top) selling donuts for $1 if the buyer was white and $.80 if one was a member of a minority group. The usual negative reactions of the "affirmative action is too important to joke about" abound in the story. Two telling comments:
"People have been arguing with us since 8 a.m.," [Michigan Review staff member Justin] Wilson said. "I'm surprised the University hasn't shut us down yet."

Isn't that sad? That one would wonder why your free speech wasn't impinged?
Wilson emphasized that the staff of The Michigan Review supports minorities. Profits from the bake sale were donated to the United Negro College Fund - that amount totaled $17 at the end of the sale.
$17???? All they made was $17???? C'mon guys, you're supporters of the free market! You're supposed to know how to make big money.

The comments on the Michigan Daily page are interesting to read, largely in favor of the display.

If SCSU's CRs -- and I know you're reading! -- want to do this, I'll bake the cookies. (Original link found via Cold Spring Shops.)

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

They're back 

Discriminations is back online and posting up a storm. I'll get caught up on John's site tonight.

Fighting Hate? 

Our colleagues often say, with a fair amount of sanctimoneousness, that they are fighting hate. Without stopping for a moment to think of the oxymoronic quality of that phrase, it's good to look at some pretty high-profile hate that they have no intention whatsoever of fighting. Here's a good example.


Reading from Cold Spring Shops, I find out we made Big Daddy's blogroll. [wayne's world reference]We're not worthy! We're not worthy![/wayne's world reference]

If it wasn't for Stephen's and Sean Hackbarth's cross-references, and the many referrals from Campus Nonsense, I don't know if we'd've ever gotten this far. Thanks so much to all!

More signs of vigorous debate by students 

The two of the founders of OxBlog, an excellent student weblog, have an article in today's about their formation of the Oxford Democracy Forum. The Forum's founding principles calls for a democracy "that actively promotes civil rights, the rule of law and citizen participation" and a foreign policy that sees "spreading democracy is the only demonstrated and sustainable means of preventing international conflict". From the OpinionJournal piece:
We founded OxDem because we were saddened by many students' lack of interest in the fate of those who are not fortunate enough to share in the freedom that students in Western democracies take for granted. While students have taken to the streets on behalf of good causes such as the plight of exploited workers in Vietnam and desperate refugees in Central Africa, none of them seem to recognize that the ultimate cause of such suffering is a lack of democratic government.
A similar group has formed at Yale. Chances most of them understand the meaning of this sign from Saturday's anti-war protests.

I find myself at times uncomfortable with the statement that democracy is something that can be imposed from outside. I'm greatly influenced by the writings of the late Mancur Olson, who thought the conditions by which democracy forms to be relatively rare. (See for example this paper.) But the choice between OxDem and A.N.S.W.E.R. is an easy one to make.

UPDATE: Instapundit links to this article from the Yale Daily News.

Monday, February 17, 2003

Suspension of thought 

Perhaps I could use a little distance from this place, for then I could write something like Tightly Wound does about academia as "Bugs in Amber". (Her last archive isn't up yet, so I've linked to the front page.) After commenting on my clothes -- and I do try to upgrade, but when you shop the Salvation Army, new fashion is Guess! -- she proceeds to get to the heart of it.
Those professors and a lot of the ones I ran into subsequently didn't notice that things change, but it wasn't because they were thinking deep thoughts, it was because they were repeating the same thoughts that they had in grad school (or earlier) over and over until the thinkers became completely paralyzed--trapped in one mindset and preserved like bugs in amber, unable to recognize or react to the outside world.

How else can you explain the disproportionate number of academicians who cling to the rhetoric of class warfare and who still believe that Marx holds the answers when human nature and real world regimes have proven this false? ...

The "explosion" of critical theory in the last couple of decades is simply the application of popular late-nineteenth and early twentieth century philosophies and causes--Marxism, Existentialism, Nihilism, Feminism--to literature. The ideas are recycled, the concepts are nominally "freshened up" by adding a dash of race or sex, and voila! Post-Colonial theory, Queer theory, and New Historicism magically appear.

What is caught in amber, though, are leftist intellectuals trying to hold down history while they work at social engineering. As Brink Lindsey pointed out last year commenting on Francis Fukuyama, our modern intellectuals want to arrrest history.
[Fukuyama] speaks for an emerging coalition of neocon and Luddite left intellectuals � but are such views really in line with the broad currents of conservative or liberal opinion? I don't think so. I was speaking recently with someone very prominent in conservative circles, and I asked him if he would oppose genetic engineering to improve intelligence, looks, etc. if it didn't involve destroying embryos any more than current in vitro fertilization techniques. "Of course not," he replied. "The essence of human nature is the desire to improve your condition. You can't oppose that." But Fukuyama does -- in the name of defending an imaginary, static "human nature," he sets himself against the essential dynamism that defines our humanity.
And it's that dynamism that overwhelms the thought process of the academia that Big Arm Woman gleefully has left in the rearview mirror.

It's not only Andy 

Andy Rooney isn't the only voice one might not expect to criticize the French who is in fact doing so. FrontPage Magazine reports that the New York Times is as well. With all the noise and fuss from the left in the weekend's demonstrations, it's nice to hear the more influential voices actually making sense.

Today's quiz 

Courtesy of Juan Gato.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Crummy discrimination story 

A few months ago a student group (I believe it was the Women's Equality Group, but my archives don't have the exact post) ran a sale where goods (I think they were cookies) were sold for $1 to men and $.76 for women, as an attempt to illustrate the pay difference between men and women. I attempted to post on the campus list what the economics research says about this gap; I got the usual shout-down that the Anointed know damn full well there's discrimination and don't you bring none of those new-fangled statistics in here. As reported on Highered Intelligence and Joanne Jacobs, the College Republicans at UCLA have gone much, much further.
The sale, held on Bruin Walk on Feb. 3, offered cookies at different prices depending on the customer's race and gender. Black, Latina and American Indian females were charged 25 cents for cookies that cost males of minority descent 50 cents. White females were charged $1, and white males and all Asian Americans were charged $2.

Students selling the cookies were assigned name tags portraying them as "Uncle Tom," "The White Oppressor" and "Self-Hating Hispanic Race Traitor."
Wouldn't you know the kid in the Daily Bruin picture of the bake sale would be a business economics major. :)

Of course the Democrats are making hay of this, as Jacobs notes. One said that the display stopped discourse by trying to simplify things. As Stephen notes on Cold Spring Shops, "I'm going to have to remember that one the next time there's a "pay equity" cookie sale nearby ... it demeans the research of numerous economists into labor force participation."

Vous n'avez pas des testicules! 

Mon Dieu! CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney lashed out at the French tonight on 60 Minutes, claiming that "they may even be selling stuff to Iraq and don't want to hurt business." Read here why Rooney thinks that "the French have not earned their right to oppose President Bush's plans to attack Iraq."

Acting out locally 

Today's local paper carries the headline and picture of this story. There's no need to read the article itself, as the quotes are the usual insipid tea. Via Instapundit, Tony Blair has the answer:
There will be no march for the victims of Saddam, no protests about the thousands of children that die needlessly every year under his rule, no righteous anger over the torture chambers which if he is left in power, will be left in being.
But it's not about Saddam, Mr. Blair. It's about hating Bush.

Iraq, a River, a Sea 

Saddam translates Maya Angelou:

Iraq, a River, a Sea,
Hosts to species long since departed,
Mark the Mesopotamian
Dinosaurs, who left oil tokens
Of their sojourn here
Upon our planet floor.
Any broad alarm of their of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.
But today, Iraq cries out to all, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may tread upon my
Back and face your mortal destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no hiding place down here.
You, created even lower than
Lucifer, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spelling words
Armed for slaughter.
Iraq cries out today, you try to stand on me,
But do not hide your face
Across the wall of the U.N.
River Tigris sings a beautiful song,
Come die here by my side.
Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and stupidly made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
So, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more.
Come, clad in peace; I sing to the son of Kim Il-song,
For fusion�s same power as when Iraq,
The River, and the Sea were first one.
Before naivete was a bloody sear across your brow
And when you yet knew you still knew nothing.
The Tigris just sings on and on.
There is a true yearning to respond to
The deadly river and evil Iraq.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew,
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Kurd, the French, the Greek,
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheik,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the sea.
Today, the first and last of every sea
Speaks to humankind. Come to the Gulf beside the river.
Die here beside me, here beside the river.
Each of you, descendant of some passed on
Traveler, has been paid for.
You, who are willing to play my game,
You Pawnee, Apache and Seneca.
But you, al-Qa�ida, who took refuge here
Has forged with me our pact of death,
Employed to kill all other seekers--
Desperate for gain, starving for black gold.
You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot...
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru,
Bought, sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, drown yourselves beside me.
Iraq from the sea fed by the river,
Which will not be moved.
Iraq, the river, the sea,
I am yours--your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this death�s dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and no matter what,
Need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
The night descending for you.
Give death again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private greed. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Hang down your hearts.
Each new hour holds new chances
For new endings.
Do not be wedded forever
To hope, yoked eternally
To foolishness.
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you slim space to forge a change.
Here, into the eyes of the Antichrist
You must have the duty
To look up and out upon me,
Iraq, the river, the sea, your cemetery.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.
Here on the pulse of death�s dark night
You may have the nerve to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes,
Into your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With deep despair
Good night.

Friday, February 14, 2003

Harvard Civil Rights Project? 

Miss Median was pretty impressed with the Harvard Civil Rights Project. But the Washington Dispatch has a much more helpful analysis. It's worth a read.

Maybe the poster had a point 

There's an excellent article at on the connection between gun control and genocide. He quotes from this law review article by Daniel Polsby and Don Kates:
Though it is a long step between being disarmed and being murdered�one does not usually lead to the other�but it is nevertheless an arresting reality that not one of the principal genocides of the twentieth century, and there have been dozens, has been inflicted on a population that was armed. (Emphasis added).
Given the uproar over the poster that the College Republicans had at the kiosk which hosted the Israeli Flag/Poster kerfuffle (see also here), why was it that nobody tapped into this research?

The Reynolds article has several links to the research. Worth a long look.

My professor dresses poorly and I want my money back 

And then, there are those students of Seton Hall, who decided to use to lay some serious smack on a professor. An "Amish pilgrim" -- what is that? Complaints about her moped color, clothes and a bad dye job. What, they're not showing Sally on the TV in the student lounge any more? (Is she still even on?) More worrisome were the compliments, telling the complainers to stop it, since they are all getting A's and the course was easy.

The professor replied by email to the class thus:

"All I can say is that the comments confirmed to me what I had to keep to myself all semester: that most of you mental midgets are the most immature, sheltered, homophobic, sexist, racist, lying sacks of s�t I have ever met in my life. ...Seton Hall may be kissing you're a�es now, but out here in the real world, brats like you will be eaten for breakfast."
The story is up at both Critical Mass and Brian Micklethwait's Edublog. Brian's take:
Consumer sovereignty comes slap up against producer sovereignty. Teach how you want, and take the consequences in student abuse. Say what you want about your teacher, and hear what she has to say right back at you.

Further evidence that students are better at debate 

Following along with my observation last night about the debate on the "glass ceiling" debate in our Chronicle, I find an excellent back and forth between bloggers Owen Courreges and Bo Cowgill on affirmative action policies at Michigan and Rice. Cowgill is pro-aa and makes a utilitarian argument which is well-reasoned. Courreges finds the case lacking, but I think that's largely because he believes the 1964 Civil Rights Act is wrong. And Cowgill seem to only support one kind of diversity, without considering diversity of thought. Advantage: Courreges! (Link thanks: Russel Henderson.)

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Critical Mass moved 

Only slightly. Erin O'Connor's excellent edu-blog is now here. I've adjusted the blogroll; you should reset your bookmark now.

Was Marx a dynamist? 

The University Chronicle has been running a series of debates lately in the opinion page, and this week's is on gender pay equity. Scott Bushee, one of the columnists debating, sent along a note to tell me that his opening quote from Marx was left out. Helping out students is my job, and so here's the quote that was omitted:
�The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing. . . all fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away.�
After reading this, I'm lead to read yet again Virginia Postrel's The Future and Its Enemies. It seems that rather than conservative and liberal, the correct labels for Scott and Gordie are "dynamist" and "stasist".

No they're not... 

At least not at Shaw University, where the president seems to have snapped. The FIRE has more...

The Times They Are... 

There are more and more intelligent, articulate voices putting forth conservative positions. Though campuses, certainly including my own, try desperately not to hear them, repressing them gets harder and harder. Another valuable source of commentary, news and thought on contemporary education is Accuracy in Academia. You won't hear much about these folks in Human Relations classes, but they say a good deal that's worth hearing.

Anglosphere, Saddam, & the Axis of Weasel 

How could I have missed this February 3rd article written by Andrew Sullivan? Better late than never, we have a chance to understand why Britain and the U.S. (Anglosphere) have a different attitude toward Saddam than do France and Germany (the Axis of Weasel).

Anglospheric principles are based on a belief in �individualism, the rule of law, honoring contracts and covenants, and the elevation of freedom to the first rank of political and cultural values.�

They scream for a good reason--and it indicates progress!!! 

I enjoyed King's observations and comments regarding Miss Medians concern that the SCSU Association of Scholars is posting announcements on the SCSU announcement list. Somewhere in their book "The Shadow University", Kors and Silverglate made the astute observation that one method by which the thought police exert control over a campus is via the control of the symbolic and communication environment. By monopolizing bulletin boards, lamp posts, rallies, etc., they effectively exert an informal form of control over campus communication.

However, when I was fighting my battles with the thought police at "Whats-a-matta-U," things started to change, largely due to the new tools of protest and communication. Yes----the internet and computers. If I can put a historical spin on this thread, when the APSY department was under attack, for the first time in years, more and more faculty started coming out of the walls to make comments on the faculty listserv. And then, for the first time ever, a special web page (Shadow University on the Mississippi) was born that gave those fighting for free speech and high academic standards a place to post material. I recall with great delight the responses from the thought police. They couldn't believe it!!! And now, we have this wonderful blog run largely by King (kudos to King----do you ever sleep?).

It is my belief that over the past 10 years, the effective use of email, listservs, and web/blog pages by those fighting for the principles articulated by NAS have stolen much of the symbolic and communication environment from the thought police. For some reason, they seem incapable of using the same tools to organize and are left with the protest methods of the past. So---Miss Median is upset, not only because Jack is making such a presentation, but because this information is now made public to all. They no longer control the communication and symbolic environment on the SCSU campus, and have lost the race to control it via the technology of today-----and it drives them nuts. Kudos to all who have won this one little, yet important battle. It is an indicator of progress in the long war against neo-McCarthyism and political correctness run amok at SCSU.


Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Let 'em scream 

Sometimes they're their own worst enemy. A faculty member who we'll simply refer to as "Miss Median" does not view our use (as the SCSU Association of Scholars) of the campus announcement email list as appropriate use. This was the announcement Jack put up:
Though political correctness is sometimes characterized as something as benevolent as "respect and tolerance for each other," in fact it is the most serious and consistent attack on free speech and free academic inquiry in our lifetime. Groups such as the National Association of Scholars, the Minnesota Association of Scholars, the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which features Alan Kors, Author of Shadow University, have all worked to defend traditional academic values.

In Tuesday's meeting of the SCSU chapter of the National Association of Scholars at 12:30 in the Primrose Room of Atwood, Dr. Jack Hibbard will discuss the history and effects of political correctness, both nationally and at SCSU.

All members of the academic community are invited.

Miss Median responded thus:
Does the "announce list" allow editorial comments? The local "SCSU Association of Scholars" has been making annoucements laced with political opinion every week for the past several weeks.

Curious as to the mission, goals and objectives of this organization, I opened the website of the "National Association of Scholars" -- the umbrella organization of our local chapter that meets every Tuesday on campus as per Prof Hibbard's weekly announcements to this list.

The NAS main page contained an anti-affirmative action message in large print, regarding the current University of Michigan case. Because the policy of our own campus and of MnScu is to support the Civil Rights Laws, including Affirmative Action, I am posting a NYT article that includes research-based (rather than opinion-based) information on Affirmative Action in state institutions of higher education.

The divine Miss M (with due apologies to Bette) then posts (to the announce list, mind you) a report from the Civil Rights Project, which is an advocacy group based at Harvard.

Miss Median is silly; an announcement for a meeting should give some rationale for why you'd want to attend. What's sad is that we have to explain why free speech is a good thing. The problem isn't the Harvard group -- they get grant money to advocate a view of civil rights, while FIRE gets other money to advocate its view of affirmative action in academia. The problem is that when a conservative group puts up an announcement for a meeting its appropriateness to the list is attacked; when -- as has happened in the last two weeks -- we receive several messages soliciting donations for an anti-war ad in the local paper or for action against a state legislative initiatives to remove the GLBT portion of the human rights amendment, no similar outcry is observed.

One faculty member on the discuss list tried to remind me that the Free Speech movement was started by liberals. True enough. But given the current climate, the question has become, "free for whom?".

I'm saying nothing of this on the campus list, for the screams the likes of Miss Median give us are grist for the mill. As noted by Sofia Sideshow, letting 'em speak is the best cure. If Jack's messages get these people to scurry out into the beam of our flashlights, the light will do the rest.

Libertarians vs. conservatives in today's WSJ 

I posted a short piece here a few weeks ago on libs vs. neocons. In today's Wall Street Journal, known more for conservative than libertarian thought, is this article by Susan Lee calling for more libertarian thinking on the cloning issue. I'm pretty sure this issue divides even those of us on the Scholars blog. But unlike the war issue, the cloning issue does not divide libertarians.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Inch-deep Diversity 

Where I grew up the cliche about the Missouri River was that it was a mile wide and an inch deep. In that campus diversity resembles the river in one of two ways: though it isn't very wide, it's only an inch deep. "Diversity" means almost exclusively skin color and country of origin. These are things of very limited human significance, and ironically precisely the things modern campuses say they want to render insignificant in human activities, but they make them the only things that are significant.

The irony isn't surprising. We've come to accept that those who demand diversity the most are least tolerant of any real diversity of opinion, thought or philosophy; those who demand "sensitivity" are the least sensitive to any who fall outside their domain; and those who demand tolerance are the least tolerant (My campus' slogan is "No Tolerance for Intolerance." Really).

Two forms of diversity which are excluded are conservative thought and philosophy -- academic, social, or political -- and religion. The best book to start with on modern academic attitudes on religion is still Stephan Carter's Culture of Disbelief. Though it is almost a decade old, Carter is still a good place to see how campuses tolerate religion (Christianity especially, but not exclusively) as long as adherent don't take them seriously -- we tolerate those who see "God as a hobby" to use Carter's phrase. But that is all, and a vast body of thought, opinion and human experience are ignored and suppressed in modern "inclusive, tolerant, diverse" campuses.

But, just as conservative thought ignored by the media found ways to cometo us through cable news and talk radio, the Internet and blogs, religious thought thrives as well. One source of both that has been valuable for me has been, which lists dozens of essays on a variety of topics from a corps of excellent essayists who would otherwise never, ever be apparent on campus. As a tiny sample, yesterday the essay on "The Intellectual Errors and Political Dangers of Multiculturalism" from the Claremont Institute was excellent. These folks are worth check out often.

Monday, February 10, 2003

The rise and fall of student blogs 

Perhaps another reasons the liberal academy dislikes the blogosphere is the rise of student blogs that show a far greater conservative bent than do the faculty listservs. For one example, see The Vermont Reactionary, where Russel has been kind enough to add our site to his blogroll. We take over a slot for him from the old SFSU Conservative, which was a voice in that wilderness known as San Francisco. The author of that blog has given up his website. You often get graduations, or simply a hard semester, that kicks these students offline for at least awhile. Faculty like us get to perpetuate our immaturity on.

Student voices help us show the bankruptcy of much of the academy today. I linked up the Vermont site not only for this reason -- Russel has a great story about a speech by a Colombian terror apologist-- but also for the many fun visits I had to that wonderful state from my family home in New Hampshire. If you're ever going to NH or ME through New York, consider the ultimate "back road" of NY 7/VT 9 and then slip onto NH 101 to go towards the coast. Bring a camera and your stick shift. Montpelier is a good bit north of that road, but if you head north from Bennington you'll see some great real estate. Too bad it's becoming San Fran East.

Besides, he's got our same design and hasn't abandoned the Scholars' original green.

Corporate versus university diversity training 

Another article from a couple weeks ago on FrontPage magazine about diversity training in corporations. There's a link to this article on Nichols and Associates, authors of one of the reports on diversity at SCSU, which we've dissected here.

I think FrontPage is blurring the issue here. A corporation is a private company with the purpose of earning profits. If it feels its profits are improved by having a diverse workforce, it may wish to require training for this from its own employees, though the Kodak policy would appear to be discriminatory towards Catholics. (The issue of whether a private employer may enter into only those contracts she or he wishes is a wider question.) Universities, however, have a special nature in pursuing education and truth.

Help for family losing home to fire 

There's an appeal on campus for help for an interracial couple with three children who lost their home to a fire in Foley, MN. The family has had problems with neighbors, and some racist comments by others to the family have been reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation; thankfully nobody was hurt. Information on how to help is at the bottom of the linked article. For those reading this from far away, a fund to help the family has been set up at First State Bank of St. Joseph, P.O. Box 159, St. Joseph, MN 56374. Just mark donations to the "fire relief fund". Regardless of how the fire occurred, intentional or accidental, a family is without a home now and it was -14 degrees here this morning.

Sociologist speaks about Iraq 

Oh all right. There's a nice piece in the StarTribune today (insert stopped clock veracity joke here) about Abbas Mehdi, a sociologist here at SCSU. I've spoken with him at length about Iraq, and I think he makes a good case for why, though Saddam has to go, we should stop short of war with Iraq. His point that Iraqis should choose their own future is without doubt correct; I'd question only the time at which they would be in a position to make that decision. And I doubt Saddam could create the apocalypse that Mehdi sees. But his undergraduate degree is in economics, so of course Abbas is a good guy!

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Could free speech soon become expensive? 

Yesterday we read the news account of Minnesota-based Metris Company�s filing suit against two former employees for having posted to the Internet opinions that company officers claimed were defamatory and libelous.

Could such stultifying litigation, now seen in the private sector, soon carry over to those who think that they�re expressing free speech at public universities? Who at St. Cloud State University should be most worried about watching their wallets:

a) the student who last week wrote a letter to the campus newspaper, stating that most here �dread having to go [to required multicultural/gender/minority classes that could be called] Richwhitemaledominatingsuppressor-ism;"

b) one former and one current faculty member who claimed in letters to Twin Cities� high schools that SCSU was toxic to "student of color;" or

C) writers on this blogspot?

Friday, February 07, 2003

Compare and contrast -- looking for points in dispute in the Israeli flag case 

I�ve been reviewing several letters from the parties involved in the Flag/Poster incident at the College Republican�s kiosk. I have publicly placed the letter of the CR�s advisor, Dick Andzenge, here onsite. I also have received a letter by Justin Byma, Chair of the CRs, regarding a letter written by Phyllis Greenberg to the campus listserv two weeks ago. I asked Phyllis if she would like her account placed here, and offered to give her posting rights to the blog so that she could do so unimpeded in any way. She declined. I also have had contact with others on both sides of this issue with first-hand knowledge of the events. I've been asked by several to maintain their confidentiality.

Since it�s questionable whether or not the results of the investigation by Public Safety will be made public � and I think putting that information in the public would help resolve this � I am sifting through all that I�ve collected to see where the disagreements are about the events of 12/11. I focus on three items:

1. What was the provocation? As we�ve noted elsewhere, the professors and their supporters have focused on this poster from Jews for the Prevention of Firearms Ownership. This poster was actually advertising material sent to the CRs in 1999 by JPFO in support of its documentary, Nazi Death Camps � The Result of Gun Control. The poster probably had little to do with the CRs intention of supporting Israel�s right to self-defense when it was made. Still, there was an argument for that connection. It sat in a collection of materials the CRs had, and when the group was choosing materials for its display it was taken out, discussed and chosen. According to a conversation with Justin Byma, it had been displayed before.

What is remarkable is that the poster is not ever an issue discussed in the news reports anywhere until the chair of Greenberg and Karasik�s department puts it into a campus listserv blasting the University Chronicle for its coverage � on 1/22. Another faculty member supportive of the professors showed me the poster several days before. Throughout our earlier coverage (for example this) the focus is the flag. I have reason to believe that the poster was contributive to the professors� displeasure with the kiosk, based on discussions and email immediately after the incident. But in my opinion its evolution to being the focal point has the appearance of a search for some reason to turn the tide against the students.

To date, the students have not responded to the Jewish Faculty Association's request for an explanation for the poster. They will wait to see what happens with the investigation first.

2. What happened between Prof. Karasik and Zach? Zach is the photographer, Zach Spoehr. He is 19 and a good foot taller than Karasik; she is short but, well, not petite. The professors have focused on the physical differences and on his taunting. According to all accounts, Zach was standing behind Karasik taking pictures; the display would have been in the picture. According to the students, Karasik�s back would have been turned to the camera. Still, when the camera flashed, students report that she turned to Zach and said, �If you take my picture again I will break that camera.� Zach replied, �Oh yeah? Go ahead and break my camera.� He then lifted the camera over his head. According to Greenberg�s report, he continued to take pictures. The students still deny that Zach kept snapping pictures of Karasik after she asked him to stop. If the camera was indeed over his head, I�m not sure how he was taking pictures; even if the shutter was depressed, it seems unlikely he had the camera focused on anything. But he might. And the camera might not have been over his head. That�s a place where the investigation could add some information. It is at this point that Karasik either tripped and fell into Spoehr or lunged at the camera. The tripping story is told only by the two professors. Given the taunting discussion and several witnesses who described the discussion as "angry", the tripping version seems less credible.

One problem is age. Spoehr appeared the next day on local television (a news-only cable channel, Central MN News) and was rather proud of his actions. It wasn't a great display of maturity.

A bigger problem arises from the statement by Greenberg that �no one came to separate� Karasik and Spoehr. According to everyone I spoke to, Justin Byma intervened himself and escorted Spoehr away from the kiosk. This is in the CRs original statement. After this, Karasik and Greenberg went to see Student Life VP Nathan Church.

3. Did Church act alone? I have been wondering about this for the longest of times. All parties agree that Church returned alone to the kiosk, and Church said "had to ask us to take down the flag" according to the CRs original statement. Karasik and Greenberg did not return to the kiosk. (Note, the CRs refer to Church asking for the flag to come down, not the poster.) The kiosk remained with the flag covered up; there is no statement indicating that the poster even was covered up. Did Karasik and Greenberg ask Church to have the flag taken down, the poster, the whole kiosk, or did Church come up with this alone? His statement gives no indication what he exactly asked the students to remove. The students indicate that it was only the flag at question.

There�s one last issue that bothered me in the explanation from Greenberg. She reports that the two professors were getting flowers from a vendor who sets up a kiosk in Atwood, and that she saw from there the Star of David (Mogen David) on the CRs kiosk. In my own questions I asked the students which kiosk they had and they said Kiosk #4. The kiosks are set up around the stairways in Atwood and every time I�ve seen the flower vendor she has been at kiosk #1, which is on the opposite corner of the stairwell. That is, if they were standing at the flower kiosk and the students were set up in kiosk #4, the stairwell would have blocked their view of the CRs kiosk. Last night I asked Justin again about this, and asked from which direction the professors approached the kiosk. He replied they came from the direction of the library, which again is on the opposite side of the flower kiosk. He also said they came through the door from outside. Those two stories don�t match, unless 1) Justin was mistaken about their approach and they had come from around the stairwell instead � which still leaves me wondering how they could see the flag from that angle; 2) the faculty members had not in fact visited the flower kiosk � I know I�ve seen them come with flowers before, so I rather believe they were there; or 3) they already knew about the CRs� kiosk. The CRs report that there was vigorous debate around the kiosk by other students before the professors came and that some of the passers-by identified themselves as Jewish students. (At least one of these students supported the CRs message.) Is it possible one of the students told their JSA advisors about the kiosk, and the faculty members then went to investigate? There�d be nothing wrong with that, except that it might then appear they were predisposed against the kiosk.

CRs report the investigation has concluded 

According to this letter from Dick Andzenge, faculty advisor to the College Republicans, Public Safety's investigation of the incident around the CR's kiosk last December is now complete. Andzenge has laid out in the letter his understanding of what happened that evening. According to an email I received from one of the CRs, the investigation finds the students' account of the story "very credible". In the next post, probably up late this evening, I will point out the differences between the version told by the CRs and an emailed account by one of the two professors. But I must tend to too many other responsibilities to post more now.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

An old nugget found anew 

My wife was looking for a speech to give in a vocal presentation course for theater and asked me what I'd recommend. "And no Rand!" she added. I dug up instead this old nugget by Benjamin Rogge who was once the dean at Wabash College, and a fine economist to boot. This speech as I recall it was given at the outset of students' college careers. Titled "The Promise of the College" and including a favorite quote from George Stigler -- "The typical college catalogue would never stop Diogenes in his search for an honest man." -- it concludes with a great story and a great lesson in classic Rogge style. What we teach in college is discernment.
Words are the raw material of knowledge and in fact, of much of life, and they deserve to be treated with respect. The educated person will always attempt to use them carefully and precisely and to demand of those who would communicate with him that they do the same. He will have learned that words can be used to inform or to deceive or to inspire or to confuse or to manipulate or to set into action�and will examine each important word used by another with the care and the suspicion with which an oriental peasant examines the fruit in a street market. When he finds a false one, he will reject it as convincingly as one of my favorite heroines of modern literature�and with this I reach the end.

This favorite heroine of mine is a little girl in an old cartoon in the New Yorker magazine. She is being force-fed by her mother, but is obviously rejecting whatever it is that is being offered her. Finally, in desperation, her mother says to her, "But dear, it's broccoli." At this, the little three-year-old girl in her high chair looks her mother in the eye and replies, "I say it's spinach and I say the hell with it!"

May the next years be exciting and productive for you, and as you go on through life, may you gradually come to the knowledge of the difference between broccoli and spinach, and may you acquire the courage to challenge those who confuse the two.
While I'm at it, let me plug as well The Library of Economics and Liberty, and the blog of Arnold Kling that resides there. This is a treasure trove of classical liberalism and free market economics. I've lost an hour on that site more than once.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Disarmament debate 

In the wake of Secretary Powell's presentation to the U.N. about the irrefutable need for Iraq to disarm, here's a view of the disarmingly unenlightened disarmament discussions that are now taking place on our campus. Even the Minneapolis StarTribune editorializes that the French had to be deaf not to comprehend the gravity of the evidence! But Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN) and "activists" at St. Cloud State University want to continue this kind of disarmament debate. Read on for King's related posting.

Fish and the role of the professor 

AtlanticBlog points out a critique of Stanley Fish's Chronicle article on what an academic should do. Sjostrom notes:
When a university commits itself to political goals not part of the functioning of the university, it is destroying the spirit of free inquiry. For a professor to pursue a political agenda in the classroom is inimical to the prospects of a student's free inquiry.
Yet we have faculty who use university resources to promote peace protests and define it as part of their academic mission. To wit, last October one faculty member sent an announcement of a presentation on the School of the Americas, a pet peeve of the Left. After a reminder post from the computer services people on appropriate use of the faculty listserv, wrote this:
I object to this posting being sent out immediately after my announcement about academics around the country signing a statement against a war in Iraq. This is not an announcement about any political candidates or the election. Further, this is integrally related to my professional work as I teach about human rights in the United States and all over the world. I'm sure these topics relate to the professional work of many others on this campus as well. Indeed, I would argue that a war against Iraq will affect us all personally and professionally and will affect our institution in many ways as well. The fact that thousands and thousands of academics around the country have signed such a statement is an historic and momentous event, one about which our faculty should have the opportunity of being notified. It is clearly an academic matter. (Italics mine.).
A pretty elastic definition, wouldn't you say?

What happens when you let SCSU administrators become Secretary of State 

Well no, not yet, but anything's possible. ScrappleFace is better than ever today.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Illustrating it all 

Another breakfast buddy sends me Daniel Pipes pieces regularly. I missed at first this one but it gets picked up by Joanne Jacobs with usual cogent commentary. But best is the comments at the bottom of the Pipes article. According to one commenter who apparently attended Pipes talk at York University, one of many protestors said, "We are here in the name of academic freedom. We don't like what Pipes has to say and it's our right to try and stop him from speaking." I could link this to a dozen of our articles over the last six weeks. Cold Spring Shops links out to the Daphne Patai piece I mentioned earlier tonight, and adds this comment: "It's really very simple, if one thinks about it. Give John Ashcroft no power you'd fear to see in Janet Reno's hands, and give Catherine MacKinnon no power you'd fear to see in mine."

But it isn't that simple. When you conceive of rights as coming from the state, as does the modern liberal (as opposed to the classical one), then power is relatively constant. You can't create or destroy it, you simply fight over who will possess it. Like Tolkein's Ring, nobody is safe from the lure of power. (It always comes back to Tolkein.) Stephen is right, but he's asking people to think about this in a way they simply cannot fathom.

UPDATE: Cold Spring Shops replies, with a rhetorical touch. Maybe it always comes back to Solzhenitsyn?

Discriminations: Quote Of The Day Archives 

John Rosenberg offers Discriminations: Quote Of The Day from the (R)STrib. (Hit John's site for the link -- I'm still mad at the Reds.) "Diversity is what makes us different" it begins, and then it gets worse. Perhaps they've driven by Dave's sign?

Patai is speechless 

Latest to sound off on the student watchdog webs is Daphne Patai in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article (reprinted for free offsite at FIRE.)
Marvelous irony here: The very same people who have been eager to promote tattling on faculty members who don't conform to the party line on race and gender are now worried that someone is tattling on them. This, they claim, "chills" free speech. It's akin to McCarthyism. And in what forum is this chilling occurring? On that harbinger of free and easy communication that is unimpeded by geographic boundaries and personal prestige: the Internet.


The controversy caused by the two offending Web sites { and Campus Watch ---kb} is, in my view, welcome, for it has forced professors not otherwise known for their rousing defense of free speech to sound the alarm. Too bad they can't be bothered to express that same concern when speech that they themselves deplore is targeted for curtailment. Where are these colleagues when professors face accusations of sexual or racial harassment resulting from words uttered in class that offend some students? The selective approach to free speech suggests that today's critics are just hoping to extend their control to independent Web sites of which they disapprove.

Yup. The rest of the article is just as good.

A University Is Not a Political Party 

I've seldom agreed with Stanley Fish on much of anything, though I admire very much his work on John Milton. But his essay "A University is Not a Political Party" from the Chronicle is worth reading, and taking to heart.

Defining Monomania 

A couple of years ago I made a bet with a friend who was still attempting to defend President Saigo's competence: I told him I'd buy hm the best steak in town when he could show me any evidence whatsoever that Saigo understood any issues -- intellectual, social, cultural, philosophical -- pertinent to contemporary higher education other than race. I've seen nothing in Saigo's years here that didn't involve race. So far I haven't had to pay up.
Then yesterday I thought for a moment I'd lost my bet. Saigo posted a letter to the faculty on the Columbia tragedy. He said the natural, appropriate things about this terrible event in a good letter. But then he added this: "Tom Wolfe�s book-turned-movie, �The Right Stuff,� dramatized the elite qualities of the first Mercury astronauts. How different from that original seven this Columbia crew of women and men looked. In a generation we have broadened this conception and opened opportunities for many to develop their splendid talents and strive for heroic achievements."
Even this tragedy he had to bring race in. He quite simply has shown no capability to understand any of the functions of higher education nor the issues concerning it other than his one pet issue. Our poor university has been badly served for a long time by administrations significantly weaker than either our good faculty or excellent students deserve, and Saigo continues that weary tradition.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Well, that's why they're a student government 

In today's University Chronicle is a letter to the editors by a CR regarding the Israeli flag incident, which adds this twist. As we mentioned at the outset, there was a request for a motion of support from the student government. The motion, according to the CR letter-writer, was "All students and SCSU Organizations should have the right of freedom of speech and expression without the fear of physical harm and violence." This resolution was turned down.

In case your jaw isn't on your keyboard right now, let me repeat that. THIS RESOLUTION WAS TURNED DOWN.

I'm sure a letter of reply will come from the student government. I'll post that when it comes. I'm holding off on some other information from the CRs at this point until I confirm some facts.

Women on War and Fruit Salad 

The note on women and war reminded me of an old film. About a decade ago some students in a group we called SAVE (Students Advocating Valid Education) set up a debate on the local campus tv station which we recorded. The group leader went head-to-head with one of the more forceful black leaders on campus. He pretended to speak for all blacks, and when our student pointed out blacks who disagreed with him, he just called them "oreos," a common term at the time meaning someone who is black on the outside but white on the inside.
Then he got a head of steam up and started listing all the other possibilities: there were apples (Indians who were red on the outside but white inside, bananas (Asians) coconuts (Latin American) and so on. the message was clear: agree with us or we're going to make fruit out of you. The students called in the "fruit salad" film and it was a standard joke for a couple of years. Jewish professors reportedly saying there are no Republican Jews and that Norm Colman is only a Jew of convenience are of this stripe.
Obviously the folks on the bizarre left can't justify themselves logically, but if they keep up the pretense that they speak for all of their groups at least they have company. And those of their groups who disagree most logically not be really part of their group, not authentically at least. Another example of modern liberal logic that demands diversity but allows none.

No dogs or soldiers allowed inside 

My note the other day on the Women and War presentation led to some discussion. Dear friend Dick Winzer sent along this note, probably not directly related to my post, but I think it bears on it well. Reprinted unedited with permission.
There seems to be a disdain towards not just the military as an entity, but individually towards those who serve. A return of the No dogs or soldiers allowed inside . A normal 18 year old would never consider the benefits and advantages of being a veteran. The perspective seems to indicate that only failures or social misfits feel the need to heed Uncle Sam's call . The thought that their own sons and daughters would even consider joining the military -- would somehow indicate an abject failure as a parent. I get the feeling these folks wouldn't object to their little Chip or Muffy attending a Free the convicted cop-killer Mumia rally, but would shit biscuits if they found a ROTC brochure in the kids room.

I have witnessed the pursed lips and narrowed eyes directed at kids in uniform waiting for flights at the airports. And the absolute shock on those same kids faces when you offer them a burger or cup of coffee while they wait. Apparently kindness from strangers toward those in uniform is so rare & unexpected that it is shocking and somewhat frightening.

How freaking sad is that.
Very sad indeed.

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Seven souls heavenward 

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�Lord, now lettest thou thy servants depart in peace, according to thy word,� for �happy are they who dwell in your house . . . whose hearts are set on the pilgrims� way.�

From Luke 2 and Psalm 84, appointed for this day in Lutheran and Episcopal churches.