Tuesday, December 30, 2008

After Tomorrow, Ziggie’s Is History

Ziggie’s, long a mainstay of the Marquette campus neighborhood, will close for good at the end of the business day tomorrow, December 31, 2008.

Ziggie’s hours tomorrow will be the usual 10:30 a.m. until midnight.

Students (and alumni) who are in town might want to make one last trip for a gyro, shish kebab dinner, or whatever was your favorite on the menu.

Ziggie will retire.

Detroit’s Union Problem

From the Wall Street Journal, an insightful article from Logan Robinson.

And yes, the problem is the United Auto Workers, but this has ramifications beyond the obvious.
It is perhaps the mode of doing business in a unionized company that remains a crippling disadvantage. The UAW is arguably the most successful industrial union of all time. But its very strength has allowed it to permeate into every aspect of manufacturing in the Detroit Three.

The collective bargaining agreement with the UAW is a heavily negotiated document the size of a small telephone book. It is virtually identical for each of the Detroit Three, owing to “pattern” bargaining, but it doesn’t exist at all in their U.S. competition, the nonunionized transplants. Not only work rules, but fundamental business decisions to sell, close or spin-off plants are forbidden without permission. That permission may come, but only at a price, since everything that affects the workplace must be negotiated.

Both the UAW and the Detroit Three maintain large staffs of lawyers, contract administrators, and financial and human-resources representatives whose principal job is to negotiate with the other side. These staffs are at all levels, from the factory floor to corporate headquarters and the UAW’s “Solidarity House” in downtown Detroit.

The collective bargaining agreements are now renegotiated every four years; in each negotiation the power and penetration of the union grows. If the company asks to change the flow of work for any reason, from cost-savings to vehicle improvements, the local union president will listen politely, and then say something like, “We can help you with this, but what’s in it for my guys?”

Typically, he will have a list of things he wants, some understandable (better cafeterias) some questionable (hire my nephew), but there is always a quid pro quo. These mutually sustaining bureaucracies exist to negotiate with each other.

In an environment of downsizing, the problem is exacerbated, as the entrenched bargaining structure causes innumerable inefficiencies. Typically each plant or warehouse is a “bargaining unit” and has a union president, who has a staff. If the company consolidates facilities, there will be no need for two presidents and two staffs. Since neither president wants to play musical chairs, they will both point to the bargaining agreement and resist consolidation. As a result, unnecessary facilities are not sold, but kept open, lit and heated, just to preserve a redundant bargaining-unit president and his team.
To anybody who knows anything much about bureaucracy, the analysis rings true. Yes, the unions are greedy and self-serving. And yes, auto executives have been incompetent. But it has been the bureaucratization that has accompanied unionization that has been fatal.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, December 28, 2008

It’s Your Hide

Liberals and the Iraq Surge

From Peter Wehner, writing in Commentary:
In early January 2007, 71 percent of Americans said the Iraq war was going moderately badly to very badly. Indeed, the war had been unpopular for much of the previous years, at times deeply so. But by this past September, a nationwide Pew survey found “a striking rise in public optimism about the situation in Iraq.” According to the poll, 58 percent of Americans now believe the war in Iraq is going well or very well, and the same percentage now also say that the U.S. will definitely or probably succeed in Iraq.

This news is encouraging—and not terribly surprising. After all, most Americans have assessed the situation in Iraq based on a reasonable interpretation of events on the ground. And since the January 2007 announcement of the “surge”—President Bush’s decision to deploy 30,000 additional troops to Iraq, armed with a fundamentally new counterinsurgency strategy—the situation on the ground has, by every conceivable measure, improved. In some cases, the progress has been stunning.

And yet, no matter what most American believe or what reality tells us is so, leading liberal observers and politicians, long in the vanguard of opposition to the war, have denounced the surge at every point. Even as some, in the face of overwhelming evidence, have been forced to concede a modicum of American progress, they have done so reluctantly and have downplayed the role played by administration policy in achieving that progress. Others have denied that significant progress has been made at all.

Why they have responded in this way is a question worth exploring. But first it may be useful to establish the record.

The formal inauguration of the surge in January 2007—in announcing it, the President said it would “change America’s course in Iraq, and help us succeed in the fight against terror”—was met by liberal commentators with a skepticism bordering on derision.

Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post mocked Bush’s “fantasy-based escalation . . . which could only make sense in some parallel universe where pigs fly and fish commute on bicycles.” At Time, Joe Klein ridiculed “Bush’s futile pipe dream.” Jonathan Chait, writing in the Los Angeles Times, found “something genuinely bizarre” about those Americans who actually supported the new strategy. “It is not just that they are wrong. . . . It’s that they are completely detached from reality.” The New Republic’s Peter Beinart predicted that, by 2008, American soldiers would “still be dying, and the catastrophe will still be deepening.” In sending more troops to Baghdad, Beinart wrote, “Bush is showing his commitment to win—except that the United States has already lost.”

Liberal politicians were just as certain that the surge was a doomed and irresponsible policy. On the night of the announcement, Senator Barack Obama proclaimed: “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq are going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse.” Later in the month, Senator Joseph Biden declared: “If he surges another 20, 30 [thousand], or whatever number he’s going to, into Baghdad, it’ll be a tragic mistake.” Senator Hillary Clinton similarly insisted that “I cannot support [the] proposed escalation of the war in Iraq,” while Senator John Kerry said that sending in additional troops was not an “answer” but “a tragic mistake.”

Throughout the spring, even though the full complement of additional troops had yet to arrive in Iraq, the drumbeat of opposition continued, and so did intimations of American defeat. To Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, “the [American] lives lost in Iraq were wasted.” Former Ambassador Peter Galbraith, writing in the New York Review of Books, argued that Bush had embraced a plan that “has no chance of actually working. At this late stage, 21,500 additional troops cannot make a difference.” On Capitol Hill, Senator Christopher Dodd asserted that “there is no military solution in Iraq. To insist upon a surge is wrong.” Senate majority leader Harry Reid declared that “this surge is not accomplishing anything” and in April announced flatly that the Iraq war was “lost.”

Two months later, liberal critics of the war remained of the same mind, and were now demanding that we quit the field altogether. According to a July 8 New York Times editorial, the time had come “for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.” (This, despite the paper’s acknowledgment in the same editorial that an American pullout was likely to yield “further ethnic cleansing, even genocide,” not to mention regional chaos and more terrorism.) James Fallows of the Atlantic, a sharp critic of the surge from the outset, wrote that the expectations “being heaped” on it were “simply laughable.”

In August, Michael Ignatieff, formerly of Harvard and now deputy leader of Canada’s Liberal party, took to the pages of the New York Times Magazine with a mea culpa titled “Getting Iraq Wrong: What the War Has Taught Me About Political Judgment.” Ignatieff wrote:
The unfolding catastrophe in Iraq has condemned the political judgment of a President. But it has also condemned the judgment of many others, myself included, who as commentators supported the [2003] invasion. Many of us believed, as an Iraqi exile friend told me the night the war started, that it was the only chance the members of his generation would have to live in freedom in their own country. How distant a dream that now seems.
In fact, however, far from having turned into an “unfolding catastrophe,” the dream was already getting closer to realization. By the summer of 2007, although Iraq was still in many ways a broken nation, evidence was mounting that the surge was working. In almost no time, sectarian violence had been sharply decreased in Baghdad, and the provinces of Anbar and Diyala were being reclaimed. Coalition forces were making huge headway in human intelligence, and Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) was on the run.
By September, General David Petraeus was reporting substantial progress in Iraq, but the liberals simply refused to believe it.
But none of this mattered to the administration’s liberal critics, who to their earlier prognosis of failure were now adding charges of government cooking of the evidence. Even before the Petraeus-Crocker testimony, Senator Dick Durbin, the Democratic majority whip, warned Americans that “by carefully manipulating the statistics, the Bush-Petraeus report will try to persuade us that violence in Iraq is decreasing and thus the surge is working.” After the hearing, Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts said the general’s testimony was “just a façade to hide from view the continuing failure of the Bush administration’s strategy.” To Representative Rahm Emanuel, the general’s written report deserved to win “the Nobel Prize for creative statistics or the Pulitzer for fiction.”

Paul Krugman, an influential columnist for the New York Times, could not have agreed more. The administration, he flatly asserted, was intentionally misleading the public by “creating the perception that the ‘surge’ is succeeding, even though there’s not a shred of verifiable evidence to suggest that it is.” Others were even more reckless. A Democratic Senator complained to the website Politico that no one was willing to call Petraeus “a liar on national TV,” hoping instead that “outside groups will do this for us.” As if in response, MoveOn.org, the left-wing political-action committee, promptly took out a full-page ad in the New York Times proposing, in giant type, a new name for General Petraeus: “General Betray Us.”
It was a pretty sordid performance, and a stunning example of chosed-mindedness.

But why? Wehner has two hypotheses.
A generous interpretation is that by the end of 2006, many liberals had made a definitive good-faith judgment that the Iraq war was irretrievably lost. This then became the filter through which they viewed all later developments. Once convinced of the impossibility of substantial progress, never mind a decent outcome or an actual victory, they could not help receiving good news as anomalous and/or inherently unsustainable.
But then Wehner suggests this interpretation is too generous.
Enter, ignominiously, politics. For some liberals, hatred of the President was clearly so all-encompassing that they had developed a deep investment in the failure of what they habitually dismissed not as America’s war but as “Bush’s war.”
In short, liberals and leftists were consumed with a hatred of Bush, and could not bear the thought that the war would be a success.

Liberals will claim, if they admit they hate Bush at all, that they hate him because of the policies he has pursued. But the simple fact is that Bush hatred is cultural. Liberals don’t start with liberal policy preferences and hate Bush because he is a conservative. That could not possibly explain the depth of the hatred.

Rather, the hatred is cultural. As we explained to the Associated Press in 2004:
John McAdams, a political scientist at Marquette University, said resentment of Bush is particularly strong among liberals who already hold three things against him: “First, he’s a conservative. Second, he’s a Christian. And third, he’s a Texan. When you add all of those things up, that invokes pretty much every symbol of the cultural wars.”

“It’s particularly galling when somebody who mangles his syntax and doesn’t pronounce words extremely well and is from Texas beats you,” McAdams added.
This cultural hatred of Bush has not merely led to liberals wanting the Bush presidency to fail.

It has led to liberals wanting America to lose the war.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Go, Santa!

Labels:

Ideological Litmus Test in Social Work Schools

From Fox News:
A former student at the Rhode Island College School of Social Work is suing the school and several of his professors for discrimination, saying he was persecuted by the school’s “liberal political machine” for being a conservative.

William Felkner, 45, says the New England college and six professors wouldn’t approve his final project on welfare reform because he was on the “wrong” side of political issues and countered the school’s “progressive” liberal agenda.

Felkner said his problems with his professors began in his first semester, in the fall of 2004, when he objected in an e-mail to one of his professors that the school was showing and promoting Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” on campus. He said he objected because no opposing point of view was presented.

He said Professor James Ryczek wrote to him on Oct. 15, 2004, saying he was proud of his bias and questioning Felkner’s ability to “fit with the profession.”

“I think the biases and predilections I hold toward how I see the world and how it should be are why I am a social worker. In the words of a colleague, I revel in my biases,” he wrote.

Felkner’s complaint, filed two years ago, alleges that Ryczek discriminated against him for his conservative viewpoint and gave him bad grades because of it in several classes. It also alleges discrimination by other professors and administrators.

Felkner said he received failing grades in Ryczek’s class for holding viewpoints opposed to the progressive direction of the class.

Felkner says he was also discriminated against by Professor Roberta Pearlmutter, who he says refused to allow him to participate in a group project lobbying for a conservative issue because the assignment was to lobby for a liberal issue. He alleges that Perlmutter spent a 50-minute class “assailing” his views and allowed students to openly ridicule his conservative positions, and that she reduced his grade because he was not “progressive.”

The Rhode Island College School of Social Work did not respond to a request for comment.
While the Rhode Island College stonewalled (perhaps on advice of counsel), other social work faculty have spoken out on ideological biases.
Bruce Thyer, professor of social work and former dean at the College of Social Work at Florida State University, has written about discrimination against conservatives and against evangelical Christians in social work. He said discrimination hurts the profession.

“I have seen students actively discouraged from perusing social work because of their politically conservative views. I’ve also seen it happen with students who have held strong religious views,” he said. “I think that the profession is a great and noble discipline and there are occasional episodes like this that cast a black eye, and it’s really unnecessary.”

Thyer said liberal and conservative social workers have the same goal — to help people — and that the school overstepped its bounds in Felkner’s case.
One can, in other words, add social work to education as professions whose gatekeepers (university programs providing necessary credentials) impose an ideological litmus test.

Social work schools have particularly expressed concern that conservative Christian students might have biases that would prevent them properly serving homosexual clients.

Of course this could happen. But it could also happen that homosexual social workers or atheist social workers might let their biases prevent them from properly serving conservative Christian clients.

And students who are professed feminists certainly raise questions as to whether they can be fair to men in things like child support or child custody issues.

So what we have here is not any real, legitimate concern with professionalism, but rather raw political bias.

And what is so appalling is that liberals in academia less and less even feel the need to claim to be unbiased.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, December 19, 2008

You Might Be A Liberal

This is one of those things that go around via e-mail:
If you believe that women who stay at home to raise their children are repressed by a male-dominated society, but that women who wear hijabs are expressing freedom of religion - you might be a liberal.

If you quote the John Howard Society on the ineffectiveness of incarceration, and MADD on the effectiveness of drunk driving zero tolerance - you might be a liberal.

If you believe it should be illegal to smoke in your vehicle, but support legalized marijuana - you might be a liberal.

If you believe that a “woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” ut claim to love your sons as much as your daughters - you might be a liberal.

If you believe it is American hubris to believe they can bring democracy to the Middle East - but America’s shame for not reversing climate change - you might be a liberal.

If you reject absolute moral concepts like “right” and “wrong,” but believe George W. Bush is “evil” - you might be a liberal.

If you’re still waiting for the epidemic in AIDS cases among heterosexual women in America - you might be a Liberal.

If you’re an “advocate” for the poor who uses “trailer trash” as an insult - you might be a Liberal.

If you believe in evolution, but hold that all cultures are equal - you might be a liberal.

- Kate McMillan

Labels:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Che Chic and the Airhead Celebrities

This high-res video is too large to embed here, but go to Reason TV for a pointed dissection of the airheads who wear Che t-shirts and other insignia.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 08, 2008

Now Don’t You Dare Start Thinking “Intelligent Design!”

Discover magazine pretty much represents the scientific orthodoxy, as one can easily see if one searches its archives for the phrase “intelligent design.”

But a recent article makes some concessions to the concept by pointing out what you have to believe if you don’t believe in an Intelligence behind our universe.
Science’s Alternative to an Intelligent Creator: the Multiverse Theory

Our universe is perfectly tailored for life. That may be the work of God or the result of our universe being one of many.

A sublime cosmic mystery unfolds on a mild summer afternoon in Palo Alto, California, where I’ve come to talk with the visionary physicist Andrei Linde. The day seems ordinary enough. Cyclists maneuver through traffic, and orange poppies bloom on dry brown hills near Linde’s office on the Stanford University campus. But everything here, right down to the photons lighting the scene after an eight-minute jaunt from the sun, bears witness to an extraordinary fact about the universe: Its basic properties are uncannily suited for life. Tweak the laws of physics in just about any way and—in this universe, anyway—life as we know it would not exist.

Consider just two possible changes. Atoms consist of protons, neutrons, and electrons. If those protons were just 0.2 percent more massive than they actually are, they would be unstable and would decay into simpler particles. Atoms wouldn’t exist; neither would we. If gravity were slightly more powerful, the consequences would be nearly as grave. A beefed-up gravitational force would compress stars more tightly, making them smaller, hotter, and denser. Rather than surviving for billions of years, stars would burn through their fuel in a few million years, sputtering out long before life had a chance to evolve. There are many such examples of the universe’s life-friendly properties—so many, in fact, that physicists can’t dismiss them all as mere accidents.

“We have a lot of really, really strange coincidences, and all of these coincidences are such that they make life possible,” Linde says.

Physicists don’t like coincidences. They like even less the notion that life is somehow central to the universe, and yet recent discoveries are forcing them to confront that very idea. Life, it seems, is not an incidental component of the universe, burped up out of a random chemical brew on a lonely planet to endure for a few fleeting ticks of the cosmic clock. In some strange sense, it appears that we are not adapted to the universe; the universe is adapted to us.

Call it a fluke, a mystery, a miracle. Or call it the biggest problem in physics. Short of invoking a benevolent creator, many physicists see only one possible explanation: Our universe may be but one of perhaps infinitely many universes in an inconceivably vast multi­verse. Most of those universes are barren, but some, like ours, have conditions suitable for life.

The idea is controversial. Critics say it doesn’t even qualify as a scientific theory because the existence of other universes cannot be proved or disproved. Advocates argue that, like it or not, the multiverse may well be the only viable non­religious explanation for what is often called the “fine-tuning problem”—the baffling observation that the laws of the universe seem custom-tailored to favor the emergence of life.
The article goes on to quote Linde.
“And if we double the mass of the electron, life as we know it will disappear. If we change the strength of the interaction between protons and electrons, life will disappear. Why are there three space dimensions and one time dimension? If we had four space dimensions and one time dimension, then planetary systems would be unstable and our version of life would be impossible. If we had two space dimensions and one time dimension, we would not exist,” he says.
The article goes on to talk about concepts such as “dark energy” and “string theory,” and then points out that the multiverse theory is really a sort of “Hail Mary” (the article doesn’t use that expression) attempt to get around the need for some Intelligent Designer.
For many physicists, the multiverse remains a desperate measure, ruled out by the impossibility of confirmation. Critics see the anthropic principle as a step backward, a return to a human-centered way of looking at the universe that Copernicus discredited five centuries ago. They complain that using the anthropic principle to explain the properties of the universe is like saying that ships were created so that barnacles could stick to them.
Of course, an Intelligent Designer might well create a universe knowing that eventually all kinds of species -- and ultimately homo sapiens -- would evolve (or be created) there.
“If you allow yourself to hypothesize an almost unlimited portfolio of different worlds, you can explain anything,” says John Polkinghorne, formerly a theoretical particle physicist at Cambridge University and, for the past 26 years, an ordained Anglican priest. If a theory allows anything to be possible, it explains nothing; a theory of anything is not the same as a theory of everything, he adds.
At the end of the article is a sidebar listing a number of “Cosmic Coincidences” that, in our universe, are both vastly improbable by chance and necessary for life to arise.
If these cosmic traits were just slightly altered, life as we know it would be impossible. A few examples:

• Stars like the sun produce energy by fusing two hydrogen atoms into a single helium atom. During that reaction, 0.007 percent of the mass of the hydrogen atoms is converted into energy, via Einstein’s famous e = mc2 equation. But if that percentage were, say, 0.006 or 0.008, the universe would be far more hostile to life. The lower number would result in a universe filled only with hydrogen; the higher number would leave a universe with no hydrogen (and therefore no water) and no stars like the sun.

• The early universe was delicately poised between runaway expansion and terminal collapse. Had the universe contained much more matter, additional gravity would have made it implode. If it contained less, the universe would have expanded too quickly for galaxies to form.

• Had matter in the universe been more evenly distributed, it would not have clumped together to form galaxies. Had matter been clumpier, it would have condensed into black holes.

• Atomic nuclei are bound together by the so-called strong force. If that force were slightly more powerful, all the protons in the early universe would have paired off and there would be no hydrogen, which fuels long-lived stars. Water would not exist, nor would any known form of life.
Physicists, or course, are going to continue to search for a purely naturalistic explanation for what is, on its face, inexplicable in naturalistic terms.

That’s what they do.

But a sensible lay person might note that the only current alternative to an intelligently designed universe is a wildly speculative, utterly unproven theory.

Labels:

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Turkish Government Asks U.S. Government To Help Locate Video Producers Who “Insulted Ataturk”

From Hürriyet News:
Turkey seeks names of YouTube’s Ataturk insulters from U.S. gov’t

Turkey’s public prosecutor in Ankara has asked U.S. authorities to determine the identities of YouTube users that have posted insulting videos of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, and hand them over to Turkey.

Ankara public prosecutor Kursat Kayral has requested the identities of YouTube users, who insult Ataturk, Turkey and the country’s flag from the United States Justice Ministry in order to launch an investigation into these users.

Those YouTube users determined to be living outside Turkey will be detained upon entering the country, pending the outcome of an inquest [sic].

A Turkish court in Ankara ordered a ban on the world’s largest video-sharing site, YouTube, in May in response to videos that it deemed insulting to Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice was unable to immediately confirm or deny the existence of such a request.

Developing . . .

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

More Bluegrass!

An e-mail from our colleague Ryan Hanley:
Hi Bluegrass Fans and Friends,

With Thanksgiving cooking a fading memory and December holiday craziness just around the corner, this weekend is clearly the perfect time for a bluegrass break. Happily, the Cream City Bluegrass Band is here for you!

This Friday night (12/5), we’ll be at east side favorite Paddy’s Pub (2339 N. Murray, Milwaukee), from 9-midnight. Paddy’s has a great room upstairs that we’ve enjoyed playing before, and we’d be delighted to see you down there for a pint and some tunes if you can make it!
How good is the Cream City Bluegrass Band? As we’ve said before: pretty good. While they may not seriously rival the (say) Del McCoury Band, we can imagine them opening for McCoury, and leaving the audience throughly satisfied.

Check out the video of the band below.

Labels:

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

University Hires Staff to Spy on Students, Confront Politically Incorrect Comments

From the National Post:
Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., has hired six students whose jobs as “dialogue facilitators” will involve intervening in conversations among students in dining halls and common rooms to encourage discussion of such social justice issues as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability and social class.

“If there’s a teachable moment, we’ll take it,” said assistant dean of student affairs Arig Girgrah, who runs the program. “A lot of community building happens around food and dining.”

She gave the example of a conversation about a gay character on television as a good example of such a moment.

“It is all about creating opportunities to dialogue and reflect on issues of social identity,” Ms. Girgrah said. “This is not about preaching. It’s not about advice giving. It’s about hearing where students are at.”

Jason Laker, dean of student affairs, said their activities will also include formal discussion sessions, perhaps after controversial incidents in residence, and open discussions of topical books or movies.

“They’re not disciplinarians. They’re called facilitators for a reason,” he said, adding that such a program is of particular value now that so much communication by young people happens over the Internet.

“It’s not trying to stifle something. It’s trying to foster something,” he said. “We’re not trying to be parental.”

“We are trained to interrupt behaviour in a non-blameful and non-judgmental manner, so it’s not like we’re pulling someone aside and reprimanding them about their behaviour. It is honestly trying to get to the root of what they’re trying to say - seeing if that can be said in a different manner.”

Touting the Intergroup Dialogue Program as “unique among Canadian universities,” but modelled on programs in the United States, an administration newsletter says it will promote “a lasting experience of inclusive community and shared humanity.”

It is just one of many recent efforts to promote diversity - such as gender-neutral washrooms, prayer space, and halal and kosher food service - at a school that is still smarting from a report on systemic racism two years ago that criticized its “culture of whiteness.”

The editorial board of the student newspaper, the Queen’s Journal, acknowledged the good intentions of this latest effort, but was skeptical of a program that “seems to be an inadequate, lack lustre attempt to deal with social inequalities.”

“It’s unlikely six facilitators in a crowd of thousands will have much impact on fostering dialogue in residences,” they write, adding that the facilitators could face “hostility” from students who feel they have been “cornered” or had their privacy violated.
We would certainly hope so.

We wonder whether anybody is being fooled by the rhetoric about being “non-blameful and non-judgmental.” Maybe the administrators who concocted this scheme believe their own rhetoric.

Nobody else will be fooled. As the National Post said editorially:
Just who is Queen’s University trying to kid? The school may call its new political-correctness cops “facilitators.” It may insist they will not be eavesdropping on private conservations, “preaching” to students they overhear using “offending terms,” serving as “disciplinarians” or being judgmental. But administrators are simply deluding themselves with euphemisms if they swallow their own tripe. The half-dozen speech monitors employed by Queen’s dean of student affairs to wander campus and listen for mentions of racist, sexist, homophobic or other “non-inclusive” language, are nothing more than thought police.

The simple act of determining what terms are and are not “offending” is judgmental. Singling students out for “a respectful and educational dialogue” about how their “derogatory terminology” might lead to “marginalization or exclusion” of identifiable groups is the epitome of judgmentalism. Intruding on students’ chats with dorm mates or interrupting their joke telling in the cafeteria is the very definition of eavesdropping, even if Queen’s wants to insist it is not.

The facilitators’ job is to enforce ideas the administration finds acceptable and silence those it finds objectionable, even if the facilitators’ manner and tone is always to be “gentle.” An iron fist in a velvet glove remains an iron fist.

Regardless of how many of these “student-facilitator interactions” end “on a positive note,” their purpose is clear -- intimidation of those whose thoughts do not conform. No doubt being able to put a stint as a Queen’s University “intergroup facilitator” on one’s resume will be a great help in finding employment as a human rights commission investigator after graduation, since both positions require a badly warped sense of free speech and how to protect it.

Facilitators are the new social busybodies. Such speech and thought police have no place in a free society, but particularly not on a university campus.
But since when have college administrators cared about the standards of a free society?

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, December 01, 2008

Catholic “Social Justice” Bureaucracy Dominated by Leftists

We are a little late on this, but it’s still worth noting.

From the Free Republic:
This Sunday (Nov. 23rd) is the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). You may have heard that the CCHD had given over a million dollars per year to ACORN, a radically leftist group which seeks the election of “progressive” anti-life politicians among other things. The CCHD says that they will no longer be giving our donations to ACORN because there was reported embezzlement by [the brother of ] ACORN founder Wade Rathke some time ago. (see: http://www.usccb.org/cchd/morin_acorn_report.shtml)

[Editors Note: Wade Rathke was involved in covering up his brother’s embezzlement.]

There is a lot of confusion about what the CCHD is, how it works and whether faithful Catholics can be sure their donations will be put to use in a way consistent with Catholic teaching.

The CCHD is a social justice group established by the US Bishops. They collect money and then farm it out to various local and national organizations throughout the US. This is absolutely a fine and legitimate thing to do. Unfortunately, the groups selected by the CCHD to be stewards of our donations include many organizations which promote either Marxist socialism or anti-life/anti- church teaching. A complete list of last years grantees can be found here.
Just hearing the name “Catholic Campaign for Human Development” might make one think that money goes to scholarships for needy students, or youth centers in poor neighborhoods, or job training for women trying to get off welfare.

That assumption would be dead wrong. The list of people getting the money includes virtually nobody with anything other than a leftist political agenda.

Some random examples:

The Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center: This Seattle-based leftist Catholic group actively promotes women’s ordination, radical feminism, socialism, radical environmentalism, and a disregard for Church tradition. Read the brochure for their “Northwest Catholic Women’s Convocation” and ask yourself if this is something you would like to support via your CCHD donation. Also, note that one of the featured speakers is Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson who worships God as a goddess and stated “every aspect” of the Catholic faith “is not just tainted but perverted by the evil of patriarchy. It is not that the tradition has some problems; the tradition is the problem.” (see: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/nov/07111305.html)

Chinese Progressive Association: A Marxist/socialist group. (listed as a “meeting ground” in the communist newsletter “Voice of Revolution”
http://www.usmlo.org/arch2006/2006-04/VR060407.HTM) Supports Homosexual Marriage
(http://www.marriageequality.org/?page=supporters).

The Somali Action Alliance: lists both the CCHD and the very pro-abortion Women’s Foundation of MN as partners. (see: http://www.somaliactionalliance.org/news.php and http://www.wfmn.org/health.shtml)

Los Angeles chapter of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice: Chairman is Rev. James M. Lawson Jr. who in 2001 stated in a speech: “The U.S. has become the number-one enemy of peace and justice in the world today.” He regularly speaks on Marxist themes and has stated “The revolution this nation needs has not yet begun.”

(http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/)

The simple fact is that the Church has always been subject to penetration by secular forces, and the leftist tilt of the “social justice” bureaucracy is just the latest example of something that has been happening for 2,000 years.

But there may still be, out there, some devout but somewhat naïve Catholics who think that if some institution is part of the church bureaucracy it is actually loyal to Church teaching.

They might also assume that if they happen to have a relatively conservative Archbishop (like Dolan) that people and projects radically contrary to Church teaching and subversive of church doctrine will be kept out of the Archdiocese.

The reality: the enemy is within.

Labels: , ,