The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 19, 2001, Page 4, Image 4

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    Page 4_Daily Nebraska Monday, March 19,2001
Since 1901
Editor Sarah Baker
Opinion Page Editor’ Jake Glazeski
Managing Editor Bradley Davis
Perlman's plans
Future goals are on target,
need more refinement
The university named Harvey Perlman as the
next chancellor of the University of Nebraska
Lincoln last Friday.
While we applaud and congratulate Perlman,
now is the time to turn our focus to the future and
his particular goals and plans.
On Friday, Perlman emphasized four major
objectives that will shape his work as chancellor.
The first was an emphasis on making UNI, a
major research university, competitive on the
national scene.
This jyill help the university in more ways than
one; not only will it increase the quality of our
education as students, but it will also help draw
talented students and faculty in Nebraska and
The second was a commitment to improving
undergraduate education. •
Undoubtedly, if the university wishes to draw
the most intelligent students from this state, it
must be committed to challenging them while
they’re hoe.
But it is important to point out here that the
university should not limit itself to improving
just certain programs, chosen according to the
prioritization, or to certain contingents of the
student population, such as the Honors
Students need to be challenged and the level
of expectations need to be raised across the
board, from the “easy” 100-level courses to the
major-specific, prerequisite-laden 400-level
Further, recruitment of students needs to be
more vigorous and personal. The university
depends too much on tradition and sloth to gain
its most promising students-it needs to go out
and pursue them just as vigorously as it pursues
the top athletes of the country - which involves
more than a form letter or twa
The third objective was a promise to be true to
the university's land-grant mission obligations
while also unifying UNL!s two campuses.
This mote holistic approach should be taken
cautiously. While this university has an obliga
tion to the agriculture sector, it must regard this
obligation objectively and be willing to re-evalu
ate traditional practices which may be impracti
cal and counter-productive.
The fourth objective was a commitment to
The Daily Nebraskan has always lauded
Perlman's proactive approach to creating an
atmosphere that is both diverse and friendly to
diversity, but we must also attach a disrlaimpr tn
such support
Diversity is all well and good, but we must
identify justwhat cfiversity is, what it means to be
diverse and how we are going to get there.
Without proper understanding and well-articu
lated goals, diversity is little more than a flaming
banner for intermittent witch-hunts. With wise
leadership and specific goals, the pursuit of
diversity could result in a culturally rich and
comfortable atmosphere for all students at the
Most importantly, Perlman has emphasized
that he will not be able to achieve his objectives
alone. He needs, in other words, the active sup
port of faculty, students and state.
This might serve as a pointed reminder to the
state's voters that their actions can hurt the uni
versity, whatever talents Perlman may have.
If they continue trying to tie the university's
hands by passing legislation like same-sex union
bans and fetal-tissue research bans, it will be
impossible for Perlman to draw in gifted and
diverse faculty and students.
Ecfltorkal Board
Sarah Baker, Jeff Boom, Bradley Davis, Jake Glazeski,
Matthew Hansen, Samuel McKewon, Kimberty Sweet
Letters Policy
TIuDdyMdwIwi wefcmiaaUNfIWIwtothoWorwrignwmtnw
tw Mr puttotfon. The (My Nrimtan Maine the rig* to adt or rajact any mWU aubnttted
SitonttsdniaSsitalbecanMe property of the Daly Nebraskan and cannot be relumed. Anonymous
mAimMono wSI not bo piAMwd. Those Mho sUmt lettm muW ideatify themsetues by name,
vmt In school ftMriomVbr otdud aflBetion. If m
20 htabTMica LMon, 1400 R St. L^xxslrt, NE 686B&-0448
E-mafc IflttnOdfllyrwbxoni
EdNorW Poicy
Unsigned hMsmIm opinions of the Spring 2001 OaSy Nebraskan. They do not necwstrty
«Mact tha views of iha University of NabraakfrUncotn, Ms employees, its student body or the
Unhanly of Nebraska Board of ftaganfe A ooturm is solely tha opHon of Its author a cwtoonia
soMy the opHon of ts artist. The Board orRsgsnts acts as pubtahsr of the Daly Nebraskan; po«
cy la aat by to CMy Nebraskan EdtorM Board. Tha UNL Pubfcadorw Boad, asbMshad by the
regents, sipaviaestfie production of the paper. Accorfng to pofcyset by the regents, reepona
b»y far toeadtatrt consent of tie newapapalasaolaly tithe hands ofbemployeea.
Ideas don't make a tyrant
“An idea isn’t responsible
far die people who believe in
- Don Marquis, New York
Ideas are funny things
because our brains work in
funny ways.
Our minds have several
strange habits, such as for
getting things that are terri
My important while highlighting thi> utterly hanal
Sometimes our memories conflate two very differ
ent ideas, such as when we meet a woman for the
first time when she’s wearingayellow dress, and for
years after, whenever we think of her, we picture
her wearing that same yellow dress.
History, or at least our memory of it, works
along the same lines: We forget some things,
remember others and conflate ideas that don't
necessarily belong together.
A perfect example of this latter phenomenon is
the widespread belief that communism (or social
ism) causes tyranny, while capitalism is all that is
necessary for democracy and freedom to flourish
When Americans think of communism, they
almost invariably think of Stalin, Iron Curtains,”
Gulags and the KGB. This view - that a country’s
economic system is inextricably linked to its polit
ical system-was shared by America's most famous
libertarian economist, Milton Friedman.
In his classic text, “Capitalism and Freedom,*
Friedman argued that “a society which is socialist
cannot also be democratic, in the sense of guaran
teeing individual freedom... [because] economic
freedom is... an indispensable means toward die
achievement of political freedom.” (p. 8) By casting
his argument in such a way, Friedman leaves him
self open to a powerful criticism: The facts simply
speak otherwise.
If we define what we mean by
"political freedom" — such as a
robust respect for human rights -■
and free and full participation in
democratic government - it quickly
becomes apparent that several countries with
comparatively little economic freedom offer a
much stronger array of political freedom than a
capitalist stalwart like the United States.
Countries like the Netherlands and Sweden, or
even England and Canada, have economic sys
tems much more socialist than our own, but
every civil rights advocate looks toward
Western Europe as a model of
social freedom the
United States
should aspireto.
in almost all
areas, such as
GLBT rights,
reproductive free
doms, abolish
ment of the death
penalty and treatment
of drug offenses, these
countries fare far better than
the United States.
On the other hand, Friedman
himself was directly involved with a
country with a rigorous degree of eco
nomic libertarianism and drastic human
rights abuses.
In 1973, after almost 150 years of civilian ^
democratic rule, die government of Chile was
overthrow^ by right-wing military dictator
Augusto Pinochet Shortly after coming to power,
the “Caravan of Death," a military group operating
under Pinochet’s name, toured detention centers
across the country and summarily executed per
ceived opponents of the new regime.
The curtailment of political freedoms and con
donation of human rights abuses continued
throughout Pinochet's long reign. (He is currently
under indictment by various countries for his
Who were Pinochet's economic advisors dur
ing this period?
Milton Friedman and the "Chicago Boys,"
Chilean economists who studied under him at the
University of Chicago. For all of the libertarian eco
nomic policies Pinochet instituted, political free
dom was nowhere to be found.
Ironically, the democratically elected president
of Chile he assassinated was a socialist
A similar comparison can be made in our own
country. From die New Deal to today, America has
drastically increased its economic regulation.
But can it be honestly said that our civil rights
and political freedoms have decreased during this
period? If you ask most minority groups, the
answer would clearly be no, but this is what
Friedman’s diesis logically entails.
The fact that a bloodthirsty dictator used
Friedman's ideas does not necessarily make them
wrong. The question must always be whether the
actions carried out can he logically linked to die
ideas held. The Inquisition invoked Jesus and die
Nazis invoked Nietzsche, but neither man could he
held fairly responsible for the evils done in their
Similarly then, to attribute the evils of Stalin to
the ideas of Marx is also irrational. As scholar
David McLellan said: “After the success of the 1917
Revolution the ever-growing power of Stalin
entailed the formulation of Communist doctrine
as for removed from Marx as were die decisions of
the Council of Dent from the New Testament”
This is further home out by the fact that many
people who believed in Marx's ideas used demo
cratic means to further their cause. The United
States’ Socialist Party, for example, succeeded in
electing 56 mayors and one congressman and
received almost one million votes in die
presidential election of 1912.
the fact that economic sys
tems and political systems are
not invariably linked does not mean
that they are not important. As Keynes
said: “The ideas of economists and Dolitical
philosophers, both when they are right and when
they are wrong, are more powerful than is com
monly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled
by little else. Practical men. who believe
themselves to be quite exempt from
any intellectual influences,
are usually me slaves ot
some defunct econ
Debit lonowski/DN
we must oe
aware of these
ideas - and the
sometimes sub
tle differences
between thenj
if we are to have
any hope of
choosing the
best form of gov
ernment, both
economically and
Please write back!
Comments? Questions?
Write us at
Flower child,
Ever since the Ted
heyday of WtiAAlAr
protesting ended
in the 70s, those
leading the protests have had a hard time
finding work.
With nothing left to protest and no
drugs officially classified as experimental
anymore (roofies not yet being invent
ed), they thought euCTydungthaf couldhe
done, hadbeendone, forgetting about tel
evision and its seemingly endless
employment opportunities.
However, during the '80s, these
incredible prospects in the entertain
ment industry dawned on the hippie
community in a mushroom-shaped,
watercolor-painted vision, induced after
spending several days crouched in a
semicircle inside of an opium den with
David Crosbv.
As if it were destined so, they would
no longer leave the hit parts of the trazy
unde" to be hoarded by Boxcar Willie and
millionaires dressed up like 18^-century
ragamuffins eating can after aidless can
of beans. Not in America, the land of
Soon, the airwaves would be filled
with words such as *fcroovy* and “dude/*
as Alf and Alex Keaton had their first
encounters with the lovable characters
that dressed in tie-dye, wore headbands
and talked like the were from the outa
reaches of space, or at least the East
Of course, the occasional sitcom
work, where the message was secondary
to the humor-that is, fashions of the past
- took centa stage but couldn't sustain
an entire bunch of people, so the majori
ty of now-starving hippies wae left with
nothing to eat but their virtues. (Which
taste a little like chicken basted with self
respect, but not enough to enjoy It, IVe
Nonetheless, the sitcoms- as worth
less as theywere, even by todayfekN* low;
low, low standards-still presented some
of the message that die mainstreamed
beatniks so valiantly fought foe
Ifnothing else, the uneducated view
a found out that there used to be injus
tices in this country, much like the sav
ages of modem Canada. That is, before
our faithful protesters drove die injus
tices out of Goctfs favorite nation and into
Mexico like some sort of modem-day,
bell-bottomed, pot-smoking Pied Pipers.
Although it provided some much
needed cash then, the initial sell-out in
the '80s didn't put food on their tables or
Luckily for Pepsi, ifno one else, those
innovative hippies saw another need
that they could satisfy-that is, a place
where underage white kids could steal
beer and then grope, or even sexually
assault basically helpless girls in some
sort of "Million-Man Prat Party* - and
provided the public with it by producing
the second and third incarnations of
Additionally, in faithful testimonials,
television has taught us the true meaning
of die original Woodstock, the greatest
statement of the protest generation -
regardless of what happened at Kent
State-betwem commercials for individ
ually packaged cheese slices and syn
thetic motor oil - all featuring Wavy
Gravy, for a price, of course.
recently, alter seeing those hippies
gorging themselves on the fatted calf for
so long, foe protest gurus from the 70s
decided to get in on the action. Even the
stubborn John Fogerty, former frontman
of CCR, or Christmas-season Crucifix
Replications Inc., has sold-out to keep
foe gravy train rolling on through his
humble bayou home, located just south
of Beveriy Hitts.
One of his most recognizable and
marketable songs, “Fortunate Son,” is
now being used to sell blue jeans in a tel
evision commercial. The line, “some
folks are bom to wave foe flag, 6oh that
red, white and blue” was used to show
what brand of blue jeans all patriotic
Americans buy-or at least, the brand all
the synthetically beautiful Americans
buy. I don’t know what regular,
unprocessed people wear; and, honestly,
I don't care to know either!
Anyway, the commercial works on
the basis that Fogerty wrote a great patri
otic song, having us believe that every
thing is fine and good underneath the
brilliant Red, White and Blue. We can
only assume that in future commercials,
foe songs will continue, revealing the
hilarious irony of using the song for such
a purpose, in an attempt to sell jeans to
the cynical intelligentsia of Generation X.
Or. more likely, to save the marketing
team from embarrassment, they could
get Fogerty to change the tauntingly
effective belts of “It ain’t me, it ain’t me. I
ain't no senator's son. It ain’t me, it ain’t
me. I’m not a fortunate one" to lyrics
more consistent to the commercial. I’m
sure he could record the new song with
“It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I don’t worry about
slave labor none. It ain’t me, it ain’t me. I
just sell blue jeans by the ton” by the end
of the week, if not sooner
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying
we can’t trust advertising executives any
more, or southerners for that matter but
• you honestly tell me foe message hasn’t
been perverted. It’s as obvious as Mr. T
being truthful about “pitying the fooL" A
Maybe when Neil Young lets
Firestone use his song “Ohio” to sell steel
belted radials, you'll finally see the truth.