The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 19, 2001, Page 4, Image 4
Page 4_Daily Nebraska Monday, March 19,2001 Zto/vNebraskan 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 beyond 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 Program. 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 courses. 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 diversity. 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 universitv. 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. ♦ 0ur*Wi [3*538 rf\ MegnCody/DN Ideas don't make a tyrant “An idea isn’t responsible far die people who believe in it* - Don Marquis, New York Sun 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 Jeremy Patrick 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 crimes.) 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 name. 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. However, 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 omist” 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 politically. Please write back! Comments? Questions? Write us at email@example.com Flower child, TV-style 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 Opportunity!™ 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 Coast 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 heard.) 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 gasintheir\blkswagonbusesmthe,90s. 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 Woodstock. 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 no-brainer Maybe when Neil Young lets Firestone use his song “Ohio” to sell steel belted radials, you'll finally see the truth.