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September 30, 2003

Yesterday morning, CNN's little poll on their website was something about whether or not you agree with Clark that Bush is an embarrassment to the people of this country. When I read reports like this, I can only think, hell, yes.

David Brooks is perpetrating the myth of the liberal university. He says conservatives have to hide their political beliefs or they won't get tenure but he fails to point out that tenure is the golden ring granted to only a fraction of university professors under any circumstances. Also:

Conservative professors emphasize that most discrimination is not conscious. A person who voted for President George W. Bush may be viewed as an oddity, but the main problem in finding a job is that the sort of subjects a conservative is likely to investigate - say, diplomatic or military history - do not excite hiring committees.
First, that's a dumb remark. There are plenty of liberals interested in "diplomatic or military history."

But let's assume that it's true. Then we have to ask ourselves just how many specialists in "diplomatic or military history" any one university needs. Maybe it's not that they won't give tenure to conservatives. Maybe it's just that conservatives are keeping themselves out of the running by not selecting a subject that a university might be interested in to round out its staff.

In any case, the university atmosphere is "hostile and discriminatory" to a lot of people, regardless of their political beliefs and with the recent decision that underrepresented minorities, who don't have the option of being "really quiet" about who they are, are no longer to be given all they help they can get to help level the playing field, I really don't have a lot of energy left to cry for conservatives who might not get tenure some day.

On the other hand, you should absolutely read this David Brooks column, because he hits the nail on the head. I'd have been more impressed if he'd come up with this suggestion that we all get back to debating the issues when there wasn't a fallible and failing Republican in office, but I understand he probably would have choked if he'd tried it, so whatever. (And then, heh, heh, I read the rest of his column and I get to the last paragraph and I have to laugh.)

Hah. Krugman agrees with me! (Okay, he's unaware of my existence. But he says, better than I've been able to, that comparisons of "nation-building" in Iraq to what took place in post-war Europe are bogus.) He also takes a couple of passing potshots at the more ubiquitous examples of 'cronyism' in Iraq. (I would like it if he, or anyone would point out that the USofA's behavior over that cell phone service matter belies any pretense of allowing the free market a hand in the country.)

And then, of course, there's always really depressing news.

I'm sorry, but I don't buy it. An episode like this isn't, "a tragic story arising out of irreconcilable cultural differences between traditional Kurdish values and the values of western society" it's mental illness.

(Yes, I know all about the repressive treatment of women in those cultures, but there's a difference between an "honor killing", repugnant as the concept is, and a man who suffers years of depression, beats a girl for months, then stabs her repeatedly before trying to commit suicide. The fact that he's now begging the authorities to put him to death is also an indication of how sick he is. Not that I don't agree that he deserves it.)

Historically I've always disapproved of the eradication of various cultures around the world as more and more countries become homogonously Westernized, but there are some facets of other cultures that need to be eradicated.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:05 AM