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Archive for the 'Marxists' Category

На здаровье! (To Your Health)

June 24th, 2009 by Vincent

Well, tonight saw President Obama’s “health care forum”. The ABC network has come under a great deal of criticism for its perceived kowtowing to the Obama Administration and refusing to sell ad time to the dissenting Republicans (can you imagine the outrage had the players instead been Fox News and President Bush, circa 2004?). The Republicans are calling the whole thing an “infomercial“. Media Matters is calling Fox News a bunch of hyporites (I guess whether “turnabout is fair play” or “he who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster” is a more appropriate slogan for the left’s sudden enthusiasm for uncomfortably close ties between the government and the media depends on which side of the aisle one hails from…). Meanwhile, reports indicate that ABC employees donated to the Obama campaign by a factor of roughly 80:1 ($124,421 to Obama, $1,550 to McCain) and Michelle Malkin is howling about “astroturfing“. Other statistics (“damned lies…” and all that…) indicate that 89% of Americans are more or less satisfied with their health care, raising the question of why exactly it’s so urgent to push through health care reform right now — as others have mentioned, maybe fixing Medicare first would provide an encouraging example of Obama’s brilliant ideas on health care — or is Walter Reed a harbinger of state-run health care (actually Walter Reed is state-run health care…)?

But never mind all that. The masthead says “a conservative journal of opinion” and, since we’re not getting any of that sweet, sweet, free stimulus money (and since we find the idea of the government bailing out newspapers utterly repugnant– sorry journalism majors), I thought I’d call attention to Cato’s crucial coverage of what’s poised to be a total health-care debacle — one of positively federal proportions. In any case, you can find an informative live-blogged response to the President’s err…  “highly adversarial” appearance on ABC here.

And in case you don’t give two squirts of piss about the de facto socialization of health care in this country, I invite you to instead discuss this article, which seeks to establish whether or not the “ band” is “legit” or not. But I’ll never respect you again.

(Even) More on Intellectual Diversity

June 14th, 2009 by Vincent

Rather than trying to append this to the smoking, charred remains of the last post that dealt with intellectual diversity, I thought I’d give this piece from Kenneth Anderson at The Volokh Conspiracy its own space.

Much has been made in the comments section of this blog about what the problem actually looks like and what can be done about it, and I think that Anderson does a reasonably good job of crystallizing a few of the major concerns regarding the lack of intellectual diversity in the academy.

He makes clear the results of a lack of intellectual diversity in the academy, and it’s not just that students run the risk of ending up in a classroom with biased instructors. Rather, courses that approach subject matter from a conservative or libertarian perspective simply are not taught. This is due in large part to the fact that many existing faculty are either uninterested or unable to teach such courses, with the outcome that classes in conservative political thought or historical interpretation, etc. have more or less disappeared from curricula. For support he cites Peter Berkowitz, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, who writes:

To be sure, a political science department may feature a course on American political thought that includes a few papers from “The Federalist” and some chapters from Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America.”

But most students will hear next to nothing about the conservative tradition in American politics that stretches from John Adams to Theodore Roosevelt to William F. Buckley Jr. to Milton Friedman to Ronald Reagan. This tradition emphasizes moral and intellectual excellence, worries that democratic practices and egalitarian norms will threaten individual liberty, attends to the claims of religion and the role it can play in educating citizens for liberty, and provides both a vigorous defense of free-market capitalism and a powerful critique of capitalism’s relentless overturning of established ways. It also recognized early that communism represented an implacable enemy of freedom.


While ignoring conservatism, the political theory subfield regularly offers specialized courses in liberal theory and democratic theory; African-American political thought and feminist political theory; the social theory of Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber and the neo-Marxist Frankfurt school; and numerous versions of postmodern political theory.

Berkowitz argues that, far from actively seeking “conservative” scholars during faculty searches, departments should instead look for professors who, regardless of their political background, would be able to convincingly teach a courses about conservative interpretations of history, ideas, politics, etc. to complement the stable of scholars in virtually every humanities or social science department who are fluent in leftish ideas.

This approach would likely have the effect of attracting a more “diverse” group of applicants and nullifies the basis of the argument that only “liberal people apply to liberal schools” (or the even more absurd notion that conservatives are simply too thick to be academics) while at the same time avoiding any sort of political “litmus test” during the hiring process.

While approvingly quoting Berkowitz’s admonition against “affirmative action for conservatives,” Anderson also notes the stultifying results of the left-liberal coccoon in academia:

… within an academic institution, I find myself treated as “conservative” – either to recoil from in faint horror, with a certain advice to students, well, if you take him, you have to know what you’re getting, or with a certain faint institutional pride that we’re broad-minded enough to have someone like him, which is to say, there is nothing an academic institution cannot praise itself for if it tries hard enough. I’ve had conversations – earnest, well-intentioned – that amounted to saying, “We’re so glad you’re our token conservative.”

If a quality education that exposes students to a wide variety of ideas and perspectives is indeed the mission of this institution (and sometimes one wonders…), then it simply isn’t enough to retort “well, go take an economics class” whenever someone complains that conservative ideas are given short shrift in the academy. Students actually need to be able to expose themselves to a truly diverse set of ideas that are taught by people who’re interested in and qualified to teach them, regardless of their political background (I mean, can you imagine what a class at the UO campus on the ideas of Ronald Reagan or William F. Buckley might look like?).

As it stands, students are often presented with the illusion of choice and given the option of taking courses in any number of subjects, a large number of which approach the course material, whatever it may be, with much the same theoretical framework.

That’s not diversity, and telling conservative academics to get out of town and move to Texas doesn’t change that.

Journalism teacher says conservatives are Dixie-loving hicks

June 9th, 2009 by CJ Ciaramella

Journalism grad student Dan Lawton has a new post over at his blog with responses to his recent ODE opinion piece on the lack of ideological diversity on campus. The  responses are all very predictable (“There are no Republican professors because you have to be smart to be a professor. Hurr hurr hurr!”). But then you get to the comment from UO journalism teacher Dan Morrison, who is on the record as saying (emphasis added):

You may be very upset that the University of Oregon, which, I may point out, is funded by people who live in a liberal state, and therefore, no surprise, tends to be liberal, attracts professor applying for a job who tend to be liberal. But as a student you have a choice. You do not have to come here. You most certainly can choose to spend your money to go to school in Alabama, or Texas, or Mississippi, or Georgia, or Louisiana or South Carolina.  And if you like conservatism, you can certainly attend the University of Texas, and you can walk past the statue of Jefferson Davis every day on your way to class.

Whoa, whoa, hold on. Full stop. Really? I don’t know where Morrison gets off, but the last time I checked, being conservative does not mean one is some sort of neo-Confederate. In fact, that’s a fairly disgusting and disingenuous statement to make. Way to really raise the level of discourse there, tiger. Of course, maybe Morrison has just been yukking it up with his UO colleagues so long that he doesn’t realize everyone’s not an effete, latte-sipping pinko. (Do you see how that works?)

Second, perhaps some of us can’t afford out-of-state tuition. Perhaps some of us simply want a decent education at the state’s supposed “flagship university.” And as a “flagship university” or a “hot brand” or whatever the UO’s touting itself as these days, maybe we’re upset because we’re paying to sit in class and listen to pious, liberal professors tell us how evil cars/Bush/guns are instead of trying to provide us with an actual education.

P.S. I forgot to mention: Lawton challenged Morrison to an open debate of the subject, which Morrison declined.

Student Insurgent Endorses Fiscal Conservatism!

May 28th, 2009 by Vincent

In the latest issue of the Student Insurgent (at least I think it’s the latest… aside from a calendar advertising events in May at the “Eugene Free School”, I can’t find a date anywhere on this thing), noted advocates for fiscal responsibility, Joey Beats and Cimmeron Gillespie fire a devastating broadside against the Student Rec Center, admonishing the Rec Center for its profligate ways.

We couldn’t agree more! In fact, former OC Editor-in-Chief Ted Niedermeyer scooped the Insurgent on this story about two years ago (story begins on page 20). Still, it’s nice to see the Insurgent kids finally take notice of the massive misallocation of student dollars at the University of Oregon:

This problem of funding as [sic] been a constant issues [sic] for the Rec. Center, as they have gone before student government asking for more money, year after year and received in full, [sic] their requested funding… Such waste is intolerable given the national financial state and our own Fat-Katz administration’s promises of ‘fiscal responsibility’.

No doubt it’s only a matter of time before these newly minted fiscal conservatives at the Insurgent join the Oregon Commentator in demanding higher standards of accountability and less wasteful spending of student money across the board in the ASUO.

Will they reverse their support of that notorious money sink known as OSPIRG? Hope springs eternal.

Then again, one of their letters to the editor in the latest issue describes how the Insurgent gang gave some random anarchist a ride to the Bay Area in a “state-owned” van and proceeded to go “to the co-ops in Berkeley for a naked, neon good time,” so I’m not getting my hopes up.

One can only wonder if that trip was paid for by student money and, if it was, how the Insurgent staff squares that with their sudden commitment to prudent fiscal management.


The next column in the Insurgent, attributed to “Greenwash Guerillas”, lambasts the U of O for it’s attempts at “greenwashing” through the use of carbon offsets. It begins with the paragraph:

Carbon offsets follow the same logic as indulgences did for the Catholic Church centuries ago. Offsetting argues that if you do something “bad” you can mitigate that by paying someone to do something “good” in your name.

Did we buy up the Insurgent with some of that blog contest money and someone just forgot to tell me, or something?

“According to…”

May 13th, 2009 by Vincent

Well, campus today is all aflutter for the impending “march on Johnson Hall“. In what seems to be a deliberate attempt to rekindle past glories, the “Step Up, Oregon!” faction is going to demand that Oregon distance itself from a clothing manufacturer accused of employing sweatshop labor, breaking the law, and generally being very, very bad.

Even the ASUO is trying to get in on the action.

I want to avoid weighing in on whether Russell is an evil company or not; They may very well be, and I’m in no position to say they aren’t.

The problem I have with virtually every argument that I’ve seen advocating breaking with Russell (apparently in violation of OUS rules) is that they do little more than repeat Workers Rights Consortium talking points without even a hint of skepticism.

We’re told that closing down a factory “…prompted Worker Rights Consortium investigations, which found that the decision to close the factory was at least partly because of [unionization attempts], constituting a violation of Honduran labor laws.”

That’s all very well and good, but did anyone honestly expect them to come to any other conclusion? The WRC has painted a proverbial target on Russell’s back, and I think everyone would be absolutely shocked if they didn’t reach the exact conclusion that they did, in fact, reach.

To put it another way, I find the WRC’s “findings” about as convincing as a report reading something along the lines of “an investigation by the Democratic National Committee found that George W. Bush was a bad President” or “investigations by the Communist Party of the USA found that capitalism is bad”. Those statements may or may not be true, but, like anything coming from the WRC, they’re not exactly unbiased.

As part of their college education, students are expected to show at least a modicum of skill in critical thinking.

It would be nice if those skills could be put to use questioning the veracity of claims of corporate wrongdoing made by an organization whose express purpose is to accuse corporations of wrongdoing.

I’m not necessarily disputing the claims that Russell may in fact be a rotten company. I’d just like to see people be a bit more careful about repeating what amounts to little more than propaganda.

Then again, hope springs eternal.

Remember: Marxism Isn’t Funny

May 10th, 2009 by Vincent

"Oh, pookie!"

A sneak preview of our possible upcoming issue of “The Comic Pravda.”

On Cognitive Dissonance

April 27th, 2009 by CJ Ciaramella

From your local college Republicans:

The whole “Obama = communism” thing is a little stale (George Bush not exactly being the paragon of fiscal restraint and all), but it is funny to see vapid college kids get sent through the ringer.

P.S. Be on the lookout for ASUO Vice President Johnny Delashaw (he of the dirty mustache), who has probably the most awesome spot in the video.


April 17th, 2009 by Vincent


“Karl Rules! ‘Cause He Kicked All the Bad Guys in Their Jewels!”

April 11th, 2009 by Vincent

A few months ago, I wrote about the publication of a comic book version of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. Not to be upstaged by the Japanese, Red China is planning to stage Das Kapital: The Opera:

Normally disdained by revolutionaries as a bourgeois art form, the show’s producers insist that in the confident, modern-day People’s Republic, opera is a novel way to explain the proletariat’s triumph in the class struggle.


Mr He, who is best known for a stage adaptation of a martial-arts spoof, plans to open the production in Shanghai next year, and will borrow elements from Broadway musicals and Las Vegas shows. There will, however, be no trivialisation of the book’s core messages: an economist from a local university has been asked to ensure that it remains intellectually respecful of Marxist doctrine. [emphasis added]

Marx + opera + Jackie Chan? This could be worth seeing.