Liberty & Power: Group Blog
I just wrote a long post in response to Charles Nuckolls' piece,"Bye-bye to tenure." (I've been remiss, in fact, in not acknowledging Charles' previous posts about academia, along with King Banaian's.)
I can see that I must resist the temptation to type my thoughts into a cgi without backup, for my entire post has vanished into the ozone, and I don't have time to reconstitute it today.
I assume, though, that Charles is not referring to legislative enactments that abolish tenure at state universities. Some of these have been introduced in state legislatures (including South Carolina's), but I know of none that have passed.
So what could Charles be referring to?
(1)"Post-tenure review" procedures? (We have those in South Carolina now... and 30 states sounds about right.)
(2) Arbitrary firings of tenured professors, often done in the teeth of institutional rules? (These happen occasionally.)
(3) The longer-term erosion of the system by hiring more and more Instructors and Lecturers who will never be eligible for tenure?
There's lots to talk about here, but first we need to know what our topic is.
As a libertarian, and a political scientist, I'm really fascinated by the bind that Bush has put himself into. There's no way his conservative base can be thrilled with his economics, but his wild, almost drunken, spending on domestic programs doesn't seem to have given him much traction among independents or Democrats. It has, however, cost us all dearly.
The issue came up briefly during the 2000 race because the Democrats thought they could effectively contrast Gore's service with Bush's draft dodging. For whatever reason they couldn't make it stick, and it's unlikely that even a decorated war hero will do much to push the issue this year. Let's all remember that the last time the Democrats ran a war hero it was George McGovern.
But it does remind me how odd I find the GOP's staunch support among military types, even when Republican politicians use privilege and power to avoid military service. I can recall having a rather heated discussion with a friend of mine who is a major in the army about the 2000 election. He was, unsurprisingly, voting for Bush, and I asked him point blank how he could vote for a draft dodger. He gave me a bland policy-based answer, and I dropped the debate after my girlfriend dragged me away from the conversation. In the spirit of full disclosure I'd had a few beers and haven't voted since 1992.
I think the answer is not just self-interest. Obviously Republicans like spending a lot more money on defense spending, and Republicans have tended to avoid wars in the 20th century...
Wow, things are heating up in this little corner of cyberspace! Mark is trying to out-libertarian David Bernstein (I caught the same point in David's op-ed) and Arthur is calling W treasonous for trying to enshrine heterosexual marriage in the Constitution. Hard to argue with either of those positions! For those interested in the same-sex marriage issue, there was quite an intense debate over on the Hayek-L list the week before last that might be worth looking at. The thread headers should be obvious. I will just add, about my own participation in that debate, that my position is identical to Arthur's: ideally the state should be out of marriage, but in the world in which we live where the state is involved, as should be the case with all such involvements, it may not discriminate in its actions.
The conservative animus toward same-sex marriage never ceases to amaze me. It cannot be explained, in my view, by any rational objection. The good news is that I see much less of this animus among my students, including those who are otherwise pretty conservative. In the end, the conservative objection often amounts to philosophically tortured attempts to justify the "naturalness" or "genital compatibility" of heterosexual marriage/procreation, ignoring when such marriages involve infertile persons or placing genitals where they, supposedly, don't belong. If not that, it becomes a really weak attempt to construct evidence and argument where none exists, e.g. Stanley Kurtz. Kurtz's argument has been ably destroyed by...
Dad got the history bug after his parents died. He wasn't much of a book reader, but he did like puzzles and projects."Where did we come from" became his new leading puzzle and hobby. And there were some mysteries here. He knew that his grandfather had murdered a man, and his great grandfather on the other side of the family had come alone from German -- then changed his name.
In fact, dad soon learned that men on both sides of the family had changed their names. One name change is still a mystery -- the other soon was explained by the facts surrounding the murder. But just what those facts were wasn't at all immediately clear.
It was known that the man's original name had been Boon -- changed to Brown -- and that he'd come from North Carolina. The murder had involved a bar fight and some ill-chosen words about Boon's mother. So, at least, the official record indicates. Murder, escape, cross-country journey, a new wife, a new child, a new identity in Oregon.
Boon. With that name, an some letters indicating a wife and children left behind in a small town in North Carolina, dad set about reconstructing the history of the paternal side of his mother's family. It wasn't long before folks in North Carolina confirmed that the Boons were part of a family which sometimes went by the name Boone. Boone. Hmm. But North Carolina, not Tennessee. And then came one of dad's significant discoveries, made the old fashioned way with research in church and government archives. These Boone's were directly related to the most famous of all American Boone's -- Daniel Boone. In fact, dad discovered that he was a...
And Google has embarked on an ambitious secret effort known as Project Ocean, according to a person involved with the operation. With the cooperation of Stanford University, the company now plans to digitize the entire collection of the vast Stanford Library published before 1923, which is no longer limited by copyright restrictions. The project could add millions of digitized books that would be available exclusively via Google.
cross posted at PrestoPundit.
It's the day after the Super Bowl. The Pats won in a Thriller. The nation is abuzz with talk about Janet Jackson's exposed breast. (Bravo to Arthur for putting all of this in perspective!) And it's Groundhog Day, and we have 6 more weeks of winter ahead!
It's also a day on which President Bush is apparently green-lighting an inquiry into the intelligence-WMD fiasco; it will be interesting to see just how cooperative the administration will be in this endeavor. How many pages will be blotted out from how many documents? How many restrictions will be placed on access to classified material? How many guidelines will be issued on the timing of the release of this material after Election Day?
In any event, as we ponder today's intelligence gaps, it is interesting to read a bit about the intelligence efforts during the Cold War. As a postscript to yesterday's Randian point that"authoritarian states enshrined the rule of mediocrity and incompetence, surviving as parasites on freer nations," here's an interesting article by William Safire on"The Farewell Dossier." Whatever your views of CIA sabotage, the story makes one point very clear: The Soviets needed to engage in systematic stealing in order to get"the radar, machine tools and semiconductors to keep ... nearly competitive with U.S. military-industrial strength ..." (On the general impotence of the Soviet Union, see another fine Silber post,...
It'll be interesting to see how the President plans to make headway on half-a-trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see by cutting nondefense, non-homeland-security discretionary spending--which is $362 billion, or less than 20 percent of the federal budget. There's some talk of program cuts, but my guess is that they'll boldly go after that old standby "waste, fraud, and abuse."
"As a bachelor, I get a chance to fantasize about my first lady... And I certainly want a dynamic, out-spoken woman who was fearless in her desire for peace in the world and for universal single-payer health care and a full employment economy. If you are out there call me."
PoliticsNH.com has decided to serve as Kucinich's personal Match.com. Click here to check out the 80 bachelorettes waiting for a chance at Dennis.
Tenure is more than simply under threat. It has already been eliminated, in all but name, in more than thirty states. Will faculties who still have tenure wake up to their potential loss, or will they, like faculties elsewhere, remain the docile and compliant wage-laborers their"administrators" want them to be?
Alabama, where I am, still protects tenure, but its days are surely numbered. The surrounding states all got rid of it some years ago, as administrators tried to pander to"elected officials" in the state house and beef up their standards of"accountability." The current chancellor of the Alabama System,"Mack" Portera, presided over the elimination of tenure in Mississippi when he was University President there. The same is true of Mr. Witt, currently president of U of Alabama: he raised no voice of protest when Texas gutted its tenure provisions a few years ago.
But we all know where all the beefing up went, do we not? Into increasing the ranks of the administrators, of course, and into providing them with hefty"executive" salaries.
But faculties remain as they have been for years: timid and anxious to please their masters. Will they ever wake up?
Not until their heads reach the chopping blocks -- but if you ask me, I consider that the optimistic scenario.
"The whole policy of Roosevelt II, whether in domestic or foreign affairs, was founded upon the fanning of hatreds -- the first and last resort of unconscionable demagogues, at all times and everywhere. This fanning, or course, was done to the tune of loud demands for tolerance."
A remark Mencken chose to cut from his Minority Report. And there is a bit of news right there. Mencken did the edit on MR himself -- post-stoke -- althought the jottings had been completed by 1948, the year of his debilitating stroke. It was another 7 years -- 1955 -- before Mencken's secretary rediscovered the typscript for Mencken's final book (including completed preface), manuscripts which had been complete erased from Mencken's memory. But when the typscripts were found, Mencken -- at age 75 -- went to work, sifting through his box of collected remarks, and chosing those acceptable for publication.
Oh, before I forget, here are"the only two things you need to know" about H.L. Mencken:
1. Read Mencken. First. Then, if you're still interested, read a Mencken biography.
2. Start with H.L. Mencken's Smart Set Criticism.
Murray Rothbard in several of his works refers favourably to an article on property rights by the 19th-century French economists Louis Wolowski and Émile Levasseur. (Rothbard sometimes refers to Wolowski as Léon Wolowski, perhaps confusing him with the Léon Faucher who wrote a rather similar article on property for Charles Coquelin's 1852-53 Dictionnaire de l'économie politique.) I thought the article deserved to be placed online, so I decided to track it down.
Rothbard usually cites the article from Lalor's Cyclopedia of Political Science. I had trouble tracking the volume down until I tried the alternate spelling Cyclopædia, and started treating"Lalor" as the editor's name rather than as part of the title. Then it turned out that my own university library possessed a copy. Joseph Lalor's Cyclopædia turns out to be a massive work -- three volumes of about 1000 pages each, in tiny print -- of mostly classical liberal opinion on a variety of subjects. Many of the entries are by prominent French libertarians of the day, including Frédéric Bastiat, Charles Dunoyer, and Gustave de Molinari. These entries, an introduction informs us, are mainly excerpted from various French reference works, most of which are not named; the translators are usually not credited either. (Lalor seems to have been a bit cavalier with sources.) Rothbard seems to have assumed that the Wolowski-Levasseur piece was written expressly for the Cyclopædia, but I began to suspect that this was not the case.
Two of the French reference works the introduction does deign to mention as sources are Coquelin's above-mentioned Dictionnaire...
With bombings in the Kurdish sections of Iraq killing more than 50 people, and another US soldier killed near Baghdad, Super Bowl Sunday is not off to a good start. There were, however, some words of wisdom spoken on"This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
Among those joining regulars Farid Zakaria and George Will were former Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey and former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.
With the whirlwind surrounding the David Kay pronouncements on the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Hussein's Iraq, Zakaria emphasized that the US"made worse-case assumptions." Sounding a bit like Ayn Rand, who always argued that evil was impotent, that authoritarian states enshrined the rule of mediocrity and incompetence, surviving as parasites on freer nations, Zakaria stated:"We assumed that because this was an evil regime, they must be incredibly competent. They must be so smart. This was, in a way, a mirror of the mistake we made with regard to the Soviet Union." It turns out, of course, that the Soviet Union was collapsing internally, from a massive brain drain, just as the right Iraqi hand didn't know what the left one was doing.
Given the current political atmosphere, however,"the truth of the matter has been [that] for the last thirty years, the CIA has been battered by neoconservatives for being soft on the Soviets, for being soft on the Chinese," Zakaria argued."It turned out that in most cases, the CIA estimates were not as far off as the neoconservative fantasies about Soviet strength and Chinese military strength."
Holbrooke, who supported the President's calls for"regime change," now questions the rush to war and the...
Not to boast, but I think I've assembled a great lineup of talented and thoughtful"small government conservatives" (cf. Sheldon Richman's recent post on George Will) to blog along with me. Consequently, I suspect that all vistors to our site will be suitably entertained or, at the very least, otherwise provoked.
I'd like to include a word of thanks to my fellow bloggers here at L&P, especially my friend Dave Beito. I'm certain that I never would have launched The Mote if I hadn't enjoyed blogging at Liberty and Power so much.
But don't worry (or don't start celebrating yet), loyal readers! I plan to keep blogging here, and I hope that having my own blog will only lead to my posting more material here at L&P in the future.
What is worse, however, is intentional or unintentional obfuscation of the issue. An egregious example is Professor David Bernstein's recent article (January 29) in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Unlike Professor Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago Law School, author of Forbidden Grounds: The Case against Employment Discrimination Laws (Harvard University Press, 1992), Bernstein isn't prepared--at least not in this article--to defend the right of individuals to discriminate in their own time on their own property. That's his...
The policy of including everyone who was in the old DNB is in welcome contrast to that followed by OUP in New York when in 1999 it published the American Dictionary of Biography under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies as a replacement for the Dictionary of American Biography....