Thursday, July 19, 2007
Academic Whoring for Ward Churchill
Norman Finkelstein tenured on the basis of his Neo-Nazi attacks on Jews,
misrepresented as "scholarship."
The next battleground is Ward Churchill, he is due to be canned by the
regents at the University of Colorado this coming week. Churchill is the
clown who saluted bin Laden for attacking the "Little Eichmanns" in the
WTC towers. He is a make-pretend Indian who also has a long track record
for anti-Semitism (see
So naturally the Left adore him. The Academic Ultra Left is once again
detecting "scholarship" in lunatic ravings of one of their own.
It is interesting to see which "academics" are now whoring for Churchill
and trying to prevent him being fired. Many of them can be viewed on
They include the Israel-bashing Middle East Studies "scholar", Richard
Falk, Derrick Bell (NYU Law Professor of Marxism), the son of Julius and
Ethel Rosenberg (a college teacher who really appreciates treason - runs
in his family), Gary Leupp - Professor of History at Tufts University,
and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion, and of course Peter
Kirstein, the anti-Semitic comrade of Holocaust Denier David Irving, from
St Xavier's in Chicago (Kirstein led the campiagn of support for
2. Obsessed with "Inequality":
July 19, 2007
The Left's 'Inequality' Obsession
By ARTHUR C. BROOKS
July 19, 2007; Page A15
The U.S. is a rich nation getting richer. According to Census figures, the
average inflation-adjusted income in the top quintile of American earners
increased 22% between 1993 and 2003. Incomes in the middle quintile rose
17% on average, while the incomes in the bottom quintile increased 13%.
Over the 30 years prior to 2003, top-quintile earners saw their real
incomes increase by two-thirds, versus a quarter for those in the middle
quintile and a fifth among the bottom earners.
Reason to celebrate? Not according to those worried that the rich are
getting richer faster than the poor are getting richer. The National
Opinion Research Center's General Social Survey (GSS) indicates that in
1973, the average family in the top quintile earned about 10 times what
the average bottom-quintile family earned. Today that difference has grown
to almost 15 times greater. Thus Sen. Barack Obama complains that "the
average CEO now earns more in one day than an average worker earns in an
entire year." John Edwards has famously spoken of the "two Americas,"
while Sen. Hillary Clinton characterizes today's economy as "trickle-down
economics without the trickle." She declares that a progressive era is at
hand because of "rising inequality and rising pessimism in our work
The general view among liberals is that economic inequality is socially
undesirable because it makes people miserable; they propose to solve the
problem through redistributive policies such as higher income taxes. As a
scholar working in the field of public policy, I have long witnessed
egalitarian hand-wringing about the alleged connection between inequality
and unhappiness. What first made me doubt this prevailing view was that
when I questioned actual human beings about it, few expressed any shock
and outrage at the enormous incomes of software moguls and CEOs. They
tended rather to hope that their kids might become the next Bill Gates.
And in fact, the evidence reveals that it is not economic inequality that
frustrates Americans. Rather, it is a perceived lack of opportunity. To
focus our policies on inequality, instead of opportunity, is to make a
serious error -- one that will worsen the very problem we seek to solve
and make us generally unhappier.
The egalitarian argument against inequality starts with the claim that
income is all relative: Above a basic subsistence level, they say, we care
more about our financial position relative to others than about our
absolute income. Experimental studies are often cited that appear to bear
this idea out.
In one such study, two-thirds of subjects said that they would be happier
at a company where they earned $33,000 while their colleagues earned
$30,000 than at one where they earned $35,000 while their colleagues
earned $38,000. In another experiment, 56% of participants chose a
hypothetical job paying $50,000 per year while everyone else earned
$25,000, rather than a job paying $100,000 per year while others made
$200,000. Thus, the thinking goes, the very fact that some people have
less than others leads to unhappiness, even without deprivation.
Moreover, the redistribution of income taxed at higher and higher levels,
according to egalitarians, does not really hurt the rich, because they
tend to use their "excess" incomes to purchase what they do not "need,"
such as luxury cars and outlandishly large houses. Some go even further,
arguing that we should tax the economically successful explicitly to
discourage them from working, since their work will only make them richer
and thus sadden the less successful. Says British economist Richard
Layard, "If we make taxes commensurate to the damage that an individual
does to others when he earns more" -- the damage to others' happiness,
that is -- "then he will only work harder if there is a true net benefit
to society as a whole. It is efficient to discourage work effort that
makes society worse off."
But the egalitarians misinterpret the experimental evidence. The studies
cited above don't necessarily tell us that people would be happier in a
world of total equality. Rather, they indicate that if there is no
apparent prospect for getting ahead themselves (as there indeed was not in
the experiment), people will focus instead on having more than others --
even to the point of neglecting their financial interests.
There is a fundamental reason to doubt the link between economic
inequality and unhappiness. If the egalitarians are right, then average
happiness levels should be falling. They aren't.
The GSS shows that in 1972, 30% of the population said that they were
"very happy" with their lives; in 1982, 31%; in 1993, 32%; and in 2004,
31%. In other words, no significant change in reported happiness occurred
-- even as income inequality has increased significantly.
The data do tell us that economic mobility -- not equality -- is
associated with happiness. The GSS asked respondents, "The way things are
in America, people like me and my family have a good chance of improving
our standard of living -- do you agree or disagree?" The two-thirds of the
population who agreed were 44% more likely than the others to say they
were "very happy," 40% less likely to say that they felt "no good at all"
at times, and 20% less likely to say that they felt like failures. In
other words, those who don't believe in economic mobility -- for
themselves or for others -- are not as happy as those who do.
Perhaps in a world where there is no opportunity for advancement, an
important concern is how one's income measures up to others. In the real
world where people believe there is opportunity, however, one's own income
potential matters a great deal more than what others are earning. Some
studies even find that the happiness of workers rises as the incomes of
others climb relative to their own, because they see the incomes of others
as evidence of what they themselves can achieve.
Believing in mobility, then, helps make people happy. Is this belief a
delusion? Does economic mobility actually exist in America today? It does.
The U.S. Census Bureau, the Urban Institute and the Federal Reserve have
all pointed out that, as a general rule, about a fifth of the people in
the lowest income quintile will climb to a higher quintile within a year,
and that about half will rise within a decade. True, a significant
proportion of people will fall over the same period. But the studies
nevertheless put paid to the claim that economic mobility is in any way
unusual. Millions and millions of poor Americans climb out of the ranks of
poverty every year.
Those who don't rise will probably not become happier if we redistribute
more income. Indeed, the effect may be just the opposite.
Redistributionist policies tend to reduce incentives to create wealth,
which means less economic growth and fewer jobs, and less charitable
giving -- all to the detriment of those lower on the income scale. But
more important, redistribution can, as the American welfare system has
shown, turn beneficiaries into demoralized long-term dependents.
An accurate and constructive vision of America sees a land of both
inequality and opportunity, in which hard work and perseverance are the
keys to jumping from the ranks of the have-nots to those of the haves.
This vision promotes policies focused not on wiping out economic
inequality, but rather on enhancing economic mobility. These policies
include improving educational opportunities, addressing cultural
impediments to success, enhancing the fluidity of labor markets, searching
for ways to include all citizens in America's investing revolution, and
protecting the climate for entrepreneurship.
To focus our policies on opportunity, instead of equality, will address
Americans' real concern, and make us happier to boot.
Mr. Brooks is a professor of public administration at Syracuse
University's Maxwell School of Public Administration and a visiting
scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. This essay is adapted from a
forthcoming article in City Journal.
URL for this article:
Arabs Pile into Darfur to Take Land "Cleansed" by Janjaweed - Steve
Up to 30,000 Arabs from Chad and Niger have crossed into Darfur in the
past two months, prompting claims that the Sudanese government is
trying systematically to repopulate the war-ravaged region. The Arabs,
who arrived with all their belongings and large flocks, were greeted
by Sudanese Arabs who took them to empty villages cleared by
government and janjaweed forces. The arrivals have been issued
official Sudanese identity cards and awarded citizenship. Analysts say
the Sudanese government is making it "virtually impossible" for
displaced people to return home. (Independent-UK)
4. Those who learn nothing:
6. Then Maybe they Will: