Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Israel's Supreme Court "Activists" Align selves with the "Anarchists"
practice "judicial activism," including its insistence on kibitzing in
micro-decision making related to military matters and defense. Yesterday
a panel of three judges, including the Chief Justice, decided to grant an
award to the "anarchist" hooligans, who have been engaged in violent
attacks on Israeli soldiers and police while vandalizing the security
wall. The anarchists are soiling themselves in their glee.
The court decided to reward the hooligans by ordering Israel to knock down
the section of the fence that the pro-terror "anarchists" dislike. So how
is it that a group of non-elected judges gets to over-ride the decisions
of the executive branch about how and where Israel needs a security fence?
Because Israel's Supreme Court is an increasingly anti-democratic force of
For more, see http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/123591
Personal Ad, on behalf of Norman Finkelstein
22 Elul 5767, 05 September 07 10:52
(Finkie with Previous Date, Noam Chomsky)
As you know, Norman Finkelstein is getting booted out of DePaul University
in Chicago. He had previously been fired from teaching jobs at Hunter
College and NYU in New York. Finkelstein was the leading academic
Neo-Nazi in North America, who made a career out of mocking and smearing
Holocaust survivors. He also spent recent years cheering the Hezbollah,
especially when it was firing rockets at Jewish children. His greatest
scholarly achievement was publishing a cartoon created by a Brazilian
Neo-Nazi showing Alan Dershowitz masturbating as Lebanese children get
DePaul University not only denied him tenure, but prohibited him from
teaching this coming year (his last, under his contract), and booted him
out of his office. Finkelstein had a hissy fit and promised to go on a
hunger strike (may it last a year!) and to give his Judenraus lectures in
the public library. Meanwhile a contingent of anti-Semites is to come to
DePaul to show support for Herr Finkie, and these will include Khmer Rouge
spokes-Stalinist Noam Chomsky, Walt "Jewish Cabal Controls the World"
Mearsheimer, Brownshirt Tony Judt, jihadnik Tariq Ali, and of course Neve
Gordon, Fink's anti-Israel groupie from Ben Gurion University.
Ok, but hidden in all this is the fact that Finkelstein is a bachelor. He
never married. Maybe he was counting on getting himself 72 virgins.
Isn't there a movie out there about a 53 year old virgin Neo-Nazi trying
to get a date?
In any case, now that he will have a lot of time on his hands, we thought
we would help him out, by preparing a personals add to get him some dates.
"Fifty three year old unemployed ex-lecturer bachelor, never married,
fired from a series of academic teaching jobs due to a complete lack of
any serious research scholarship, no job prospects, generally regarded as
Holocaust Denier, popular among terrorists of all types, main job skills
involve ability to flip burgers, letters of reference from Noam Chomsky
and Avi Shlaim, capable of composing obscene greeting cards for all
occasions, promotes political opinions of which Alexander Cockburn and the
President of Iran approve,
"seeks female of any size or shape who will agree to sit quietly and allow
me to lecture at her about Dem Joos Dem Joos, must dislike Alan Dershowitz
and be willing to travel with me to Iran and Syria, must not object to my
Ernst Zundel and David Irving posters in the bedroom, housekeeping skills
a plus, swastika tattoos no problem. Turn offs: Joos, Dean Suchar. Turn
3. Bashing the Bimbette:
4. The "international" trouble makers and hooligans from the ISM are
bragging about their violent behavior against Israelis:
5. Brandeis now has a new partner in terrorism:
6. Busybody "Envoys" just make things worse:
7. Stupid things liberals say and think:
September 5, 2007
REVIEW & OUTLOOK
MoveOn vs. Democrats
September 5, 2007; Page A16
In the Hell Hath No Fury sweepstakes, groups like MoveOn.org are gearing
up to take on a new set of perceived traitors in their midst -- Democrats
who have acknowledged some success from the troop surge in Iraq.
Chief among the targets is Washington Congressman Brian Baird, whose
indiscretion was recognizing progress on the ground, despite having
initially opposed the surge and having opposed the war in the first place.
After a recent trip to Iraq, Mr. Baird said: "One of the things that gets
very little attention is that virtually every other country I visited says
it would be a mistake to pull out now."
We hope he took his flak jacket home from Baghdad. MoveOn is rolling out
an ad this week in Mr. Baird's Washington district, in which a former
soldier tells of being shot at in 2003 by the Iraqis he had fought to
liberate and calls America's continued presence in the country "wrong,
immoral and irresponsible." What does this have to do with the wisdom --
or lack thereof -- of the current strategy? Nada, which tells you
something about MoveOn's honesty.
The group doesn't aim to engage in debate, but to punish and silence
Democrats who dare to think for themselves. There's a pattern here: When
John Dingell contradicted party orthodoxy on global warming and auto
mileage standards this year, MoveOn ran ads in his Michigan district
calling the 81-year-old Congressman "Dingellsaurus."
Mr. Baird is hardly alone in his assessment of progress in Iraq, even
among Democrats. In the past month, Senate Democrats Carl Levin, Hillary
Clinton, Dick Durbin, Bob Casey and Jack Reed have all acknowledged
progress on the ground -- though many still downplay the overall chances
Representatives Keith Ellison (Minnesota) and Jerry McNerney (California)
recently returned "impressed" by what they'd seen, though they were
careful to temper their statements for any perceived optimism. After
watching U.S. soldiers greet Iraqis in Arabic with "peace be upon you,"
Mr. Ellison reported that "they would respond back with smiles and waves"
before quickly adding, "I don't want to overplay it." It's a measure of
how far the antiwar left has moved the debate on Iraq that Mr. Ellison
doesn't want to sound too enthusiastic about the chances that the U.S.
might actually win.
Mr. Baird is so far showing no signs of backing down from his comments. In
response to the MoveOn attacks, he said: "I believe I must speak and act
based on what I believe is in the best interest of our nation regardless
of political advertisements or partisan interests. Based on personal
visits to the region, I believe the dynamics on the ground in Iraq are
changing for the better and, while there are still multiple and serious
challenges, and while the course is uncertain and dangerous, the changes I
have seen warrant continued support of current actions through next
Nice to see some political backbone in Washington. Meanwhile, MoveOn and
its billionaire donors are out to solidify their ideological control of
the Democratic Party, even if that means denying what is actually
happening inside Iraq.
URL for this article:
September 5, 2007
Our Compassless Colleges
By PETER BERKOWITZ
September 5, 2007; Page A17
At universities and colleges throughout the land, undergraduates and their
parents pay large sums of money for -- and federal and state governments
contribute sizeable tax exemptions to support -- "liberal" education. This
despite administrators and faculty lacking, or failing to honor, a
coherent concept of what constitutes an educated human being.
To be sure, American higher education, or rather a part of it, is today
the envy of the world, producing and maintaining research scientists of
the highest caliber. But liberal education is another matter. Indeed, many
professors in the humanities and social sciences proudly promulgate
doctrines that mock the very idea of a standard or measure defining an
educated person, and so legitimate the compassless curriculum over which
they preside. In these circumstances, why should we not conclude that
universities are betraying their mission?
Many American colleges do adopt general distribution requirements. Usually
this means that students must take a course or two of their choosing in
the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities, decorated
perhaps with a dollop of fine arts, rudimentary foreign-language exposure,
and the acquisition of basic writing and quantitative skills. And all
students must choose a major. But this veneer of structure provides
students only superficial guidance. Or, rather, it reinforces the lesson
that our universities have little of substance to say about the essential
knowledge possessed by an educated person.
Certainly this was true of the core curriculum at Harvard, where I taught
in the faculty of arts and sciences during the 1990s. And it remains true
even after Harvard's recent reforms.
Harvard's aims and aspirations are in many ways admirable. According to
this year's Report of the Task Force on General Education, Harvard
understands liberal education as "an education conducted in a spirit of
free inquiry undertaken without concern for topical relevance or
vocational utility." It prepares for the rest of life by improving
students' ability "to assess empirical claims, interpret cultural
expression, and confront ethical dilemmas in their personal and
professional lives." But instead of concentrating on teaching substantive
knowledge, the general education at Harvard will focus on why what
students learn is important. To accomplish this, Harvard would require
students to take single-semester courses in eight categories: Aesthetic
and Interpretive Understanding, Culture and Belief, Empirical Reasoning,
Ethical Reasoning, Science of Living Systems, Science of the Physical
Universe, Societies of the World, and The United States in the World.
Unfortunately, the new requirements add up to little more than an
attractively packaged evasion of the university's responsibility to
provide a coherent core for undergraduate education. For starters, though
apparently not part of the general education curriculum, Harvard requires
only a year of foreign language study or the equivalent. Yet since it
usually takes more than a year of college study to achieve competence in a
foreign language -- the ability to hold a conversation and read a
newspaper -- doesn't Harvard, by requiring only a single year, denigrate
foreign-language study, and with it the serious study of other cultures
Furthermore, in the search for the immediate relevance it disavows,
Harvard's curriculum repeatedly puts the cart before the horse. For
example, instead of first requiring students to concentrate on the study
of novels, poetry, and plays, Harvard will ask them to choose from a
variety of courses on "literary or religious texts, paintings, sculpture,
architecture, music, film, dance, decorative arts" that involve "exploring
theoretical and philosophical issues concerning the production and
reception of meanings and the formation of aesthetic judgment."
Instead of first requiring students to gain acquaintance with the history
of opinions about law, justice, government, duty and virtue, Harvard will
ask them to choose from a variety of courses on how to bring ethical
theories to bear on contemporary moral and political dilemmas. Instead of
first requiring students to survey U.S. history or European history or
classical history, Harvard will ask them to choose from a variety of
courses that examine the U.S and its relation to the rest of the world.
Instead of first teaching students about the essential features of
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Harvard will ask them to choose from a
variety of courses on almost any aspect of foreign societies.
Harvard's general education reform will allow students to graduate without
ever having read the same book or studied the same material. Students may
take away much of interest, but it is the little in common they learn that
will be of lasting significance. For they will absorb the implicit
teaching of the new college curriculum -- same as the old one -- that
there is nothing in particular that an educated person need know.
Of course, if parents, students, alumni donors, trustees, professors and
administrators are happy, why worry? A college degree remains a hot
commodity, a ticket of entry to valuable social networks, a signal to
employers that graduates have achieved a certain proficiency in
manipulating concepts, performing computations, and getting along with
The reason to worry is that university education can cause lasting harm.
The mental habits that students form and the ideas they absorb in college
consolidate the framework through which as adults they interpret
experience, and judge matters to be true or false, fair or inequitable,
honorable or dishonorable. A university that fails to teach students sound
mental habits and to acquaint them with enduring ideas handicaps its
graduates for public and private life.
Moreover, properly conceived, a liberal education provides invaluable
benefits for students and the nation. For most students, it offers the
last chance, perhaps until retirement, to read widely and deeply, to
acquire knowledge of the opinions and events that formed them and the
nation in which they live, and to study other peoples and cultures. A
proper liberal education liberalizes in the old-fashioned and still most
relevant sense: It forms individuals fit for freedom.
The nation benefits as well, because a liberal democracy presupposes an
informed citizenry capable of distinguishing the public interest from
private interest, evaluating consequences, and discerning the claims of
justice and the opportunities for -- and limits to -- realizing it in
politics. Indeed, a sprawling liberal democracy whose citizens practice
different religions and no religion at all, in which individuals have
family heritages that can be traced to every continent, and in which the
nation's foreign affairs are increasingly bound up with local politics in
countries around the world is particularly dependent on citizens acquiring
a liberal education.
Crafting a core consistent with the imperatives of a liberal education
will involve both a substantial break with today's university curriculum
and a long overdue alignment of higher education with common sense. Such a
core would, for example, require all students to take semester courses
surveying Greek and Roman history, European history, and American history.
It would require all students to take a semester course in classic works
of European literature, and one in classic works of American literature.
It would require all students to take a semester course in biology and one
in physics. It would require all students to take a semester course in the
principles of American government; one in economics; and one in the
history of political philosophy. It would require all students to take a
semester course comparing Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It would
require all students to take a semester course of their choice in the
history, literature or religion of a non-Western civilization. And it
would require all students to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign
language of their choice by carrying on a casual conversation and
accurately reading a newspaper in the language, a level of proficiency
usually obtainable after two years of college study, or four semester
Such a core is at best an introduction to liberal education. Still,
students who meet its requirements will acquire a common intellectual
foundation that enables them to debate morals and politics responsibly,
enhances their understanding of whatever specialization they choose, and
enriches their appreciation of the multiple dimensions of the delightful
and dangerous world in which we live.
It is a mark of the politicization and clutter of our current curriculum
that these elementary requirements will strike many faculty and
administrators as benighted and onerous. Yet the core I've outlined
reflects what all successful individuals outside of academia know:
Progress depends on mastering the basics.
Assuming four courses a semester and 32 to graduate, such a core could be
completed in the first two years of undergraduate study. Students who met
the foreign-language requirement through high school study would have the
opportunity as freshman and sophomores to choose four elective courses.
During their junior and senior year, students could devote 10 courses to
their major while taking six additional elective courses. And students
majoring in the natural sciences, where it is necessary to take a
substantial sequence of courses, would enroll in introductory and
lower-level courses in their major during freshman and sophomore years and
complete the core during junior and senior years.
Admittedly, reform confronts formidable obstacles. The major one is
professors. Many will fight such a common core, because it requires them
to teach general interest classes outside their area of expertise; it
reduces opportunities to teach small boutique classes on highly
specialized topics; and it presupposes that knowledge is cumulative and
that some books and ideas are more essential than others.
Meanwhile, students and parents are poorly positioned to affect change.
Students come and go, and, in any event, the understanding they need to
formulate the arguments for reform is acquired through the very liberal
education of which universities are currently depriving them. Meanwhile,
parents are too distant and dispersed, and often they have too much money
on the line to rock the boat.
But there are opportunities. Change could be led by an intrepid president,
provost or dean of a major university who knows the value of a liberal
education, possesses the eloquence and courage to defend it to his or her
faculty, and has the skill to refashion institutional incentives and hold
faculty and administrators accountable.
Reform could also be led by trustees at private universities -- the
election in recent years of T.J. Rodgers, Todd Zywicki, Peter Robinson and
Stephen Smith to the Dartmouth Board of Trustees on platforms supporting
freedom of speech and high academic standards is a start -- or by alumni
determined to connect their donations, on which universities depend, to
reliable promises that their gifts will be used in furtherance of liberal
education, well understood.
And some enterprising smaller colleges or public universities, taking
advantage of the nation's love of diversity and openness to innovation,
might discover a market niche for parents and students eager for an
education that serves students' best interests by introducing them in a
systematic manner to their own civilization, to the moral and political
principles on which their nation is based, and to languages and
civilizations that differ from their own.
Citizens today are called on to analyze a formidable array of hard
questions concerning war and peace, liberty and security, markets and
morals, marriage and family, science and technology, poverty and public
responsibility, and much more. No citizen can be expected to master all
the issues. But liberal democracies count on more than a small minority
acquiring the ability to reason responsibly about the many sides of these
many-sided questions. For this reason, we must teach our universities to
appreciate the aims of a liberal education. And we must impress upon our
universities their obligation to pursue them responsibly.
Mr. Berkowitz, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover
Institution, teaches at George Mason University School of Law. This
commentary draws from an essay that previously appeared in Policy Review.
URL for this article:
10. The "Peace" Racket
11. Haaretz' "Apartheid" Jihadnik digs in his heels:
12. The New anti-Semitism: