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Saturday, August 31, 2002
As for the article that Chien Wen posted, someone else replied with this question: Right-wing envy: Do You Have it?

On Abolishing Races:

Clearly, the call to abolish the white race, which could alternatively composed as deconstructing whiteness, exposing white privilege, ending the tyranny of pink, is the sloppiest of thinking outside of an education course. The call, however, though condemnable in and of itself, begs the question of for what is it most condemnable?

One option could be: this is an example of racism against whites that is sanctioned by the PC-culture in force since the late 80s. A compelling case can then be made that pink-skinned people (especially those with penises) undergo unnecessary ritual abuse because they are the only ones who cannot claim minority status. Then one could go off on a tirade about multiculturalism and the deification of difference in the modern academy with a pit stop to affirm the Western Canon, complete with an after-dinner game of left-bashing.

Another option could be to: acknowledge "white" "privilege" but suggest that these loons have taken a good concept to far and proceed to deconstruct structures of power complete with your own portable Foucault and Derrida for just $2.95. By doing so, you could condemn morally insufferable radicalism without reverting rightist jargon and showing your leftist credentials.

However, let's suppose that we wanted to move beyond the simplistic binaries of left/right in racialized world. Suppose that we were more concerned about the world than about the dissonace of clashing ideologies. To adopt this approach, we have to realize not only that race is socially constructed, but is also a psychological worldview (like atheism for example) that one superimposes upon the neutral facts to make interpetation easier. (Very similar to using literary theory as a substitute for the true reading of the text.) Then the problem is not the racism but the race-ism of the idea of abolishing the white race.

My main problem, and I hope your main problem, is the concept of race itself. The idea that merits and punishments should be distributed along lines of "race" is fallacious. Not just because it is ultimately impossible to determine who is of what race, but because our poltical regime is prefaced upon a strong, comprehensive, Kantian view of individual moral autonomy. Formal groups do not exist in America, though social ones might. It is our responsibility then to abolish race-thinking and race-theorizing from the very fabric of our society or it will destroy the regime that has permitted our lives to be so great.

Just a Thought . . .

I have often heard leftists decry the the authors of the Western canon as "just a bunch of dead white guys." Although I disagree with their motives, I can understand their disdain for white males, but one nagging thought lingers--should we really hold their deaths against them?

As a white male, I already have difficulties making my mark on the world, since that status suffices to condemn me. But if even against these odds I secure a place in this world as one of the greatest intellectuals of the human race, should all that be erased upon my death? Will others reinvent the wheel after me simply because they can't trust the work of the dead white guy?

Further, are these criticisms mutually independent? Could I stand in an English class one day and say something like, "I respect So-and-so's writing on her experiences as a Hindu woman under British rule, but can we really trust her ideas on colonialism? After all, she died in 1913." Or is the fault of mortality reserved to whites and males?

On the Topic of The Nation:

The Nation tends to run very serious pieces. When your aim is broad social change on all fronts, rather than basic acceptance of the insider consensus, than you probably are going to be less snide and do a lot more informing, and therefore be less 'readable.' Why talk about 'patio men' when the government allows E.Coli to poison our hamburgers? I suppose political magazines have to compete with the likes of Entertainment Weekly. For what it is worth, I think that having some humor and style in a politic paper is essential: take The Common Share in The Dartmouth Free Press, which I modeled on the Notebook section of the magazine I had worked at two summers ago, The New Republic. Bridging the gap between writing an informative and an enjoyable piece is not always easy, but it should be done. I would be happy if The Nation sometimes had a more lively style. For example, it could do so much more with its In Fact section.

I'm not sure how much its place on the ideological spectrum plays a part in a magazine's attitude. It is a tribute to The Weekly Standard, founded only within in the last ten years, that they have achieved such success. National Review, on the other hand, reads not like homework, but archival texts from the British Empire. So if that LA Weekly article was trying to make humor and quality a left versus right issue, it should also look the history of individual publications. The Standard, is largely modeled on, and, inherented several writers from, The New Republic. Do not assume that verve originated on the right. Though some also feel that the liberal American Prospect has a tendency to veer towards the wonkish side. Do conservatives just have a more simple message where they do not feel they need to go into as much detail? It does seems easier to write an article about 'nothing at all' if you do not care about changing a whole of stuff.

Working at The Nation has lead me to really respect the amount of information and research that goes into their articles. I think The Nation, for better or worse, is a magazine whose style is largely driven by its writers, not its editors. (By the way, though I loved the cover illustration, I did not like Richard Goldstein's article in The Nation, but probably for somewhat different reasons than John's, but I will not get into that here.)

P.S. Amiri Barksdale '96, mentioned in a previous post, also works at The Nation and is a great guy to smoke cigarettes with and talk about marxism.

Friday, August 30, 2002
In the July 1, 2002 edition of the Nation, Richard Goldstein writes in his article "Attack of the Homocons", " and lesbian commentary in America is skewed sharply to the right. It's as if the press had designated a foe of affirmative action like Ward Connerly to be the spokesman for his race." Goldstein suggests in this asinine statement that supporting affirmative action is the equivalent to being pro-black liberation. He also suggests that to be against affirmative action is to be anti-black and that anyone who does not support affirmative action can not represent his race. Some freinds of mine echoed this sentiment when I told them that my freind Anthony is a part of the Women of Color Collective. They were annoyed because Anthony has developed some (philosophically) conservative sympathies which theorectically, at least, mitigates his concern for issues of de-racialization.

Should being a minority cause one to symphathize with leftist/ progressive methods of ensuring "justice?" Is being a gay conservative, a female conservative, a black conservative, or conservative feminist anti-thethical to the "liberation of the oppressed?" Can "conservatives" care about the big issues of race, class and gender? Comments will be appreciated by all.

I'm back!

Tim, you're working for The Nation right? What do you have to say about this article then? Comments appreciated all round.

Now for the rest of the posts:

1) On faculty "diversity:" more professors today are to the left because most of them today grew up in the 60s or in the wake of the 60s. Still, that does not detract from what AEI had to say. Can anyone name me a Dartmouth professor who voted for Bush in the last election (emeriti, i.e. Jeffrey Hart, do not count)? More worryingly is the effect of such ideological same-ness, masquerading as genuine diversity, on the intellectual climate at Dartmouth. Ideologically-twisted classes aside, consider the faculty's attitude to the Greek system. The last I heard, they voted 92-0 to ban it. I would like to know what the other 300-odd professors think. Why are none of them speaking out in defense of the system? (Despite what the latest Free Press might have to say, there are legitimate reasons for preserving it.) Now it could be that they simply don't care about how students lead their social lives. Another reason is that they might be too afraid to speak up for fear of being labelled, well, you know what.

Perhaps it's time for Affirmative Action to be extended to conservatives, for whom despite the "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" do not appear to be faring too well in academic circles nowadays. I would make the reverse argument were leftists in the overwhelming minority, but as things stand...

2) I share the outrage of Jon and Vijay towards "Abolish the White Race." You can read more over here. I notice the latest issue contains a review of Fight Club by Dartmouth's very own Amiri Barksdale '96! What would MLK Jr. have thought of these people who claim "Treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity"?

3) Laura's article in the latest Free Press has single-handedly convinced me to be more careful about how I use the word "liberal" to refer to people I know and the beliefs they espouse. I can no longer in good conscience call many left-leaning people today "liberals." "Neo-Marxist" or "Foucauldian" better represent these sorts who imagine the world in terms of race, class, gender, and other structures of power, denying the significance of the individual. Worse still, without even the slightest irony, leftists today have no qualms about imposing their particular view of the world on the rest of us who purportedly suffer from false consciousness. Here it seems appropriate to quote John Locke, widely considered the father of modern liberalism: "Where is the man that has incontestable evidence of the truth of all that he holds, or or the falsehood of all he condemns, or can say that he has examined to the bottom all his own, or other men's, opinions? The necessity of believing without knowledge, nay often upon very slight grounds, in this fleeting state of action and blindness we are in, should make us more busy and careful to inform ourselves than constrain others."

By the way, this is not to deny that genuine liberals still exist. They do; I just wish they would be more vocal in curbing the excesses of their so-called compatriots, who give liberalism a bad name that it certainly does not deserve. The Free Press, for starters, could try running an issue on the history of liberal thought, beginning with Mill and Locke, with critical coverage of Marx. This would certainly increase its intellectual standing in the world of Dartmouth publications.

Stats Check, Revisited

Brent Kesler writes:
The statistic comes from the Sisterhood is Global Isntitute. If 6000 girls are genitally mutilated everyday, then in a 365-day year, that comes out to 2,190,000 per year, a lot more than 200,000. This has an error of nearly 1,000%. I must ask:

1) Is the Sisterhood is Global Institute in the habit of producing bad statistics? or
2) Do they merely pass on bad statistics without bothering to check facts? or
3) Is this a simple typo?

Laura Dellatorre responds:
Was it really necessary to list options one and two when the "error of nearly 1000%" almost certainly resulted from a typo? If you look to the bottom of the page, the source for the statistics is the United Nations Human Development Report. One has to doubt that the U.N. would provide statistics with such basic mathematical errors. And after all, typos do happen to the best of us: take Brent's misspelling of the Sister is Global Isntitute [sic]. Let's try to not let typos in web content sidetrack a serious debate.

No. I fully intend to sidetrack this serious debate--into another serious debate: the role of statistics in public discourse.

In response to her first question, yes. It was really necessary to list options one and two, even though it seems obvious it's a typo. Here's why I believe that, point by point.

1) Is the Sisterhood is Global Institute in the habit of producing bad statistics?

Personally, I believe that SIGI did not intend to misinform the public, and that the mistake was a simple typo. However, I will not assume that all statistics are objectively collected by disinterested persons. An unfortunate lesson I've had to learn in my life--there are people in this world who lie. Sometimes, they get together and plan their lies, to make them more believable. I do what I can to make sure I do not believe their lies.

For example, U.S. English is a PAC devoted to establishing English as the offical language of the United States. They routinely send out questionaires to people on their mailing list to gather stats to use in their lobbying efforts. The questions usually go something like this:

"Do you believe that immigrants should learn to speak English, the langauge 97% of Americans speak?"

"Do you want billions of YOUR tax dollars spent on bilingual ballots, tax forms, and license forms?"

The questions are designed to inflame the reader to answer the way U.S. English wants them to answer. Second, the questionaire is sent out to their mailing list, people who probably believe what U.S. English wants them to believe. Third, the respondents are self-selecting; they have to mail the questionaire back. The methodology makes no attempt to provide an accurate cross-section of public opinion. And yet, U.S. English uses these stats in their lobbying efforts, and to grow their mailing list, despite their screaming bias.

I don't like U.S. English or their policy goals. But a lot of other Americans think they're fighting the good fight. All must remeber, just because someone has good political goals, however you judge "good political goals," does not mean they'll refuse to cook the books. They'll ask misleading questions, and provide inaccurate information, all the better to support their agenda. This is done all over the political spectrum--no one group has the monopoly on irrationality.

2) Do they merely pass on bad statistics without bothering to check facts?

Again, I believe that SIGI did not mean to misinform the public. I also trust the U.N. statistic, though if their math is anything like their peace-keeping, I have cause for doubt. I believe it was a typo. So why do I whine?

First, the Sisterhood is Global resource page was last updated on November 25, 2001, as I write this. This means the mistake, whether the product of bad scholarship or just bad typing, has had nearly a year to spread into other brains. The counter on the SIGI homepage claims 25,772 hits, but neglects to mention when the counter started counting. Nonetheless, we know that this site gets significant traffic, and that for over a year, this significant traffic has read an inaccurate statisitic.

This wouldn't be a bad thing, if everyone read the statistic, thought "wait a minute--those numbers don't add up," tracked down the source, read the real statistic, and then passed on the accurate information. Ms. Dellatorre, however, did not notice, and passed on inaccurate information. Don't think I'm picking on Ms. Dellatorre--after all, I was already predisposed to distrust the statistic, yet I accepted it without question or pause, and did not notice the error until nearly a month later.

Dellatorre and I are reasonably intelligent people. As Dartmouth students, we are members of America's intellectual elite. Yet we missed this ridiculously obvious 1,000% error.

That's why I ask the second question. People hate to lose arguments, and they learn that whoever has more facts, tends to win arguments. So they collect statistics they read in the newspaper, see on TV, and stumble across on the Internet. They keep those statistics stored in their brain, just waiting for the next time they find themselves in an argument with some bigoted-or-misguided person-who-disagrees-with-me and open up the fire hose of reason on the flames of stubbornness. And as U.S. English demonstrates, there are people making false statistics to arm their unsuspecting comrades.

I must wonder, how many false statistics have been put out by organizations like U.S. English, and passed on as fact by well-meaning individuals who never checked the facts, or reviewed their methodology? I'm sure everyone in this forum has had a barage of stats thrown at them, and barely, or masterfully, deflected them with their own statistics.

I am going to make a bold assertion--many of the memes found awash in the airwaves and sleeping in black ink on white pages are mistruths, born either by innocents who don't know how to keep their thoughts tidy, or ideologues who care more for their struggle than for intellectual integrity. Much of the "common knowledge" and "convential wisdom" so many people appeal to is built upon errors and lies. If you don't believe me, then how to explain urban legends?

I do not wish to examine in full detail the sand in the foundations of some of our ivory towers, though I certainly welcome such discussion if others wish it. I do not intend, by drawing attention to Sisterhood is Global, to accuse feminists or feminist organizations of especially committing such errors. It was merely in their statisic that I found a mistake. I have since blitzed them to inform them that they may want to update their Resources page.

Instead, I intend to make a call for a sort of, with all due respect to Neal Stephenson, informational hygeine. We are not merely passive recipients of information. We are active carriers of that information. We choose to believe our various philosophys, and we can choose solid philosophys carved from the finest marble, or flimsy makeshifts that will blow away if ever the winds of reason touch it. So I implore both the scholars of this forum and the population at large: be careful where you put that statistic--you have no idea where it's been.

Post scritum

Junk Science Judo

Diversity in the Faculty

An editorial in today's Wall Street Journal highlights the lack of ideological diversity among college professors. The editorial cites a recent damning report by The American Enterprise magazine that shows the complete dominance of left-wing ideology among professors at many top institutions. (Andrew Grossman discussed this report over on Dartlog earlier this week).

Choice quote from the Journal's editorial:

"That this lack of faculty diversity eludes university administrators is especially interesting given the totality of their efforts to re-order all other aspects of campus life based on that principle. In the name of this cardinal value, administrators target groups for recruitment, shape curricula, designate some sports for funding in the name of gender equity while cutting others, and so much more. It's virtually impossible to imagine any university president delivering a major address not saturated with references to diversity and his or her own allegiance thereto."

I wonder what Jim Wright has to say about this.

Kill, Kill, Kill...Kill the White Man

I'm with Vijay as pretains to Excuse me? (see below). To invest in ventures such as that outlined in "Abolish the White Race" is indicative of the fact that, initially meritorious or not, this deconstruction-mania has gone ad absurdum, ad nauseum, and seemingly ad infinitum. There are enough relevant projects to be undertaken to genuinely better our society that the academy isn't fulfilling its mandate by wasting time with this nonsense. I weep for the future when I see a trend in this line of thinking, which makes everything into a cornucopia of obtuse and absurd observations whilst people merrily starve to death, slaughter one another en masse, and destroy the environment that sustains us. If the people who want to "Abolish the White Race" want to deconstruct something useful, they should start by ripping up their article; it's a waste of paper.

Excuse me?

Rod Dreher links to a Harvard Magazine article at The Corner today. The article titled "Abolish the White Race" is absolutely disgusting. It seems that racism is quite fashionable, as long as you hate whitey. I'm at a loss for more words. Harvard should be ashamed.


John Stevenson wrote:

Other companies that do not import Middle Eastern oil:

I don't know that I've ever seen Sinclair, and assuming most of us do not live in Canada, that knocks out Petro-Canada. As for the others, according to a website maintained by the Department of Energy, all but Conoco are officially listed as receiving oil imports from the Persian Gulf, a region which I would say falls under "Middle East" (Gulf states defined as: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates). As for Conoco, I have my doubts as to whether or not they have any suppliers that drill in that portion of the world. I have, however, seen a website that suggests none of them import Saudi oil. This is a piece of information I find dubious at best (considering the source*), especially because I found this in BP's FAQ:

BP has several existing operations in the region including oil and LNG production in Abu Dhabi, as a major supplier of gas to markets in Dubai and as an oil producer in Qatar. BP also has a technical service agreement with Kuwait Oil Company, which has been in place since 1992, under which BP provides technical advice on the further development of the oil fields of West and North Kuwait. Most recently, in June 2001, BP signed an agreement for the company to take major interest in Core Venture 1, Saudi Arabia's largest gas development and the first significant hydrocarbons project for 25 years in which the Kingdom has invited foreign companies to participate.

Furthermore, as BP is BP/Amoco, and the above-mentioned "Victims of Saudi Kidnapping" website mentions "BPAMOCO" as a non-importer of Saudi oil, I found it interesting that this DOE spreadsheet, at #567 and #568, clearly shows that Amoco does import Saudi oil. It also, interestingly, shows an awful lot of oil coming from the US Virgin Islands to companies like Hess. I did some snooping. One of the largest oil refineries in the world is in the US Virgin Islands, but all the oil that it refines is imported from elsewhere. Anyone think none of it comes from the Middle East?

It would be ludicrous to believe that any oil company that has the capital to do so does not have some production ties to the Middle East; the profits are always greater than patriotism (or general moral concern, for that matter). You want to reduce the security risk posed by oil dependence on the Middle East? Try better fuel economy and emissions standards, which will require Federal intervention, Republicans. Oh yeah, try spurring economic growth by investing in private research in the area, too, instead of a "what's good for General Motors is good for America" attitude vis-a-vis the oil industry. Think of how much "new wealth" could be developed by an entire industry of alternative energy sources. Now that's sound policy. Instead, over a century after its invention, we are still relying on a petroleum-powered internal combustion engine. It took us 8 years after President Kennedy's moon landing speech to defy the force of gravity and vacuum of space to the extent that we could put human beings on an orbiting hunk of rock over 300,000 kilometers away. Come on people.

* I did some reading on the "Victims of Saudi Kidnapping" site. This is an example of how our government grabs its ankles over this oil dependency. If we are going to be at all morally coherent as a nation, we need to lance this boil now

In one of more radical moments: Help fight the War on terror and the War on Iraq. Without their oil (I'm thinking of an article entitled "Oil Moves the War Machine"), we wouldnt be in this mess. Divest from Oil in the Middle East! After reading articles all day about who is our freind in the Middle East and who isn't I say:


Buy Hess!

Other companies that do not import Middle Eastern oil:

BOYCOTT the Following Oil Companies Which Import Middle Eastern Oil
- Shell
- Exxon
- Esso
- Mobil
- Chevron
- Texaco
- Caltex
- Shamrock

Wednesday, August 28, 2002
There has been some debate going on about the necessity of Women's (and gender) Studies on campuses and the war on terror. While both topics are very important, I would like to ask the august body of writers to focus their attention on Gender Studies. What is the problem with this department and what role do you see the issue of gender playing in the university? Also, what exactly does a "politicized" curriculum mean?

As a feminist myself (a short answer to Tim Walligore's question), I think it is important that members of the cultural elite (read:us) understand that democratic law and democratic culture grow out of personal experience. As Catherine Mackinnon stated in her essay Crimes of War, Crimes of Peace, the only question is whose experience will ground what law? I see some Women's Studies doctors as raising the question about who is--- and is not--- participating in the shaping of democratic law and culture. I will write something on this later, as part of a larger piece on difference being the greatest challenge to democracy. I find it important to remember that even though we have our common humanity, men and women are still different. As such, when the liberal arts education paints us a potrait of the human experience, a part of the portrait should be how gender affect and influences things. Put simply, our education should demonstrate how relatively little differences really matter (our common humanity), but when they do, boy does it matter.

I have updated this post as there was some information that I did not expound clearly and some typos in the presentation. A new ending has been also added.

Who's Afraid of Partisanship: A Dartmouth Student's Reply to Just Criticism

Even though I obviously borrowed the title of this entry from the title of Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony, I shall not adopt the same tone in this piece as he did in his. I am happy to see that there is a link on this site from Campus Nonsense. I would be as equally happy if it were a link from say the Nation or the Village Voice. We are also on Google, which is arguably more conservative than Campus Nonsense because if you type in a search term there may be links to conservative sites also. I would make fun of Tim save for three restrictions: 1. this is a public forum, 2. We have never met things could be misinterpreted and 3. People in the world exist who think that ABC news is conservative. (To be equally fair, one of my friends told me that Thomas Sowell espouses left-wing nonsense even though said friend is Democratic.)

However, to address another question that I have yet to answer from Tim's post "Who's Afraid of Partisanship?" One starry and warm night, two people: a certain editor on campus and the distinguished founder of the Southern Society, Mr. B. E. Fuller, suggested to me that there is nothing wrong with politics (and partisanship) as these provide the basis for our thinking. They suggested that I was being somewhat dishonest or naive in believing that an opinion driven blogmagazine could be free of partisanship. Fair enough. To answer them and Tim: I am not afraid of partisanship; I do, however, have a problem with any political position that assumes that their truths are apparent in a multicultural democracy.

This critique stands for both the "progressives" and the classical liberals (although often called conservatives today for some strange reason.) In a democracy every position, from the progressive to the religious fundamentalists, must undergo strict scrutiny. To often, the progressive elite, with their ever-growing monopoly on our society's discourse, and the multiculturalists (I would add push-overs here but then I would be being polemical for no reason), prefer to make "safe-spaces" for differences so that they will not be questioned. These safe-spaces, ghettos by any other name, prevent differences from confronting each other and add to the atmosphere of fear that already surround these differences. In democratic culture, we cannot afford to have any belief, regardless of the false dichotomy of the public/private sphere, reproducing without being questioned. This is the problem I have with the partisanship of Fox "News" where a liberal and a conservative go at it, not by questioning their values and engaging in a process of learning, but by reasserting their obvious truths loudly between commerical breaks.

I have also observed what a postmodernist, or a lover of turgid prose, would call the "foxification of campus discourse." (I couldn't resist.) Certain words, even by the inquiring minds, cannot be uttered on campus, and certain dialogues are not permitted to happen. Once, when I was presiding over Agora in the spring, we were having a discussion about race and racism. Some non-PC ideas were uttered (are blacks lazy, one Pakistani student asked) and the attacks began. Luckily, I can be imposing when I want to and the Thought Police were executed upon their entrance into the room. Instead of the name-calling and buzzwords that come with partisan bickering (reverse racism, diversity, racism, stereotypes, "education-needed", anti-Semite), we had an honest discussion about the relationship of success to immigration and the ratio of hard work to monetary success.

Another example of this happened when two professors were visiting the Malcolm X Center, also known as Cutter-Shabazz, and I asked "Why do we criticize whites with penises for their privilege, heap mounds of guilt upon them, but not allow them to engage in a dialogue with us due to this Edward Said type idea (presented in his book Oreintalism) that differences are incommunicable across racial, religious, and ethic barriers?" After the initial shock of the "people of color" and "whites" in the room, an honest discussion ensued after two hours of niceties and identity BSing.

My last example of ugly partisanship was in the D op/ed by Sam Stein in reaction to the Grossman comments on He issued a call to the progressive community reinforcing the pernicious lie that anyone who doesn't march to the multicultural; difference-worship is a "regressive racist." The implication from his article and the long and hypersensitive email that went out is that the conservative and moderate elements of campus are incapable of being outraged at racism.

It is this partisanship that I am afraid of: the kind that does not allow room for moral learning because they partisan worlds we have constructed for ourselves may be too easily broken by the facts.

"PC" is the attack word of the Right. When disparaging their enemies, terms like "PC" and "soft-headed idealist" are quick to appear. (Not that the Left is any better.) However, there are some very, very PC terms that are en vouge now and are subject to change at any moment. My personal pet peeve is perhaps that the statement: "A man has a right to his life" should now either be: "A man has a right to his or her life" or the grammatically butchered "A person has a right to their life." The first demonstrates the transitory nature of gender(s) summed up in another phrase that begs to be deprogrammed: "life-style options." The second is a horrible impersonation of a grammatically correct sentence.

I take heart that Dr. Jeanne Kirkpatrick, when she wrote her tome of a book about the presidential elite, mentioned in the opening that after 100 pages, "he/she" for every generic "he" was ungangly at best and Dr. Angelia Means (of Dartmouth) uses the generic "he" when speaking about universal principles. Without further ado, I submit this for your humor and edification:

Old Terms
1. conservative
2. The Establishment
3. hearing person
4. sighted person
5. blind
6. mute
7. deaf
8. dead
9. alive
10. ugly
11. fat
12. heavy-set
13. rude
14. psychopath
15. crooked
16. klutzy
17. bald
18. short
19. non-white, non-male
20. white
21. white male
22. black
23. asian
24. afro-american
25. minority group
26. black
27. Chicano
28. weird green freak
29. female
30. drooling drunk idiot
31. minority group
32. group of blacks
33. group of whites
34. woman
35. women
36. girl
37. man
38. boy
39. pregnancy
40. janitor
41. disabled car
42. dish washer
43. dairy
44. ranch
45. egg ranch
46. biology department
47. fishing
48. farming
49. nhl hockey
50. paper bag

New Terms
1. reactionary
2. White Power Elite
3. temporarily aurally abled
4. temporarily visually abled
5. visually challenged
6. vocally challenged
7. aurally challenged
8. metabolically different
9. temporarily metabolically abled
10. aesthetically challenged
11. gravitationally challenged
12. people of mass
13. politically correct (tm)
14. socially misaligned
15. ethically challenged
16. kinesthetically challenged
17. follicularly challenged
18. differently statured
19. oppressed
20. melanin impoverished / genetically oppressive
21. oppressor
22. african-american
23. asian-american
24. african-american
25. numerically challenged group
26. person of color
27. person of color
28. person of color
29. person of gender
30. person on floor
31. under-represented population
32. under-represented population of persons of color
33. L.A.P.D.
34. womyn
35. wymin
36. pre-womyn
37. oppressor
38. oppressor-to-be
39. parasitic oppression
40. sanitation engineer
41. mechanically challenged car
42. utensil sanitizer
43. where cows are raped
44. where cattle are murdered
45. where hens are raped
46. where animals are tortured and murdered to fulfill sadistic fantasies of white male scientist lackeys of imperialist drug companies
47. raping the oceans
48. exploiting mother earth
49. uniformed fascists vying for superiority
50. processed tree carcass

Many of the labels from the 80's are now passe. Here is a partial list of the denotations that are now acceptable (all labels are subject to change without notice).
old 80's 90's

deaf hearing impaired aurally challenged
blind sight impaired visually challenged
retarded mentally handicapped mentally challenged
queer gay/homosexual queer (strange but true)
fat big boned alternative body image

Adapted from:


I hope everyone was as pleased as I was to read Jon Eisenman's response to my previous post. I'm afraid I must apologize to him for attacking the straw man of uber-leftism, unfortunately I am far too accustomed fighting that battle here with the Party members of the People's Republic of Massachusetts."[Eisenman wants American forces] deployed against terrorists hiding within the boundaries of our "allies" in the Middle East, clandestinely and unilaterally." I cannot agree more. As to my statement regarding the intelligence community, let me clarify: there is a flaw when anyone outside of a very small circle of people attempts to criticize or to even commend the clandestine goings on of the CIA/NSA/Special Ops forces because by their very nature, I feel there is not enough information made public to make such opinions truly robust. Nevertheless, it is my hope that there is indeed a large scale black operations campaign currently being pursued by our government (possibly in conjuction with our British allies) that is seeking out and destroying terrorist cells where ever they may be---and that all of this war with Iraq foolishness may be a red-herring to distract the world's attention. (OK, that last part is probably wishful thinking.)

Tuesday, August 27, 2002
Spell Check

Brent Kesler wrote in his post on the statistics on female genital mutilation:

The statistic comes from the Sisterhood is Global Isntitute. If 6000 girls are genitally mutilated everyday, then in a 365-day year, that comes out to 2,190,000 per year, a lot more than 200,000. This has an error of nearly 1,000%. I must ask: 1) Is the Sisterhood is Global Institute in the habit of producing bad statistics? or 2) Do they merely pass on bad statistics without bothering to check facts? or 3) Is this a simple typo?

Was it really necessary to list options one and two when the "error of nearly 1000%" almost certainly resulted from a typo? If you look to the bottom of the page, the source for the statistics is the United Nations Human Development Report. One has to doubt that the U.N. would provide statistics with such basic mathematical errors. And after all, typos do happen to the best of us: take Brent's misspelling of the Sister is Global Isntitute [sic]. Let's try to not let typos in web content sidetrack a serious debate.

We Decide, Then Report

I took interest in Tim Waligore's Commonsense because I was curious as to what the prevailing thought was about our naming by such a thoughtlessly conservative blog as However, now that I've seen one response, I would like to comment that despite Tim's insinuation that this blog has a conservative bias, a glance at the list of my colleagues who contribute indicates the presence of many informed viewpoints (including Tim's assuredly not conservative one).

Stopping the Terror

I have eagerly awaited a reply to my perhaps overly partisan criticism of the execution of our current war, and now I have been offered a competent one by Frank Webb. However competent, I do not feel that it significantly addresses the problems our nation has encountered in its prosecution of this war effort.

First, while I will not deny that any information we can get from captured al Qaeda may be useful - even if there is no information to be gleaned, while these individuals are under duress, they will not be terrorizing anyone - I have a great deal of skepticism as to the usefulness of this information. Until I am shown otherwise, I have a strong inclination to believe that the knowledge of these individuals in "common patterns of assualt [sic], attack and organization at the lower level of Al-Qaeda" is not worth as much as those celebrating their capture would have us believe. I would posit that it is precisely the ineptness of these individuals that allowed them to be captured, especially since we know many Qaeda supporters successfully slunk away from our onslaught. Many of the people that went to Afghanistan in support of their Muslim brothers would be of as much intelligence value - from any standpoint - as I would be were I to drive to Canada to help resist an onslaught of Quebecois.

Frankly, I blame the escape of any of these individuals on our ineptness. Here I would make the substantive criticism that the decision to put as few American lives at risk as possible, in this case, was not good calculus. Unlike the spectre of Somalia - or even that of Vietnam - which I am sure was raised in the minds of our military establishment, this battle had the overwhelming support of the American people, and even the world. It is in an environment such as this, when our nation is willing to sustain significant casualties without demoralization, that we should utilize techniques that provide us greater gains, albeit with greater risk. Our troops should've been on the ground at the forefront of the early operations to scour the wilds of Afghanistan. We must remember that we have a volunteer army of professionals whose job is to fight. They are not afraid to suffer casualties; politicians are. The soldiers that were removed from Somalia because of political pressure have said time and again they would've preferred to finish the battle. The loss of their colleagues demoralized the American people moreso than the military. In Afghanistan, the morale capital was present in the American people, but we failed to utilize it at the time. I think it is fair to fault the administration for this, especially since it now seems willing to commit a large number of ground forces to a war with less immediate support from the American people (even in the face of the best argument otherwise) as the front in Afghanistan.

Webb moves on to say that we have no need to fret about the intelligence community, since it is the job of the relevant House and Senate oversight committees to do so. While I agree with Frank that press release of the procedings of these hearings is probably not a good thing, having personally attended post-September 11 hearings on the Hill as regards, for one, the failing (by all accounts) Transportation Security Administration, or, in another instance, observing the testimony of Robert Mueller III as regards his agency's failure to respond appropriately to Colleen Rowley's memorandum, I am convinced that Congress is unable to micromanage when is necessary. While I do not advocate micromanagement in general, there is a problem when Congress mandates a deadline, and the administrator responsible for running the agency meant to meet said deadline immediately begins to offer excuses. Deadline passes, nothing happens. What was the point of setting the deadline in the first place? These are the bureaucrats that need a serious fire lit under their asses by both Congress and the White House, and the latter's failure to light said fire is what I referred to when I lamented this administration's lack of real leadership and clarity - something they claim to have in abundance. By all accounts, as regards the intelligence community, there is a large problem with the sharing of information, and the structure necessary to force such resource pooling will be implemented from outside these agencies. This is the criticism I will make of our intelligence apparati. While I agree with Frank Webb that "the individuals of the FBI, CIA, NSA, and the collective Armed forces are all trying to save american [sic] lives," the institutions in which they are employed govern the methods in which they go about exercising their intentions. While the code-breakers and analysts at the NSA may have the best intentions when they gather communications, if the institution for which they work fails to pass the relevant information on to the CIA, or the CIA, in a turf dispute, fails to pass the information on to the FBI, the institutions need to be meaningfully held accountable. The process in which they are held accountable is at least on behalf of the public, and it is my honest assessment that sufficient action has not been taken to do so. Again, this is a failure of the leadership to direct efforts, not the men and women who sincerely do their best to protect our nation. Notice I am not even claiming Bush has bad intentions; I am not making a partisan criticism here. I am claiming, regardless of its intentions, this administration is failing to provide the leadership and clarity it promised in the situation where it is most urgently needed.

I find an easy error in Webb's "answer" to my question. While he notes that "In the recent memory preceeding the start of the 'war on terror', there were countless embassy bombings, the attack on the USS Cole, the attempted van bombings of the World Trade Center, many other less memorable airplane hijakings [sic] and finally the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. Since the start of the 'war on terror,' there has been no major attack..." Well, Frank, this war has been underway since what...November? Think about the amount of time that elapsed between the events of which you speak. The fact that there has been no attack since we begun our work in Afghanistan is statistically insignificant. Furthermore, I agree with you on the "problem" at hand. However, I have not seen convincing evidence - and, imagining your reply will be that much is going on "behind the scenes," respond that I am dubious of this when we seem to be committing our resources elsewhere.

Frank Webb suggests that I will not be satisfied with the destruction of the terrorist infrastructure in Afghanistan and the capture of a few hundred peons and one higher echelon foe. He's right. However, his suggestion that I am a modern day Neville Chamberlain, as I hope you've seen by my criticisms here, is exactly wrong. I don't want to see the troops abroad brought back home, I want a stronger commitment of said resources. I want them deployed against terrorists hiding within the boundaries of our "allies" in the Middle East, clandestinely and unilaterally. Instead, we are choosing a unilateral approach against Iraq, where we could attempt a UN supported action if we work correctly through diplomatic channels, and took a multilateral approach where we could've acted more significantly if we worked unilaterally and immediately. My solution is more strength and leadership, not fluffly uber-Leftist rhetoric. I don't want to "understand" the terrorists. I want to see them defeated. That's the bottom line, and I will remain observant and critical of our attempts to do so in order to provide constructive criticism until we succeed, lest our government become complacent in fighting to ensure that success.

Like No Other

Jonathan Eisenman asked what concrete gains we've made in the war on Terrorism? The problem with this question is that this war has more in common with policing organized crime syndicates than any sort of conventional battle. Before I make my attempt to answer Eisenman's question, allow me to address his pre-emptive responses to the conservative reply.

After accurately describing in the inherent problems with trying to deal with Al-Qaeda's decentralized operatives in his first point, Eisenman's second point is to question the value of the information being learned from those members of Al-Qaeda we have detained in Cuba. What may be learned from these "independent footsoldiers" may not be Al-Qaeda's specific future plans, nor grand strategy, but that does not mean the information being gleaned is not valuable. Insights into common patterns of assualt, attack and organization at the lower levels of Al-Qaeda have their worth. Most importantly, the value of any information about the enemy during war has been a lesson learned by commanders since the Ancient War-Lord ravaged days of East Asia. Skepticism about the value of intel is probably the most foolish thing generals have done.

Beyond that, I find it almost laughable for undergraduates such as myself and Eisenman and even D.C. pundits to argue over these intelligence matters since we obviously do not have access to what information is being gathered. How can we judge the value of what is being learned or the cost of that information? Should we simply trust the intelligence community? We don't have to; they answer to committees of both the House and Senate. This is the check offered by the Legislature on the Executive. As shocking as it might be, we don't need the press in on this one since keeping secrets isn't exactly their job.

As to Eisenman's last point, I'll agree that it wasn't a failure of airport security. It was complacency by our culture. The "ok, ok, just don't hurt me" response. Though this may tempt some to blame it on the "feminization" of our culture, I will not be so niave nor un-insightful. The issue rests with our abandoning of our earlier values of independence and a "self-policing" citizenry, which we replaced with faith in the government or rather the belief that the solution to societies problems lies in the federal cofers. (This does bring us back to the spirit if not the letter of the Second Amendment, namely volunteerism in a militia draws its rationale from self-reliance, though I can hear the obligitory groans comming from the "progressives") Americans had, until Sept. 11, been recently taught to conceed to demands in exchange for their safety. Well, it turns out the terrorists weren't and will not be negotiating. Will you or I have the courage to stop an attacker or just watch? I know I will find it difficult to find the resolve, though I may have it if the time comes....but maybe I won't have to. There are a growing number of armed air-marshalls flying on planes, unbeknownst to any but the crew; watching and waiting for the first to try it again. On my flight up to homecoming this past fall I sat and chatted next to a FBI agent carrying a firearm. I felt safer, but I would feel much safer knowing I lived in a country were people are not afraid to risk personal injury to help others and themselves rather than wait for the government to come to the rescue. On I side/personal note, I am tired about hearing Sept. 11 referred to as a tragedy. The Titanic's sinking and the 1906 San Fransisco earthquake were tragedies. The events of September 11 were an attack and an act of war, one no less brutal nor less significant than the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1942. That a nation-state was not the perpetrator is irrelevant. Technology has made it possible for organizations and individuals to wage war on this and other nation-states. The national and international laws governing war will have to catch up to the technology and methods.

As to the plethora of other scenarios Eisenman can think of outside of airplane hijakings, it is clearly important to close the gap we were attacked through most recently and most severely, but I would be dissappointed and perhaps shocked to learn that the think tanks at Langely, the War Colleges, et al aren't sitting around thinking about other threats that need to be addressed. After all, that is their job. As Eisenman pointed out so well, Tom Clancy perceived of these sort of attacks years ago. He probably isn't alone, least of all in government buildings where they're paid to be paranoid about everyone and everything.

The flaws of the administration are easy to point out. After a few stellar days, the administration lacks any vision and a powerful voice. (But do we need the micro-managment of the previous administration when fighting such an elusive foe? perhaps for another discussion) However, lost in the ease with which everyone throws slime at GW, one forgets that the individuals of the FBI, CIA, NSA, and the collective Armed forces are all trying to save american lives. That is their priority, they are not some plot to get the President everyone loathes so much re-elected and they do it without press to bother them, just the lives of their loved ones to remind them for whom they work.

Lastly, I will try to answer Eisenman's question. In the recent memory preceeding the start of the "war on terror", there were countless embassy bombings, the attack on the USS Cole, the attempted van bombings of the World Trade Center, many other less memorable airplane hijakings and finally the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. Since the start of the "war on terror", there has been no major attack, nor a major loss of American lives and only a few prevented, though at times bumbling, attempts. The problem is the very framework involved with wars of the past and this one. Is there territory to take? An invader to repulse? Heavy industry to destroy? A government to surrender and sign a peace treaty? The answers are all no.

The concrete gains are hard to find, though the casualties of civil liberties are easier to point out. The latter is, sadly, not new. (But is it avoidable? This is linked to the intelligence/security question, making it hard for outsiders to have credible opinions) Perhaps Eisenman can be satisfied with the capture of "enemy troops" (the detained Al-Qaeda operatives), the destroyed "heavy industry" (terrorist training camps and makeshift weapons shops), and the "invaders" being repulsed (illegal immigrants linked to terrorist groups deported). My suspicion is that Eisenman will not be satisfied, but perhaps he does not want to be. Seeing the civil rights restored to the many detained individuals and the troops abroad brought back will not make us any safer, nor will the invisible hundreds of terrorists plotting more attacks simply disband. Ignoring those who seek to do us harm is not an option and they will not be appeased. We are facing a foe without limit to their demands. Appeasement was the wrong strategy for Chamberlain to use with Germany. Likewise, it will fail against these terrorists. Engagement has been offered by the current administration (a long with the conveniently forgotten massive food air-drops). Anybody else willing to offer a solution to the hundreds of hidden terrorists who will not stop until you and I are dead?

Gender and Women's Studies

Tim, it is clear that when the Women's Studies department makes the "analysis of the construction of gender" it's main focus, it has changed direction significantly from where it started. Originally devoted to studying the contributions of women to human history and artistic achievement, it has now degenerated into a discussion of how the phallocracy has constructed gender to keep women in the kitchen. This endeavor is not scholarly in the least. It is in fact a means for professors to use their pulpit to spout political beliefs as if they are the truth. Students lap it up, and then go on to deconstruct everything from National Defence to masturbation. The goal of Women's Studies today is not to include the works of women in the canon, but rather to convert students to a political ideology that questions everything "constructed" by society (ie. men). It is this trend that I object to.

Jon, here's your answer

Why does it seem like we are not gaining ground in the War on Terror? Mark Steyn has your answer:

"George W. Bush had a rare opportunity after 11 September. He could have attempted to reverse the most toxic tide in the Western world: the sappy multiculturalism that insists all cultures are equally valid, even as they’re trying to kill us. He could have argued that Western self-loathing is a psychosis we can no longer afford. He could have told the teachers’ unions that there was more to the second world war than the internment of Japanese-Americans, and it’s time they started teaching it to our children. A couple of days after 11 September, I wrote in these pages, ‘Those Western nations who spent last week in Durban finessing and nuancing evil should understand now that what is at stake is whether the world’s future will belong to liberal democracy and the rule of law, or to darker forces.’ But a year later, after a brief hiccup, the Western elites have resumed finessing and nuancing evil all the more enthusiastically, and the ‘compassionate conservative’ shows no stomach for a fight at least as important as any on the battlefield. The Islamists are militarily weak but culturally secure. A year on, the West is just the opposite. There’s more than one way to lose a war. "

There isn't much more I can add.

Monday, August 26, 2002

John Stevenson was heartened to hear that the Dartmouth Observer is receiving extra exposure by being linked from, a site that proclaims to be "exposing left-wing lunacy" and whose recent postings include "My University: A Portrait of State Sponsored Terrorism." I couldn't help but notice that it seems that all the other blogs which Campus Nonsense links to, are well, conservative, and a good deal of the discussions seem to revolve around conservative campus papers. Since the Dartmouth Observer claims to be non-partisan, and its founders proclaim the importance of non-inflammatory rhetoric, it is indeed heartening for the site to be exposed-- er, to receive exposure... heh.

The Politics of a Disinterested Academy

On the topic of the Women Studies department changing its name to Women and Gender Studies, Vijay Rao writes:

"The entire 'Women's Studies' endeavor injects too many political sentiments into the classroom. Like Chien Wen, I wish academics would be less political and more 'disinterested.' However, with entire programs and departments devoted to politicized learning ('analysis of the construction of gender'?), we're not going to see a disinterested academia anytime soon."

All right, Vijay, how is "analysis of the construction of gender" so obviously political that you feel you can just assert that to be the case and expect us pinko communist wiccan feminists to agree with you? Perhaps it is political, what exactly do you mean by "political"? Tell me how it is any more (or significantly more) political to analyze "the construction of gender" than, say, deciding what empires were great and deserve to be studied. Is a disinterested acamedia one that is not interested in women and gender issues? Now perhaps you want to say that women's studies departments are politicized in other ways, such as making certain tenets the premises of their classes (which are?), and that the "analysis of the construction of gender" should be incorporated into other departments such as history, government, biology, philosophy, etc. That's a long way from saying that the "analysis of the construction of gender" is inherently politicized learning and that women's issues could be adressed in a 'disinterested' manner. Is, to take a somewhat different example, studying reconstruction after the civil war, an illegitimate political endeavor when part of its purpose is to show that a battle to have greater civil rights was fought and lost?

But let's go to your 'specific' examples. You note that the co-chair of the women's studies program says that feminists want to revise the myth that "only a male president can push the button to set off a nuclear bomb." Well, when Congresswoman Ferraro was chosen as Walter Mondale's running mate in 1984, she faced the accusation that she wouldn't be manly enough to take over as president and defend the nation. She was blamed for making Mondale look henpecked and weak. Besides, I might note that traditional gender concepts can be useful in looking at things like nuclear policy. There has been talk about the concept of 'honor' and also concepts of masculinity to think about what would be done on the brink of nuclear war. To actually launch (as oppossed to threating to launch) the weapons when you face certain retaliation and destruction isn't particularly 'rational.' If you know that the other side has already launched, then launching your weapons can in some scenarios simply be revenge and killing millions for no purpose. And there is no question that foreign policy pundits and analysts spoke in terms of being tough enough and man enough to stare down the Soviets. And as amazing as it is, male scientists would often sexualize and fetishize bombs. You definitely can't make this stuff up. Sadly the construction of gender may very political; but so is ignoring it.

On the Women's Studies honors thesis on "politics of auto-erotic stimulation.", I haven't looked at what that is about, so I don't know if it has substance or not or worthy of being the only honors thesis. Having been a government major, I know you can write something scholarly on anything dealing with the "politics of this or that topic." You can analyze the politics of something without being political. You can say this thesis was trivial (unlike most scholarship of course) and focusing on inappropriate topics (perhaps, but why?) or maybe sex is inherently political (ahh!). But can't Madonna's trangressions, whether deemed to be helpful or not, be seen as political statements, especially considering the continuation of the slut/virgin dichotomy in our society? And whatever your view of this particular thesis, it seems to me that our society's view of women, especially their public roles, is an important thing to look at, no?

America's Failure to Gain Ground in the "War on Terror"

Would someone please lay out for me the concrete gains we've made in the war on terrorism?
While I wait for a response, let me go ahead and inveigh against what I anticipate to be the conservative cheerleader reply.

1. We have disrupted al Qaeda's ability to organize and communicate.

Really? Then how come we are still intercepting "chatter?" For that matter, if we can intercept it, how come we can't track it and arrest the elusive terrorists? Or, if we assume that there was some small amount of contact between al Qaeda members around the world with their "home base" in Afghanistan, then haven't we made it harder to track them by laying waste to their base? Of course, it's wishful thinking to imagine that they needed to make contact with higher-ups in order to have spending appropriated for buying box cutters.

2. We have gained intelligence from capturing "terrorists" and holding them in Cuba.

While I admit putting the "enemy combatants" in Cuba was probably the wittiest thing the Bush administration has done (No other country wants them...we don't want them...solution: put them in another country in such a way that the other country has no say - and that rhymes, easy for Bush to remember), I wonder how much useful information they've gleaned from these people. If a private in our infantry were captured, do you think he could divulge the grand strategy for Mr. Bush's War? Then why does our administration think it plausible that Joe bin Bloggs al-Talib knows what al Qaeda's plans are? Sometimes I wonder if the administration actually believes half the things it says, or if it is making truth of its facile hypotheses by foisting them on the public and riling up such fervor that they become "true" - at least until we get another little wake up call in the form of a few hundred people twitching like that cute white dog in the CNN video. As for the capture of Abu Zubaydah, great, one out of who knows how many. Oh, and maybe we killed another important guy in the bombing. Who knows. But meanwhile...

3. The United States has strengthened its "homeland security" since September 11.

Perhaps, but have we strengthened it in a meaningful way, or are we merely making our skies more secure against acidic breast milk? Does forcing a woman to drink from two bottles of her expressed breast milk to show that it is not really some secret milk-based explosive really make us any more secure? There is a fallacy floating around that September 11 was caused by a massive failure of airport security. Wrong. The reason that such items as box cutters were allowed upon commercial airlines is that they were not deemed to be a great enough hazard to the successful completion of the flight. I would surmise that someone figured that if a few guys with small blades stood up, they would be quickly overpowered by passengers. Correct. So why didn't this happen on September 11? The one minor detail that everyone forgets. A guy stands up after the flight attendants have been knifed and says "Hey, I have a bomb, don't resist." No one resists. Plane crashes into building. The use of a weapon as simple as a box cutter does not represent some brilliant tactic, as the offal being spewed by pundits suggests. This attack was no stroke of genius. It represents someone reading a Tom Clancy novel (yes, he thought of the same sort of attack years earlier) and basically combining that strategy with the tactic of yelling "Fire!" in a theater (replace "fire" with "bomb" and "theater" with "plane"). Bada bing, bada boom. Can this happen again? Well, people can still scream "bomb" on a plane. What will happen then? While perhaps unlikely, it is certainly possible that we would shoot down the plane if the terrorist was convincing enough (or actually did have a bomb and intend to pull more September 11 hijinks). Boom, they just killed a few hundred more people. Correction: we would've killed them.

I can think of hundreds of scenarios, not involving airplanes, in which terrorists could easily wreak havok on our country, and yet only the most "outdated" ideas are even being considered when we plan defensive measures. Even worse, in implementing plans to counter these outdated schemes, the government has acted in a fashion that leads me to believe that even when they consider this to be a time of crisis, bureaucrats and/in the Executive Branch are woefully inept at quickly implementing security measures, and still have the chutzpah to pass the buck (evidence: "bomb sniffers" in airports) when they can't implement Congressional mandates. Meanwhile, pundits have been mulling over the idea that weaponry could easily be transported in via the ubiquitous shipping container, yet the government and the media (through polls only directed at answering the following) are trying to lead people to believe that the nation is becoming more secure because nuns are frisked at airports. We need strong leadership in the agencies and administration working synergistically here, but the agencies are unwilling to do so on their own - they are unwilling to streamline, and the administration is unwilling to go "all the way" in making them do so. Oy vey.

Has the world really changed since September 11? Mostly A) in the minds of insular Americans or B) in the minds of our administration (subset of A). September 11, while certainly tragic, has become merely a foregone opportunity for real change and a magical password for allowing this administration to do things that are, at best, revelations of impotence, and at worst betrayals of the trust of the American people and the good will of the world.

Friday, August 23, 2002
Clarification of Eisenman's Position
From Volume One of Jon Eisenman's Kama Sutra for Spicing Up Debate

First, I'd like to clarify something as regards Vijay Rao's understanding of my position. When I remarked "forced reading of [the New Testament] would cause uproar among atheists, ACLU members, and other unsavories," I noted that this would be the desired scenario for the groups making the charge that the Koran reading violated their First Amendment rights. While I may not be in a position to say what the ACLU, et. al. would, in fact, do were the New Testament to be assigned in the same fashion, I will remark that logical consistency would have them proceed as they have in this case. As I stated in my earlier piece (as I was hoping to keep Vijay off this hook): "I am not sure how adamantly Vijay supports the claim being made that having the Koran for assigned reading violates the First Amendment - reading excerpts from the Koran is not tantamount to being forced to practice Islam nor to acknowledge or refuse to acknowledge anything about the doctrine contained therein." It is not a question, as Vijay says, as to whether "some religious texts are more equal than others" but as to whether being made to read a text is tantamount to being forced to exercise the doctrine contained therein. Neither a New Testament reading nor a Koran reading is impeachable in this case.

Secondly, while I agree that debate in the classroom is a priori a good source of intellectual stimulation, I would suggest that the creation (or creation science, or Intelligent Design Theory, etc.) / evolution debate is about as sensible a classroom debate on whether or not 2 + 2 = 4. As I am currently researching a thesis requiring me to sort through mountains of material regarding both sides of the argument, I bring a somewhat informed opinion to the table when I say that creation science ain't no science. However, I would recommend, for those of you interested in epistemology, a perusal of the issue - study and debate of the issue itself most certainly has a great deal of academic merit (for my thesis's sake). The Intelligent Design Theorists certainly make a few points, but in the end the "option" they espouse for teaching in science classes is not a viable alternative for the same reason with which they seek to impeach Darwinism. To put it simply, the charge is made that evolution is not science, because it has no criteria by which it seems falsifiable. If no clear line at which the theory of evolution will cease to be accepted as "fact" may be drawn, the argument goes, then evolution is not good science. I would reply, however, that creationism (a rose by any other name, after all) has been under attack for centuries, and its proponents have still not yet decided upon a point at which to deem it errant. So, for the sake of limiting my response (and saving some material for my thesis), in addressing this charge only, I think it is demonstrable that at best, any victory these new creationists claim is logically pyrrhic. Of course, I would be completely uninstructive if I didn't suggest further reading, myself, and so I point you all to a book called Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism by Robert Pennock, a philosopher of science at, I believe, the University of Texas. Bon apetite!

Stats Check

I was perusing the archives, reading past articles, when this statistic from the debates between myself and Ms. Dellatorre jumped out at me:

2.) Everyday, 6000 girls are genitally mutilated - more than 200 000 per year (2000).
The statistic comes from the Sisterhood is Global Isntitute.

If 6000 girls are genitally mutilated everyday, then in a 365-day year, that comes out to 2,190,000 per year, a lot more than 200,000. This has an error of nearly 1,000%.

I must ask:

1) Is the Sisterhood is Global Institute in the habit of producing bad statistics? or
2) Do they merely pass on bad statistics without bothering to check facts? or
3) Is this a simple typo? Should 200,000 be 2,000,000, or should 6,000 be 600?
I do not wish to trivialize the problem of female genital mutilation, or detract from those who work to stop it. However, if this is not a simple typo, then the cause of women's rights has been done a great disservice. Some unreasonable individuals might conclude that all feminists merely bandy stats about only to serve their agenda, and have no interest in accurately describing women's problems so they might be solved.

The debate over Darwin and creationism continues with the publication of a new book entitled No Free Lunch:Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence. A review of the book describes the on-going battle between Darwinists and creation scientists with their Intelligent Design theory. It seems then that science is discovering what religion already knew. With Texas soon to debate what books they will use (since they dominate the school book market), the nation's students may be exposed to both sides of the debate in their biology classes and help to combat some of the ignorance that Jon Eisenman was talking about.

The author of this book belongs to a cadre of amigos who promote creation-science. The article calls them "tireless academics": "Michael Behe (professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University), Jonathan Wells (biologist and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, a Seattle think tank concerned with the "renewal of science and culture"), Phillip Johnson (professor emeritus of law at Berkeley), and William Dembski (associate research professor in the conceptual foundations of science at Baylor University and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute)." The author himself is the most qualified of the group: "a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago, another in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is also author of seven books, including The Design Inference, a fairly technical work that laid out a statistical method allegedly allowing reliable detection of design."

Hopefully, his new book No Free Lunch:Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence will cause a firestorm in the field of biology and revolutionize the sloppy atheism that has proceeded from Darwinism and misapplications of quantum theory.

I have updated a question: 2. Are reparations necessary and justified for (insert minority group here, e.g. blacks)? The appositive on the end did not appear the first time due to my bad formatting skills.

On a more cheery note (I have a paper for Means to do so blogging is an excellent procrastination tool), Campus Nonsense has a link to the Dartmouth Observer in its campus weblogs column. Yeah for more exposure!

More on Islam

Jon Eisenman agrees with me when he says that "forced reading of [the New Testament] would cause uproar among atheists, ACLU members, and other unsavories." Then isn't it a little confusing when these "unsavories" don't make a sound when UNC assigns the Koran? Are some religious texts more equal than others?

However Jon, I don't disagree with you. In fact, I definately believe that understanding and learning about Islam is necessary for Americans today. We are fighting a war against people who use Islam to justify their actions. We clearly need to understand their ideology - it is foolish and dangerous not to. But, I don't think American Universities are actually doing that. Like I said before, instead of worrying about how terrorists use Islam to justify 9/11, Academia is worried about Americans ill-treating and misrepresenting Islam. The former is clearly a greater threat and problem than the latter. This is why translations of the Koran used by such Academics omit embarassing scriptures that may give us the "wrong" idea. If we are to truly learn about our enemy's ideology, we will have to look to someplace other than the multicultural fantasy lands inhabited by University professors. The weakening of academia that Jon talks about is now not just a matter of standards in education. It is dangerous.

Democracy's #1 Enemy

Good luck to all of you schlogging through finals on the Hanover plain.

In answer to John's Question 1, "What is the greatest threat(s) to democracy today?" -

The answer can be summed up in one word: stupidity. I guess one could call it "ignorance," but I've good reason for making the delineation. For the sake of discussion, let's term ignorance lack of any more than the knowledge about one's surroundings - in this case, let's speak of the United States ("the greatest democracy on earth") - than is necessary to exist in those surroundings. Stupidity will be ignorance coupled with an unremitting desire to completely avoid obtaining anything aside from this knowledge. The common understanding of democracy suggests that as a system of getting things done, it works best when the constituent members of said system are well-informed. In America, what I hope is just an extremely visible minority has enough of an understanding of "their Constitutional/God given rights" to insist that basically, they have a right to remain stupid if they so chose. While they may have the natural capability to resist education, these people exist in this nation as dysfunctional citizens - they are not meaningful contributors to the forum necessary for the populace to make the Republic work.

I contend in fact, that they are detractors, and in their right to vote regardless of their inability to vote meaningfully, they are the greatest threat to democracy. That the "spirit of democracy" - it is more important that everyone gets to vote than that they make an informed vote - trumps the fact that these people are essentially made pawns of more monolithic forces vis-a-vis their self-imposed intellectual paucity...well, I am unsure that this will continue to be a workable notion in the future. Without commenting on any specific administration, remarkably poor leaders have been perceived as great men. Propaganda has become more important than actual leadership if one can win reelection based on how well you can indoctrinate morons. The question, then, is how "powers-that-be" utilizing the willingly stupid to keep them in office is any different than the powers-that-be utilizing some more outwardly despicable means of doing so. Stupidity can - and I believe is - changing democracy into de facto despotism.

I don't know when, why, or how anti-intellectualism became something for chic for Americans, but whomever is responsible for originating it is the one who has launched the most widespread and damaging attack ever on American soil, and as such, on the "beacon of democracy." Right now it seems that there will still be Americans smiling while the Osama Bin Ladens of the world dance a jig on the smoldering remains of what, if its people would only take the responsibility of making themselves fit to hold its reigns, could continue indefinitely to be known as the greatest nation the world has ever seen.

Thursday, August 22, 2002
Yeah for finals, which is keeping us from posting to the Dartmouth Observer!
Questions (for us) to ponder and hopefully answer:

1. What is the greatest threat(s) to democracy today?
2. Are reparations necessary and justified for (insert minority group here, e.g. blacks)?
3. Why does Andrew Grossman want and need campus attention after he graduated?
4. Is dating bad for teenagers and adolecents?

That Tongue-Clicking Sound of the Kalaha...Washington Bushmen

In the 18 August edition of the best newspaper in the world, also known as The New York Times, Edmund L. Andrews asks Why Isn't Fast Track...Faster? I don't really give a damn about Trade Promotion Authority - what I do care about is the latest bit of hypocrisy from my good friend down the road at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I'd just like to quote from the article here, briefly:

But the plan has met with a chilly reception in Europe, mainly because the United States would be reducing its barriers much less than most other countries. While annual American farm subsidies would fall by almost half, by Mr. Zoellick's estimate, European Union subsidies would drop by about 80 percent, to $12 billion from $60 billion.

"I do not see these proposals as a basis for compromise," said Franz Fischler, the European Union's commissioner for agriculture, denouncing the plan as "unbalanced."

American officials and American farm groups, which back the proposal, say it would simply force the biggest reductions in countries that have the biggest protection.

"This is a totally defensible position," Mr. Zoellick said. "Is it wrong to say that those who provide more support should also cut more?"

Now take a look at the same few lines, having been Eisenmanized:

But the plan has met with a chilly reception in the US, mainly because the United States would be reducing its emissions by much more than most other countries. While annual European emissions would fall by almost half, by an estimate, American emissions would drop by about 80 percent, to 12 billion tons from 60 billion tons.

"I do not see these proposals as a basis for compromise," said George W. Bush, the President of the United States, denouncing the plan as "unbalanced."

European officials and European environmentalists, which back the proposal, say it would simply force the biggest reductions in countries that have the biggest production.

"This is a totally defensible position," -insert name here- said. "Is it wrong to say that those who produce more emissions should also cut more?"

Of course, the numbers included are not representative, but I think the point comes across anyway.

Islam in North Carolina...Spin it 'Round Your Head Like a Helicopter

In tangential reference to the recently-concluded-and-hence-no-longer-ongoing controversy at UNC-Chapel Hill, my buddy Vijay writes:

This seems to be part of a larger national debate that has been going on for close to a year now about how we apporach Islam. It is clear that there are many people out there who are using Islamic values and scripture to justify the mass murder of Americans. It seems important then for us to study this phenomenon. However, as I've discussed before on this site, Academia tends to do a poor job of it. Instead of studying fanaticism and the ideology of people like bin Laden, Professors and University administrators are trying their hardest to ensure that a politically correct version of Islam is proliferated. Increasigly, these multiculturalists are worried about negative reactions to Islam, as opposed to negative interpretations of Islam. So, is Islam to blame for September 11? I don't know, but Academia is certainly not helping us figure it out.

While I agree with Vijay, in general, that academia is increasingly weakening itself through its renunciation of the canon from whence it came (well, I agree with him on the weakening part, I'm not sure what he'd say about the rest of it), I think the conclusion that he's drawn here is about as bogus as George W. Bush claiming to know anything about Aristotle. I am not sure how adamantly Vijay supports the claim being made that having the Koran for assigned reading violates the First Amendment - reading excerpts from the Koran is not tantamount to being forced to practice Islam nor to acknowledge or refuse to acknowledge anything about the doctrine contained therein. However, since Vij brought up the New Testament by way of attempting to demonstrate that forced reading of that text would cause uproar among atheists, ACLU members, and other unsavories, I should point out that if one wants to understand Christian fanatics of the stripe that blow up abortion clinics, one would do well to read the entire Bible in order to understand the logic behind the belief. While I might agree that omitting sections of the Koran that would shed light on the interpretation of jihad espoused by Islamic fundamentalists is less-than-good, it is important that people - especially Bible belters - understand that Islam is not so different than the other two monotheistic religions of the West. So, while I agree that ideally the entire Koran would be assigned so that students could make a more accurate comparative study of Islam and their own faith, I don't think it is a mistake to walk before one runs, as small as the steps may be. Students should understand the basics of Islam before they study fanaticism. Hey, the Pentagon makes the same baby-steps argument for missle defense...which sort of segues into my next post (that I suppose will appear above this one in the blog).

Thursday, August 15, 2002
Clarifications for Dellatorre

I always try to write clearly and concisely, laying out my ideas on top of supporting details. However, if I can trust the debate here, I've actually buried my main thoughts under the flow of my most recent opinion. I will try to disinter them now, in response to Ms. Dellatorre's criticism.

1. Kesler refers to the "strict body/mind distinction" that, he claims, feminism proposes. Kesler fails to acknowldege that many feminists disagree with the "sex/gender" split.
Indeed, I do fail to acknowledge that. Originally, I meant to discuss these other feminisms, going into "First Wave" and "Second Wave," analyzing the role of Enlightenment principles such as individual justice vs. 1960s anti-Establishment sentiment, and other such details of history. However, I chose to cut it. I did not write my opinion on feminism. I wrote my opinion on the type of people who say that men cannot be feminists.

Further, although the sex/gender split does not hold for all feminisms, it does hold for a lot of them--a significant number. To say that I misrepresented feminism because I focused on one major form of it rather than all forms is simply false. It's like saying I misrepresented Christianity, since I did not mention that Lutherans only practice three sacraments while Catholics practice seven. Sure, I didn't run the entire metro system of feminist theory--but I did hit a large number of stops.

2. [T]he idea that men cannot be feminists is rarely a belief claimed by any feminists. I have never encountered an individual who holds to such an extraordinary position, and I have taken plenty of Women's Studies classes with proudly radical feminists. While there may indeed be a few feminists out there who believe such an idea, it is hardly enough to constitute making a generalization regarding all radical feminists.

It gladdens me that Ms. Dellatorre has never encountered such unreasonable feminists. I, however, have not had that good fortune. They are out there, as Mr. Walligore's associate at The Nation has demonstrated. Also, consider Marilyn French:

"The entire system of female oppression rests on ordinary men, who maintain it with a fervor and dedication to duty that any secret police force might envy. What other system can depend on almost half the population to enforce a policy daily, publicly and privately, with utter reliability?" (The War Against Women p182, emphasis added).

I do not know whether Ms. French is the sort of feminist Ms. Dellatorre agrees with. Nonetheless, one influential feminist writer has declared that all men war against women. Not only do such demogogues lurk through the discourse, they hold power within it.

3. [H]e assumes that "radical feminists" (he does not define this word, despite his critique of the inexactitude of language made earlier) claim that men cannot be feminists. . . . While there may indeed be a few feminists out there who believe such an idea, it is hardly enough to constitute making a generalization regarding all radical feminists.

First of all, the bit about "inexactitude of language" is a nice jab, but irrelevant. Further, it wasn't a critique, but mention of an obstacle that must be worked around. When I say "radical feminist," I mean someone who takes feminism to extremes, sometimes irrational extremes. I have always used it this way before, heard others use it this way, and until now, been understood. I did not realize that "radical feminism actually refers to a specific theory of feminism that claims that the fundamental bases of society must be reevaluated and changed to reach a state where women can enjoy freedom and equality." I had unknowingly misused the phrase, and for that I apologize.

Now that I have that bit about language out of the way, my main point: I never assumed all radical feminists claim that men cannot be feminists. If Ms. Dellatorre doesn't know whether to laugh or cry, perhaps she should reread my last paragraph:

"I can only conclude that some more radical feminists do not actually try to solve the problems of gender in society today, but use them as an excuse for some other agenda, either politcal or ideological. For some odd reason, this means making feminism a women's only party. So they answer the question before they even ask it" (emphasis added).

Ms. Dellatorre would do well to back up her assertions about what I have written with real examples. Note that, despite Ms. Dellatorre's claim that I am "lumping feminists into one category," I wrote my opinion cautiously, carefully refering to "some radical feminsts," or in the case of the person at The Nation who answered "no" to the question at hand, "my hypothetical interlocutor" and "my interrogator" (though I must admit some inexactitude there since the person at The Nation answered the question rather than asked it). My caution slipped only when I inadvertently characterized the sex/gender split as a defining feature of feminism rather than a major tenet.

As for lumping a diverse group into one category, consider again the statement from Ms. French: "What other system can depend on almost half the population to enforce a policy daily, publicly and privately, with utter reliability?" It appears here that feminists are not immune from this sin. Even so, that would not excuse my act of stereotyping feminists, had I commited it. I merely present this as an example of what it means to truely lump people together. I ask the readers to compare this to my own writing, and make the judgement they think necessary.

So, in the end, I did not write a polemic about feminism. I used a major (though not universal) tenet of feminism to analyze the question "can a man be a feminist?" and concluded that the answer depends on the man's psychology. I then conjectured on why a feminist (a "more radical feminist") might answer no, and concluded that some self-labelled feminists are willing to throw out intellectual integrity to advance an ideological agenda.

I must wonder how my writing so often goes misinterpreted. Perhaps I've taken the Neal Stephenson approach of subtlety to too far an extreme, and have lost my readers on the way. I will attempt to write more explicitly, to make my ideas accesible to all.

'And Gender'

The D reports today that the Women's Studies program has officially changed its name to the "Women and Gender Studies" program. Here's why:

"While in the early days of women's studies a great deal of attention was focused on 'rescuing' the submerged works of women and the focus was clearly women-centered, increasingly women's studies programs and departments have shifted toward an analysis of the construction of gender as a whole and courses now include gender as a fundamental category of analysis."

This statement beautifully summarizes why I disagree with the existence of such a department. The entire "Women's Studies" endeavor injects too many political sentiments into the classroom. Like Chien Wen, I wish academics would be less political and more "disinterested." However, with entire programs and departments devoted to politicized learning ("analysis of the construction of gender"?), we're not going to see a disinterested academia anytime soon.

Don't believe me? Listen to this: "she [Susan Ackerman, co-chair of the program] noted that feminists have been interested in revising the myth that 'only a male president can push the button to set off a nuclear bomb.'" And last year, the only honors thesis in Women's Studies was about public masturbation, examining the role pornstars and Madonna play in the "politics of auto-erotic stimulation." You can't make this stuff up.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002
A Clarification for Kesler

Yet again, I find myself attempting to disabuse Brent Kesler of his erroneous ideas about feminism. First of all, I must remind him that feminism is not a single theory. There exists no core of beliefs that all feminists adhere to, besides an interest in the well-being and freedom of women. Many people who call themselves feminists I disagree with deeply, and yet I would never question their feminism, just their interpretation of feminism. So, Mr. Kesler, please try to avoid indiscriminately lumping feminists into one category. But on to more specific matters.

Kesler refers to the "strict body/mind distinction" that, he claims, feminism proposes. Kesler fails to acknowldege that many feminists disagree with the "sex/gender" split. Judith Butler, a prominent and influential feminist theorist, believes that not only gender but sex too is socially determined. Moreover, feminism has historically been interested in deconstructing the body/mind binary, an old patriarchal division that placed women in the body, in immanence, while men were identified with the mind, and with transcendence. One of the successes of feminist theory has been deconstructing the age-old binaries that place woman as passive, dependent and outside of the world of the mind. Kesler simplifies for the sake of his argument, but he misses out on the breadth of feminist theory.

Finally, Kesler's last paragraph made me want to either laugh or cry: he assumes that "radical feminists" (he does not define this word, despite his critique of the inexactitude of language made earlier) claim that men cannot be feminists. While, as I mentioned above, there is considerable diversity of thought in the feminist camp, the idea that men cannot be feminists is rarely a belief claimed by any feminists. I have never encountered an individual who holds to such an extraordinary position, and I have taken plenty of Women's Studies classes with proudly radical feminists. While there may indeed be a few feminists out there who believe such an idea, it is hardly enough to constitute making a generalization regarding all radical feminists. Radical feminism actually refers to a specific theory of feminism that claims that the fundamental bases of society must be reevaluated and changed to reach a state where women can enjoy freedom and equality. Finally, to answer Tim's query. Acccording to the general definition of feminism I introduce above, anyone with a concern for women's freedom and well-being can be a feminist. Any other answer is constrictive or, to my mind anyway, a misreading of feminism.

I was reading a case for my group project on affirmative action. Our project is this: A Latino male, who was in the top two percent of his class, was denied admission to an elite university because of a new affirmative action plan. He would have gotten in under the old plan. We have to argue before the court that we should switch affirmative action plans. Not being a supporter of affirmative action myself, it is particularly diffucult. However, the upside is this: I get to read all sorts of wonderful supreme Court cases on affirmative action. Here are two exercpts from one of them. {Adarand v. Pena (1995)}

1. Justice Scalia in a dissent on a case about affirmative action said this:

"In my view, government can never have a 'compelling interest' in discriminating on the basis of race in order to "make up" for past racial discrimination in the opposite direction racial discrimination in the opposite direction. Individuals who have been wronged by unlawful racial discrimination should be made whole; but under our Constitution there can be no such thing as either a creditor or a debtor race. That concept is alien to the Constitution's focus upon the individual, see Amdt. 14, § 1 ("Nor shall any State . . . deny to any person" the equal protection of the laws), and its rejection of dispositions based on race, see Amdt. 15, § 1 (prohibiting abridgment of the right to vote "on account of race"), or based on blood, see Art. III,§ 3 ("No Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood"); Art. I, § 9, cl. 8 ("No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States"). To pursue the concept of racial entitlement--even for the most admirable and benign of purposes--is to reinforce and preserve for future mischief the way of thinking that produced race slavery, race privilege and race hatred. In the eyes of government, we are just one race here. It is American.

2. And a little from Justice Clarence Thomas:

I write separately, however, to express my disagreement with the premise underlying JUSTICE STEVENS' and JUSTICE GINSBURG'S dissents: that there is a racial paternalism exception to the principle of equal protection. I believe that there is a "moral [and] constitutional equivalence," post, at 243, (STEVENS, J., dissenting), between laws designed to subjugate a race and those that distribute benefits on the basis of race in order to foster some current notion of equality. Government cannot make us equal; it can only recognize, respect, and protect us as equal before the law.

That these programs may have been motivated, in part, by good intentions cannot provide refuge from the principle that under our Constitution, the government may not make distinctions on the basis of race. As far as the Constitution is concerned, it is irrelevant whether a government's racial classifications are drawn by those who wish to oppress a race or by those who have a sincere desire to help those thought to be disadvantaged. There can be no doubt that the paternalism that appears to lie at the heart of this program is at war with the principle of inherent equality that underlies and infuses our Constitution. See Declaration of Independence ("We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness").

These programs not only raise grave constitutional questions, they also undermine the moral basis of the equal protection principle. Purchased at the price of immeasurable human suffering, the equal protection principle reflects our Nation's understanding that such classifications ultimately have a destructive impact on the individual and our society. Unquestionably, "invidious [racial] discrimination is an engine of oppression)". It is also true that "remedial" racial preferences may reflect "a desire to foster equality in society," ibid. But there can be no doubt that racial paternalism and its unintended consequences can be as poisonous and pernicious as any other form of discrimination. So-called "benign" discrimination teaches many that because of chronic and apparently immutable handicaps, minorities cannot compete with them without their patronizing indulgence. Inevitably, such programs engender attitudes of superiority or, alternatively, provoke resentment among those who believe that they have been wronged by the government's use of race. These programs stamp minorities with a badge of inferiority and may cause them to develop dependencies or to adopt an attitude that they are "entitled" to preferences. Indeed, JUSTICE STEVENS once recognized the real harms stemming from seemingly "benign" discrimination. See Fullilove v. Klutznick, 448 U.S. 448, 545, 65 L. Ed. 2d 902, 100 S. Ct. 2758 (1980) (STEVENS, J., dissenting) (noting that " remedial" race legislation "is perceived by many as resting on an assumption that those who are granted this special preference are less qualified in some respect that is identified purely by their race").

In my mind, government-sponsored racial discrimination based on benign prejudice is just as noxious as discrimination inspired by malicious prejudice. * In each instance, it is racial discrimination, plain and simple.

*(footnote in the original): It should be obvious that every racial classification helps, in a narrow sense, some races and hurts others. As to the races benefited, the classification could surely be called "benign." Accordingly, whether a law relying upon racial taxonomy is "benign" or "malign," post, at 275 (GINSBURG, J., dissenting); see also post, at 247 (STEVENS, J., dissenting) (addressing differences between "invidious" and "benign" discrimination), either turns on "'whose ox is gored,'" Regents of Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 295, n. 35, 57 L. Ed. 2d 750, 98 S. Ct. 2733 (1978) (Powell, J.) (quoting, A. Bickel, The Morality of Consent 133 (1975)), or on distinctions found only in the eye of the beholder.