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Letters: Defending space
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Editorials printed in The Michigan Doily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.
To the Editor:
ALLOW ME to applaud your ad-
mirable concern for the public
weal, to wit, your observations on
the value and benefits of the
Manned Space Program in Thurs-
day's issue. However, your theme
appears to.have been conceived in
ignorance and brought to maturity
in a markedly culturally deprived
environment. Ignorant of history
and deprived of imagination, that
Neither I nor any engineer
worth his salt will contend that
transistor radios (and the accom-
panying rock and acid music) and
Comsat satellites are worth the
$30 billion dollars the space effort
has consumed in the last ten years.
Unfortunately, the billions of dol-
lars worth of cigarettes and hair
sprays we bought in those t e n
years, vulnerable to the same ar-
gument, rarely make the editorial
But I spoke of history and ima-
gination, and I suppose I must
elaborate. "In 1492," an old poem
reminds us, "Columbus sailed the
ocean blue." That poem ought fur-
ther to remind us of the social
conditions from which that voy-
age sprang, and its financial back,
ing (suspending momentarily the
usual pit-picking about Vikings,
etc.). Spain was t h e n a major
world power, and, while the in-
fant mortality rate statistics and
secondary-school literacy rates are
lacking, we may presume t h e y
would today be considered poor.
And although the petty cash Fer-
dinand and Isabelle financed, Co-'
lumbus with does n o t remotely
approach NASA's $5 billion re-
quest, it cannot be said that "The
direct benefits derived . . . h a d
even the most peripheral effect on
the lives of the people who paid
for them." After all, all Columbus
brought back were some bananas,
an Indian or two, and some sand.
AND THIS is what is important,
about Manned Spaceflight: t h e
future, for generations to come.
That these dreams, this desire to
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 29, 1968
NIGHT EDITOR: ROB BEATTIE
National Student Strike
THE NATIONAL student strike called for
Nov. 4 and 5 by Students for a Demo-
cratic Society provides a good opportunity
for people to begin building a movement
that deals with the real issues that af-
feet our lives.
Voters in next week's election are faced
with the choice of three pro-war candi-
dates even though the majority of the
American people are opposed to the war.
However we may vote, our mere partici-
pation in the election serves to legitimize
not only the war, but alsothe policies of
imperialism and racism on which the war
rests. Frustration at the lack of a "mean-
ingful alternative" should not lead us to
assume t h a t this election is somehow
unique. As long as oppressive institutions
exist that attempt to control our 1 i f e
choices,'"democratic elections w ill re-
main no more than non-choices between
alternatives defined in advance.
WHAT THE ACTIONS during the strike
should attempt to do is demonstrate
that the centers of governmental oppres-
sion exist in our own community, and af-
feet our day-to-day activities. The Uni-
versity, for example is directly involved
in .oppressing people not only through its
war research, but also through the au-
thoritarian structure of its classes, and
its attempt to channel people into occu-
pations such as corporate management
that serve to maintain the existing sys-
tem. An effective boycott of classes is one
way to dramatise this. Local merchants
a n d realtors, capitalizing on a captive
student market, control our lives directly
by placing profit above human values.
The focus of the strike's activities is
two-fold. Monday afternoon's activities
will consist primarily of decentralized ed-
ucational and agitational efforts building
toward a massive regional mobilization in
Ann Arbor Tuesday afternoon. Four
"tours" are being planned, in which peo-
ple will go to such places as the draft
board, research labs, ROTC and book-
stores to dramatize the community's
complicity with war and racism. These
"tours" should serve as constructive edu-1
Tuesday's mobilization should serve
both as a culmination of the two days of
activity and organizing point for future
activities. It will provide an opportunity
to assess the strength of the anti-war
movement in Michigan; and it will chal-
lenge the power structure with the state-
ment that as an alternative to an elec-i
tion that supports the military establish-
ment,,we will begin to build a new sys-
tem based on an affirmation of life.
I.THE STRIKE is not an end in itself.
What is important is the commitment
to action that people bring to it. Many of
the activities have been only loosely de-
fined so that they can change with the
wishes of the participants.
Many decisions concerning 'the two
day's activities have yet to be made, chief
among them the choice of a site for Tues-
day's mobilization. A prevalent mood
among SDS members is that any s u c h
mobilization should not be directed spe-
cifically at the election, but should deal
with relevant community issues. No -dis-
ruptive actions at polling places h a v e
been planned, largely based on the philos-
ophy that our enemyis not the voter but
the institutions that make it impossible
for a vote to significantly affect policy.
The time for merely expressing griev-
ances and hoping that the leadership will
listen is past. We must begin to take an
active part in reshaping the candidates
that affect our lives. To make this an ef-
fective strike, widespread student support
is necessary. People should come to to-j
night's SDS meeting to help p 1 a n the
strike and participate in carrying it out.
An empty wall is to write on
By JAMES JENSEN.
You might well ask.
Of course, there's no price tag
on him. (Our graffiti artists have
forgotten their history: slavery
was abolished by Hubert Humph-
rey in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.)
LUEY & DEWEY can never be
free; they're under contract to the
Life is hard. The great g r e y
walls that surrounded the Admin-
istration Building are down. Those
forming the circumference of the
grad library construction a r e a
have been formally covered by art
classes. And writing on bathroom
walls is passe.
HOW IS A PERSON with some-
thing to say expected to express
With a can of spray paint and
the walls and sidewalks of the
University, of course.
The buildings and pathways of
the University provide themselves
as one big blackboard upon which
Ann Arborites can write out their
communications to the world. And
the University provides people to
clean off the blackboard a f t e r
In the good old days, noncom-
missioned student art work and
deathless messages were written
up in chalk, a common and inex-
pensive material that washed out
with the rain.
In today's affluent society, spray
paint and other indelible markers
fill the role that chalk once main-
tained. This new stuff, however,
requires chemicals and hard labor
for its removal.
This is a price tag. The Plant
Department is going to have to
pay it. Whatever it costs to erase
the campus blackboard, the Plant
Department will have to pay.
T h e greatest area of graffiti
concentration' is the Diag, due to
its high audience turnover. Other
sidewalks and buildings in t h e
central complex have high obser-
vation ratings and so these choice
locations are also much marked
NOTICE: the tunneled walkway
through the Maynard Street park-
ing structure and the shelter on
North 'U., in front of the Chemis-
try Building, have not yet been
Why not marigolds? Everett
Dirksen likes marigolds and he's
a Patriotic American.
The University has its Patriot
Americans inthe men of Ander-
son House ("The Action House").
Filled with ambitious school spirit,
they guarded the campus as best
they could before t h e emotion-
arousing football game with Mich-
igan State. We need more men
like these, to protect our beautiful
campus from defacement. Patrol-
ling the streets at night, t h e y
could stop the nasties who a r e
corrupting the natural order of
Swastikas and iron crosses.
Remembrance of things past, in-
dicating the wave of the future.
"reach for the stars" should be as
incomprehensible to you as Co-
lumbus' swearing the earth was
round was to his critics (and he
had many>. is evidence of your
"imagination gap." the gulf that
separates those who push against
the boundries of science from the
Sure, space c o s t s a lot. But
Vietnam costs more, by quite a
few pennies. And while you may
argue that the money Isabelle
spent could better have bought
shoes, underwear and books for
Spanish children, and that Ameri-
ca would have been discovered in
time by someone else, are you pre-
pared to admit that perhaps it
might not, have? Can you give any
assurance t h a t Isabelle's money
would indeed have gone to the
peasants if she hadn't been so
generous to Columbus - or that
the monies NASA spends today
would be spent by schools and
welfarevagencies tomorrow if
NASA were to cease .to exist?
AND SINCE we seem (somewhat
by magic) to have arrived at the
question of the world's illnesses,
let us pause and ask just who has
done what to foster or cure them.
Would you please point out the
engineer, the scientist, the tech-
nician who started the Civil, First
or Second World, Korean, or Viet-
nam wars? Can you name the
technocrat who invented graft,
racism, or inflamatory journalism?
Th e underlying dictum of
Thursday's effort was "heal thy-
self." In future editorials continue
to apply that principle. But please
apply it to The Daily's crew of
periphrastic journalists. And re-
member, we technocrats did not
invent Original Sin - we o n l y
invented television for you to
watch it on.
-M. E: Nicksic, Grad.
To the Editor:
STEPHEN WILDSTROM'S edi-
torial concerning the United
States' space program merits
enough attention to put the facts
into a relevant context.
As Mr. Wildstrom poin's out,
many of the benefits of space
research are connected with the
technological "fallout" into related
fields. However, he doesn't point
out that, rather than being limited
to "transistors and freeze-dried
foods," this effect has flooded al-
most every profession from mate-
rials scienceto biochemistry with
technical advances. Further, whlle
Mr. Wildstrom expresses his con-
cern over the propriety of the
economic aspects of the program,
he ignores the fact that the space
effort has created over 400.000 Jobs
at all levels of society. He does
tell us, however, that he thinks
any advantages could have been
had more cheaply without a space
program. While one would like to
take issue with his figures, one
wonders if 'it is logical to assume
that these advances would have
been made so quickly, if at all,
without stimulus of public opinion
and the competative atmosphere
created by the "space race."
Finally, as stated before. Mr.
Wildstrom dwells extensively on
the economics of the program. He
tells us that it has cost the U.S.
30 billion to reach the moon. He
fails to tell us that this is close
to a ten year figure. Therefore, in
a relative view, we spend less on
space research yearly than we
spend on tobacco and liquor pro-
ducts-and their only "techio-
logical fallout" consists of recessed
filters and throw-away bottles.
-Jon Cooley, 70E
liberal education's Catch-22
he invisible campaign issue
ONE 6F THE MANY aspects of our na-
tioral policies that will not be altered,
regardless of who is elected President, is
the frightening spectre of our ever-esca-
lating research in biological warfare (BW)
which was known before this Age of Eu-
phemism as simply "germ warfare."
Few recall that ear y this year nerve
gas escaping from a BW research center
outside of densely populated Denver, Col-
orado, mysteriously killed over 5,000
It is therefore refreshing to find a No-
bel Prize winning biologist who has ad-
vised the government on BW research in
the past admitting in an interview with
the Washington Post that such research
should be abandoned because germ weap-
ons "don't make sense scientifically or
J. D. Watson of Harvard went on to
say that "I cannot think of any situation
where BW's use would help the military."
For he concluded cheerily, "they can do
things other ways"
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school year ($10 by mail).
WATSON, SOUNDING like a Richard
Nixon campaign speech, told the
Washington Post that security require-
ments prevent him from explaining why
he thinks such weapons would be techno-
In fact security is so tight that it is im-
possible to gauge how much our Govern-
ment spends on such BW research. The
last published figure showed an expendi-
ture .of $294.6 million during fiscal 1964-
and that included chemical warfare as
well. However, most estimates calculate
that expenditures for chemical and bio-
logical warfare are now at least double
their 1964 level.
The impenetrability of the nature of
BW research and its cost is just one of
many gruesome examples of how Cold
War hysteria has created ongoing pro-
grams of almost incalculable dimensions
and dangers that continue from Adminis-
tration to Administration out of sheer in-
ertia and bureaucratic sluggishness, re-
gardless of even their military merits.
But who cares about such irrelevancies
as biological warfare when we have major
issues-like crime in the streets-to worry
By RON LANDSMAN
APATHETIC STUDENTS are everywhere. Despite the growing mood
in favor of 'academic reform-an issue clearly in the interest of
students-the vast majority on this campus remains uncaring and un-
The faculty, on whose initiative the action has depended so far,
are the liberals now; the students are the conservatives. These roles
are unbecoming for both.
It is unbecoming for the students because it indicates a lack of
intellectual aggressiveness and concern that is inappropriate for the
educated class. It points up, as well, a lack of concern with their en-
vironment as a whole, and it is this missing concern that most reveals
their failure to receive a liberal education.
But those seeking change now in the academic conduct of the
University run into a common problem: there is a vicious circle that
leaves those who should be asking for a more liberal education unin-
terested in demanding one. It tends to sound very much like Catch-22.
An academic Joseph Heller might have written:
Yossarian: Can't you give a liberal education'to anyone here who needs
Prof. Daneeka: Sure, there's a rule that says I have to.
Yossarian: Now take Orr. Can you educate him?
Daneeka: Of course. But first lie has to ask me. That's part of 'the rule.
Yosssarian: Then why doesn't he ask you?
Daneeka: Because. he's uneducated. He must have no idea of what a
liberal education is to accept what we give him here. But before we can
give him one he has to ask for it.
Yossarian: That's all he has to do is ask you?
Daneeka: That's,all. Let him ask me.
Yossarian: And then you can offer a liberal education?
Daneeka: No, then I can't.
Yossarian: You mean there's a catch?
Daneeka: Sure there's a catch, Catch-22. Anyone who knows enough to
want a liberal education must have gotten part of one some place, and
couldn't have been here and certainly wasn't in the high schools. So
anyone who asks for a liberal education must be a misfit or an outside
agitator, and there's a rule that we can't teach them.
THAT'S THE CATCH. The University brings in students and trains
them till they don't care about their education. The ones who do care,
the ones who get a liberal education despite the University, are easily
enough handled as misfis and "outside agitators" who have no right
disrupting the University'scalm. And so the situation goes pleasantly
on viciously perpetuating itself.
Liberal education is the key phrase in all this. Besides the more
obvious features of such an education-studying the intellectual en-
deavors of man, and the humanistic feeling inherent in a real liberal
education-there stands out the demand that the liberally educated
student be taught to think.
This implies the existence of a well-delevoped mind, an aggressive
and independent intelligence trained to be sensitive and critical. It
must be a mind trained for responsibility and infused with the ability
to employ responsibility and power-yes, power-in a reasonable way.
All three of these facets have a bearing upon this University's
students' unwillingness to assume control over their academic lives,
but it is the last which is the key. It is that critical, reasoning function
which is the core and basis for the other two, and it is a basis without
which the intellectual superstructure is weak, if not meaningless. With-
out the intellectual independence which such attitudes implies, man is
not best able to function in our ideal form of government, one which
places upon him responsibility for his own acts as well as those of his
THE ANALOGY between what a students does in relation to his
environment here, and what roles he will play in society after leaving
the University, is too direct to require much elucidation. The devel-
opment of critical ,abilities and social consciousness and their'employ-
ment here, is an invaluable precedent for the life style students will
follow after they leave.
There is no conclusive proof that activists on campus remain more
aware than their conservative counterparts when they leave and move
into the larger society. But it seems that a college which produces
socially active, socially committed students .is a greater asset to society
than one which turns out myriads of Eisenhower button-wearers whose
greatest concern is the best paying, most conventional job they can
The students of the quiet Eisenhower years may have been tolerable
for their times, but they are not acceptable today. Too much depends
on today's students to let them be dominated by the acquiescent silence
which marks those students.
It' is true that this argument does not apply to all students, that
there are committed students with social consciences who find their
work too absorbing and important for the time being to dissipate them-
selves in work elsewhere. It's true, there are such students. But they
are, in fact, the opposite of the type of 'students which dominate the
literary college and the University as a whole.
THE TYPICAL STUDENT, the one who cares little for academic
reform or for any all-University functions or issues, is a student with a
parochial view that does not incline him toward such larger consider-
ations. And he is, further, a student willing to accept the values and
norms which surround him, pliable without questioning the society that
It is this type qf student who finds the lecture system so amenable,
requiring as it does little exertion on his part, and that which is required
being too limited and narrow in scope to be ieaningful.
And it is this type of student who will help perpetuate the current
system. But the move has been made by the faculty to reconsider, with
more than trivial student involvement, the academic. structure. They
have started the process going. Whether the students can or will go
along in any significant numbers'is the question that is answered by
THE TACTICAL PROBLEM for those seeking reform ;centers
around those uncommitted and complacent many-for they like it the
way they have it. Students operating in the current academic structure
who find it comfortable and easy are not willing to risk the comfortable
life they have. They will ce: tainly not risk it for a style that promises
to be much more difficult.
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