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January 11, 1969 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1969-01-11

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i

Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan
under authority of Board in Control of Student Publications

Socrates and scientists at

Brandeis

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily exp ress the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.!

! I

SATURDAY, JANUARY 11, 1969

NIfHT EDITOR: MARCIA ABRAMSON

The McCarthy mystique:
Esoteric reasoning

""THE ANCIENT PHILOSOPHIES," wrote
Ambrose Bierce, who was renowned
for his slashingly sardonic operational
definitions, "Were of two kinds, - exo-
teric, those that the philosophers them-
selves could partly understand, and eso-
teric, those that nobody could under-
stand."
Considering his recent behavior,Sen.
Eugene McCarthy fully qualifies under'
Bierce's definition of esoteric.
From the beginning, his political rec-
ord has been consistently erratic. Long,
before the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion
m a d e the Central Intelligence Agency
controversial, the Minnesota poet-pol-
'tician was a vigilant CIA watchdog. Yet
poised against this precocious liberalism
was his obsequious support of the oil de-
pletion allowance.
McCARTHY SAW his early campaign
for the Democratic nomination last
year as a holy w a r of ideology rather'
than a grimy struggle for power. Yet
when a contender with decently similar
principles entered t h e race, McCarthy
openly and bitterly resented the intru-
sion.
As last year's campaign w o r e on, a
strain of perversity began to characterize
the Senator's style. In the wake of the
Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, he
made one of the least diplomatic state-
ments uttered by a political figure since
Charlie Wilson explained the relationship
between General Motors and America.
Only recently, however, has McCarthy's
behavior gone from the bizarre to the
enigmatic. Last week, in the election for
Democratic whip, he supported Russell
Long of Louisiana, one of the Senate's
most backward troglodytes, against Ted
Kennedy. Stated explanation: The Sen-
ate needs wholesome reform, not token-
ism. McCarthy apparently would h a v e
the public believe that wholesale reform,
would have been imminent with Long as
Whip.
LINGERING RESENTMENT of the Ken-
nedy family undoubtedly and to some
extent understandably influenced his
004r rt x ~ig
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Editorial Staff
MARK LEVIN. Editor
STEPHEN WILDSTROM URBAN LERNER
Managing Editor Editorial Director
DAVID KNOKE, Executive Editor
WALLACE IMMEN ... .. .. News Editor
CAROLYN MIEGEL......Associate, Managing Editor
DANIEL' OKUENT . Feature Editor
PAT O'DONOHUE ..... ... .. .. News Editor
WALTER SHAPIRO ......Associate Editorial Director
HOWARD KOHN........ Associate Editorial Director
AVIVARKEMPNER............Personnel Director
NEAL BRUSS..................Magazine Edito-
ALISON SYMROSKI......Associate Magazine Editor
ANN MUJNSTER ........... .... Contributing Editor

support of Long. E v e n less explicable
than McCarthy's vote in the whip elec-
tion was his decision announced Thurs-
day to relinquish his seat on the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee to Wyom-
ing Democrat Gale McGee, ;an unabashed
defender of Johnson's foreign policy.
When he announced in his typically
cantankerous fashion that he had decid-
ed not to run for re-election to the Sen-
ate in 1970 as a Democrat, McCarthy
stressed that he would continue to ex-
pound his views as a member of the for-
eign relations committee. His latest move,
given McGee's views of foreign policy, is
worse than a revocation of that promise.
Tortured reasoning, of course, has been
part of the McCarthy mystique from the
beginning. His plan for Vietnam, it will
be remembered, was to negotiate until
terms of peace could be reached. Should
negotiations fail, he hinted, the United
States was to withdraw unilaterally any-
way. Having often announced this plat-
f o r m publicly, McCarthy as President
might have had a hard time inducing the
North Vietnamese and Vietcong to ne-
gotiate seriously.
THE SENATOR'S explanation for with-
drawing f r o m the foreign relations
committee does not deviate from this pat-
tern of stubborn illogic. Committee Chair-
man J. William Fulbright had wanted,
for hard political reasons of his own, to
reduce the membership of the committee
from 19 to 15.
According to McCarthy's thinking the
foreign relations committee - as a pol-
icy-influencing rather than legislation-
proposing body - must be small to be in-
fluential in checking the power of the
Executive. Whatever the merits of that
proposition, and they are at least debat-
able, McCarthy might reasonably be ask-
ed: Influential to what end? Do the for-
eign-policy making arms of the executive
branch need any more of the kind of in-
fluence Gale McGee is likely to bring?
The charitable assumption is that Mc-
Carthy misguidedly believes his own pub-
lic rationales; t h e cynical assumption,
always held by his detractors, is that he
is a bitter and spiteful man. Neither is
an entirely convincing explanation. In-
deed, McCarthy's complexity - or is it
his simplicity - seems to defy analysis.
Is he merely feeding his own legends,
hoping to enter the history books as a
kind of political Wrong Way Corrigan?
Has he given up the system and taken to
fomenting revolution through t h e ab-
struse means of attempting to make the
system as intolerable as possible?
Eugene McCarthy in the last year and a
half has ,been a controversial figure, and
he has been chased' by no dearth of one-
word descriptions. Perhaps none fits
him better than Ambrose Bierce's "eso-
teric."
-URBAN LEHNER
Editorial Director

By RON LANDSMAN
Special to the Daily
WALTHAM, Mass. - Herman Epstein teaches
here at Brandeis University just outside of
Boston, where the rolling hills serve to expel a
lingering image of the high-powered University of
Michigan.
Epstein is a graduate of Michigan, an early
enthusiast in the Ann Arbor co-op movement and
a sometime Daily reporter, now turned into a
bio-physicist. He has found a home at Brandeis
with its closetful of off-beat departments and
academic renegades.
Academically Brandeis conforms in theory to
many of the structures common to multiversities
like Michigan. But in practice it has transform-
ed burdens like the much-maligned distribution
requirements into a valuable learning experience.
AT A TIME WHEN educational standards are
being swept over by demagogic and intellectually-
unfounded threats, a look at Brandeis is reveal-
ing. Brandeis has the equivaent of Michigan's
distribution requirements in its "general ed" re-
quisities, including a course in biology which Ep-
stein teaches.
Epstein's course offers an alternative to the
standard lecture-survey approach that most stu-
dents must endure at Michigan. Under the im-
posing title "research studies in biology for non-
students" 15 students undertake the study of
DNA's role in genetics and reproduction.
Rather than using texts, Epstein introduces
a series of research papers which comprise the en-
tire basis of the course. These papers fore the
students to analyze and thereby understand
some of the professional research done in bio-
physics over the past 20 years.
Withrout exception Epstein's students have
no previous experience in college-level biology,
chemistry or physics. After the first paper is read
carefully, students are encouraged to ask ques-
tions, barrages of questions. The first paper is
rather simple, but the questions provide Epstein
with enough material for the next three weeks.
Another more sophisticated research paper
follows. Since it is on the same topic, the time
needed for straight factual explanation is greatly
reduced. This time Epstein not only asks his stu-
dents to explain what the paper says but also
forces them to predict where research in this
area will head next.
THE PROCESS he uses is essentially Socratic.
Careful, directed questioning ascending from sim-
ple material to the more complex; leading the
students from unsophisticated groping to a' far
more refined understanding.
By the end of the term, the class really hasn't
learned much formal biology. Instead they have
absorbed a lot of genetics, some evolution, some
bio-chemistry, something on metabolism and a
little about semi-permeable membranes..
But what they lack in breadth, they make up
for in depth of intellectual understanding. The
course, designed primarily for , non-scientists,
teaches them to appreciate the strategy of scien-
tists, their logic and the way in which they ap-
proach the problems they face.
"Social science and humanities students want
to know what a natural scientist does," Epstein
explains. "They want to -know what the scientist's
work in the laboratory is all about."
What Epstein says is not just rhetoric. There
is some intangible and only vaguely measurable
skill which encompasses the ability to analyze
material, discern meanings and seek new insights.
This is what Epstein tries to teach.
AS UNDEFINED AS this ability is, Epstein
finds that it is possible to measure it through
exams. While the exams are routinuely described
as "thought questions" and fall within the realm
of the class work, they are the sort which demand
solutions.
Some classes at Michigan, e.g. Anthropology
131, give the same type of exams. But while the
questions are good, the students aren't. Unlike
those in Epstein's class, Michigan's students are
generally unprepared to deal with such demand-
ing questions.
Although sufficient material is provided in
class to enable the formulation of a reasonable
answer, most students at Michigan have not had
the chance to develop thought processes which
can mold relevant facts into a creative and ima-
ginative answer. It is in developing these thought
processes that Epstein's class succeeds.
The problem at Michigan is t h a t teaching
thinking is a forgotten goal, Some classes do at-

A

temptnto deal with this but usually the process
is benignly ignored. Many assume, reassuringly
but falsely, that all students who enter Michigan
have already a well-developed ability to think
carefully and analytically.
With all due respect to the quality of the
Michigan student body, this just isn't so.
AT FIRST GLANCE Epstein's course seems to
be the sort of thing only possible at a small col-
lege and therefore irrelevant to a multiversity like
Michigan.
However, Epstein has some intriguing com-
ments about this. His program is now in its third
year. From one original section, it has expanded
tenfold.
Furthermore eight out of the ten people who
teach the course do so voluntarily-in addition to
their usual teaching load.
There is a reason for the course's popularity
among the faculty-it takes almost no prepara-
tion to teach and often becomes challenging to
the professor as well as the student. Epstein says
that after selecting the research papers he has
little more to do than checking the lesson plan
briefly each week before class.
The key to all this lies in the unique nature of
the class. "We're talking about my field of study"
he explains, "and that's something I can talk
about any time without special preparation."
WITHOUT ATTEMPTING to assess this ap-
proach as a method to acquaint scientists with
either social sciences or humanities, it seems
clear that in teaching non-scientists some sort of
scientific logic ought to take precedence over sub-
stance.
There have been attempts at Michigan to
teach physics in historicaliy or topically oriented
courses designed for students with a primary
background in the social sciences. But such
courses seem to underrate both the students and
the science. There is an intrinsic, very human
meaning to the sciences which should be im-
parted to students in its own discipline, rather
than disguised as history or sociology.
But this intrinsic meaning to the sciences is
not necessarily a massive quantity of facts and
theories. Rather it is an understanding of the
process, the logic and the strategy of the disci-
pline which best represents what science means.
It is this, as Epstein's course seems to have shown,
that must be imparted to the non-scientists.

U

...'. .!MURRA Y KEMP TON s. /A
The old dragots
RICHARD NIXON having already given us the Christmas present
of J. Edgar Hoover, Random House sends along the Christmas
present of "J. Edgar Hoover on Communism," known to the committed
as "Quotations from the Director." Mr. Hoover is our Mao Tse-tung:
what other American has swung with undiminished strength in the
currents of the Potomac for 50 years?
THE DIRECTOR AND THE CHAIRMAN must have the same
translator. Notice how each is introduced to the reader:
"Study Chairman Mao's writings, follow his teachings and act
according to his instructions."-Lin Piao.
"Mr. Hoover's essay and quotations will recall for all patriotic
citizens the absolute necessity of their being vigilant, alert and willing
to do their share to defeat this conspiracy. Even after 50 years, the
battle is not over."--Random House, "A Note to the Readers."
They have the same fidelity to rigorous study of the classics:
"Realize that to gain factual knowledge about Communism takes
time, patience and effort. Too many people think they can learn about
Communism in just a few hours or with a minimum of work."-The
Director, "On Communism."
"Some people have read a few Marxist books and think themselves
quite learned . . . Others are very conceited and having learned some
book-phrases, think themselves terrific and are very cocky , . ."-The
Chairman, speech at the Chinese Communist Party's conference on
propaganda, 1957.
Their bugles have the identical tone:
"America must roll up its sleeves and face the Communist danger
... The times call for courage, resolution and integrity, not cleverness,
expediency or love of soft living. No man has a right to a 'time out,' 'a
leave of absence'-all must be on the front lines."-The Director, 1967.
"A dangerous tendency has shown itself of late among many of our
personnel-an unwillingnes to share the joy and hardship of the
masses, a concern for fame and gain."-The Chairman, On the Correct
Handling of Contradictions Among the People, 1957.
AND NOTHING CAN EVER change for either the Director or the
Chairman:
"It has been said that a leopard will not change its spots. It can
be said that Communism, despite the efforts of its apologists, will for-
ever be based on the dagger, the assasin's bullet and the use of force."
--The Director, 1964.
"When we say 'imperialism is ferocious' we mean that its nature
will never change, that the imperialists will never lay down their
butcher knives." The Chairman, "Cast Away Illusions," 1949.
(C) New York Post

I

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Can the ARM sysembegsopped?

By STEPHEN WILDSTROM
Managing Editor
SOMETIME WITHIN the n e x t
couple of years, the bulldozers
and power shovels will move into
a pleasant northern suburb of
Detroit to begin work on Michi-
gan's first anti-ballistic missile
site. The construction will mark
the ultimate triumph of the mili-
ary-industrial-academic complex.
It has become painfully clear in
the course of the months of debate
and discussion on the merits of
the ABM system that the expen-
sive ($7 billion to $30 billion, de-
pending on whether a "thick" or
"thin" system is ultimately built)
anti-missiles will contribute ab-
solutely nothing to the security
of the United States. On the con-
trary, the ABMs pose a serious
threat of nuclear 'war to all na-
tions.
The concept of an ABM system
is absurd on the surface. The
United States some time ago stop-
ped stockpiling of nuclear war-
heads on the grounds that current
supplies were adequate for any
conceivable contingency. If, say,
the Soviet Union were to put in,
an ABM system, all we would

even knows against whom the
ABMs are designed to protect us.
The Johnson administration's thin
system was planned to ward off
an attack by Chinese ICBMs,
which as far as published reports
go, do not exist and are not likely
to 'exist for some time. Many ob-
servers now feel that the defense
spending-minded ; Nixon admin-
istration will switch back to, the
thick system, directed against
Russian missiles, that the military
wanted in the first place.
Unless there is something in
the censored Senate Armed Serv-
ices Committee hearings that Sen.
Richard Russell (D-Ga) didn't see
fit to release to the public, there
has not yet been a shred of testi-
mony from a disinterested civilian
indicating any need for any sort
of ABM system.
IT IS A SAD FACT that the',
ABMs have been forced upon the
American people by the self-in-
terested pressures of three groups
-the military, the defense con-
tractors and some of the coun-
tries largest universities, the Uni-
versity by no means the least of
them.

The interest of the aerospace
companies is also easy to fathom.
It's cold cash, especially welcome
in a period when defense research-
and development spending has
been declining and when, with the
virtual completion of Project
Apollo, the NASA goose has stop-
ped laying golden eggs. Bendix,
Lockheed, General Dynamics and
the rest can hardly be exepected to
oppose a program that will bring
them money, lots of it.
The interest of the universities,
and the University in particular,
is somewhat more obscure. But
academic defense research too has
been waning of late, and a shot
in the -arm from an ABM program
would be of much help.
RESEARCHERS at the Univer-
sity's Willow Run and Cooley Elec-
tronics Laboratories have laid
much of the groundwork for the
ABMs. One of the more frequent
erms in classified contract de-
scription here has been "target
signatures," the recognition of
missile targets or potentional tar-
gets by the patterns they give on
radar or infra-red sensing de-
vices.

secret, one researcher involved in
the project said it's prime func-
tion is to track ballistic missiles.
Researchers involved in such
projects must feel that Uncle Sam
won't forget them when the big
money starts coming in.
BUT THERE IS STILL a chance
to stop the ABMs. A lot of people
are getting a little uptight about
the whole plan right now. It's not
that they object to the concept-
they haven's been told enough
about it to object-but they are
rightly scared by the possibility
of a nuclear accident at an ABM
site in their backyards. They'll "
put up with the missiles-some-
where else. Even John Broomfield,
the unreconstructed conservative
Republican congressman in whose
district the first site will go, is
much displeased by the prospect.
If enough people are only hap-
py with the ABMs somewhere else,
they just may never be built. Un-
fortunately it seems likely that
enough congressmen will overcome
fear of their constituencies under -
the pressure of the defense in-
dustry and military lobbies. It
will then be up to the people
themselves to stop the ABMs.

T HE CAB DRIVER who dropped me
in front of the Community Church
two days before Christmas wondered
why a crowd was assembling there.
Told that a memorial service was be-
ing held for Norman Thomas, he re-
marked quietly:
"He was a very big man."
Mrs. Lorraine Ford, who served as-
Thomas' personal attendant at t h e
Huntington, L.I., nursing home dur-
ing the last year of his life, offered
her eulogy the day after he died in an
interview to be published in the organ
of Local 1199 of the Drug and Hospi-
tal Employes Union, one of his fav-
orite institutions:
"He loved everybody a n d wanted
everybody to love everybody else ...
He didn't want us to be his servants,
he wanted to be our servant when he
could . . . Everybody will miss h i m
who knew him because he was just
himself, always cheerful, grateful and
modest."
IT IS BECAUSE his individual gen-
erosities a n d his sponsorship of
eventually triumphant "lost" causes
characterized so much of his life that
one finds it hard to write a detached
assessment of Norman Thomas' place
in history.
Many have described the lonely po-
sitions he espoused that were later to
become respectable and acceptable.
But -before him there was Debs, and
there were others, too, who were ahead
of their time. No one can really prove
there would have been no New Deal,
no Wagner Act and no Social Security
laws if Normhan Thomas h a d never
lived; least of all did he advance that

idiot's delight and rational man's de-
gradation.
To many he seemed at times un-
reasonable in his fierce dedication to
reason and in his loathing of violence,
no matter what banner its practition-
ers carried. Perhaps this will be deem-

ited him in these final weeks and were
awed and stirred by h is refusal to
abandon the battle as long as he could
breathe.
Still one gropes for the real mean-
ing of his long journey, and the final
episode in which John Lindsey, the
Mayor of"a city that spurned Thomas'
candidacy for that office long ago,
joined hands with Roger Baldwin, his
long-time associate in the Civil Liber-
ties Union, in leading the procession of
mourners. There were many old as-
sociates present, and there were one-
time adversaries of the left and right,
and then there were young men and
women to whom Thomas' voice had as
much current relevance as it did to us
on a depression-harrowed Columbia
campus long ago.
POSSIBLY WHAT GAVE Thomas
his special role w a s his capacity to
evoke the best instincts of the Ameri-
can tradition and simultaneously chal-
lenge the incredible inadequacy of our
efforts to cope with the present. He
inspired many to see the emptiness of
lives obsessed with private gain. His
dedication to civil liberties was un-
compromising; there were no double
standards.
His devotion to' the poor and the
oppressed w a s not a philanthropic
tokenism but a warm identification, a
vision of brotherhood more religious
in its totality than any social dogma.
Most of all he was angered by the gal
between man's potential for peaceful
abundance on earth and his fumbling
in real life.
One e n d s by ascribing a ,ertain
saintliness to him, and yet he mirth-
fully disdained such description, He

'I

1919-1968
ed his incorrigible innocence in a dia-
bolical world. Yet it may also be his
monument. One day we may recognize
that only the persistence of a few
men's faith in sanity and decency held
mankind back from calamitous ad-
venture in the H-bomb age.
THOMAS MODIFIED his pacifist
credo at some intervals. But all
the early ardor of his anti-war con-
victions was relit by the U.S. escala-
tion in Vietnam, and as one reviews
the warnings he sounded from the
start, they have the tone of deadly
prophecy.
These were perhaps his finest hours

91

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