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September 10, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-09-10

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Campus violence: A test - J AMES WECHSLER-.

'The American Dream
was killed by liberals'


academic leadership


rME BOMB THAT exploded at the Army Mathe-
matics Center on the Wisconsin University
campus, killing a young research physicist and
injuring three other innocent victims, has shaken
many college administrators in many places. In-
evitably they are wondering whether this cruel,
senseless terrorism was a prelude to a long, hot
autumn. -
There is an inescapable paradox in the campus
prospect. On the one hand an unprecedented
number of students-Lou Harris has predicted
that the figure may reach 2 million-will partici-
pate in political combat on a wide front this fall.
The Movement for a New Congress, begun at
Princeton, is already entrenched on more than
350 campuses and its operations will almost surely
surpass any student political mobilization in our
But simultaneously there are ominous signs
that some embittered survivors of the far-out left,
deprived of any leading campus roles, their own
ranks diminished and fragmented, have moved
underground and fatally succumbed to nihilist
They are probably not more than a scattered
handful, but a bombing foray does not require
large battalions. And even a few isolated repeti-
tions of the Wisconsin disaster can be sufficient
to touch off right-wing political hysteria; Mr.
Agnew has already begun to, press the frenzy-
It will avail little to point out that panic is
exactly what these mad bombers seek to produce,
and that effective police interdiction is the only
serious answer to the threat. In many areas there
will be cries for wholesale, indiscriminate repres-
sion on the campuses, an end to what is loosely
called "permissiveness" and a large-scale assault
on those university administrators who strive to
differentiate between insurgence and homicidal
THIS WILL BE the real test of academic lead-
ership. No one can offer apology for mindless
violence, but it remains fundamentally a police
problem. What has impelled some of the young to
these desperate, wretched crimes may be worthy
of inquiry. Some of the clues may be found in
LSD rather in any sect of SDS; not all aberration
can be glibly attributed to the sickness of society/.
Yet what crucially matters, beyond the realm
of crime prevention and detection, is whether
educational structures will be stampeded into
counter-idiocy by the echoes of the bombs.
It is beyond comprehension that some leading
universities--including Harvard and Columbia-
have refused to grant the two-week intermission

urged by the Movement for a New Congress to
permit students to engage in political activity in
their home communities in October. Surely such
a time-out should not seem an excessive conces-
sion to young men who face the prospect of two
years of military service, and would be wholly
consistent with all the admonitions addressed to
them to work "within the system."
But the deeper issue I whether the universities
will yield to the deeping pressures to retreat from
internal reform and public responsibility and
seek to reconstruct their old ivory towers.
IT HAS BECOME fashionable in some aca-
demic areas to proclaim that the time has come
to reassert the rule of reason on the campus and
to end the bedlam that has afflicted many insti-
tutions. f that means a larger effort to substitute
freer discourse for disjointed disturbances, there
can be little quarrel with the plea. But if it means
in fact a capitulation to the rule of Reganism-
and of often benighted, reactionary regents-it
can only foreshadow new, larger conflict.
For the moment the vast majority of student
activists have turned. away from the counter-
productive, dead-end exhibitionism of the Jerry
Rubin-Abbie Hoffman set. They are appalled by
the tragedy of Wisconsin and by te peril that
such explosions may be imitated elsewhere.
But they have not become suddenly reconciled
to things as they are. They have found no new
merit in the Vietnam war or in the spurious game
of "Vietnamization." As the Heard report warned,
the disaffection is deep and widespread; it will not
be banished by a "hate-the-students" crusade led
by know-nothing adults.
THE CHALLENGE TO educators-in the uni-
versities and the high schools alike-is to identify
with the decent instincts and aspirations that
continue to motivate a restless generation in a
dreary world. Yale's Kingman Brewster gave a
memorable lesson to his contemporaries when he
transformed a potentialy shattering campus col-
lision into a mobilization of the university com-
munity under the banner of equal justice. Many
who initially accused him of "appeasement" were
later to salute him for his achievement.
But now too many men are preparing to make
students the target of their autumn political of-
fensives; how many educators will have the wis-
dom and fortitude to stand up as Brewster did?
And how many students will retain any reverence
for the democratic political process if they find
themselves treated as a leper colony by the Bab-
bitts of Middle America?
@ 1970 New York Post

The article by James Wechsler appearing on
the left prompted a letter to Mr. Wechsler by a
21-year-old college senior. The major portion
of that letter is printed on the right, along with
Mr. Wechsler's response. The Daily offers both
as part of what we hope will become, in the
course of' the semester, a continuing debate on
these pages over the role of violence in politics.

"... AS A CHILD I loved FDR and Eleanor -
Hyde Park was a kind of shrine. And
then JFK liberalism had the answers and would
form a great society. I was too young to go down
South and march with King but I believed in
peaceful change.
"I'd like to tell about the dream I had the"
other night. Cops broke into my home and next
thing I knew I was in jail for drugs (which I've
been off for a long time). I knew they planted it
in my room but I couldn't talk to anybody. There
wasn't even a trial, and I was also held for some
political crimes. OK . . . just a dream. But even
in my dreams I don't believe in the system. I felt
joy when the bank was burned down to the ground
last year. Force and power seem to be the only
things this societyunderstands. This is my last
last year at Columbia and the strange thing is that
most of the students I know have gone through
just such a change. This year we turned 21, and
we don't even know if we'll even bother to vote.
The NLF are our Wobblies. Yet there is still a
great will to believe in America. But as Camus
said, 'I wish I could love my country and still
love liberty at the same time.'
"The worst part of it is that liberalism, and
not Nixon, led us into this war and created the
likes of George Meany ... .
"Let's say you are 21 and No. 32 in the draft
-what would you do? If you read James Wechsler
would you react the same way to hearing that
liberalism is not dead? Would you react the same
way to the Black Panthers? Or breaking laws, or
force? In fact would you be James Wechsler be-
lieving in liberalism? Would you believe that
the courts provide justice, elections are hope, or in
change in an orderly fashion?
"Even if the war ended today the worst part
would hit this nation in the years to come. For us
the American Dream is dead: killed not by Nixon,
but by liberals."
SOME NERVOUS ELDERS may exclaim that
such intemperate sentiments should be excluded
from the public prints and others may dourly call
them a reflection on the state of higher education.
It is hard to fathom, for example, how George
Meany, a product of the conservative building
trades, could be described as a creature of liberal-
But to quarrel about such matters would justify
a charge of pedantry. What is important about
the document is that it expresses a desperation
that is still, one hopes, not beyond the realm of
communication. And one must begin by acknowl-

edgement that there is no satisfactory answer to
the dilemma of a young man facing conscription
in a war in which most Americans have ceased
to believe. The best .prospect is that he may find
refuge in the broadened concepts of conscientious
objection now evolving in the courts. Yet the
failure of public pressure to end the war is a
major tragedy for which all of us are answerable.
But the crucial passage in this youth's outcry
describes the "joy" he found in the sight of a
burning bank and his assertion that "force and
power seem to be the only things this society
understands." Is that really the case? Was the
bombing at Wisconsin -which rendered three kids
fatherless -a triumph for anything?
In fact there is overwhelming evidence in
every opinion poll of recent years that random
terrorism-and self-indulgent exhibitionism-on
the far-out left have repeatedly strengthened the
hands of the pro-war block. If one were to pursue
the game of recrimination, it could even be argued
that the prolongation of the war is in some meas-
ure the result of the antagonism and divisiveness
created by amateur Che Gueveras and their
romantic followers.
A CENTRAL FACT of our political ljfe is that
all the legions of reaction and know-nothingism
have been nourished by the delusion of those who
see "revolution' as an authentic American alter-
native and terrorism as a strategy of hope.
As Dissent editor Irving Howe wrote a few
months ago:
"It would be a grave eror to argue against
terrorism mainly on grounds of expediency. To
throw bombs is wrong. It is wrong because it is
inhumane, because it creates an atmosphere in
which brute force settles all disputes, because if
the bomb-throwers could wirn power through such
methods they would no longer be (if they ever
had been) the kind of people who would build
a good society ..


We may be doomed to an age of unreason; no
one can be sure of the outcome. But the battle for
peace, freedom and justice will not be won on any
fantasy baricades. It will be won, if at all, in polit-
ical combat and-as Martin. Luther King and-
Cesar Chavez and Leon Davis have shown-by.
steadfast challenge, to the conscience of country
and community. To affirm these propositions will
be increasingly hard in the Nixon-Agnew era. It
may even require a higher degree of conviction
and resolve than 'hit-and-run bombing and anti-
liberal sniping.
V 1970 New York Post

Ekt stgn a
Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Hotes and comments
The pro fessionalization of everyone

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the edit9rs. This must be noted in all reprints.



A /
A value of the space program:
An impetus for technology

FEW WOULD deny that the American
space program has been of major
public interest during the past decade. In
the middle-sixties,- the talents of hund-
reds of thousands of people intermeshed
under the supervision of the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA) as America moved steadily to-
ward the moon.
As a result of government funding cut-
Sman s principles?
LAST WEEK, two members of the Vice
Presidential Search Committee, Steve
Nissen and Norm Wilson, strongly con-
demned Prof. Robert Knauss for accept-
ing the post of Vice, President of the Of-
fice for Student Services. They were ap-
palled, they said, that Knauss would take
the job with full knowledge that he was
not among those originally recommended
to President Robben Fleming by the
Search Committee. Where are the man's
It just so happens, however, that before
Knauss was appointed, Fleming inter-
viewed one other candidate for the job
--G r e t c h e n Wilson, wife of Norm.
Mrs. Wilson said, after the interview, that
she could not envision taking the job
because of political differences with
Fleming which, in all prodability would
have made her tenure in the post very

backs in the last year, however, the NASA
organization has been falling apart -
projects have been curtailed and engi-
neers laid off. The extent of space cut-
backs became dramatically apparent last
week when NASA announced that t w o
moon landings in the Apollo program
would be cancelled as an economy move.
Several prominent scientists immed-
iately blasted the move, contending that
the money needed to finish the program
was nothing compared to what had al-
ready been spent developing the neces-
sary technological devices. And with the
bulk of the program already financed,
these scientists saw little reason to dis-
continue it when the goals were so near.
It is certainly true that, since the pro-
gram has, been curtailed, some of the
scientific intrinsics will not be fulfilled.
However, there are a great many fringe
benefits from the space program which
are already paying dividends, even if the
Apollo program is not completed.
THESE BENEFITS are mostly in the
form of advanced technology which
was developed for the space effort and
which can now be applied to other areas
of social concern. Development of in-
formation storage and retrieval systems,
transistors, thin-film circuitry, and t h e
whole computer industry was accelerated
due' to the impetus of the space program.
It is extremely doubtful that t h e s e
technical achievements would have been
developed so soon solely as a matter of
pure research or for application to social
problems such as environmental pollu-
tion. The idea of going to the moon and
beating the Russians the~re annsarentlv

ONE OF Vice President Agnew's more famous recent
comments-land one which brought down on him
the usual scorn of the academic and liberal communi-
ties - was that not everyone ought to go to a four-
year college.
The scorn is well-deserved if Agnew meant as he
unquestionably did - that fewer students should go to
college because it turns them into liberal and radical
But there is a certain unintended wisdom in the Vice
President's words.
The fact of the matter is that not everyone should be
going to college, not because of its politics, but because
what colleges offer intellectually is not for everyone.
More important, what colleges offer is irrelevant to
people's real personal and professional needs. And,
lastly, that colleges don't offer what many people do
need, though the claims that they do persist.
What is this phenomenon of formal education for
everyone? Two things:
-Liberal arts for everyone, from the scholar to the
copy boy to the shoe salesman. To get anyplace today,
the common knowledge accurately has it, you have to
have at least a B.A. or accept a life of enforced medio-
-Professional graduate degrees for everyone else,
from social workers, school administrators and dental hy-
gienists to doctors and lawyers.
The basic problem is that there is a myth about the
classroom and what goes on there. It confers some
special prestige, some strange aura of ability and com-
petence that nothing else in our society can confer. It
is, as one sociologist noted, the new religion.
I CAN'T CLAIM to be above it. The socialization pro-
cess that makes us believe that college education means
something special is pervasive. When I meet someone,
no matter how much I fight it, I put some weight on his

formal education or lack of it. It is too ingrained
to be cast off lightly.
The mseaure of the problem is the number of absurd-
ities the myth produces, the number of times it breaks
down. The examples are legion. The New Republic last
year published a very good article damning the medical
profession for its exclusionary use of formal schooling
and degrees for advancement in the profession.
Professionalization in general has two sides - the
maintenance of standards of conduct and the distribu-
tion of its services. Medicine has been good - perhaps
too good - in the former while being atrocious in the
The real question that should face a person seeking
a place in the medical profession is whether he or she
is competent and able to handle the job. As the pro-
fession now stands, you can only move up to a certain
level by passing a standardized test, but you can only take
that test if you have gotten the proper degree after the
right amount of schooling.
And if someone is capable of passing the test without
the degree? No matter, standards are standards.
This problem manifests itself when it comes to licensed
practical nurses who seek advancement to registered
nurse, or the latter to full M.D.s. People who work in any
of the lower positions learn the trade in the way ap-
prentices have always learned their trade, by practice
under the direction of a master tradesman. But to get
to a higher position now requires formal schooling, even if
every moment of that schooling is repetition of what the
student already knows.%
And in medicine, that has meant that blacks who
can't afford to go to 'school get into the lower level
jobs and stay there. Financially unable to get the formal
schooling they need for advancement, they must spend
their professional lives in the depths of the profession,
despite their ability and potential competence.
LIKEWISE IN DENTISTRY. There is a man in De-
troit, one of many in the U.S. and Canada now, who

fled Czechoslovakia following the 1968 invasion. Trained
as a dentist, with 15 years of practice behind him. he
cannot work at his trade unless he gets a degree from
an American school - three years of expensive school-
ing that he cannot afford.
He can't even get work as a dental hygienist without
going to school again. There is a formal requirement
that he have an American hygienist degree before they
will even let him take the test for a license.
Absurd? Of course.
But medicine and dentistry at leapt have the defense
of established professional standards, misused though
they sometimes be, that are necessary for the protection
of the public from quacks and frauds. Elsewhere it is not
The origin of these and other professional standards
is the social need for status.'Give a man a little prestige
and he'll scorn you for your grammar.
Noted Harold Wilensky in an article in the.1964 Amer-
ican Journal of Sociology ,(the title of which I plagiar-
ized for this article):
Many occupations (that seek to become "profes-
sions") rest on a base of knowledge or doctrine
which is too general and vague . , . epitomized by
the personnel men, salesmen, junior social work-
ers, and other human-relations specialists who are
products of American general education at the col-
lege levelw..
In the recent history of professionalism, the or-
ganization push often comes before a solid technical
and institutional base is formed . . . and the whole
effort seems more an opportunistic struggle for the
rewards of monopoly than a "natural history of pro-
[t is altogether an unsavory situation. It has meant the
debasement of universities and academic life without any
provable progress in the human condition. That it will
change for any reason of logic or rationality is patently
untrue. That it will change for the better because of
outside social and economic pressures one can only hope.


How to handle our many constituencies

wasted any time in getting
across his "many constituex.cies"
theory of university governance
to new arrivals in Ann Arbor.
At the freshman welcome last
week, Fleming explained that the
University has to satisfy a vast
panorama of often conflicting in-
terests. There are, of course, the
faculty and students, who do their
part by teaching and studying
Then, as the President likes to
tel it. there are the people of the

should exert a major control over
its operations should not stand
unchallenged. If those who pay
should always control, maybe out-
of-state students should have pri-
mary control over their educa-
tions, since they pay for it, while
in-state students should leave
things to the Legislature. Perhaps
faculty should be excluded from
the decision-making process, since
they are mere employes and should
thus do the bidding of those who
pay their wages.
Fleming is only being realistic
when he says the University de-

University - what should be its
highest aspirations.
I would argue (and I think a
majority of faculty and students
would agree) that the University
should be, among other things, a
place where our society and its in-
stitutions should be studied, both
inside and outside the classroom,
with a view to its improvement-
and a place where individuals can
explore alternatives as freely as is
possible, in terms of politics, the
educational process, and the lives
they will lead after graduation. I
think most citizens of the state of
Minfjhigan millet crvn a l c, +that

the University is financially de-
As things stand now, under the
constant watchful eye of the Re-
gents and the annual tight fist of
the Legislature, the University is
severely inhibited in these vital
functions. It is inhibited, for in-
stance, in hiring of radical fac-
ulty, in democratization of Uni-
versity procedures (which can be
seen as a model for demoncratiza-
tion of other institutions), in pro-
viding forums for controversial

not be subject to continuous poM-
ical pressure. We can say that the
University must be a place wh re
people can be free to teach and
study and organize and experi-
ment, and that the chronic in-
trusion of our financial benefac-
tors damages our operation.
The Legislature could put\ Uni-
versity appropriations on a vir-
tualy automatic basis--approving
a budget for ten years in advance,
with automatic adjustments for
inflation, for example, as an al-
ternative to continous legislative
pressure and the annual hassle
ne ar mVlr 1

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