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March 14, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-03-14

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OPINION

Page 4
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

'0

Saturday, March 14, 1981

The Michigan Daily

NewRight moralists threaten
to curb individual freedom

Vol. XCI, No. 132

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

A step closer to a student

voice in 'U'
U NIVERSITY President Harold
Shapiro and Vice President for
Academic Affairs Bill Frye, through
their attendance and participation in
Thursday night's public forum, have
shown their willingness to listen to
student and faculty input in the budget-
cutting process. It is encouraging that
after Thursday night's meeting, at which
the University administration's
"smaller and better" approach was
harshly criticized, Shapiro said he
supported such an open exchange of
ideas and even suggested that the
University should have sponsored the
event.
The fact that Shapiro and Frye par-
ticipated in a critical discussion of the
University administration's handling
of the fiscal crisis shows they are at
least willing to listen. And this recep-
tivity can be the first real step toward
a truly meaningful student voice in the
budget cut decision-making.
Thursday night's forum was spon-
sored by the It's Our University group,
a student-faculty coalition that is
critical of the University's "smaller
and better" approach to budget cuts.
Their efforts to organize students and
faculty members and provide a forum
where the financial crisis can be
carefully examined and analyzed
should be commended.

budget cuts
Thus far, attempts to bring together
students and faculty for an intelligent
discussion have been scarce. But, the
meeting last night can serve as an
example of the kind of effective ex-
change that can lead to a real student
voice in administrative decision-
making.
The responsible participation of
students, faculty members, and ad-
ministrators in the IOU forum has laid
the foundation for a more active
student role in the budget cutting
process.
For students to have a truly
meaningful voice in the decisions that
will shape their education, they must
be allowed to play a part in the ad-
ministration's program reviews.
This means a great deal more than
simply being allowed to speak during a
time set aside for public comments. It
means having access to the same vital
information that administrators have;
it means having a binding voice-a
vote-in decision-making..
Students who participated in Thur-
sday night's public meeting have
proven they have the ability to play a
responsible role in the decisions that
will chart the future course of their
University. It's now up to the ad-
ministration to follow through on this
initiative.

By Rik Radner
A few weeks ago, 50,000 anti-
abortionists marched on
Washington, D.C. At their rally,
prominent Congressmen courted
support by calling for a con-
stitutional amendment banning
abortion. Later in the day,
President Reagan met with
representatives of this group.
When those in favor of abortion
asked for equal time, he refused
to meet with them, clearly
showing which side of the issue he
supports.
The reason these anti-abortion
people got such respect from the
new government is that many of-
ficials believe they owe their
political livelihoods to this New
Right.
This group has now come to
collect on their outstanding bills.
Abortion is not an isolated issue
but is merely the first of a long
line of demands on which the New
Right wants action, ultimately
striving for legislation that will
force their beliefs on the rest of
the country, If unopposed, these
people will have few problems
getting Congress to pass
legislation supporting their
views.
YET, DO these people have the
support of the country, giving
them the authority to dictate
policy for the rest of us?
Statistics show that these people
and their conservative views
are not necessarily in the
majority; they are just very
vocal, well-organized, and ex-
tremely well-funded.
For instance, concerning the
abortion issue, statistics state
that a clear majority of the
population favors allowing the
woman to make her own choices
concerning her own body. The
problem for the pro-choicers is
that those in favor of freedoms
are not as well organized.
They do not necessarily per-
ceive an actual threat to their
freedoms, their past successes
having lulled them into com-
placency. This group is also
splintered into many factions
organized along other issues such

ANTI-ABORTION DEMONSTRATORS march down Pennsylvania Avenue
in Washington last January. The demonstrators marched from the

Capitol to the White House where
President Reagan.
as politics or economics which of-
ten times set the groups up as
rivals (note the factionalism of
the Democratic party).
THE THREAT TO our
freedoms is real and goes much
deeper than simply a particular
belief. If given a free hand, the
New Right and its cohorts in our
legislatures will change the
whole fiber of American society.
The New Right sees as its
enemies the very concepts that
have made this the most advan-
ced society in the world history.
Without our beliefs in the per-
sonal integrity of each individual
- and the right of each to freedom
of thought and action, society
would have floundered.
The great ideas that built
modern society would have been
quelled before having had the
chance to affect it. For instance,
our release from traditional
religious beliefs concerning the
Earth's importance to God has
allowed scientists to look at the
universe with a different per-
spective, leading to our recent

representatives then met with
explorations of Jupiter and
Saturn.
IRONICALLY, the media forms
the New Right has mastered so effec-
tively and which brought it to
prominence were the direct
result of an environment recep-
tive to new ideas. If not for an
open society, these media forms
may never have come into
existence.
THE NEW RIGHT perceives
these concepts of freedom which
allow the individual to create his
or her own values, as its enemies
because they blame these con-
cepts for certain excesses in our
society and also for the loss in
importance of the family.
Analogous to this is their idea
that propounders of personal
freedom have no morals and con-
done wanton behavior. The
correlation does not follow. Those
who do not believe in forcing
one's values on another may have
a strong value system. They may
behave as they want others to
treat them as they believe them-
selves to be a model for those in

their environment. In any event;
because one does not prescribe to
traditional religious beliefs does
not mean that one lacks morals.
The New Right poses a par-
ticular threat to this acadeic.
community, one in which free
thought has flourished. Given t
power, these people will dictatq
what can be taught, how and with~
what materials it can be taught,
and who can teach. This is pota-
tially devastating as the ideas
that create the future of society
often emanate from academia.
A STIFLING OF diverse ideas
here may create a generation of
people trying to solve com-
plicated problems with only one
perspective. In grammar school,
dictated thought is even more
threatening because a child's
mind may never have the chance
to have different outlooks. As the
world becomes more complex
our societymust not be glued to a
set of archaic ideas unable to
cope with difficult problems.
The power and influence of the
New Right must be halted before
it can take a deep root in society.
The new administration was not -
put into power only by a group of
fanatical, Bible-wielding conser-
vatives. Many of Reagan's votes
came from people disenchanted
with the Democrat's economic
policies.
The administration also has a
debteto these people and a duty to
protect the rights and freedoms
of all individuals. As these
freedoms transcend the lines of
political and economic
'philosophies, a broad spectrum of
individuals must speak out by
supporting pro-freedom groups.
We must protect individual
freedoms today not just for our
personal happiness but also for
the future bf American society or
risk a return to the Middle Ages.
Rik Radner is a senior
in the University 'sSchool
of Business.

President must dismiss
senseless draft proposal

IT LOOKS LIKE the Pentagon is out
to pull men into the military
whether they are needed or not. A Pen-
tagon advisory boardshas proposed
reviving the draft for six months-af-
ter which time men could decide
whether to continue in active duty or
join the reserve.
Pentagon officials claim the move is
necessary because of the declining in-
terest in the military as a career.
However, this seems a futile argument
at a time when both President Reagan
and former President Jimmy Carter
have increased pay for full time
military personnel-a move that
should aid in recruitment.
A further problem with this proposal
is that it discriminates against women.

If the Pentagon is so insistent on
having people ready to defend the
country, women should be included as
well as men. I
However, the most obvious objection
to this proposal is that it calls for a
draft during peacetime. Given the per-
vasive hawkish atmosphere in
Washington, such a move may work as
an incentive to initiate military action.
Under no circumstances should the
United States be thrust into a situation
conducive to unnecessary military in-
volvement.
President Reagan has said he is op-
posed to peace time draft registration.
Hopefully, the president will follow
through on his claim and quash this
outlandish proposal.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Reagan cuts endanger University

To the Daily:
This letter is written to inform
members of the University com-
munity about certain elements of
the proposed federal budget cuts
presented to Congress Tuesday,
and the impact they will have if
they are allowed to pass.
The Reagan administration has
proposed cutting the budgets of
the National Endowment for the
Arts and National Endowment
for the Humanities by roughly 50
percent. It is asking for a similar
cut in the social science portion of
the budget of the National Scien-
ce Foundation and is proposing to
phase out entirely the National
Institute of Mental Health and
most of its research activities
within the next several years.
At present, these four agencies
are crucial sources of support for
the arts, humanities, and social
sciences in the United States. The
proposed cuts in their budgets
are extreme; the expected effec-
ts can be accurately described as
"crippling." They will mean that
the agencies will simply not be
able to do their jobs. This will
raise the prospect of widespread
collapse among artistic,
academic, and scientific en-
deavors in this country.
Perhaps the most severe effec-
ts of these developments will be

those felt within University
community. For instance, the
training grants that fund many
graduate education programs in
the social sciences, and the
research grants that provide a
large proportion of the financial
resources of many faculty mem-
bers, come from NSF and NIMH.
These facts, combined with the
proposed cutbacks in student aid
programs, mean that graduate
study will simply become im-
possible for the great majority of
qualified students in the social
sciences. This is only one exam-
ple; similar scenarios can be en-
visioned for anyone included in
the 69.9 percent of all students in
LSA who are majoring in areas
targeted by the budget cuts -
economics, political science,
history, philosophy, psychology,
anthropology, English, the arts,
languages, and many others.
While the financial issue here is
clearly crucial for many
Americans, the ideological issue
is even greater for the nation at
large. The total yearly federal
budgets for the arts, humanities,
and social sciences form a very
small part of the national budget.
The money saved by the
proposed cuts would not even pay
for the renovation of one of the
World War II battleships the

Reagan administration is con-
sidering returning to active duty.
The price of these savings will be
a nation's abandonment of a
large portion of its cultural and
intellectual tradition.
Not only will these devastating
cuts result in minimal savings,
but they are also easily
avoidable. For example, in the
proposed NSF budget, social
sciences are cut by 60 percent
while natural sciences are cut by
10 percent. If natural sciences
were cut by eleven percent in-
stead, the cut for social sciences
could be reduced to eleven per-
cent also, while saving the same
amount of money.
The message is clear: the
Reagan administration intends to
cast adrift the artists, scholars,
and social scientists. The major
options for those hoping to make
careers in the areas targeted are
threefold: prepare for unem-
ployment, enter a field directly
concerned with national defense,
or protest the plan the president
has for them.
Congress will be making
decisions on the budget during

the next few months. They must
be alerted to its implications. We
are all writing our congressional
representatives and we seriously
urge you to do the same, even if
you have never done so before (as
is the case with most of us). This
time it is your very own future
that is at stake.
-Mark A. Archer;
John Bargh;
Steven D. Cardoze;
Geoffrey T. Fonf
Nancy Genero.
Enid Grube.r;
Christopher A. Jepsop;
Darrin Lehman;
Elizabeth A. Lopiz;
John T. Marquz;
James Friedrich.
Frank P. Martin;
Jon K. Matsuokh;
Wayne R. McCullough;
Kerth O'Brien;
Linda S. Perloff.
Paula Pietromonaco;
Jaclyn Rodriguez;
Jeanne M. Smith;
Laura Stephens;
Aloen Townsend;
James J. Widgeon.
-March11
VE BEEN f
:0 TE (IIIM?!j

-..m, %

Witt's skewed logic

To the Daily:
. Referring to "Witticisms" on
creationists, (Daily, March 10)
Howard Witt is missing the entire
point of his own argument.
He says fundamentalists want
"religious mythology" to be

sometimes start out with the
wrong assumptions. Take, for
example, the ancient idea that
the planets, the sun, and the stars
revolved around the earth.
There exist certain physical
facts, but at that time they were
L...J0

I .m I

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