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September 11, 1984 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-09-11

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OPINION

Page 4

Tuesday, September 11, 1984

The Michigan Daily

I I

4

te abt a ni Michigan
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

The force of human nature

Vol. XVC, No.5

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board1

Let teachers teach

F THE AMERICAN public has its
way, this nation's children will be
doing their readin', writin', and 'rith-
matic for more hours each school year
and under the supervision of more
qualified teaches than ever before. The
quality of education definitely needs
improving, but caution should be urged
in the process of educational reform.
It is heartening to hear the cry for
improved education coming from such
large numbers of people all over the
country. As the new school year
begins, 40 states have increased the
number of academic courses required
for a high school diploma, 24 have
lengthened the schoolday or year or
otherwise provided for more learning
hours, and 42 are improving the
training or certification standards for
teachers. Such widespread ir -
provements are unprecedented and at-
test to the popular mood concerning
education.
There are, however, dangers
associated with such public outcry and
the legislative willingness to satisfy it.
Over-administration is one. This

nation s education institution doesn't
need more administrators, it needs
more sensitive administrators.
Education is not a bureaucratic enter-
prise, it is a personal one. And as such,
improvement will slowly, if ever, come
from above. Good teachers make good
education. Good administration con-
sists of training and retraining good
teachers.
Another danger is that a concerned
and mobilized public will try to tell
teachers how to teach. In a period of
reform, the existence of organized an-
ti-evolutionists and book banners must
give pause. They are evidence of
educational concern, but also of
educational intolerance and prejudice.
Such interference should be avoided at
all costs.
The nation's schools should continue
to work for better teachers and more
teaching, but along the way it needs to
be remembered that public and ad-
ministrative interference will only
delay the goal of better education. The
student-teacher relationship is
ultimately all that matters.

By John Critchett
I would like to expound on a sim-
ple message: You can't control
what you don't understand. The
natural world has confounded the
unwary with hurricanes, tidal
waves, and volcanoes. In the case
of human behavior, the story is
the same. The mind controls our
actions, but who knows what con-
trols the mind? It could be an in-
ternal or external force. Either
way, society can't yet control the
ultimate force behind eachone of
us.
World politics is an example of
organized human behavior that is
frequently inexplicable to even
the most learned observer.
Foreign cultures have ideologies
with no common denominator in
our own society. The Islamic
faith, for instance, has a holy
month for fasting called
Ramadan. Healthy Moslems are
not permitted to eat during
daylight hours. This type of self-
denial is the antithesis of
American culture. We pride our-
selves on supplying whatever

people want, whenever they want
it: cigarettes which cause can-
cer, candy bars that rot your
teeth, etc. So how can we be a
constructive intermediary in a
war between two Moslem coun-
tries, Iraq and Iran, which daily
are engaged in acts tantamount
to self-destruction?
WARS ILLUSTRATE a second
point about things we don't un-
derstand: not only are we ill-
equipped to control them, but
when we try, we inevitably make
matters worse. For the noblest of
reasons, people waste lives,
money and time by not accom-
plishing what they set out to do.
To this day, no historian can tell
us why World War I really oc-
curred. The prevailing theory is
that the growth of the German
state somehow disrupted the
existing balance of power. It may
be a law of history that nations
require an equilibrium in their
balance of power for stability. If
so, then this "law" was the real
force against which all human
soldiers fought in WWII. This
brings up a third point about
things we don't understand:
when we try to control them, we.

end up fighting against
something as if on a battlefield.
The Prohibition Era is an
eminent example of a noble cause
pitted against the reality of
human behavior. People seek
pleasure, and if it is pleasurable to
drink, they drink. Prohibition
was really a fight against two un-
beatable forces: the desire to
drink, and the desire to profit
(despite legal restrictions). The
behavior of the unscrupulous boo-
tleggers could not be controlled
any more than that of the
drinking population. Even in the
state-run Soviet Union, the idea
of curtailing the use of vodka
would be unthinkable. And what
happened when we tried
prohibition? Organized crime
had a huge new market and
flourished. We are still paying the
price today for their prosperity.
The tradeoff between social
conscience and the free market
system is painfully evident in
issues such as smoking, alcohol,
drugs, prostitution, and por-
nography. Pleasure seeking kids
are invoking free market prin-
ciples to legalize marijuana.

Prostitution is legal in parts of
Nevada, and Hustler Magazine is
freely sold on bookshelves. In all
these cases, our basic theme
recurs. People seek pleasure, but
immoderate gratification can
lead to personal and social
problems. As always, we don't
understand what attracts people
to socially undesirable behavior.
A teetotaler can preach to an
alcoholic until he is blue in the
face, but until pschology
progresses beyond ink blots, all
attempts to control these
problems will fail. What causes a
young, healthy person to destroy
his body with drugs? And what
causes a man to risk respec-
tability and even his marriage to
seek the company of a prostitute?
Moralizing and legalizing is.,
almost worthless in these,;
situations. A single grain of
creative insight into basic human.
behavior is worth all the laws and:
morals in the world.

4

4

4

Critchett
student in
ministration.

is a graduate
Business Ad-

Cramer&

-
_, '

Reagan's safer world

I T TOOK thirteen-year-old Danny
Holley's life to show some officials
there is a major flaw in the belief that
the United States is now stronger
militarily than ever before.
Last month the youngest of the
Holley family's four children told his
mother, "If you didn't have me to feed,
things would go better." Shortly after
this exchange with his mother, Danny
was found dead by suicide.
Danny's father was one of those men
serving our country who is supposed to
be "standing tall." But this family's cir-
cumstances are nothing for the armed
services to be boasting about. Sargeant
Holley had been transferred from a
base in Germanyto California. As the
result of several bureaucratic mess
ups and the financial hardship of
moving into a high-cost area on a low
military salary, the Holley family had
little food on their table.
Although an Army relief agency

gave money to the family, it was ap-
parently not enough. Worse, the
Holleys are just one of the many
families of U.S. servicemen who go
for months without adequate housing
and must survive on deficient incomes.
It is easy for President Reagan to in-
crease the military budget and place
such great emphasis on the rebuilding
of our nuclear forces.
Yet it is harder to reconcile the
reality of the pathetic circumstances
Danny's and other military families
face with the Republican campaign
rhetoric telling voters Reagan has
made the world a safer place.
The best place to begin
strengthening our military forces is
here at home. How about Fort Ord,
California for starters. There are
probably other young children like
Danny out there who don't feel the
Communist threat, only hunger
pains.

I
I

6

eOEnTRUaTEtA V sW
Is deflation in America's future?

By Franz Schurmann
In July, the Malaysian finance'
minister, Tunka Razaleigh Ham-
zah, warned of a coming world
recession that could be worse
than that of '81 to '83. In the
United States, Federal Reserve
Board chairman Paul Volcker
predicted sharply reduced
growth for next year. And most
economists have remained
worried that the current boom is
just setting us up for a serious fall
next year.
Razaleight Hamzah blamed
"imbalances" in the United
States for his pessimistic
prognosis. Economists here and
abroad have been almost
ritualistically pointing at the U.S.
federal deficit. But of late, a new
and ominous sign has entered the
economic arena: deflation.
DEFLATION simple means
falling prices, but it also is
another way of saying recession.
Yet few experts believe the
current, super-strong U.S.
recovery is some get-rich "Ponzi
scheme." The economy has
generated an astounding number
of new jobs, and personal income
figures show real rises - all the
more impressive because of the
low inflation rate.
Mnct f gdpmir PennnnmiNQ

prosperity. In that respect, the
United States marvelously fits
one half of the prescription - we
have developed a mighty and
growing service sector. However,
our goods sector has been
showing very serious imbalan-
ces.
AN IMPARTIAL observer
might say that these imbalances
can eventually be straightened
out by letting much of the
domestic productive sector
decline and be replaced by new
ones abroad. Naturally, we would
hang onto our uniquely in-
novative high-tech industries, our
still impressive agriculture and
our defense sector.
With our high incomes we
BLOOM COUNTY

would purchase foreign goods
(Mexican cars, Brazilian steel,
Chinese gadgets). That would
result in a balance between
producing nations and service
nations. Such a condition would
ease the Malaysian finance
minister's concern that trade on
which his country depends would
once again shrink next year.
If Ronald Reagan should win in
November, his second-term ad-
ministration presumably would
move us closer to this scenario.
There already is talk of a
"Reagan Round" in trade barrier
reduction negotiations. Trade
liberalization would mean a fur-
ther reduction in the U.S.
domestic productive sector. But,

as the Reaganites believe, it also
would mean stability in good-,
prices. That would benefit U.S.
consumers so long as personal
income and employment
remained high.
That is the optimistic scenario}
The pessimistic one holds that the
deficit is going to generate in-
flation, reduce capital available
for business and dry up credit,
That will mean another of those
recessions-with-inflation we have
had since 1969.
Schurmann wrote this ar-1
ticle for the Pacific News Ser-
vice.
by Berke Breathed

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