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November 27, 1984 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-11-27

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Tu

esday, November 27, 1984

The Michigan Daily

4

The price of constitutional freedoms

By Dave Kopel
Some liberals I know think that all of
our consitutional freedoms are an
unalloyed benefit. Don't believe them.
Most of the freedoms exact a heavy price
from society. That's why most other
countries, including all of our
democratic allies, don't protect these
"freedoms" with anything like the
stringency we do.
Take the Fourth Amendment, which
prohibits unreasonable searches and
seizures. Most other democracies have
a similar rule, but none of them have
what our Supreme Court has inven-
ted-the exclusionary rule. Under the
exclusionary rule, if police seize
evidence illegally, the evidence can't be
admitted into court, no matter how im-
portant the evidence is. Most foreign
visitors are shocked when they find out
about the exclusionary rule. Although
studies indicate that the rule prevents
successful prosecution in only one per-
cent of all criminal cases, one percent
is a lot. Over the years, the ex-
clusionary rule has freed thousands of
hardened criminals who have laughed
at a society that let them go free. And
no doubt these thousands of freed
criminals went on to commit tens of
thousands more violent crimes.
AND CONSIDER how strict our con-
stitutional rules about confessions are.

Most democratic countries forbid
physical torture of a criminal suspect;
but only America boxes in the police
with such an elaborate set of rules
designed to prevent psychologically
coercing a suspect. The hard truth is
that without some pressure from the
police, most criminals won't confess.
In many cases there isn't enough
tangible evidence to convict someone
without a confession. That's why the
Japanese, like many other nations,
allow the police to hold a suspect for
several days without outside contact,
instead of immediately telling the
suspect that he can have a free lawyer
like we do here.
Criminal procedure isn't the only
constitutional field that features super-
strict rules. Take the First Amen-
dment. Current libel laws make it
almost impossible for any public figure
to recover damages for even the most
vicious lies. The victim of libel must
prove that the author misstated the fac-
ts "knowingly or recklessly." And since
it's pretty hard to get inside the
author's head and prove what he was
thinking, the vast majority of libel
plaintiffs lose.
Losing your reputation to a libel is
horrible, but it's nothing like losing
your son or your daughter to some cult
leader. Sun Myung Moon moved from
Korea to the United States because he
realized that America's broad
"freedom of religion" would give him
room to operate-that is room to lead

gullible teenagers into slavery and
brainwash them to hate their families
and society. In most of the rest of the
world, Jim Jones would have been
thrown into an insane asylum, before he
led his victims off to poison death in
Guyana. It's one thing to say that
Protestants, Catholics, and Jews ought
to leave each other alone; it's
something else entirely to let demons
like Moon and Jones run free.
PERHAPS no constitutional clause
causes more damage than the Second
Amendment's right to keep and bear
arms. Full-scale national gun control
wouldn't keep professional criminals
from buying guns, but it would make it
hard for young hoods to acquire the
tools for a spur of the moment mugging.
More importantly, a widespread ban on
gun ownership would prevent all the
senseless gun accidents and heat-of-
passion killings that take place today.
It's fair to assume that we could save
250 lives a year by stopping gun ac-
cidents. If this country lasts another 200
years, that means 50,000 lives could
have been saved-as many as died in
Vietnam.
What's my point here? That strict
constitutional freedoms are a bad idea?
Not at all. By refusing to sanction
illegal police behavior, a strong ex-
clusionary rule protects the integrity of
the judicial system. Tough rules about
coerced confessions protect the in-
nocent as well as the guilty. High libel
standards help keep our press the freest

and most investigative in the world.
Our religious tolerance has made
America the incubator of religions that
are still persecuted as cults
elsewhere-like the Mormons and the
Baptists. And widespread ownership of
firearms ensures that if all the other
constitutional protections failed, and a
dictator took over, freedom-loving
Americans would be able to wage a
long-term guerilla resistance. The
prospect of such resistance would of
course deter anyone contemplating a
coup.
Constitutional freedoms exact a
heavy cost, but they yield an even greater.
bounty. The Founding Fathers knew
that freedom sometimes carries a high
price, and that it would seem expedient
to cut back on freedom just a little bit.
And bit by bit, America would lose its
place as the world's beacon of liberty.
To keep basic freedoms secure, the
Framers put them in the Constitution,
beyond the reach of temporary ex-
pediency. And to enforce the Con-
stitution, we have the federal judiciary,
which, because it is appointed for life, is
immune to temporary political
pressures. Constitutional rights can
cause a lot of problems and harm a lot of
people; that's why we protect those
freedoms by placing them in the Con-
stitution.
Kopel is a third year law student.

South Korean evangelist Rev. Sun Myung Moon capitalizes on. America's
constitutional freedoms which allow him to lead a religious cult, even if the
cult brainwashes a few teenagers here and there.

Editeb s tn t Th Unsty o ig
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

LETTERS TO THE DAILY
More meaningless liberal platitudes

Vol. XCV, No. 67

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M1 48109

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

Troubled ADVICE

GOOD ADVICE IS hard to come by
during course registration. The
hazards of CRISP often require a
shoulder to cry on, but barring that, a
little educated counsel is always ap-
preciated.
ADVICE, the Michigan Student
Assembly's instructor and course
evaluation guide, was established five
years ago to help make one's fateful
decisions at CRISP as educated as
possible. Unfortunately, ADVICE
hasn't been working the way it should.
For the past three terms, evaluations
have been incomplete or inexcusably
late in coming. The beginning of
CRISP marks the time when ADVICE
is most needed. Yet this term it is
nowhere to be found.
The reasons for ADVICE's failure
are numerous. It is clear, however,
that MSA should take steps to correct
the problem. ADVICE is one of MSA's
most useful projects and deserves the
attention necessary to make it available
when needed.
ADVICE Project Director Richard
Layman blames this term's delay on
computer programming difficulties
and delays at the printer. But while
these problems are legitimate and
worthy of sympathy, they are
problems which could have been

foreseen and avoided by proper over-
sight from MSA. Seventeen cents are
earmarked each term from every
student to pay the costs of ADVICE. On
a budget of close to $12,000 MSA should
be able to guarantee that the guide is
released in time to be useful.
Layman also cites a lack of student
involvement as one of the project's dif-
ficulties. Layman is currently in his
third year of directing the project and
was forced to complete the guide
almost single- handedly after the
resignation of a project co-director
earlier in the term. The complications
involved with getting ADVICE out on
time are understandable in light of the
small numbers working on the project.
What is not understandable is how
MSA could let the situation get as bad
as it has in the past three terms. Last
spring there was hope of progress in
the implementation of a new
evaluation method, but that hope has
been followed this term by literally
nothing. No matter how good the guide
may be, it is worthless if not released
in time for CRISP.
ADVICE needs to be saved from its
own inability to get released on time.
MSA should do all it can to see that it
becomes an indispensible student tool
once again.

To the Daily:
Dean Baker's letter "No
apologies for interfering with
CIA" (Daily, November 17)
was sufficiently ignorant and
arrogant to warrant a response
which will attempt to further his
education about the ways of the
world.
So the CIA has had a hand in
setting up repressive right-wing
governments, has it? You think
it's the worst of its kind in the
world, do you? I wonder if you've
ever heard of the grandfatherly
little concern called the KGB? I
wonder how many repressive
left-wing governments they've
set up; or how many terrorist
manuals they've written, or how
many murders they've commit-
ted. If you were to do a little
research beyond the usual liberal
snivel-sheet material, you would
discover that the KGB is a hell of
a lot more intrusive, repressive,
and widespread than the CIA has
ever been or could ever hope to
be. So why don't we hear people
of Baker's ilk protesting the
KGB, in comparison to which the
CIA is pale and anemic?
I'll tell you why. It's the usual
liberal double-standard. Liberals
scream shrilly and jump up and
down when obscenities are
committed by right-wing gover-
nments, yet they close their eyes
and bring out the whitewash
whenever precisely the same of-
fenses are committed by persons
from their own end of the spec-
trum. Few indeed are the liberals
who get upset about Stalin's but-
chering of millions of people in
the gulags, including entire
ethnic groups, or about the in-
vasion of Afghanistan, or about
the sheer mockery of Ortega's
election (American apologists to
the contrary), or about the star-
ving of half the population of
Cambodia when the Communists
took over. Yet just mention the
word "Nazi" or "contra" or
"Grenada" and these same
people gibber in rage. I guess
that means that genocide and
mayhem are acceptable as long
as the person doing it is
classifiable as left-wing. I guess
that means that if Hitler would
return today, all he would have to
do to be a success would be to
perform his same acts of atrocity
under the cloak of leftism.
It is interesting, too, how
quickly the meaningless moral
platitudes of liberals will crum-
ble into dust when put to the test
as they were with the arrival of
the CIA representatives. The end
result is that the liberals them-
selves become just as repressive
as they claim their victims are. I
am curious what they would do if
thePv would ever be in %a similar

your opinion on everybody else at
the University? Did Zeus tap you
on the shoulder one night, or was
it perhaps Osiris? We've had ex-
perience with such arrogantly
self-righteous zealots before,
Baker-the names Hitler and
Rev. Jim Jones immediately
come to mind. It is such a thrill
that a very small, select group of
children elected themselves to be
the guardians of decency here,
but if you really don't mind-if it
does not offend your deep sense of
decency-I would prefer to make
such decisions for myself without
having to hear your crap issuing
from the background. After all,

isn't our ability to do that one of
the cornerstones of the "freedom
and democracy" of which you
claim the CIA is an enemy and to
which.you yourself attempted to
inflict a mortal wound last week?
It is time for certain people to
grow up and realize that the
world is real-not some dreamy
cotton-candy ball made all soft
and mushy by the milk of human
kindness. Unfortunately for
them, any such scenario is made
almost impossible by the existen-
ce of something called "human
nature"-and it will never be
possible as long as there exist
people who wail about repression

and yet become arrogantly
repressive themselves as soon as
they feel the harsh prick of
reality thrusting into the in-
sulating feather-bed of liberal
fantasies they've wrapped them-
selves into.
By the way, Baker-it was also
the CIA who helped get Castro in-
to power. Funny you didn't men-
tion that, but then I think the
reason is obvious, considering the
political persuasions of the
leaders whom you did choose to
lambast in your letter.
-Gerald Eisenhower
November 26

Apologies concerning AD VICE

To the Daily:
As you are well aware, the
Course Evaluations Committee
of the Michigan Student Assem-
bly publishes ADVICE, an in-
structor and course evaluation
guide. And, as all of us are aware,
CRISP started yesterday. Where
is ADVICE?
- Last term, although ADVICE
came out on time for use during
the early registration period,
there ,were some significant
problems with the published
data it contained. For some
reason (we still don't know exac-
tly what happened) Department
of Psychology course data and
certain other courses contained
incorrect information.
If data contained within AD-
VICE is incorrect we have no
credibility. Apparently, our
computer program contained un-
detected bugs that, up till now,
were inactive. Therefore, we had
to rewrite the computer program.
This has been done but it has
taken us much longer than expec-
ted. Additionally, we have had to
check each evaluation for ac-
curacy by comparing them to the
Center for Research on Learning
and Teaching's (CRLT) indepen-
dently compiled evaluations.
We have run into further
problems relating to the actual
printing of ADVICE. Michigan's
BLOOM COUNTY

economy is now booming, com-
pared to the recent past. The
delays in our compiling ADVICE
due to the necessity of rewriting
and checking our computer
program have pushed our prin-
ting time smack into the middle
of the Christmas shopping period.
Therefore, it is practically im-
possible to schedule printing time
at any of the major printers. We
have had to switch printers twice
before we could schedule time.
We have had other problems.
The person who had agreed to
take my place as project director
changed her mind, forcing me to
carry on when I did not want to.
Furthermore, because of my own

responsibilities, I have not been
able to give the necessary time to
ADVICE that a project director
should. This has probably
delayed publication as well.
Next term will be better. But
now, the answer to the question,
"When will ADVICE be out?" All
I can tell you is what the printers
tell me, sometime before
December 7th. My hands are
tied.
I apologize to all the students
who have been inconvenienced by
our delays. Then again, if more
students contributed their time
and effort, things could be dif-
ferent.
-Richard Layman
November 26

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editorials

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pearing on the left side
of this page represent a
majority opinion of the
Daily 's Editorial Board.

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