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February 21, 1985 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-02-21

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4

OPINION
Page 4 Thursday, February 21, 1985 The Michigan Daily

Sinclair

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

,<P it

Vol. XCV, No. 118

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Restraining liberty

STATE REP. David Hollister (D-
Lansing) said he felt like he'd
"birthed an elephant" when his bill
calling for mandatory seat belts
passed the state house. He is right
about birthing an elephant, but it's a
white one.
A mandatory seat belt law is a bad
idea because it impinges upon the right,
of the individual to make decisions af-
fecting no one but himself. There is no
evidence that a driver not wearing a
seat belt presents any more of a hazard
to other people than a driver who is
wearing one.
It is true that not wearing a seat belt
can increase the chances of a traffic
fatality, but those deaths are of people
who consciously choose not to wear
seat belts. People who do not wear seat
belts should certainly be urged to do
so, but must not be compelled..
A fundamental precept of the Con-
stitution is that government is a
"social contract" in which individuals
give up part of their liberty in order to
insure that society can function. The
government is justified in restricting
the right of one individual to kill
another, but not in restricting someone
from acting on a desire that will not af-
fect anyone else. A mandatory seat
belt law does restrict individuals from
acting on such a desire.
Proponents of the legislation contend
that with fewer traffic fatalities, in-
surance rates will decrease. Lower
rates would undeniably be positive for

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Michigan drivers, but if they come at
the expense of personal liberties, they
are not welcome.
Gov. Blanchard recently stated that
he believes a majority of Michigan
residents support the legislation. He
may be correct, but that majority is
completely free to buckle up whether
such legislation is passed or not. In
calling for a law, the legislature has
removed any choice from those people
who do not wish to wear seat belts.
Additionally, the current legislation
has come about largely in response to
pressure from the federal government
which has mandated that it will call for
the installation of air bags in all cars
produced after 1989 unless two-thirds
of the states have passed mandatory
seat belt laws by then. Such pressure
violates the spirit of a federation by
imposing the decision of the national
legislature on the theoretically free
states beneath it.
All that remains for the bill to
become law is for Blanchard, a con-
sistent supporter of the legislation, to
sign it into law. He is expected to do so
as soon as it reaches his desk.
The mandatory seat belt law forces
individual liberties to take a back seat
to federal. pressure and a safety
prescription from the state's majority.
There appears to be very little that
concerned citizens can do to stop the
passage of the bill, but they must con-
tinue to criticize the fundamental
wrong legislators have committed.

f}

1'

11

4

-- _

Letters

A

McDuffie hearing was a 'show trial'

4

Student criticisms

To the Daily:
As the four members who voted
against therremoval of Randy
McDuffie from his. position on
MSA, we are disturbed that the
Daily's editorial ("MSA's
Response") of Wednesday
February 15, 1985 missed the
essential problem of the hearing.
The major issues involved are not
whether MSA members were im-
properly prepared to discuss the
McDuffie case, as you argue, but
instead that the leadership with
the unfortunate complicity of the
majority of MSA members were
willing to stage a "show trial" to
accomplish their political ends.
Our votes against removing
McDuffie were not based as
much on our belief in his innocen-
ce or even our doubts to his guilt,
but instead our belief that the
Assembly attempted to create an
aura of a fair hearing for McDuf-
fie when in fact there, is no
provision for holding a hearing
when deciding to remove a com-
mittee head, but if the Assembly
does decide to hold a hearing it is
incumbent upon the Assembly to
make it a legitimate hearing. The
Assembly chose to hold a
hearing, as the minutes of the
meeting and the words of Vice-
President Kaplan will confirm,
and we were therefore respon-
sible for granting McDuffie a fair
and equitable hearing.
To achieve a fairer hearing the
four of us would have preferred if
an independent, non-biased,
panel would have been selected to
hear the allegations brought
against McDuffie and his defense
to those allegations. The panel
could then have made a recom-
mendation to the whole assembly
on a proper course of action. In
this way, MSA would not have
relinquished its power to run its
own affairs, the final decision
would still have been made by the
Assembly members, and we
could have secured McDuffie's
right-to a fair hearing. Something
along these lines was suggested

by Jonathan Rose, head of Student
Legal Services, among others,
but this suggestion was promptly
rejected as unnecessary.
As the discussion during the
McDuffie trial bears out, an in-
dependent board was not at all
unnecessary. Significant. and
severe issues of negligence on the
part of a number of MSA mem-
bers in regard to the McDuffie

case were raised. Their own role
and possible culpability in the
matter destroyed any pretense of
a fair hearing.
Yet, what particularly aston-
sishes the four of us is that the
editors of the Daily would have
not even given McDuffie the few
rights that he had. By claiming
that the hearing "degenerated in-
to a fullscale examination of the

Editorial was biased and uninformed

THE STATE legislature is truly on
a roll this week. The list of state
lawmakers' accomplishments for the
past week includes Senate passage of a
ban on state-funded abortions for
welfare recipients, passage of a
federally-coerced mandatory seat belt
law, and the most recent landmark: a
proposed ban of beer and wine
promotion on college campuses.
Although all .three of the bills are
outright restrictions of individual
freedom and insults to the State's
population, -the most recent proposal is
a supreme example of the legislature's
current tendency to overstep its legal
bounds.
According to state Liquor Control
Commission official Walter Keck, the
proposed legislation, which would
severely restrict the right of liquor
distributers to operate in college
communities, is a reaction to what the
legislature sees as an increase in un-
der-age drinking. Apparently, it is the
State's wish to keep that increase un-
der control by making alcohol less
visible to college students. Not only is
this logic flawed, but it constitutes an
unconscionable attempt to dictate the
moral conduct of individual citizens
from the capital building in Lansing.
Further, it is an insult to the in-
telligence of the state's college studen-
ts. The legislature apparently thinks
college students are not capable of
coping with the pressures brought to
bear on them by the advertising
media-while the rest of the state's
citizenship is.
Adults must not be discriminated
aainst because they choose to enroll

are of legal drinking age as well as 18
to 21-year-olds who choose to live on a
college campus.
The proposed legislation would for-
bid beer and wine manufacturers from
"promoting, sponsoring, or in any
other manner defraying from the cost
of. activity, event, or contest on a
university or college campus in
Michigan," Keckesaid. The bill, if
adopted, would also prohibit
restaurants with liquor licenses from
delivering alcohol on campus.
It is a fact that college campuses are
a haven for those who distribute and
market beer and wine. It is also true
that campuses have traditionally been
known for a predominance of under-
age drinkers. Nevertheless, these are.
not valid reasons for such oppressive
legislation. Because one segment of
the population appears likely to break
certain laws, that group of citizens
must not be legislated against. Such
action would be tantamount to jailing
all poor people in the nation because
they constitute a segment of the
population statistically more likely to
commit violent crimes. This is not the
way a rational government should
make its laws. In the analogy to the
poor, law makers must look at the
causes of violent crime and the reasons
behind that group's criminal likelihood
and then attack the problem using a
more informed approach.
In the specific case of under-age
dr'inking, the State Legislature must
first find out why the problem exists,
instead of trying to solve it through un-
fair and unproven legislation that is
directed ata select group of citizens.
Banning advertising on college cam-

case" is tantamount to endorsing
the notion that MSA members
should be "yes-persons" for the
leadership and that the hearing
should have been even more of a
"show trial" than it already was.
- Nicholas Kabcenell
Mike Laber
Mark Wernick
Chris Cullito
February 16

To the Daily;
This letter is in response to
your editorial of Saturday, Feb.
9, 1985, concerning military pen-
sions, which was written,
typically in your case, with a cer-
tain serious misconception about
military life and the people who
compose it. Specifically, this
misconception becomes apparent
with the sentence". .. a job that
requires no more than the ability
to do what you are told - when
you are told."
Lacking objectivity, such a
statement is clearly based on the
assumption that all who compose
the military are unthinking
robots, and devoid of any
feelings. Besides being clearly
untrue, this statement is also
quite interesting since it
illustrates the manner in which
the Daily uses information (or
prejudice) upon which to build
opinions.
Since the Daily appears to
know the behavior of military
people so well, I must ask, on
what information did you base
this opinion. Are,or were any of
you in the military? Do you know
many people who were once in
the service (or even in ROTC
here)? Have any of you read ex-
tensively about the military? I
strongly feel that the answer to
these questions is a meek no, and
therefore I must conclude that
your opinion is based on assum-
ptions (i.e. prejudices), rather
than clear facts. Such irrespon-

sible behavior leads to the
initiation and propagation of fur-
ther fallacies not only concerning
the military, but many other sub-
jects which the editorial staff of
the Daily poorly understands.
In addition, you have done a
disservice to members of the
ROTC programs by implying that
their function is no more than
turning out mindless machines.
Although those in the service
must indeed learn to take orders,
they must also learn to give
them in a sensitive,

Unfounded cartoon criticism4

To the Daily:
I am writing in response to the
cartoon by Bering of Jan. 31
showing an Israeli tank with its
treads labeled "Sharon" leaving
a war-torn Lebanese street and a
crippled Lebanese family behind.
The criticisms to this cartoon
are typical in that anyone who
disagrees with Israeli policies or
actions is labelled as biased,
ignorant, or overly simplistic in
their approach. The distortions
found in these letters would be
humourous if they weren't so
pathetic.
Sharon's term "Operation
Peace in Galilee" smacks of
Orwellian double-speak. If 'the
Lebanese are reacting positively
to the Israeli occupation, as one
of the critics claims, then why "
are the Israeli casualties in-
creasing day by day and ex-
ceeding the numbers Israel suf-
fered during the SixDay War? In
fact, the reason behind their con-
tinual retreat is not one of good
will, so much as proof of their
military defeat at the hands of
the Lebanese resistance. Is this

'positive reaction"'?
Regarding the Palestinian
issue, I find it stereotypical to
constantly label them as
terrorists. Those interested in
more than a superficial knowledge
of the Mid-East must come to the
conclusion that Palestinian
presence in Lebanon is only *
product of previous Israel
terrorism and mass expulsion of
population starting with the:
massacre at Deir Yassin in 1946.3
On the International arena, Begin
(ex-Prime Minister of Israel)
was himself on the list of the most
wanted terrorists for bombing
the King David Hotel inr,
Jerusalem.
Today's Israel continues in this'
vein by exporting arms to op-
pressive governments such as
South Africa.
Considering the above in con-
text to the cartoon, I am en-
couraged to see that. we
Americans are becoming more
familiar with the complexities of
the Middle East.
-George Kirmiz
February 14

knowledgeable, and consistent
manner. That is, they must think
independently and creatively, or,,
in a manner contrary to your
statement.
When presenting your opinions
concerning the military in the'
future, please act responsibly
and in keeping with most jour-
nalistic traditions by obtaining
all facts bearing on a certain
problem, and not relying on
errant and aged assumptions.
-Andrew H. Teklinski
Steven J. Widman
February 11

MSA decision hypocritical

To the Daily:
My, my, my, what short
memories do the members of
MSA have! ! It was just scant
months ago when someone prin-
ted posters encouraging a "Yes"
vote on Proposal C (Voter's
Choice) using MSA's name and
letterhead. Remember how up in
arms MSA was that anyone dare
use their name to support a
fascist issue like Proposal C?
Now along comes Andrew Boyd
who prints up his view on the
Nicaraguan situation under Con-
sider's, name and letterhead an-
d MSA not only refuses to con-
demn the action but praises it! !
Evidently the rules of fair play

Consider's narrow format (what
issue has just two sides?), but
that doesn't justify Boyd's ac-
tions. Andtthere are definite
problems with how MSA conducts
business (People leaving the
room during key votes?), but that
does not justify the actions of last
November. The University
should be a place for diversity of
opinion, but not at the price of
MSA's and Consider's freedom to
determine the use of their names.
- Steve Horwitz
February 14
BLOOM COUNTY

Letters to the Daily should be typed, triple-
spaced, and signed by the individual authors.
Names will be withheld only in unusual circum-
stances. Letters may be edited for clarity, gram-
mar, and spelling.

by Berke Breathed

I IWRAL-WE MVT

III:

I-- I

fw Mm we,,

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