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March 07, 1986 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-03-07

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I

OPINION

Page 4

Friday, March 7, 1986

The Michigan Daily

A

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

University fails to take lead

Vol. XCVI, No. 106

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board

Catholics and abortion

A N advertisement in Sun-
day's New York Times to af-
firm Catholic community member
solidarity with all Catholics whose
right to free speech is under attack
should be supported.
In 1984, 97 leading Catholics
signed an advertisement which
was a "Catholic Statement on
Pluralism and Abortion." Many of
them were threatened with
dismissal from their religious or-
ders, denial of the right to teach at
Catholic colleges and institutes,
and exclusion from peace and
justice programs.
Vatican officials charged that the
statement was scandalous, saying
the ad gave the impression that the
Church held more than one position
on abortion. Vocal Catholics have
expressed exactly these sentimen-
ts. They want to acknowledge that
there is a diversity of opinion on
abortion among Catholics.
While they do feel that the Chur-
ch structure offers a system of
moral guidance and a means of
lobbying for legislation to combat
injustice, the Catholics involved
question current policy and im-
plore that others not push for
legislation that limits freedom of
religion and conscience or is unfair
to poor women.
Members of the Committee of
Concered Catholics, which
issued last Sunday's adver-
tisement, are more concerned with
Church authority and control in
personal lives than with the issue of

abortion. Their point is the crux of
the problem.
Members of the Church are right
in demanding their views be heard
and expressed in a receptive, non-
hostile atmosphere. Attitudes are
changing and old traditions must
be questioned. All people have the
right to education about human
sexuality and reproduction, and
economic aid for quality health
care. Legislators and presidents
can not decide how women choose
to use these resources. They can
however, provide a safe, peaceful
atmosphere in which women can
make responsible decisions free
from fear or coercion.
It is imperative that people of all
faiths follow their own conscience
when they make decisions, and that
they have the freedom to control
their own lives. What may be
morally repugnant to some can still
be protected by Federal law.
Pluralism and different
judgements are fundamental to the
democratic process and must be
recognized as such. For this
reason, among others, an expected
200,000 people will march in
Washington D.C. on Sunday to
demonstrate that choice is a
majority concern. These people
and the concerned members of the
Catholic community who spon-
sored the New York Times adver-
tisements deserve encouragement
and support for standing up for
their rights.

By Dean Baker
In the book Alice Through the Looking
Glass, there's a scene where Humpty-Dum-
pty tells Alice that if he says something
three times, it's true. Perhaps the frequen-
cy with which the administration has come
to refer to the University as a "world class
institution" can be explained by the use of a
similar line of reasoning. Since we're not in
Humpty Dumpty's world however, it's ap-
propriate to ask whether such a claim can
be justified. Specifically we may ask
whether the University is really exhibiting
the sort of leadership that would be expec-
ted from a "world class institution".
If we begin with the issue of weapons
research on campus we find an area where
the University's course of action has been
particularly unimpressive. Rather than
taking a strong stand against such research,
the administration has been actively in-
vestigating ways in which it can make the
University a more hospitable environment
for the Pentagon's projects. Its current
plans call for doubling the amount of
military research on campus overmthe next
five years. In addition to explicitly en-
couraging faculty members to engage in
military research, the University has also
undertaken a review of its current research
guidelines, which if enforced, virtually
preclude weapons research on campus. The
proposed code of non-academic conduct also
has to be understood in this context. The
code can be used to punish protestors who
might bring unwanted attention to military
research taking place on campus.
While the University's behavior is under-
standable given its need for additional sour-
ces of funding, it can hardly be considered
exemplary. The administration does not
have to accept the drastic reduction in non-
military sources of state and federal fun-
ding that have taken place. Rather it could
take the lead in proclaiming that it will not
Baker, a graduate student in economics,
is president of Rackham Student gover-
nment.

allow the needs of the Pentagon to deter-
mine the direction of research on campus.
If the major universities confronted the
government as a bloc and refused to accept
money for weapons research as a substitute
for grants for academic research they could
force the Reagan administration to change
its policy. A similar coalition was partially
successful in the 1950s in resisting the
spread of McCarthyite loyalty oaths. Such a
strategy is risky, perhaps the Reagan ad-
ministration wouldn't back down and in-
crease funding for education, perhaps other
universities wouldn't follow this Univer-
sity's example, but these are exactly the
sort of risks that a "world class institution"
should feel confident enough to take. At
least such a stand would prevent the univer-
sity from being in the position of disguising
weapons development as "education".
Turning to the issue of divestment, we find
another area where the University's leader-
ship has been less than impressive. The
result of years of pressure from individuals
both inside and outside of the University
community has been that the University has
carried through a partial divestment of its
holdings in corporations that do business in
South Africa. In fact, the University was ac-
tually forced into divesting by the state
legislature, and it could be heard kicking and
screaming every step along the way.
President Shapiro has recently chosen to
make a virtue of necessity and proclaimed
the importance of a moral investment
policy. It will be interesting to see if he's
prepared to put some substance behind his
words. Surely it's at least as important for
the University to have a moral buying
policy. The University could display the
sort of leadership that was clearly absent on
the divestment issue, by initiating a boycott
of large companies that operate in South
Africa, such as IBM. If we examine the
direction academic departments are taking
within the University we can also find
reason to question the claim to world class
status. While no one can question that the
University's faculty includes some of the
finest scholars in the world, it is
questionable whether individual depar-
tments really act as leaders in their field.
On this issue, I can only address the

situation within my own department,
economics. The University's department
does in fact have the capacity to stand out as
a leader in the discipline. The department
offers a range of fields that is probably un-
matched; such unorthodox fields as political
economy attract students from all over the
world. Unfortunately, the department
seems determined to whittle down its range
of offerings and in particular to weaken or
eliminate the unorthodoxdfields at which it
excels. This is being done because the
department is unwilling to distinguish itself
as a place where diverse views are fostered
and would rather fall into lockstep with the
mainstream of the discipline. This attitude
can be contrasted with that of the economics
department at the University of Chicago,
where they clung virtually alone to their
brand of conservative economics, until the
mainstream finally came around to
recognizing the significance of their work.
The developments within the economics
department are particularly ominous since
both President Shapiro and LSA Dean Peter
Steiner are from the economics department.
I have only touched on three areas where
the quality of the University's leadership
can be called into question. I have left out
many others of at least equal importance,
perhaps most notably the issue of minority
recruitment and retention, due to a lack of
space and familiarity. I suspect however
that similar questions of leadership would
arise on these other issues as well. To be
clear, I am not accusing the adminsitration
of either maliciousness or incompetence.
In fact, it would probably be fair to say that
the administration has performed quite well
given the constraints with which it's been
presented. The point however, is that a
world class institution does not accept the
constraints with which it is presented. It
breaks through the existing barriers and
sets its own standards. It's clear that the
University has not done this in the areas I've
considered. If we can generalize from what
can be observed in these three cases, we
would be safe in concluding that the Univer-
sity is only a "world class institution" in the
fairy tale world of Humpty Dumpty.

4

r.
I;

4 '

LETTERS:

A m erican foreign policy defensible

Moscow and ABC

T HE GOVERNMENT criticized
ABC for airing seven minutes
of a Soviet commentator's respon-
se to Reagan's televised message
on his proposed $320 billion defense
budget. ABC should have been
credited for opening up the
discussion to another viewpoint,
Instead, it was coerced into
acknowledging its supposed error.
The Soviet commentator's
message created quite a stir
among certain members of
Congress and the White House. In a
short speech on the house floor,
Rep. Robert Dornan R-California
lashed out at Soviet commentator
Vladimir Posner, who is an
American born Soviet citizen, by
calling him a "disloyal, betraying
little Jew." He states that "this lit-
tle flunkey, 'Vlady,' sits there and
calls our president a liar. I'm tired
of having my government insulted
by hired communists."
The White House com-
munications director, Patrick
Buchanan, wrote to Roone
Arledge, president of ABC News
stating that "it is our belief that the
debates over what America
requires - to defend herself, her
allies and friends from the
awesome power of the Soviet Union
- is a debate for Americans to
conduct." Reagan himself repor-
tedly said, "I don't know
why ...the media is so willing to
lend support to the Soviets."

the interview is a form of gover-
nment censorship.
ABC News, in response to the
White House complaint, agreed
that it gave the Soviet commen-
tator "too much" response time.
Senior Vice President Richard
Wald said, "reluctantly, I tend to
agree that Vladimir Posner was
allowed too much scope on our
program." He added that there
was nothing wrong with asking the
Radio Moscow commentator to
reply, but that "our production
error was in letting him push on at
too great length without an op-
posing voice to point out the errors
and inconsistencies of what he
said."
A major component of free
speech is the willingness to let the
audience decide their own point of
view from among many available
positions. Propaganda has many
forms; running a shortened inter-
view and then criticizing what
Reagan and other officials don't
agree with is one manifestation of
propaganda.
This recent chain of events will
affect other television stations in
the future. They may be reluctant
to air subject matter that counters
the president's point of view. If
this is a determining factor,
Americans may never receive
equal television exposure to
positions that directly counter the
official White House position.
If the White House and Congress
continue to subtlelv coerce

To the Daily:
The insistence of the Daily to
continue to print misguided
essays on U.S. foreign policy is
amazing. Latest in this series is
Henry Park's article on Feb. 11
accusing the United States of
being the leading terrorist nation
in the world.
Park's attempt at portraying
America this way is pathetic. He
begins by citing the use of atomic
bombs in World War II by the
United States. This is indicative
of the entire article, it completely
ignores the context in which ac-
tions take place. In case Park is
not aware of the facts of World
War II, they are as follows: the
Japanese started it by directing
an unprovoked attack on the U.S.
The U.S., fearing for its existen-
ce, fought back and to shorten the
war and possibly save American
lives dropped two atomic bombs
which killed many people but
only a small percentage of those
killed in the entire war.
Following the war the United
States spent time and money to
ensure that Japan became a
democracy with respect for
human rights and liberties. After
a very short time they returned
control of the country to the
Japanese who have had one of the
most successful societies in the
world since that time. There is
also no mention of the continuan-
ce of the U.S. to support the def-
ense of Japan and Western
Europe.
Meanwhile the countries of
Eastern Europe are not so for-
tunate: the Soviet Union controls
and dominates them. When they
get out of line the Soviet Union
does not hesitate to bring in the
tanks. The Soviet Union also con-
tinued to aid Syria, and its
surrogate terrorists, in its per-
sistent war on Israel.
The concept of moral
equivalence between the United
States and the Soviet Union or
Palestinian terrorists is
abhorrent. It ignroes the
realities of history and the con-
sequences of totalitarianism.
Every foreign policy design is
made against this backdrop.
Thus when the U.S. decides to

and South Africa comes im-
mediately to mind. This does not
excuse ridiculous comparisons
between the United States and
Libya.
Park's argument that the U.S.
supplies arms to all sides in the
Middle East to cover oil trade
deficits is laughable. Besides the

fact that supplying arms is
dependent on leaders who want
and are willing to purchase the
arms, the amount of money that
the U.S. gains in selling arms to
Middle East countries is nowhere
near the amount of oil it pur-
chases.
There are a number of other

Livermore Labs lobbys for arms race

misrepresentations in Park's ar-
ticle that would take too long to
discuss. I would also suggest
that the Daily drop the continuing
anti-Israel rhetoric which is once
again found in Park's article.
-David Knoblock
February 11

Ia
'9

To the Daily:
On March 7, 1986, ,Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratories
will be on the University campus
recruiting for new employees. In-
stead of lining up for jobs, many
local students and community
people are preparing leaflets,
posters, banners and picket
signs. The only other recruiting
organization to get such attention
in recent years has been the Cen-
tral Intelligence Agency. The
CIA, as House and Senate in-
vestigations have revealed, is
responsible for assassinating
foreign leaders, overthrowing the
democratically elected gover-
nments of Guatemala (1954) and
Chile (1973), and creating the
group of cut-throats contras even
now trying through torture, mur-
der and rape to destabilize the
Nicaraguan government. Why
would anyone consider Lawrence
Livermore to merit the same
kind of hostile reaction which the
CIA elicits?
The answer is that Livermore
is responsible for the develop-
ment of 90% of the United States'
nuclear weapons. It is not just a
passive agent of government
policy, it lobbies strongly for the
funding of new weapons systems
which it designs. It even uses the
money it gains from government
contracts to lobby against
grassroots efforts for peace such
as the mutually verifiable
Nuclear Weapons Freeze.
Livermore is responsible for
weapons testing in the Marshall
Islands that has crippled two
generations of residents already
and rendered a large part of
these Pacific Islands
uninhabitable. Closer to home,
ti I na hinist ihea i a, nd

developing - the MX, the Cruise,
the Pershing II, the neutron
bomb, the bomb-pumped X-ray
laser satellite - are first-strike,
aggressive weapons. As Simon
Ramo, founder of one of the com-
panies (TRW, Inc.) involved in
Reagan's Star Wars fantasy,
pointed out, "Who says that this
technique will be.. used only to
knock out missiles in the sky? If
it's such a good technique, why
not use it to knock out things on
the ground?" William E.
Burrows, Director of the Science
and Environmental Reporting
Program, stated that "The 'Star
Wars' ballistic missile defense
concept ... is a dangerous hoax
and a cruel anddpotentially ex-
pensive exercise in self-
deception." Livermore is one of
the most culpable actors in this
hoax.
It is not surprising to learn that

a recent publicity director for the
Lab quit because he could no
longer defend the work of the
Lab, and now works for the
Nuclear Freeze. What is sur-
prising is that Livermore thinks
that is can come to Ann Arbor
without being met by protestors
and pickets who object to the dir-
ty work it does. Campuses Again-
st Weapons In Space, the Latin
American Solidarity Committee,
the Michigan Alliance for Disar-
mament, and the Committee for
Corporate and Military
Disrecruitment are holding a
rally at 1:00 p.m. Friday, March
7, in front of the Student Ac-
tivities Building, and will be
maintaining a picket in front of
the building all day.
-Dmitri Iglitzin
Law student
March 3

I
I

Pre-modern poets inspire

To the Daily:
I was pleased to see the instruc-
tors and students of creative
writing in the residential college
receive some well-deserved at-
tention in the article, "Why does
RC dominate Hopwoods?"
(1/30/86). Their achievements
have done much to enrich the
literary life of the University
community.
I would like to take exception
though, to my friend Ken
Mikolowski's remark that his
students benefit from reading
only contemporary poets and not
"two hundred year old English
nptc " Whetharnnot the nn,.r

Williams, and (as he tells us) it
was only after studying two
eighteenth century English poets,
Christopher Smart and William
Blake, that he was able to find his
own characteristic voice in the
full-throated, prophetic long lines
of poems like "Howl" and "Sun-
flower Sutra." (Another pre-
modern, Walt Whitman, helped
him too.) Such examples could be
multiplied endlessly, including
the most distinguished poet to
win a Hopwood Award in that
program's history, Robert
Hayden.
Young poets must read om-
nivorously in the poetry of their
time-that ones without saving.

,

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