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January 15, 1987 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-01-15

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Page 4

Thursday, January 15, 1987

The Michigan Daily






of it

By Charles D. Lipsig
After two and a half years at the
University of Michigan, I cannot say that
editorials such as John Silberman's
"Socialism is Superior," surprise me
anymore. However, there are still some
editorials of that type which deserve a
response and Mr. Silberman's is certainly
one of those.
Mr. Silberman asserts that the Soviet
Union is superior to the United States
because there is "overemployment," that
is, in his words, "too many people have
jobs." Too many people have jobs?
That seems to mean that Mr. Silberman
believes that some people should be
unemployed. However, what I believe
Mr. Silberman meant was that there are
more jobs than people in the workforce.
Frankly, that is doubtful, considering that
even the Soviet government, a most
dishonest government about its failures,
is admitting that its economy is a mess.
But perhaps overemployment is true.
It cerainly seems that the Soviet Union
does not have enough farmers, as they
have to buy foreign grain to feed their
Lipsig is an LSA senior

population. And I suppose that there
might be a shortage of slaves in the
Gulag. From the way the Soviet
government acts, there is no such thing
as enough slaves. And lest one thinks
otherwise, being a slave does not mean
one is perfectly fed and sheltered. Try
living on one meal a day and working
outside in sub-freezing temperatures
without shoes for over ten hours a day. If
you can call that living, you are welcome
to continue that lifestyle. Who knows?
Perhaps living in concentration camp
conditions will become chic.
Not that the average Soviet citizen is
that well-fed either, having to wait in
lines that make the lines at Ulrich's look
minscule to buy food. While on the
subject of waiting, there are long waiting
lists to get adequate housing. Often three
or four families are crammed into
apartments that were built for one family.
The only way to get adequate housing or
food (or most other goods and services)
without extraordinary waits, is to be
high-up in the Communist Party.
In any case, I can certainly think of
people in the Soviet Union that are
unemployed. Many of those who apply
for exit visas are immediately fired from

their jobs. Others are fired from their
jobs for such acts as disagreeing with the
government or for teaching Hebrew. If
there was really overemployment in the
Soviet Union, they would have jobs.
And how does the Soviet Union's
economy manage to survive as little as it
does? Through what small amounts of
capitalism that are allowed. One-third of
the produce produced in the USSR is
grown on one percent of the land, the one
percent of arable land that citizens are
allowed to use for whatever they want.
By that standard, capitalist farming
methods are 49.5 times more effective
than socialist farming methods.
The Soviet government is starting to
recognize the failure of socialism,
although they will not admit it. The.
government is now allowing small scale
private enterprise, such as television
repair and taxi service, where there is a
need for such services.
And let us not forget China's
eradication of starvation, along with
hundreds of thousands of people in the
Cultural Revolution. Artists were sent to
prison camps for disagreeing with the
government;families were beaten and
thrown out of their homes for owning

antiques or religious scrolls - the list is
nearly endless. If the socialism there is
so good, it is surprising that they are now
allowing free enterprise. Even more
surprising, then, is that students are
marching, demanding a western-style
democracy while carrying posters of the
Statue of Liberty.
The Phillipines of Ferdinand Marcos
could be considered capitalist. However,
under Marcos' excesses, capitalism was
for the few, not all. Under Cory Aquino,
one hopes and expects that through fair
capitalism, the Phillipines will gain the
high standard of living that it deserves.
The Phillipines need only look to their
north to see an example of a thriving
capitalist economy in Japan, which
started from scratch and froty years later,
for better or worse, is closing in on, if
not already past the United States as the
most successful capitalist economy.
I would add that there is one statement
by Mr. Silberman that I do agree with. I,
too, am not a communist and do not wish
to live in the Soviet Union.
I am a capitalist, and proud of it, and
by Mr. Silberman's standards, I would be
labeled a conservative. As such, one

aspect of Mr. Silberman's editorial
disturbs me more than any other. Mr.
Silberman implies that Mr. Klukoff and
Mr. Vogel, and thus anyone who agree4
with the arguments that they presented,
are in total agreement with President
Reagan, Vice-President Bush and
Congressman Pursell. I, for one, am a
capitalist and a "conservative" who does
not support mandatory drug testing and
am opposed to laws banning abortion, (to
use Mr. Silberman's examples) as Reag
does. As such, Mr. Silberman's charges
against Mr. Klukoff and Mr. Vogel for
generalizing are hypocritical.
I am complimented to be on the list
with President Reagan, Vice-President
Bush, Congressman Pursell, Seth
Klukoff, and Dave Vogel, as a capitalist,
but that does not meant that I am i
lockstep with them on every issue, nol
that they agree among themselves oi
every issue. In making thi5
generalization, Mr. Silberman shows hi
lack of understanding towards those wh
support capitalism. And until he gain
such understanding, I can only, be eithe
amused or disgusted by his views. A
present, I'll take the former.

_ _ _ _ __

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

JANUARY 15 , 1929

Vol. XCVII, No. 75

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.
Reconsider requirements



make incoming students in the fall
of 1988 take a language
competency test. The test would
determine how much, if any,
foreign language instruction a
student should be forced to endure.
Rather than expand language
requirements, the University
should consider doing away with
them altogether.
Currently all LSA students must
complete four years of language
study in high school or test out at
orientation. If they do not test out,
students must complete the
equivalent of four semesters of
language. Under proposed rule
changes, incoming students with
four years of language already
under their belts would also have to
test out. The justification for the
proposal is that only 20 percent of
all incoming first-year students
with four years of high school
foreign language display comp -
etency equal to that acquired in four
semesters at the University.
The goal of these changes is to
improve the language proficiency
of University students. It has
gained support as well among
those who believe students who
fail their placement exams in
foreign language should not be let
off the hook simply because they
had four years in high school.
Proponents of change on the
Foreign Language Committee, a
subcommittee of the LSA
Curriculum Committee, argue that
the changes will encourage high
schools to improve their language
courses in preparation for the tests.
This argument is dubious. It is
unlikely that high schools which do

not current advise students of the
four-year exemption will turn over
a new leaf and inform their
students of the new requirements.
Much less will they revamp their
language programs to prepare
students for placement tests. Those
schools which do inform students
of requirements may gear classes
toward passing tests, instead of
instilling true comprehension.
Certainly there are benefits to
learning a foreign language. If we
cannot understand the languages of
other cultures we cannot
communicate with them. Because
of ethnocentrism, which follows
from an inability to communicate,
Americans are often confused and
bewildered by that which seems
The University should not add to
this bewilderment by propagating
an unnecessary language require -
ment. There are a lot of imporant
skills to be obtained in four years
of study. Knowledge of history, a
firm grounding in science, and the
ability to write clearly are among
them. Students, however, are not
required to study any of these
admirable subjects for four long
Students are generally mature
enough to select their own classes.
There is nothing wrong with
distribution requirements, if they
are reasonable, . The University's
'tres difficile' language requirement
just will not do. An understanding
of foreign cultures and societies
can be gained from history and
sociology classes as well as
language study. Rather than
expand its language requirement,
the University should consider
eliminating it.



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Weapon researci

By Rackham Student
In the late 1960s, the University
community recognized that the University
has a role in society that was inconsistent
with its use as a weapons laboratory.
The existence of weapons research on
campus was deemed morally unacceptable
on the grounds that a university exists for
the betterment of civilization, not its
destruction. As a result, guidelines for
classified research were approved. One of
the guidelines addressed the concern over
weapons research by containing the "kill-
maim" clause. It stated:
"The University in its endeavors
through research to broaden knowledge
will not enter into any classified research
contract the specific purpose of which is
to destroy human life or to incapacitate
human beings."
In 1983 the Faculty Senate Assembly
voted in favor of extending the "kill-
maim" clause to all research on campus.
The Regents rejected this request.
The administration and Regents
apparently see such regulations as
possible obstacles to the flow of money
from the government to the University.
The advent of Star Wars dollars has
intensified their concern. So the
administration has set up committees,
staged forums, and commissioned studies

openness) which are difficult to define
instead of about the real issue of whether
the campus should support research in the
technologies of killing and maiming. By
doing this they have ignored the faculty's
concern over harmful research voiced by
the Senate Assembly, and the students'
concern voiced by MSA.
The "Academic Freedom and Academic
Responsibility" report by Professor
Nicholas Steneck continues the trend of
de-emphasizing the question of whether
the University should be used as a
weapons laboratory. Prof. Steneck uses
an approach based heavily on an ideo-
logical notion of academic freedom, an
approach which is interesting for the sake
of endless philosophical arguments, but
which has limited relevance to the
problem at hand. Not surprisingly, his
report recommends abolishing the
restrictions on classified research. Fortu -
nately, he recognizes that the classfied
research policies serve the purpose of
trying to achieve a goal, and that to just
drop these restrictions with consideration
of what they were meant to achieve would
be academically irresponsible. So in
addition to arguing that the restrictions
are inappropriate, he suggests some good
alternatives that the University might
implement. Unfortunately, he thinks the
restrictions should be abolished before
these alternatives are explored. This is

Rackham Student Government be-
lieves that for the University to ac
responsibly, the classified research
policies should be kept until a better
method of achieving the goals voiced by
the faculty and students is found. In
particular the "kill-maim" clause must be
kept and it should be extended to all
research (not just classified) in order to
address the concern of weapons research
on campus.
Further, RSG objects to the fact tha
the presidentially appointed Ad Ho
Committee has presented majority and
minority reports which contain no "kill-
maim" clause. Thus they have
completely ignored the issue of weapons
research, inspite of the faculty and
students' repeated demonstrations of
concern over this issue. In addition, the
Ad Hoc Committee has in effect
eliminated the mechanism which sees tha
research contracts comply with th
guidelines. This is because both th
majority and minority reports provide for
no review of research contracts by faculty-
student committees. RSG objects to this
implication that an effective enforcement
mechanism is unnecessary.
RSG urges the administration and
Regents to stop centering the debate on
smokescreen issues and instead to
acknowledge the faculty and students by
dealing with the real issue, weapon4

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