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December 05, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-12-05

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 5, 2000

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
daily.letters@umich.edu
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

.4 °..F ix t 3Yd r .
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EN
Ed

ug
MIKE SPAHN
Editor in Chief
ILY ACHENBAUM
torial Page Editor
n of the majority of
cartoons do not
Daily.
d continue

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinioi
the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters andc
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan1

The anti-altruism conspiracy

Low iess loa
Low interest student loans shoull

There are basically two types of people in
this world: Those who strive to achieve
something, and those who are too comfortable,
too lazy or too self-pitying to work hard and
accomplish anything. The latter group will, for
the purposes of this column, be ignored - not
because they fail to be
interesting, but rather
because they do not
have to do with the
topic at hand. So
instead, the focus will
be on the former group,
which can again be fur- ~
ther divided into two
basic sub-groups. The
first is those who wish
to make a positive
impact on the world, M
and the second is those Manish
who wish to obtain Raiji
wealth, status and secu-
rity. One can argue that
the vast majority of 2. y
people on this campus
fall into the second group; as a whole, we are
generally self-serving. But there are those who
fall into the first sub-group; the altruistic people
who wish to do more than random charity. They
wish to solve some of the very real problems in
this world, such as issues involving the environ-
ment, poverty and inequality, violence amongst
people, etc.
Having established this very basic division of
people, the question that begs for attention is
this: Who is capable of actually changing the
world? I would argue that the ability to make
real changes involves more than being a Mother
Teresa and feeding the hungry. Instead, it

involves making tangible structural changes in
the way the world works, and this sort of goal
involves an explicit knowledge of the system,
and how to manipulate the system. This knowl-
edge is not intrinsic, itsis learned in institutions
like the one that we are attending right now.
The education received in a university can be
directed toward either the pressing issues in this
world or else toward the materialistic pleasures
of this world. And this is where the conspiracy
sets in. As we move on up from freshmen to
seniors, it becomes quite obvious that careerism
is the point of all of this. The reason why
careerism is the point of college is because of
the people who have created this whole system.
Wealthy people have set up all of these institu-
tions, and they are the very people who would
be most harmed by a bunch of idealistic stu-
dents moving on to dramatically alter the course
of human history. It's wonderful, perhaps even
preferable, to have students in college who are
dreamers, but they had better get weeded out
before those dreams ripen into reality.
Commencement becomes an impending fact,
and we are all forced to look beyond sheltered
college idealism and decide what to do with our
lives, post-dependency. We all reach that point,
when freshman move-in becomes a nostalgic
memory and the long walk down the aisle of
graduation looms as an imminent, and frightful,
reality. Itsis at that junction that politicians turm
from concern to corruption, lawyers turn from
service to savings, physicians turn from care to
careers, activists turn from social concern to
soccer moms, and journalists turn from sincerity
to spin.
Dreams get traded in for business suits and
sports cars, and the fat cats who set this whole
thing up get what they want. We turn away

from our socially aware goals and join the eig
toting, boys-only club. The conspiracy works
perfection.
Both types of people are necessary, and
don't wish to make one appear greedy while th<
other appears selfless. I'm not making a norma
tive judgment about the importance of eithe
group of people. If everyone chose to devote
their lives to a cause instead of getting a job am
being productive, the entire economy woul
crumble; conversely, if everyone decided tc
pursue The American Dream by forsaking
needs of the world, countless people would su7
fer. The issue, instead, is determining what the
balance is; what level of commitment to other
is necessary?
The common argument is that a person cat
secure a career and a family while still bein
charitable and helpful, but I find that to be a bi
of a cop-out. Is it enough to perform tax
deductible charity in order to pad the resum(
that will get a person into a graduate program o
employment position? Or, on a larger scale, tI
pad the resume that will get a person i4
"heaven," if one chooses to believe in fictiona
rewards?
What are we going to do with our lives
That's the final question that we all must ask e
ourselves in college. It is an entirely subjectiv
question; no person's answer will entirely suf
fice for anyone else. In the end, that's the entie
point - nothing in life is mandatory, and w
are all free to make our own decisions regarding
where to go from here. You may read what I'
written and think seriously about how to
forth after graduation, or scoff at my cliche
bleeding heart. You decide.
- Manish Raiji can be reache
via e-mail at mraiji@umich.edu

If you are a college student at the other sources.
University, there's a good chance Some lenders, however, offer loan
you have taken out some sort of loan rates equal to or more competitive than
to help you with your tuition and rent those offered by the Department of
payments. Many of you have received Education. The low interest loan rates
Direct Loans from the federal govern- save students and the parents of stu-
ment and taken advantage of the low dents money. As enabling a greater
interest rate and numerous bonuses of number of students to pursue higher
such loans. education was a part of the congres-
However, you may not be able to sional intent, the Department of Edu-
get another federal loan_ cation never went
on the same terms if The benefits of outside its federal
some banks have their jurisdiction. The
way. A number of lower education banks, since they
banks, not wanting to have no legitimate
offer more competitive costs f outwe claims, are unfortu-
student loans, are suing the repercussions nately suing the gov-
the Department of Edu- ernment as an
cation over its low of lost student loan alternative to offering
interest rates. These competitive rates
banks are mistaken in Apparently, the banks
the reasoning for the want to make higher
complaint, and act against the best education more expensive for their
interest of students and Americans in own profit.
general as they try to increase their The plaintiffs of the case are acting
revenue. extremely irresponsibly. The suing
The banks involved in the lawsuit banks are basically proposing that gov-
claim that the Direct Loans that the ernment agencies should not offer
government offers students are unlaw- good prices for services they provide.
fully generous and that the Department A similar situation would be UPS and
of Education has neglected congres- Federal Express suing the United
sional intent by offering special bonus- States Postal Service for offering low
es to students who pay off loans in a prices for package services. Acts of
timely fashion. The plaintiffs assert saving the American people money are
that the congressional order that creat- not against federal law. The govern-
ed the federal student loans does not ment especially should be concerned
include undercutting rates offered by with offering reasonable subsidies for
competitors. The companies note that higher education. Offering these loans
the Department of Education controls may hurt some banks profitability, but
a third of the student loan industry and the benefits of lower education costs
that the rates at which it offers loans far outweigh the repercussions of lost
are more competitive than those of student loan revenue to banks.
Confederate flag should not be displayed
Ahearing in the U.S. District Court in federal land would be irresponsible.
Baltimore, Maryland last Friday Also, because the cemetery lies along
added even more fuel to the perpetually the two-lane highway leading to Point
fiery Confederate flag debate. A Mary- Lookout State Park, a popular tourist
land man, Patrick J. Griffin III, is suing destination, the displaying of the flag
the federal government on charges of would be highly visible, and thus, highly
violating constitutional rights to free offensive, to people simply passing
speech by restricting display of the Con- through the area.
federate flag at Point Lookout Confeder- The whole issue of honoring the
ate Cemetery. dead can be alleviated with a compro-
"The suppression of the Confederate mise; the St. Mary's County NAACP
flag is a suppression of the viewpoint of finds that flying the flag on Memorial
those that want to display the flag," and Day and during ceremonies is not
therefore violates First Amendment objectionable and is within "historical
rights, Griffin's attorney said. "This is a context."
cemetery where Confederate dead lie. Will ruling against Griffin by
This is their flag" upholding the decision of the govern-
By restoring the exhibition of the ment not to display the Confederate flag
flag, Griffin thinks honor can be year-round give the courts the power to
restored to Confederate soldiers. How- regulate other methods of free-speech?
ever, because the cemetery is federally If these actions occur on private proper-
operated, displaying the controversial ty, certainly not. But if the government
flag would imply that the U.S. govern- chooses not to display hateful symbols
ment is condoning racial intolerance. on federally operated property, the
The Confederate flag is considered by courts have a duty to maintain these
many to be a symbol of racial intoler- decisions and must not get lost in First
ance. To display such a divisive icon on Amendment rhetoric.
BY JASON POLAN ..

NoTABLE OAL
2'21 2 ' - -
'It's not in the interest of the labels to go after their
customers, or of the artists to go after their fans.'
- Noah Stone, Napster opponent andfounder of
Artists Against Piracy, on the legal implications of Napster use.

LIVing wage s
be left to bus
TO THE DAILY:
I almost laughed out loud
Angell Hall after reading the
Daily editorial "War overv
that proclaimed, "local gov
have the freedom to establis
This statement is completely
ously, the Daily is a bit confu
cept of freedom in this countr
founded on the idea of freedo
zens, not freedom of the govt
pleases. True freedom comes
ernment. Governments esta
wage interfere with the freedo
ness owners to set their wa
which they deenm appropria
benefit both the worker and th
Gay marriage
should be leg

should partner's behalf in event of illnesses, have a
spouse covered under Social Security and
m esses Medicare, file joint tax returns, obtain veter-
an's discounts on medical care, education,
and home loans, apply for immigration and
residency for partners from other countries
in the middle of and obtain domestic violence protective
e statement in the orders.
sages," (12/4/00) Is it not crime enough to deny a person
ernments should the right to join in union with the person they
h a living wage." love, but to further deny one rights which
'ludicrous. Obvi- could allow increased piece of mind, simplify
sed about the con- their lifestyle, as well as financial advan-
y. This nation was ta es? Are homosexuals second-class citizens
)m for private citi- who do not allow equal treatment in tie eyes
=mment to do as it of the law and the government? This is not
from limited gov- apartheid; this is America. This is supposed
blishing a living to be the "Home of the Free," where "all men
im of private busi- are created equal." There must be a footnote
ages in a manner in the Constitution that removes homosexuals
te business itself, from being equal. No, really, I think Ben-
jamin Franklin and the others put it in with
HARPER GOULD denying black people their due rights as citi-
LSA SENIOR zeus. Remember, not long ago, interracial
marriages were illegal, too.
A further argument against gay unions has
been the intention of mnarriage as a form of
0 procreation. Those who cannot procreate
should not be joined. What then, to do with

the thousands of married men and wome
who are sterile, or paralyzed, or for other real
sons cannot give birth? Such people must bi
living outside the law in illegal marriages]
They are not, however, and are completel)
protected and given the protection of the go
ernment and the benefits of a virile co
without question.
A government which guarantees the liber
ty and freedoms of all those who live beneatt
its laws somehow seems to escape unscathes
when discarding the rights of homosexuals
This is a government "of the people, by the
people and for the people," but only certais
people who climb into bed and marriage witt
a member of the opposite sex. Join together
fight for freedom, help out your fellow mar
and offer homosexuals the same freedom
any adult citizen in this country holds. WJ
your congressman, discuss the topic witl
family, friends and religious leaders. Shom
the world that the United States Constitution
functions to uphold all freedoms discusses
within and not only those with which the
influential members of society find impor
tant. Permit the "Land of the Free" to includ
everyone.
NICK BONCI
LSA JUNIOF

+

TO THE DAILY:
How can we live in a society that con-
demns gay unions? What happened to the
"Land of the Free?" What are the precepts for
condemning this practice by the highest insti-
tution in the land and the representative of the
populace, the United States goverment? The
religious believers, the conservatives and so-
called moral die-bards of this country are
filling newspaper and magazine columns
with a rhetoric completely without legal or
logical base. Gay marriages have a legal right
in this country. They have a moral right.
Gays are being denied rights granted to
other people based onhtheir sexual orienta-
tion, a process which has been made illegal
through Title XII of the Equal Rights Act of
1970. Not only are homosexuals being left
out of the union of marriage, they are being
deprived of other privileges, too. Here is a list
of just some of the privileges enjoyed by
married couples to which homosexual part-
ners do not even have the ability to access:
Inherit from your partner if she or he doesn't
have a valid will, obtain joint health, home,
and auto insurance policies, enter joint rental
agreements, make medical decisions on a

THOMAS KULJURGIS 'ENTA',VET.' . .EAKI
CAMA Y
MORE cO .EA1LO WE s wi'JL.LMAK sE'~yoMt ea F+*LR.

tA1 1TI L*O
V? V hTA4 t ,

roT' ~ ~ ,. Me E w3. an
r kS C-4AP?

This is my education? Lets tell it like i

H ave you ever actually read the back
cover of a movie? I hadn't until one
severely boring night when I decided to
rearrange my shelving unit. I came across
the college classic, "Billy Madison," and
decided that the per-
son who wrote the
back of the box
description had to be
the biggest tool in the
world. It was painful-
ly obvious that the
writer was some 52
year old weirdo who
was trying to use
"hip lingo" - as he
would probably call
it. My first warning Erin
sign was when the
phrase "laugh-riot McQuinn
lunacy" appeared not
too far from "goof-
ball" and "babes and
booze." Um, who
really talks like that? This late night clean-
ing session then spurred another question
in my mind. But first, I prayed to God that
I would never have to write for the backs of
movies, and then I wondered - why can't
people just say it like itis?
Let's take a common topic on everyone's
mind right now - CRtSPing. How come all
those descriptions sound so easy, but as the
year progresses, that certain Women's Studies

course isn't the cakewalk that the professor
wrote it out to be. All of a sudden you have a
20 page paper date about some topic you could
care less about. Then you have to go on the
internet to research it, but just end up checking
your e-mail about 15 times. If you're lucky
you'll find some random Website that was
probably made by that same guy who wrote
the movie box for "Billy Madison."
I realized that most of the Websites I refer-
ence for research papers could be made by
practically anyone. Why do we really even
need to reference things anyways? At the
point when you actually decide to look for
information, your stance on the topic is
already in your head. You're just looking for
other people that agree with you. Why can't I
cite myself as a reference? Because I didn't
publish some meaningless book that no one
reads except for college students who are
forced to'? There is a reason that people sell a
book back -because it sucked.
So we promise ourselves that next time,
we will actually find the mysterious course
that teaches you how to play the bells in
the tower - the one that they told you
about freshmen year during orientation. If
anyone knows how to get into this course,
or if it even exists - please let me know.
I would like to rearrange the course catalog
for reading purposes. There would be two
headings -- "stuff that you have to take for
your major" and "bullshit." That's how
everyone already looks at the course catalog

t is
anyways. You have your classes that
hope will amount to some sort of concentra
tion plan eventually, and you have the
"Mafia" class. But like guys who are embar
rassed to be seen at a tanning salon, no on
wants to admit that they are really takin
them. Either that or they brag about ho
much they don't go to class. It's the tw
extremes.
Someday we will live in an ideal worl
where we can click on the American
ture heading and actually read a descriptio
that says "You will have to spend a ridicu
lous amount of money on ten books
seven of which only the first 30 pages wil
be read. The only other time you will oper
them is when you have to write your final
paper." Clear-cut, straight to the point
People end up dissatisfied with their educa-
tion because they really have no clue what
they're getting into. But of course there
would also have to be the descriptions that
read, "You will work your ass off the e0
term just to understand me because I don't
speak English and then I will laugh as I
grade your sorry excuse for a final exam.
You will then end up with a 12 percent
which curves to a B."
But of course if the course catalog was
actually strairpgtforward and easy to use,
then we couldn't bitch about it - and that
would be no fun.
-Iyou really want to, you can r :h
Erin McQuinn at erinmcumich.Wi.

'a -='.. . K 4 , sc e-at '2
ORL GTO&
- ROCK
4 4,

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