4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 18, 2002
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necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
"I don't know
if I did it or not ..."
- Illinois gubernatorial candidate Rod
Blagojevich, when asked if he had ever used
(i.e. inhaled) marijuana, as quoted by Reuters.
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The undoing of the Enlightenment
ZAC PESKOWITZ Ti LOWER FREQUENCIES
it's everyone's Catherine MacKinnon still battling for their the italicized explanatory clause, the rest of
favorite time of year Marcusiai dystopia and speech codes such the sentence is meaningless.
again - Constitu- as the one adopted by the University in 1988 For a contrasting Enlightenment view you
tion Week. Along with before it was ruled unconstitutional, make up need not go farther than the press release that
yesterday's Citizenship one of the more repugnant aspects of the accompanied the declaration of this year's
Day, two of the more modern academy. Constitution Week. "The Founders secured the
obscure federally pro- A branch of American conservatism has principles expressed in the Declaration of
mulgated days of recog- recently attempted to suck more marrow from Independence by establishing a government
nition make September Enlightenment's conception of freedom, that derives its power from the consent of the
a time to "to conduct morality and statecraft. The crusades of anti- American people." This view is open to'a dif-
ceremonies and programs that celebrate our modernist Leo Strauss against natural-right ferent set of challenges, but it is eminently
Constitution and reaffirm our commitment as political philosophies have emerged as a per- defendable and it applies equally to. all mem-
citizens." sistent strand of thought in modern conserva- bers of the human race regardless of personal
At our propitious moment in history, tive circles. The late Allan Bloom and Nobel belief. The ramifications of this comparison
where the future contours of human civiliza- laureate Saul Bellow were two of the students are legion. As the United States once again
tion are about to be shaped for generations, the who huddled around Leo Strauss at the Uni- attempts to make the world safe for democra-
liberal-democratic framework, best symbol- versity of Chicago and evangelized his philos- cy, Bush's reliance on the prototypical
ized by the Constitution, is the hope for a ophy on to the next generation of intellectuals. Straussian language of virtue constricts the
world free of major conflict. The possibility of Two Bush appointees, Deputy Secretary of scope of liberal democracy to those who share
creating this world is directly linked to the Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Leon Kass, chair specific values.
endurance of Enlightenment values, the possi- of the President's Council on Bioethics are As the drums of war are struck with
bility of which is rapidly vanishing. My skep- direct disciples of Strauss. More importantly, increasing cadence and ferocity, we are left
ticism about the laudable goal of securing an major Republican initiatives like Newt Gin- with the unsettling question of who is left to
unyielding commitment to democracy is the grich's Contract with America have origins defend the gates of Enlightenment from its
result of the success of the Enlightenment's that extend back to Strauss. opponents? The United States is embarking on
opponents. To witness the implications of Strauss' an enterprise that will have profound effects
The most virulent assaults on the Enlight- philosophy on the future of democracy, a sim- throughout the world. Whether it degenerates
enment have historically been the domain of ple comparison is in order. In his Sept. II into a morass that fails to secure democracy or
the radical Left. In his effort to build a more address to the nation President Bush advanced reaches a watershed moment in world history
humane society, in his "Critique of Pure Tol- an anti-Enlightenment understanding of uniting the globe under a humane liberal
erance" Herbert Marcuse argued that free morality. 'Our deepest national conviction is framework will largely depend on this state's
speech was a tool of the empowered to sup- that every life is precious, because every life is internal disposition. The supporters of Enlight-
press the exploited. To correct for this prob- the gift of a Creator who intended us to live in enment from its attackers on the Left and
lem, Marcuse proposed a redistribution of liberty and equality" (emphasis added). Right need to recommit themselves to its
political influence through banning the Unlike the Enlightenment's universally defense in earnest.
speech of certain groups and individuals. applicable principles of individual rights, this
The intellectual descendants of Marcuse, derivation of morality is dependent on a spe- Zac Peskowitz can be reached
prominent names like University Law Prof. cific religious belief. If you don't ascribe to . email@example.com.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Henretty's column missed
mark; successful minorities
should not be penalized
TO THE DAILY:
Aubrey Henretty's anti-affirmative
action column (Affirmative actions speak
louder than words, 9/17/02) missed several
points. First, "affirmative action" in general
-,a term dating from the Kennedy era -
has benefited not only minorities but
women as well (Louis Farrakhan has
reportedly criticized affirmative action as
being "welfare for white women"); must-we
now call it "gender-based preferential treat-
ment" instead of the shorter "affirmative
action," which reminds us of the United
States' affirmative moral duty to try to
assure real equality to both minorities and
It was way back on Oct. 13, 1967, that
Lyndon Johnson's Executive Order 11246,
requiring affirmative action by government
contractors, was amended to cover gender
discrimination - not just race, color, reli-
gion and national origin.
Second, America has had either de jure
or de facto preferences for whites (especially
males) for centuries now, including for (pre-
dominantly white) alumni kids applying
here; doesn't that deserve some comment
and some counteracting influence like affir-
Third and finally, while more could be
done for poor minorities: Even if affluent
minorities benefit more from affirmative
action, why penalize minorities for being
successful? And when was the last time
Henretty was traffic-stopped under a racial
profiling policy, just as many financially
successful minority members, even Ivy
League graduates, are detained by police
simply because of their skin color and their
driving a nice car?
Life experiences of even "successful"
minorities can still be marked and marred
by prejudice and painful discrimination.
And they will persist in being so, as long as
incomplete analyses of affirmative action
continue to abound.
Affirmative action mot
perfect, but necessary to
rnnrvth 1f.-i4 - AY1inIl r- 1 in it^
action relating to admissions) are minorities
from affluent areas." If one looks into this
issue, it is actually found that minorities in
affluent areas still perform worse on stan-
dardized tests (which our admissions system
does take heavily into account) than their
Caucasian counterparts. In theory, these
affluent minorities have the same "exciting
arrays of extracurricular activities" and AP
classes as their affluent friends, but how
much access do they actually have?
A big reason that affirmative action still
exists is due to the often intangible, hard to
define effects that structural racism brings
to minority populations in the United States
Until minorities in America have equal
access to resources (even in affluent areas)
and unbiased, fair standardized testing
(which may really be an oxymoron) affirma-
tive action must stand to help minimize this'
type of racism. Affirmative.action may not
seem like the perfect solution, but do you
have any better ideas to correct these race
inequalities in our country?
Race of robbery suspect
irrelevant; lead story had
TO THE DAILY:
I way disappointed by the Daily's deci-
sion to run racially insensitive material as
the lead story for Monday (Incident 'echoes
July robbery, 9/16/02).
I found the description of the suspect as
a "black male" outside of the context of a
complete physical description irrelevant.
Use of race in this way only serves to propa-
gate unfair characterizations and worsen
racial tensions on campus.
Robbery story 'reckless,'
'insidious;' Daily should
include race of all suspects
TO THE DAILY:
Once again the Daily has exemplified
poor journalism. I was truly disheartened
when I picked up a copy of the Daily and
the first thing I read was "A black male
Now normally I would let this type of
indiscretion go by, but this is not the first
time the Daily has perpetrated this injustice
against us law-abiding black males on this
campus. Included Monday's article was a
description of two suspects from a robbery
in July. The descriptions given are very
ambiguous (e.g., black male, 19-20 years
old, 5-feet-10, 6-foot-4, etc.) and basically
describes every black male here on campus.
This vagueness has become a recurring
theme in the Daily's articles.
I was always under the assumption that
suspect descriptions were meant to warn
who to be on the lookout for and narrow the
suspects list down.
Well, in this case and in the majority of
the other previous crime notes, Daily read-
ers are being warned to be on the look out
for all of their black male classmates and
students (in the case of professors). The
Daily needs to recognize that their lack of
journalistic taste is casting a shadow of sus-
picion on practically every black male that
walks on this campus.
Also, if the Daily is going to include race
as a description of suspects, then it should
do so in all cases.
I find it quite peculiar that I turn two
pages back from the above mentioned arti-
cle and read in Crime Notes of a man who
attacked another man with a bullhorn.
Again,.if we are going with the whole sus-
pect description as a way to warn people of
potential danger, then I think it is important
to give a more accurate description of this
suspect. I'm sure no student wants to be
attacked by a random guy with a bullhorn,
just the same as he/she doesn't want to be
robbed at gunpoint, or in any other fashion
for that matter.
I feel that the Daily should really exam-
ine its journalistic style. It needs to realize
how insidious many of its articles are and
how many people it offends on a Daily
The Michigan Daily welcomes letters from all
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