April 12, 2006
The Wisdom Of Solomon II
This is a repost of a piece I wrote almost a year ago. Since then much has happened. In Rumsfield v. FAIR, our boy Judge Roberts laid the judicial smackdown on the sneering elite of America's legal faculty who, despite their erudition, proved unable to interpret the clear and unequivocal language of the First Amendment or to distinguish conduct from speech.
But that decision will avail us little if our colleges cower before mobs of violent and unruly students determined to force their will on others in defiance of the law.
We no longer defend our borders.
We no longer honor our flag.
We no longer enforce our laws.
Instead, we kowtow to the angry voices of an unruly mob. How long can our freedoms be secure in such a country?
Our rights are not guaranteed by lofty sounding words on a two hundred year-old parchment, nor by laws, nor the decrees of judges. Words have meaning, but it is deeds which must give them force. If we lack the will to defend our rights, they will quickly vanish leaving only the will of those determined to force their will upon us through sheer numbers or force of arms.
And in that case may God have mercy on us, for we have only ourselves to blame for our plight. We were born free, and left our children in chains.
This fell sergeant, death,
Is strict in his arrest.
- Hamlet, Act v. Scene 2
We are a nation of words. Once we were a nation of deeds.
Words are easy: they flow forth like water, always on tap. With them we honor the fallen, pay homage to the brave, occasionally marvel at some act of heroism beyond our ken. With words that sound heartfelt, we say "we support the troops".
And as we talk, and talk, and talk, half a world away there is little talk, but only the heavy quiet of a now-silent battlefield. Two days ago, it was anything but silent:
The explosion enveloped the armored vehicle in flames, sending orange balls of fire bubbling above the trees along the Euphrates River near the Syrian border.
Marines in surrounding vehicles threw open their hatches and took off running across the plowed fields, toward the already blackening metal of the destroyed vehicle. Shouting, they pulled to safety those they could, as the flames ignited the bullets, mortar rounds, flares and grenades inside, rocketing them into the sky and across pastures.
Gunnery Sgt. Chuck Hurley emerged from the smoke and turmoil around the vehicle, circling toward the spot where helicopters would later land to pick up casualties. As he passed one group of Marines, he uttered one sentence: "That was the same squad."
Among the four Marines killed and 10 wounded when an explosive device erupted under their Amtrac on Wednesday were the last battle-ready members of a squad that four days earlier had battled foreign fighters holed up in a house in the town of Ubaydi. In that fight, two squad members were killed and five were wounded.
In 96 hours of fighting and ambushes in far western Iraq, the squad had ceased to be.
Every member of the squad -- one of three that make up the 1st Platoon of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment -- had been killed or wounded, Marines here said. All told, the 1st Platoon -- which Hurley commands -- had sustained 60 percent casualties, demolishing it as a fighting force.
Miles away in the land of their birth, another hard-fought battle was being lost at Columbia University:
On Friday, the university senate voted by a 53-10 margin, with five abstentions, against a resolution to re-establish an ROTC program on campus. Prominent in this roll call of dishonor was President Lee Bollinger, who voted against, and Provost Alan Brinkley, who gave an impassioned speech comparing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy to a campus organization that allowed "African-Americans to join . . . only if they pass for white." Oddly, Mr. Brinkley abstained from voting, suggesting he lacked even the courage of these convictions.
The university's decision was remarkable for two reasons. The first is that, though it has obviously escaped their notice, we are at war. Moreover, Columbia's student body had previously voted 2-to-1 to bring back ROTC. The second is a federal law called the Solomon Amendment, which prohibits schools from discriminating against military recruiters. If they refuse, they must forfeit federal funding.
America's elite universities have cloaked their hostility to our armed forces in the language of civil rights. They portray this as a principled stand against the military's legal policy of discharging homosexuals ("don't ask, don't tell"). It's an interesting stance, since these colleges booted ROTC off campus long before "don't ask, don't tell" became official policy:
As it is, the military's policy on gays wasn't the reason Columbia originally expelled ROTC in 1969. Rather, it was opposition to the Vietnam War and, once that was over, reflexive hostility to all things military. On other campuses, that hostility has abated in recent years, particularly after 9/11; Princeton, Cornell, Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania, among Ivy League schools, have ROTC programs, while Harvard University President Larry Summers has been outspoken in his advocacy for ROTC's return to Harvard.
Universities claim that this is a First Amendment issue: that by forcing them to grant access to military recruiters, Congress is forcing them to tacitly express approval for a policy they disagree with. As I argue here, this argument is preposterous:
Universities can and do sponsor a wide variety of speakers, some of whom (Ward Churchill comes to mind) advocate extreme and morally offensive points of view. Allowing or facilitating speech does not constitute official endorsement of a speaker's viewpoint. If it did, robust debate would be impossible as only one side of an argument can be 'endorsed' by an institution at a given moment in time.
This line of reasoning is made even more laughable when you consider that colleges vigorously resist any attempt by students, alumni, or tuition-paying parents to limit their freedom to hire speakers (an affirmative action that requires a school to first choose and then compensate a speaker for expressing a given viewpoint), yet see no hypocrisy in refusing to passively allow access to military recruiters; an act which, especially if compelled by federal law, can in no way be reasonably construed to imply approval or acceptance.
In a far away country, a company of Marine Reservists from Ohio, citizen-soldiers, have paid the ultimate price for the freedoms Columbia's professors now take for granted. They were very likely, like most Marines, plain-spoken men. Men of deeds, not words.
Their families and the few members of "Lucky Lima" who survived will never forget the awful price of freedom, even when it is purchased for someone else. They will never forget what it costs to keep us secure here in our comfortable homes. They do not need to be lectured about civil rights, they who paid the ultimate price to bring the most basic of rights to others.
Rep. Charles Rangel, a man I despise, has often complained that the burden of defending this country is shared unequally. He says that when this nation takes the field, it is a rich man's war and a poor man's fight. There is this much truth to what he says: the elite universities of this country are determined to keep their students out of the military. Some join anyway. How many more would join, if military recruiters were not barred from elite American campuses?
We live in an imperfect world. During World War II, blacks and Asians and yes, even homosexuals were discriminated against in ways we would find unthinkable today, yet they answered the call of their country and defended it bravely. Opinions on the wisdom or rightness of "don't ask, don't tell" will vary, yet one thing is for certain: America needs the best and brightest to secure her future. She needs officers of the highest caliber to lead and train and inspire. And that burden should not be born only by those unable to afford an Ivy League education.
In defying the law of the land and by their refusal to support her armed forces, America's colleges send a disturbing message to those who defend her borders: "Our support of the troops is but lip-service, for when it comes time to take up arms, we take refuge in freedoms paid for with your blood".
Words are expensive. Freedom is expensive. How long will America's elite universities talk, and talk, and refuse to pay the bill?
UPDATES at Columbia:
The Columbia Spectator endorses the return of military recruiters and ROTC to Columbia in an excellent editorial called Opportunity Disguised.
Columbia adds military to its list of protected groups that cannot be subjected to discrimination or “discriminatory harassment”. (Now if we just enforced the law, would this even be necessary? But I digress.)
Thanks to Eric C. for the updates.
Posted by Cassandra at April 12, 2006 07:42 AM
What do you expect when a Republic is traded for a democracy? I am asking this rhetorically, since Ben Franklin, one of the dead white Founders of this country said we had a Republic if we could keep it.
Posted by: Cricket at April 12, 2006 10:44 AM
Cricket, I think we stopped having a Republic a long time ago.
The Constitution no longer means anything.
Congress has several rules which seem to have undermined the way it was intended to work, and is in the progress of throwing out the rest.
We finally have a President who doesn't want to govern my polls and everyone thinks he's Hitler. How much more convincing do you need?
The Democrat Party openly panders to illegal immigrants hoping to swell their ranks so they can retake the White House and calls anyone who stands in their way or disagrees with them a racist.
It's just like ancient Rome where Senators paid their hangers on to throw bread to the mob in exchange for votes. You tell me how today is any different. Except now bread is entitlements: welfare, government health care. From a recent speech by a Democratic strategist:
Let's talk about Social Security.
The most glorious thing about congressional Democrats is that they have drawn the line and said: No further. Don't. Touch. Social. Security. It is a heroic stand. What's more, it's been enormously politically effective.
Now think about this: They are drawing on the capital of an entitlement passed 70 years ago.
They'll be drawing on the capital from Medicare 35 years from now. Congressional Democrats won't let them kill it. Because they understand: These programs make life in America fundamentally better. And because these gooses, Social Security, Medicare, lay golden eggs. They manufacture Democrats.
It is the duty of every generation of Democrats to produce new geese to lay 70 years of golden eggs. It is the only way our party has grown—as Bill Kristol puts it, by reviving the reputation of the Democrats as the generous protector of middle-class interests. They know they're screwed if we're credible in our pledge to deliver new kinds of power to ordinary people in their every day lives.
Democratic congressmen can do that, for example, by making a credible collective pledge that if you vote Democrat enough you will never pay another medical bill as long as you live. You really think people wouldn't stop voting Republican then?
The public trough is over here.
Line forms to the right.
Posted by: Cassandra at April 12, 2006 11:15 AM
I read "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" about five years ago when I did a short lesson on the economy and law/entitlements. The comparison is apt, especially when you consider Rome was overrun because it was so weak internally.
Many see Bush as Hitler because in their eyes, he has trampled on their rights via the Patriot Act (let us not forget JFKerry who authored most of the provisions in it and the House voted for it), Medicare and other entitlements that were established long ago, either through the New Deal or the War on Poverty and the New Society.
He has just kept the (sorry if I misused this term, corrections are appreciated) quid pro quo going while trying to cut taxes.
However, I have yet to see that he isn't soft on immigration in light of what has happened on 9-11 and that inconsistency grates on me.
It bugs me no end that I can barely afford our relatively inexpensive medical premiums but that
four times the equivalent is taken out every month to pay for someone else's care. I resent the hell out of having to pay property taxes that go to a school system that has no accountability but that continues to cut needed teachers from the budget while administrators have an increase in salary.
I dislike having to get emissions tests done every year on my car, despite technology that ensures clean burning fuels. I dislike laws that are enacted to favor parasitical special interest groups whose contributions and benefit are nil and negligible at best.
And so, to me, why are we still putting up with it? Why can't we phase these things out?
Posted by: Cricket at April 12, 2006 12:00 PM
I did read your post and am asking this from a conservative POV. Wouldn't cutting this produce more Republicans?
Posted by: Cricket at April 12, 2006 12:03 PM
Oh, credit and blame are doled out appropriately in the public school system. For instance, if your child does well, thank a teacher. On the other hand, if your child turns out to be a blemish to the system, well, quite obviously, the parents didn't get involved and the teachers can't do it all on their own.
Posted by: RIslander at April 12, 2006 12:30 PM
RIslander, the extension of that argument is that the schools blame the parents for the problems the kids are having and want MORE controls re: curriculum, morals and ethics.
And then when they get what they want and it fails, it is because we didn't spend ENOUGH money.
I have one child in the school system and three that I teach at home. You should hear the school board meetings....
Posted by: Cricket at April 12, 2006 12:53 PM
"Many see Bush as Hitler because in their eyes, he has trampled on their rights via the Patriot Act"
What is funny is that the Patriot Act did not trample our rights to overzealous law enforcement. The war on drugs did that over the last 3-4 decades (this is not a legalize drugs pitch). The standards in the Patriot Act are simply a codification of the rulings that the DEA and FBI obtained over the years on survailence in the war on drugs and organized crime - which exists primarily to market drugs. To ease the process, the Patriot Act just put the most favorable to the govt. of those rulings in a law, and said the same standards apply to national security.
Cricket, I agree on the immigration point also. Bush doesn't fight the WOT by the polls, but his domestic policies, even in immigration which has WOT implications, shows lots of evidence of being by the polls.
Posted by: KJ at April 12, 2006 01:42 PM
And I assume you can produce 'evidence' to back up this charge?
Posted by: Cassandra at April 12, 2006 01:54 PM
Ah, my comment was denied for questionable content. Japanese-American?
Posted by: RIslander at April 12, 2006 02:24 PM
Cass, I don't know if this is evidence, but again, asking for corrections is part of the risk I take in posting at an erudite blog where the readers and the blogmistress Are On Top Of Things.
The amnesty for undocumented workers? No deportations? No profiling of resident aliens?
While it may not be poll driven, it certainly smacks of the special interest elite who want to ask us to tie one hand behind our backs and try to play the race card in so doing.
Posted by: Cricket at April 12, 2006 03:15 PM
RIsander, I'm checking.
Profiling I don't worry about. I see no useful purpose there. Deportation? Well, there's a cost/benefit analysis there. How are we going to *keep* them out? If not, how much does it cost to deport if they fight it? That sounds squirrelly, but when you run a huge agency you have to do studies of that crap and make decisions based on what makes sense (not to mention the law). And then there's Congress. Believe me, listening to my husband deal with Congress, I am getting a whole new appreciation for how that works, and he is a straight shooter who hates to go sideways if a straight line will do. But there is no sense in shooting yourself in the foot either. The other guy just laughs and it hurts like hell. And then someone has to clean up the mess.
It is never as simple as it seems. I give Bush this much credit: he is trying to come up with a practical plan to deal with this problem. That is more than any single leader we've had in history. Not one: NOT ONE, has done that yet. And just like Social Security, he has been vilified by those in his own party and those on the Left for attempting it. No one is happy.
Screw them all, is all I can say. Nothing will ever get fixed if no one can compromise. I am sick and tired of people who cannot see beyond the end of their own noses. I guess we will never fix any of these problems because we will never agree on the first step.
It is very sad. We finally have a leader with a little guts and all we can do is bitch instead of getting behind him and trying to help out. Yet I do not see anyone else coming forward and putting their political future behind a better plan. A bipartisan coalition? Someone? Anyone?
Yeah, I thought so.
Posted by: Cassandra at April 12, 2006 03:41 PM
Cassandra, Cassandra, Cassandra, do have the decency to spell my name correctly.
Posted by: RIslander at April 12, 2006 07:16 PM
I can spell.
That was a typo. Mea culpa maxima. I will consider myself duly thrashed.
Posted by: Cassandra at April 12, 2006 07:22 PM
You know, I am just not feeling the love here tonight.
What's up with that, RIsLander? :)
Posted by: Cassandra at April 12, 2006 07:31 PM
Cricket, you had it right in the first post. Government of a 'Republic' presumes authority 'from the public'.
We criticize African Democracy as 'One man, One vote, One time'. The Elected One changes his own office to 'President for Life' and we assert the action is expression of more power than an election can bestow.
We should be as circumspect and attentive to our own Republic.
Can a government established "by consent of the governed", expand its own authority (over the economy, over civil right, over THE PEOPLE) by legislative act, not subject to popular referendum, and still be a Republic?
Can a person elected in a Democratic election expand his office (in power, in duration) and in that exercise be Democraticly legitimate?
Posted by: sonar at April 13, 2006 01:39 AM
As a member of the Republic, I would like to see a return to the old way of immigration; you couldn't come here unless you had a sponsor who would help you get a job so as not to be a burden on the taxpayer.
Amnesty for undocumented workers is an interesting conundrum. On the one hand, they have to come forward to get it, thus risking the chance of possibly being deported, and on the other hand, if they don't, they will be deported. I have been reading a bit here and there about Al Qaeda establishing cells in cental and south America, and it is just a matter of time before they hook up with the organized gangs. Yes, it scares me and I want to see our borders plugged.
If Bush really wants the American people behind him, you can't send a mixed message. To me, that is amnesty no matter what.
Posted by: Cricket at April 14, 2006 03:55 PM