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sealion

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I'm not pushing any political views with this post but the article below caught me funny today. There is mention of UC Berkeley in it.

It's an opinion in The Harvard Crimson:

Conservatives Keep Cool

Short-sighted liberals help reinforce the appeal of the right wing

Published On Thursday, April 10, 2008 11:54 PM

By LUCY M. CALDWELL




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I happened to wake up last Friday in the wee hours of the morning when my phone buzzed, notifying me of e-mail. Thank goodness I did, for what I discovered as I willed my eyes open around 3:15 a.m. was an urgent message from the Harvard College Democrats. In an email sent by Samuel B. Novey ’11, the student group’s Communication Director, the Harvard Dems called on its rival organization, the Harvard Republicans Club (HRC), to denounce the tactics of Republican heavyweight Karl Rove, who was set to speak at the College the next afternoon.

Oh, the depravity of the HRC board’s invitation to Rove, former deputy chief of staff and a key adviser to President George W. Bush. According to the early morning press release, the Dems welcomed the visit of Karl Rove to Harvard only as a “historical reminder of the dirty and dishonest Bush campaigns, which stood in diametrical opposition to the spirit of an engaged democracy and exploited those petty qualities that represent the darker side of the American psyche: bigotry, dishonesty, and fear.” In fact, the Dems’ press release went so far to venture that the welcoming of Rove, who has been implicated in several media-driven political controversies in recent years, was inconsistent with the HRC’s purported goal of fostering intellectual growth.

All of this struck sleepy me as rather strong language to characterize the extension of a speaking invitation to a middle-aged man who has made his career as a brilliant political strategist (so much so, in fact, that when I woke up a few hours later, I thought I’d dreamt the entire incident). But not so, according to Dems President Jarret A. Zafran ’09. When I phoned him up earlier this week, he told me he had not been criticized at all for the press release, and that his statements “were pretty par for the course.”

Zafran stressed that the Dems’ press release had not been intended to squelch political debate. “It’s just a question of why [Karl Rove] of all people to invite,” he said. “People know the name but I don’t think they always know what these guys have done.” In fact, Zafran suggested to me that this denouncement was, essentially, “the same thing that happened on Columbia’s campus when Ahmadinejad came.” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in case anyone’s forgotten, is the current President of Iran, who, in addition to favoring the dissolution of Israel and denying the Holocaust occurred, is anti-gay and anti-gender equality. The only equivalent denouncement conducted by the HRC that Zafran could think of was the club’s criticism of last year’s worker’s wages hunger strike led by the Student Labour Action Movement. But as Zafran conceded, that was a denouncement of a cause, not of an individual.

Though very little came of last week’s episode—the Rove show went on as the Dems huffed and puffed—the affair speaks to the state of conservatism at Harvard. Unquestionably, conservatives (and to an even greater extent, Republicans) are a minority on Harvard’s campus, yet they are able to garner attention—and moreover, to appear exceedingly reasonable—thanks to debacles like this one. More astute liberals realize this paradox. A member of the Dems, who wished to remain anonymous in order to avoid strain within his student group, told me he thought the denouncement had been “a missed opportunity” on the part of the Dems’ Executive Board to “pose some tough questions to Rove” as opposed to just stating criticisms of his character—a suggestion that came too late, perhaps.

This misstep on the part of the Dems is hardly unique to Harvard. An article in the Wall Street Journal in 2006 described the Republican scene at UC-Berkeley, historically amongst the most liberal colleges in the country. Despite the scant population of conservatives at Berkeley, the Berkeley College Republicans have managed to become one of the biggest groups on campus—with over 650 members, it is bigger than its rival group, the Cal Berkeley Democrats.

Being a conservative in college can be tough, and the absurdity of what HRC President Caleb L. Weatherl ’10 dubs the “typical liberal groupthink that dominates most college campuses” can make otherwise apathetic right-wingers care, further fostering a tender camaraderie among conservative students and faculty alike. This is a natural impulse, of course—when we feel as if something we stand for is under attack, we naturally perk up in its defense. That the Dems were not interested in upholding Rove’s right to speak and be judged on his ideas speaks to this pulse.

Weatherl chuckled when I asked him what the effect of the Dems’ press release had been, if any, on his group’s event. “I think to the extent that it actually had an effect—and I say that because I don’t think most people actually care about the Harvard College Dems putting out a denouncement about Rove—it was great publicity for the HRC and the event,” he said.

In other words, for conservatives at Harvard, this has ceased to be a story of martyrdom. Hilariously, when student organizations like the Harvard College Democrats pull stunts like last week’s, it’s a boon for conservatives. As Weatherl told me with a twinkle in his eye, “I appreciate the fact that the Dems are acknowledging the important work the HRC is doing on campus,” adding that he hopes the Dems will continue to issue such press releases. I hope so too, though maybe not so early in the morning next time.
http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=522956
 

sealion

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Another amusing article from the Crimson if you like Colbert, Camille or that irksome Mansfield.

Mansfield 'Pricks' P.C. Harvard

Controversial Government Professor Hosts Conference on Feminism

Published On Friday, April 11, 2008 4:23 AM

By MAXWELL L. CHILD

Crimson Staff Writer


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Visit The Crimson Liveblog of Mansfield's conference for more information about this story.

Want to know why Larry Summers was right about women and science? Harvey C. Mansfield ’53 has just the outing for you today.

The oft-controversial Government professor and author of the book “Manliness” is hosting, of all things, a feminism conference.

The poster for the event bills it as “The Conference the Radcliffe Institute Didn’t Want to Host” and, though the event is free, promises that “ladies receive an additional 50% off.”

Kicking off last night with a keynote address from conservative gender scholar Camille Paglia—who famously commented that “leaving sex to the feminists is like letting your dog vacation at the taxidermist”—the conference will run all day today, touching upon topics like “sex and the modern girl.”

The conference will provide a forum for feminists who have been ignored by the Radcliffe Institute in years past, Mansfield said.

“Over the years, the Radcliffe Institute has done very little to debate feminism,” he said. “They refuse to host conservative women. I’m trying to prick Harvard’s political correctness. It’s as if I have no other goal in life.”

NYU Professor Katie Roiphe ’90, a participant in the conference, agreed, saying she was sure she had been passed over for conferences by the Institute. “It’s okay,” she said. “I would definitely rather talk at a Harvey Mansfield conference.”

Interim Dean of the Radcliffe Institute Barbara J. Grosz confirmed that Radcliffe turned Mansfield’s offer down, but she said they the decision was made because of scheduling constraints.

Each group of speakers has “at least one woman that’s supposed to be on the other side,” Mansfield said, and some of the participants foresee potential conflict.

“We certainly have a lot of interesting people,” said participant Dan Kindlon, a lecturer in the School of Public Health. “There could be sparks flying.”

Mansfield will preside over what he said he hopes will be a “respectful debate” over the “legacy and future of feminism.”

SUMMERS REDUX?

One of the main discussions of the conference is entitled “What Larry Summers and Nancy Hopkins Didn’t Say: Women in Science.”

Mansfield himself has no qualms saying what former University President Lawrence H. Summers didn’t.

“On the whole, men are better in math, and therefore men are better in science,” Mansfield said.

At a 2005 economics conference, former University President Lawrence H. Summers said that “intrinsic aptitude” could partially account for the dearth of female scientists at elite universities.

Deborah Blum, a science journalism professor at the University of Wisconsin will address the controversy at the conference. She pointed out that men tend to be better at spatial reasoning, perhaps because “early in our history, men had to ramble around and make maps.”

Kindlon said that while some evidence exists in favor of Mansfield’s view, women today tend to do better in college than men, and that the biological data tends to be hazy as well.

“When you look at the people talking about biological differences between men and women [at the conference], you will notice none of them are biologists,” Kindlon said. “It’s much more complicated than social scientists make it out to be.”

WORK, SEX, AND RELIGION

When Stephen Colbert asked Mansfield if a woman’s role was to be family breadwinner in a recent appearance on his Comedy Central television show, Mansfield was taken aback.

“Oh, I don’t think so,” he said with shock and surprise. “I think it’s to have a career, which earns about one third of family income, and then go at home and do about two thirds of the housework.”

“Which is precisely what American women do now,” he closed, enunciating each syllable.

One participant in today’s conference disagreed with this assessment.

“I believe that healthy normal women should make a life for themselves in the public world, and it is therefore immoral to create circumstances where they cannot do that,” author Lisa Hirshman said. “I certainly didn’t agree with his book,” referring to Mansfield’s “Manliness.”

Roiphe had another take on the roles of women and men at home.

“I do believe that magnification of the debates about motherhood where people get worked up about who’s changing diapers are sort of fundamentally whiny, and beside the point,” she said.

Roiphe is participating in a segment of the conference which explores the role of sex in women’s lives. She said that political terminology like “sexual harassment” and “date rape” are often used too loosely to describe complex situations.

“Every time a man flirts with a woman in the office it ends up as sexual harassment,” she said. “This ends up reinforcing the stereotype where the woman is the victim.”

A final part of the conference explores women and Islam, and will touch upon whether women’s rights are natural rights or a product of Western civilization, Mansfield said.

The discussion follows national attention surrounding the University’s decision to close an undergraduate gym to men for certain hours during the week at the request of a group of Muslim women.

While Mansfield said that the conference is meant to bring the underrepresented conservative viewpoint to Harvard, most of the attendees interviewed identified themselves as liberal or central.

“I don’t know if I’m on a side,” said Kindlon.

Blum vacillated between liberal and central when describing herself.

“Actually, when Harvey invited me, he said ‘we like you because no one can figure out what your point of view is,’” she said.

Mansfield said that Harvard professors were hesitant to speak at the conference.

“They might have thought I was lying in ambush for them,” he said, “I don’t blame them.”
http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=522974
 

Zaphod

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a “historical reminder of the dirty and dishonest Bush campaigns, which stood in diametrical opposition to the spirit of an engaged democracy and exploited those petty qualities that represent the darker side of the American psyche: bigotry, dishonesty, and fear.”
Meanwhile, the dork who wrote that and all the useful idiots that will actually believe it have nothing bad to say about true tyrants like Fidel Castro, Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Saddam Hussein, etc., etc. :rolleyes:
 
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