Saturday, October 02, 2004


It is amazing how little Leftists have changed over the years. They were just as intolerant of conservative views and authoritarian in suppressing them 40 years ago when I was one of the few identifiably conservative students on a large Australian campus. They may advocate change but they themselves hardly change at all. Excerpts from Front Page:

"It's not easy being a member of a minority at major university. Just ask Jeston La Croix. As one of the more vocal members of the U-M College Republicans, La Croix has had his share of run-ins with liberal students, faculty, and administrators not to mention the radical group By Any Means Necessary (BAMN). La Croix says he's proud to be a member of the Republican Party. "Not that I agree with everything [the party stands for]," he says, "but certain things such as affirmative action, the way our social programs are instituted, taxes, things like that. I believe the Republican Party has, maybe not the best stance, but the lesser of the two evils."

A good-natured junior from Richmond, in Macomb County, La Croix is majoring in political science. He spent his summer managing a campaign for Dave Kredell, a GOP candidate running for state representative in Port Huron, and harbors ambitions of running for office himself one day. But he says he didn't get politically involved until he came to Ann Arbor.

"The U of M kind of pushed me towards the Republican Party, in all honesty," he says. In his advocacy of conservative causes, he's frequently clashed with left-wing campus groups. This past March, La Croix tried to collect petition signatures in front of the Michigan Union for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, a proposal that would ban affirmative action at state universities and public institutions. He says that BAMN members - some students, some not - blocked access to the petition tables and harassed people who asked for information. La Croix say" officers from the U-M department of public safety then told the petitioners they would have to leave, because university policy forbade collecting signatures on campus. Two administrators he questioned later refused to either confirm or deny that the university had such a policy.

La Croix says a hall director at Mary Markley dormitory also forced him and several other students to take down anti-affirmative-action posters from their doors. La Croix says he contacted professor Carl Cohen, an affirmative action opponent, and that Cohen in turn contacted U-M president Mary Sue Coleman. Coleman wrote a letter to the university's housing administration affirming the student's right to free speech. La Croix then put his poster back up, but he says the other students were too frightened to do the same.

"That's the unfortunate thing with the U of M," says Ben Saukas, second vice-chair of the College Republicans. "In a school that strives so much to create diversity, it all but chooses what diversity it wants to create.. They try so hard to recruit minorities. They try so hard to create an environment with minority peer advisors so that you can help to integrate, help to move together and come together and form new ideas, bringing people together. "But politically they don't want to do that. Politically they want all these people to come together and become Democrats - which I think is kind of self defeating."

A Grand haven native, Saukas is s sophomore majoring in political science and minoring in theater. As an active member of both the College Republicans and Campus Crusade for Christ, he's often felt isolated at U-M. "Even exposing yourself as a Republican in a class is something I'm not always willing to do," Saukas says. "When I go to my theater class in the Residential College with my sixty-year-old hippie professor and I wear my College Republican shirt - I did that the other day, and I kind of thought about it. I was, like, `I'm going to do this, but it's probably not the wisest thing I've ever done in my life.'"...

Last year Saukas identified himself as a CR to a professor and asked whether he could make an announcement about the national kickoff for Students for Bush. The professor gave his okay. Saukas made his announcement - and was booed and hissed by the class.

CR's, though, say the students' attitudes are shaped by their professors.' Senior Mike Philips says the disproportion between liberal and conservative teachers is particularly glaring in the liberal arts. "There's probably some conservative professors in different fields," says the business administrator major, a senior from Marquette. "But a lot of our group are political science majors or history major or some of the real popular liberal arts majors, and so that's where they're looking for some conservative balance. If your physics professor is a Democrat or Republican or Independent it really doesn't matter--it doesn't pertain to your subject matter. But the political science department could be a starting point where there really needs to be a balance."......

I also reproduce below for comparison a couple of relevant paragraphs from my online autobiographical notes about my time as a student in the Vietnam era:

"When I became a full-timer I began to do a bit in student politics. It was the Vietnam era when most students were shit-scared of being conscripted. So everybody was very Leftist. When conscription stopped so did most student activism. I however could never be dishonest enough to be Leftist (Many years later Mikhail Gorbachev showed that the old Soviet system literally floated on a sea of lies) so became virtually the only student to support the conservative cause in public debates. This put a bit of a dent in my social life. I had no real friends in psychology as psychologists are pretty uniformly Leftist but I did have friends among the Engineers (students in the Faculty of Engineering -- traditionally Rightist. They deal with real things). I must have been the only psychology student who did. Surprisingly enough, even at that time there were some of the far-Right on campus. I joined with some of them to help found the Australia-Rhodesia Society. That was great fun. It really caused the Left to show themselves for what they are. Provoking pomposity from Leftists is of course the favourite game of the extreme Right. On this occasion the Left tried to stack and disrupt our inaugural meeting and also managed to get us banned from using any further university facilities (rooms etc). And they claim to believe in free speech! They don't. I know. "By their fruits shall ye know them". Anyway we had our fun with them. We knew them for what they were. Stalin's remark that there was complete freedom of speech in Russia for anyone who agreed with him just about sums up what all Leftists aspire to. The "Australia-Rhodesia Society" was of course never meant seriously. It was just a bait that the Leftists swallowed hook, line and sinker. It is rather frightening how easily Stalinism emerges. The fascism of student "anti-Fascists" has to be seen to be believed....

In the 1967 Federal election campaign (mainly fought on the issue of Australia's involvement in Vietnam) I, as a member of the Young Liberals (The Liberals are Australia's major conservative party), was invited to be in the audience for the launch of the Liberal campaign in Queensland. This was a speech by Prime Minister Harold Holt. The Leftists forged passes and infiltrated it, however. They made such a din that poor old Harold was just about inaudible. They virtually broke up the meeting. No respect for freedom of speech there! Lance W. and I saw this and organized with a few others to give the Left a bit of their own back. About a week later the Labor Party had its Queensland launch in the old Roma St Trades Hall. We attended. As soon as Labor leader Arthur Calwell had been introduced and got up to speak there was rapturous applause. Arthur let the applause die down and opened his mouth to speak. At that point I stood up and in my best soapbox voice shouted out: "All at sea with the A.L.P.!" (A slogan invented by my fellow-demonstrator Lance W. to complement "All the way with L.B.J.". Lyndon Baines Johnson was President of The United States at the time.) I also held up a poster to similar effect. You should have seen the response at this "disrespect". Half the people in the hall got up to look at who the scoundrel was. Our posters were ripped from us but the Police Special Branch had been forewarned and formed a protective circle around us. One of the police (Bob W.) said to the Leftists, quite rightly, "You did the same to Harold Holt last week". Anyway we kept up sporadic shouts. When we did, members of the audience would stand up, shake fists at us and return the abuse with a vengeance. Out of their anger and hostility they broke up their own meeting much more effectively than we could ever have done alone. The headline in The Courier Mail next day was "Calwell has noisy meeting". Brisbane was the only capital city where he got that reception. We were menaced by elements of the crowd as we were leaving the Trades Hall after the meeting and the Special Branch escorted us over the road to the old Roma St Police station. A crowd waited outside for us to come out again so they could get us. Real thugs! Anyway there was a little-known back entrance to the cop-shop through which we escaped in due course. Those were certainly interesting times for me. I felt that what I was doing was making a difference. Anyway, Harold Holt had a landslide win in that election. I think the Australian people did not much like what they saw of Leftist mobs either".


Brian Micklethwait has a rather "last ditch" defence of universities that I am pretty dubious about:

"The great thing about going to university is all the other people who go, from among whom you are almost bound to find human gold. You get to drink and **** and talk all night with them, and unless and until the world invents another way for the semi-brainy and brainy-brainy to find one another at That Age, the university idea will still have plenty of life in it. People will curse and rage against these places for being so silly, but other people will still want to go. The Internet may well replace lots of the academics, but lots of other academics, instead of being rolled over by it, will learn how to make the Internet an ally rather than an enemy".

My own experience is rather to the contrary. I went to three Australian universities in the course of my studies, one of which -- the University of Sydney -- is Australia's oldest and probably Australia's most prestigious and yet I cannot remember ever learning a thing off my fellow-students. I did however learn at least something from most of those who were paid to teach me. I doubt that there is anything I learned that has been of practical use however. If Brian is saying that university is fun, however, I would have to agree with him.


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

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