Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Best of the Web Today


Robert P. George on Academic Monopoly

Human beings have never been happy about giving up monopolies, especially when they have enjoyed them over long periods of time and grown accustomed to them as if they were natural states of affairs. Confronted with the data demonstrating that hugely lopsided majorities of college and university professors hold liberal views and vote for Democratic Party candidates, there are professors who have embarrassed themselves by saying publicly that “of course most professors are liberal Democrats; it is because they are so much more intelligent and well-informed than the population at large.” Of course, what such a comment tends to show is that the particular professor is either not very intelligent or poorly informed about the intelligence of his fellow citizens.

(Robert P. George, “Reform Is Nigh,” Academic Questions 20 [winter 2006-07]: 65-8, at 67)

All Fred, All the Time

Here is Robert Novak’s column about Fred Thompson, who, in case you didn’t know, is a prime number.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Iraq’s Curse: A Thirst for Final, Crushing Victory” (Week in Review, June 3):

You write, “Shiites intend to dominate the country entirely, taking what they believe was stripped from them when their revered leader Hussein was murdered in the desert of seventh-century Mesopotamia.”

People who can carry a grudge for 14 centuries are not likely to forget all about it in a few months at the request of an invading army.

Whenever the United States leaves Iraq, whether in 2008, 2012 or in 14 centuries, Iraqi blood will flow in rivers until a new incarnation of Saddam Hussein emerges to rule with an iron hand. For all the blood, treasure and heartache, we will have accomplished absolutely nothing.

Ralph Averill
New Preston, Conn., June 4, 2007

Not Getting It

I didn’t read Bob Herbert‘s columns when they were free. A fortiori, I don’t read them now that they’re costly. I do, however, glance at the blurbs that accompany them, just to see what he’s ranting about. Here is today’s blurb:

Speculating on what might have been if the man who got the most votes in 2000 had actually become president is like imagining an alternate universe.

Somebody explain the relevance of “the man who got the most votes in 2000.” Suppose A and B are playing chess. B checkmates A. Does it matter that A has more pieces left on the board? Not at all. That’s not how chess works. The goal isn’t to have the most pieces on the board, but to capture the opponent’s king. Or compare baseball. The winner of a game is the team with the most runs, not the team with the most hits. In presidential politics, the winner is not the person with the most popular votes, but the person with the most electoral votes. The former is as irrelevant as having the most pieces left on the board in a chess game or getting more hits than the other team in a baseball game. That Herbert continues to harp on Al Gore’s defeat indicates that he doesn’t get it. He’s either stupid or bitter or both.

A Year Ago