New Mexico U’s Radical Rule

New Mexico U’s Radical Rule
By Christina Hoff Sommers
The Albuquerque Journal | October 17, 2006

As a writer and frequent campus lecturer, I am accustomed to encountering activist professors. Nevertheless, when I visited the University of New Mexico Law School recently, I was taken aback by the political fervor of the faculty.

I had been invited by the student-run Federalist Society to lecture on the foibles of campus feminism. I consider myself a feminist, but I believe that academic feminism has been hijacked by gender war eccentrics— like the law professor who confronted me at the University of New Mexico. In the question-and-answer period, she insisted that American society is a “patriarchy.”

Well, the UNM Law School is no patriarchy. The dean is a woman and fifty-seven percent of this year’s entering class is female. During orientation, new female students were warned by members of the Feminist Legal Caucus to avoid the Federalist Society or they would be “marked forever.”

For the record, the Federalist Society is a highly respected national legal organization with chapters on campuses throughout the country. It champions conservative and libertarian ideas— as well as debate over them. But the University of New Mexico Law School is not a place for free and open debate.

A 2004 study by the New Mexico Federation of College Republicans found that 100 percent of the full-time professors at the law school were registered Democrats. The Federalists could not find a conservative to serve as their faculty adviser.

By contrast, the student body is politically diverse. Students complain that courses lack objectivity. Here is the catalogue description for a seminar called Environmental Global Warming: “Global climate change is the major environmental threat of our era. Its effects are felt by all species, but especially on those who are poor….” Another course called Gender and the Law explores “how the Law created categories that support subordination based on gender.”

All of the students in the Clinical Law Program recently had to attend a lengthy lecture on immigration given by an ACLU member and watch a video of a weeping woman facing deportation. For “balance” the students were shown a 30-second anti-immigration television commercial from an Alabama political candidate.

The day I visited campus UNM faculty members were organizing a teach-in on Guantanamo and manning tables to protest military recruiters on campus. Last year the faculty achieved a prized, long-term goal: it terminated a hugely popular “DA Law Clinic” where students worked with the local District Attorney’s Office. The professors were uncomfortable with a program that prosecuted— rather than defended— accused criminals.

The dean of the law school, Suellyn Scarnecchia, professes a commitment to diversity— but that does not include changing the school’s strict “liberals only” hiring policy. She and her faculty seem not to question the ethics of running a public, taxpayer-supported law school as if it were a re-education camp for the political left.

The dean recently did make an attempt to respond to student pleas for change. She introduced a new course called “Difficult Dialogues.” Her idea was to provide a forum where students across the political spectrum could have civil and rational discussions.

Students say the classes are “ridiculous” and include a lot of confronting, screaming and accusing. In a recent session students “debated” whether or not the law school should offer more evening and part-time courses. One male student suggested that it might lower the school’s already modest ranking. An outraged female student burst into tears and accused him of not caring about the needs of mothers with young children.

The dean’s new course is not a solution to the law school’s problems, but another example of its chronic intolerance. It is true, of course, that most of the nation’s law schools have predominantly liberal faculties, but under responsible leadership they do not stifle dissent.

After speaking at UNM I next lectured at the University of Colorado. Far from being under siege, the Federalists say they are treated respectfully by most faculty and students. With a few notable exceptions, the professors do not pummel students with their politics. The school administration is focused like a laser on the economic development of Colorado.

The state of New Mexico has only one law school. Each year it accepts only about 100 students. Under constructive leadership, it could easily be on par with Colorado, which ranks 43rd compared to New Mexico’s 77th place on the list of best law schools— and Colorado is moving up all the time.

Sixties-style activism and political fervor have their place, but at the UNM Law School these are practiced at the expense of the intellectual, economic and civic mission that a state law school is expected to fulfill.

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Peace Still Far Off A poll carried out in the Palestinian Authority by the Al-Mustaqabal Research Institute shows that nearly 2/3 of PA Arabs object to normalized relations with Israel – even if Israel quits Yesha.

 Peace Still Far Off

By Hillel Fendel

A poll carried out in the Palestinian Authority by the Al-Mustaqabal Research Institute shows that nearly 2/3 of PA Arabs object to normalized relations with Israel – even if Israel quits Yesha.

64.1% of the respondents said they oppose the Saudi peace initiative that calls for Israel to leave Judea and Samaria, the establishment of a Palestinian state – and subsequent normalized relations between it and Israel.

Former IDF Research Division Chief Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser says that the above plan recognizes “only Israel’s existence, but not its right to exist. This is very significant. Only one who is blind does not see that Israel exists – but the question is whether they recognize our right to exist. Not only Hamas, but even Fatah is not willing to do so.” Kuperwasser spoke with Arutz-7 correspondent Haggai Huberman.

The survey, released yesterday (Monday), indicates that despite the many pro-Arab decisions over the years in the UN, a strong majority of 77.3% view the international community and its decisions as “unfair to the Palestinians.” Close to 69% even feel that the Arab initiative approved at the Beirut Summit in 2002 is not fair.

Over 60% of those polled support Hamas for not having yielded to international pressure to recognize Israel.

The respondents were divided over the proper course for the PA to take in the event that Fatah and Hamas fail to agree on a unity government. 35.5% feel that Hamas should continue to run the government, while only a third of that amount – 11.8% – say Fatah should lead. 23.6% feel that new elections should be held.

Who said French troops won’t do anything in Lebanon?

Who said French troops won’t do anything in Lebanon?

Commanders of the French contingent of the United Nations force in Lebanon have warned that they might have to open fire if Israel Air Force warplanes continue their overflights in Lebanon, according to Isreali Defense Minister Peretz. So, as Charles Johnson notes, the French, having made all sorts of promises about keeping the peace but later making it clear they have no intention of disarming Hezbollah or blocking Syrian and Iranian arms shipments, have finally found someone they are willing to fight.

For his part, Peretz says his government has evidence that Syria is shipping arms to Hezbollah — in other words, the U.N. resolution is not being enforced. He threatens unilateral Israeli action if, as seems certain, this state of affairs continues. Meanwhile, says Peretz, Israeli flights over Lebanon will continue.

Israel has fought all of the major existing Arab powers. Now, perhaps, it will find itself in armed conflict with the major emerging Euro-arab power.

What is Islam? Is the barbarity of September 11 rooted in the preaching of Muhammad? Or are the Islamists, the Islamic fascists bent on the destruction of all who disagree with them, merely an aberration, mixing politics, religion and violence in an appeal to the lowest psychological denominators of suicide bombers?


Turning swords in bombs
By Suzanne Fields
Monday, October 16, 2006

 

What is Islam? Is the barbarity of September 11 rooted in the preaching of Muhammad? Or are the Islamists, the Islamic fascists bent on the destruction of all who disagree with them, merely an aberration, mixing politics, religion and violence in an appeal to the lowest psychological denominators of suicide bombers?Historians, political scientists and psychologists are all over the place in supplying answers to these questions. Since most of the suicide bombers are young men whose minds have been drowned in propaganda, doomed to permanent adolescence, it’s easy to speculate that they are a maladaptive collective of perverse minds, having become twisted twigs of humanity feeding on hate. The historical forces at play are obvious. Bernard Lewis, a leading scholar of Islamist rage, places the fault line at the failure of the Muslim world to keep up with the West in the modern world. Diminishing Muslim power is both a humiliation and in Muslim minds a reversal of divine law, driving the losers to pick through the verses of the Koran to find justification for violence against winners. The decline of Muslim fortunes began with the fall of the Ottoman Empire and reached its nadir in recent times, encouraging the likes of Osama bin Laden, educated and wealthy, to play the David to the American Goliath.Other scholars blame Western colonialism and imperialism, along with Judeo-Christian traditions, as contributing to the violent mentality of the extremists. These aberrations, they say, cannot be found in the teachings of Muhammad. They reason that jihad initially was aimed at an inner quest for personal not political improvement, that Islamists distorted this phenomenon for their own malevolent ends, fusing politics and religion into an all-purpose aggression for the “long-suffering victims” of Western imperial expansion. But there’s another view. “The Middle East’s experience is the culmination of long-existing indigenous trends, passions, and patterns of behavior, first and foremost the region’s millenarian imperial tradition,” writes Efraim Karsh, a British scholar, in “Islamic Imperialism,” a provocative and persuasive book. “External influences, however potent, have played only a secondary role, constituting neither the primary force behind the Middle East’s political development nor the main cause of its notorious volatility.” He looks directly to the words of Muhammad, who in his farewell address to his followers ordered them to fight all men until they submit with the assertion that “There is no god but Allah.” It was not coincidence that Osama bin Laden echoed these words in his glee after September 11: “I was ordered to fight the people until they say there is no god but Allah and his prophet is Muhammad.” Muhammad proselytized with violence and used violence to consolidate conquest. Occupying territory was as important as converting or killing unbelievers. When the Jews of Medina resisted Muhammad in the 7th century, he beheaded the men and sold their women and children into slavery. The prophet, who claimed to derive his power and authority from Allah, was not only head of the captured states but was the single religious authority. “This allowed the prophet to cloak political ambitions with a religious aura,” writes Mr. Karsh, a professor at the University of London, “and to channel Islam’s energies into its instrument of aggressive expansion.” The ultimate goal would be for the world either to embrace Islam or live under its domination. This goal was realized in part with the establishment of the Ottoman Empire, which allowed certain other religions to exist but not prosper. Christians who sought domination, on the other hand, never invoked the teachings of Christ to justify violence. Early Christianity made clear the distinction between God and Caesar, spiritual and earthly power, even though such distinctions were not always honored. “If Christendom was slower than Islam in marrying religious universalism with political imperialism,” says Professor Karsh, “it was faster in shedding both notions.” The imperialistic impulse, rooted in the beginning of Islam, never fully retreated and is crucial today to understanding the shedding of blood now in the name of Allah. Although Muhammad forbade violence against the community of believers, it was easy in the chaos of the Middle East to initiate violence against differing sects with their different interpretations of the Koran. The interpretation of the Islamist mentality as rooted in Muhammad’s appeal to violence, and the Islamist determination for religious domination of the world, may not tell the whole story today, but it explains why, for millions of Muslims, the image of the warrior trumps the image of a prophet of peace — if, indeed, there ever was one.Suzanne Fields is a columnist with The Washington Times.