The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on October 5, 1991 · Page 8
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October 5, 1991

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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 8

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Saturday, October 5, 1991
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A-8Comment THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER Saturday, October 5, 1991 THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER lm M fa through -JH Ion get cnrwNe. Wttifk Gone Mh the Wind" WILLIAM J. KEATING Chairman and Publisher GEORGE R. BLAKE Editor, Vice President THOMAS E. DUNNING Managing Editor THOMAS S. GEPHARDT Associate Editor DARRYLW. EVERETT Vice President, Advertising WILLIAM R. JOHNSTON Vice President, Circulation MARK S. MIKOLAJCZYK Vice President, Production JAMES A. SCHWARTZ Vice President, Finance GERALD T. SILVERS Viet President, Marketing Services sequel... A Gannett Newspaper raq Hussein must be stopped if world is ever to know peace wi " Finding dialogue on Iraq's seizure of 44 United Nations inspectors was glaring new proof not that any was needed that the leopard hadn't changed its spots. Saddam Hussein is the same one who defied the U.N. and allied coalition before the gulf war. He is the same one who held scores of Americans and other. Westerners hostage and threatened to use them as human shields against air attack. He is, in short, a big reason the Middle East won't be stable as long as he and his Baathist regime rule. Whatever deals may be struck between him and the U.N., he almost certainly has new tricks up his sleeve. He has shown bad faith time and time again. The patience of most Americans is clearly worn out. His shabby treatment of the 44 U.N. inspectors, holding them hostage in a Baghdad parking lot, was vintage Saddam Hussein. They were seized because they had full documentation of his program to build nuclear weapons with which to annihilate Israel and, perhaps, Iran and Saudi Arabia to boot. His final, cynical release of the U.N. inspectors after forcing them to submit an inventory of the incriminat Scarlett: the The 7 The linchpin between speech and civility on campus is dialogue. with the perplexing challenge: What is virtue, and can it be taught? The Greek philosophers pondered the question not as an ivory-tower flight from social crisis, but as concerned educators ponder it today an urgent response to that crisis. Then, as now, society was straining at the seams. Then, as now, the common good was increasingly overridden by the needs and ambitions of individuals. In Athenian democracy, where unbridled freedom of speech was passionately celebrated, success often rested on the clever use of language less as a medium of communication than as a weapon of conquest. In law courts and political campaigns, speeches were designed to persuade by the power less of their "values" than of their prose. Name-calling was the inevitable consequence of rival ambitions. Sound familiar? True, there is a risk of oversimplifying the comparison between Athenian society and our own; but since the Athenians arguably invented the ideas of civility and free speech, the risk is worth taking. Could it be that hate speech on campuses today is but the crude consequence not just of larger social tensions but of an . essential social lie namely, the myth of "value-free" education? Ironically, value-free education emerged precisely to avoid narrow-minded indoctrination. In his provocative book, Beyond the Ivory Tower: Social Responsibilities of the Modern University, former Harvard University president Derek Bok observed, "Many professors fear that any course on controversial moral issues will degenerate into a thinly disguised attempt on the part of instructors to impose their personal beliefs on the students." In other words, far from being the purveyors of "political correcteness" portrayed by critics such as Burke and Fischer, colleges are trying delicately "to balance the collegiate tenets of civility and free discourse," as Little and Klei WW v ill r -r.k Started Health care The evidence continues to build that fiscal crisis is on the way BY ROBERT GERVASI Guest columnist In their Sept. 13 response to the excellent guest column by Miami University Professors Richard Little and Howard Kleiman on the tension between campus civility and free speech (Aug. 25), lawyers Timothy Burke and Timothy Fischer continue the college-bashing which unfortunately seems to have taken hold of public discourse on academic life. Burke and Fischer accuse universities of setting themselves up as "thought police," with speech conduct codes that "stifle discourse and intimidate to the point of suppression." Rather, they insist, "a college is the place where the testing of ideas is encouraged and freewheeling thought and open discussion are commonplace." Rules for free exchange We can certainly say "amen" to that definition of a college's mission; but it is misleading to suggest that guidelines for conduct automatically "stifle discourse." In fact, experience and common sense reveal precisely the opposite: It is only within the boundaries of agreed-upon rules of behavior that a genuine exchange of free ideas can really take place. If one of their clients should hurl a racist epithet at a black judge, would Burke and Fischer decry a contempt citation as "suppression of free speech?" Of course not. Do Robert's Rules of Order suppress free parliamentary expression? No, they protect freedom from the intimidation of anarchy. It is perfectly appropriate for universities to encourage the same kind of civility. Little and Kleiman openly acknowledge that "colleges and universities must accept some of the blame" for campus controversies. Instead of joining Burke and Fischer in fueling ill-founded suspicions about the motives of college administrators, we should join Little and Klei man in wondering how to combat "words of hate" on campus. We should try to answer the essential question they pose: "What values do we want to impart to students? We haven't articulated those values well." Admittedly, if that question truly still needs answering, we might well wonder what has been going on in higher education for the past 2' millenia. In fact, even as long ago as the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., educators have wrestled Next Testament". campus man maintain. But how can we strike the balance? I would suggest that the linchpin between speech and civility on campus is dialogue. That word is sometimes used loosely to describe meandering "discussions" that express opinions and "feelings" but which fail to be clear and compelling. Yet if we could reclaim the power of dialogue in the ancient tradition of Socrates and Plato, we may rediscover the secret of respecting free speech while rendering it accountable to the demands of civil life. Dialogue literally requires a shared commitment to "reason through" an issue beyond labels and feelings and rote opinions and shallow prejudices in the confidence that sharing the search with other persons will reveal a truth, or at least avoid a falsehood. If dialogue is the bond that unites free speech and civility in the academic community, then the critical issue is not the content of speech but the forum for and consequence of its expression. Speech that promotes real dialogue even of objectionable content should be welcomed. Speech that undermines dialogue, even for an apparently noble goal, should not. Surely, then, like a racial epithet in a courtroom, a slur on a bulletin board (to cite one of Little's and Kleiman's examples) undermines dialogue. So does a doctrinaire lecture that brooks no opposition. Fortunately, colleges and universities do their best to discourage both. Moral behavior not guaranteed Of course, learning the art of moral reasoning does not guarantee moral behavior. But if we want colleges and universities to "articulate values" with even a remote possibility of making them stick not by coercion but by rational discourse then we must be wiling to pay the price for smaller classes and more teachers. We must do so because genuine dialogue requires personal contact. In the end, the free embrace of values and the preservation of civility may be protected by codes, but can only be inspired by persons. Robert Gervasi, Ph.D., is executive coordinator of the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities. remain the exact numbers and descriptions will not be made public but these weapons will be "secured in central areas where they would be available if necessary in a future crisis." Perhaps that point should be emphasized. Bush's unilateral decisions will not leave the United States naked to nuclear assault. Our nuclear arsenals are now thought to contain the rough equivalent of 4 billion tons of TNT. After Bush's terminations, it will be half as much. Maybe 2 billion tons. Surely the remaining nuclear weapons are enough more than enough! for any foreseeable mission. Savings won't be immense Bush anticipated that his decisions would set off a renewed cry for a "peace dividend." Eventually there will be savings from a reduced level of nuclear arms, but the savings will not be immense. Significant savings would come from cancellation of such needless ventures as the $2 billion supersubmarine Sea wolf. Some of the soundest advice ever given to a leader was given to the fearless maid in Spenser's The Faerie Queene: Be bold! Be bold! Be not too bold! A week ago, George Bush acted perfectly on that advice. Let us rejoice. James J. Kilpatrick is a nationally syndicated columnist. ing documents they took was designed to make him look big in the eyes of Iraqis and other Arabs. He was making the world, in effect, kowtow. But the whole sorry episode shrunk him in the eyes of the world. Atomic arms aside, Saddam Hussein must be stopped from rebuilding his military force. He can't be allowed ever again to threaten his enemies. He can't be allowed ever again to hold innocent victims hostage, whether for an hour, day or month. The world community has to agree on that. Clearly most Americans do, with more than 70 in one poll ready for President Bush to order new military strikes against Iraq, if he felt necessary. The pity is that so many innocent Iraqis have to suffer for their leader. But they've been unwilling or unable to muster the kind of mass uprisings East Europeans and Filipinos used to drive their dictators from power. Nor have his political or military opponents been willing or able to organize a successful coup. So Saddam Hussein will have to be dealt with some other way. The world can't rest with him in power. scription medicine. Medicare does not cover drug costs. There are tales of older people spending $100 to $200 a month out of a pension income to pay for necessary prescriptions. And a recent government study found that the cost of prescription drugs had increased 152 in the last decade, or three times the rate of inflation. The cost of medical treatment and prescription drugs is tied to research. Virtually every discovery, every improvement, comes after a great deal of hard work that includes years of trial, error and frustration. These costs are incorporated in the final, successful product or procedure. Nevertheless, health care cost $660 billion in 1990. That will rise to more than $700 billion by the end of 1991. There are projections that by the end of 1995 the cost will top $1 trillion, an amount equal to more than 13 of our gross national product. It is obvious, on the strength of these numbers alone, that the nation is heading for extremely difficult times unless answers to these pressing economic questions are found. The main concern with jury sentencing is inconsistency. Members of the task force say they have seen evidence that sentences vary from one jurisdiction to another in the state. Indeed, signficant differences could show up from trial to trial within the same judicial district. Proponents of the change say that justice will be more evenly administered with punishment set from the bench because the judge can be more analytical and will have more experience to draw on. The strongest opposition to the change holds that it won't make a great difference in consistent sentencing because judges tend to reflect the outlook and attitudes of the communities they serve. Even if that is so, the change won't hurt. And as long as there is a chance that it will help, it ought to be enacted. Someone has to get a handle on health-care costs in the United States, and soon. Though exceptions exist, the nation is generally healthier than it has ever been. The medical sciences are able to diagnose and deal with many conditions that were life-threatening only a few years ago. There are treatments for illnesses that cannot yet be cured. Every medical professional, from research specialist to general practitioner, technician to nurse, is contributing to everyone's chances for a longer, happier, more productive life. Obviously, such advances don't come free of charge. But the questions that have people properly concerned is how far can the costs rise and how fast? It has been widely discussed for some time how a serious illness can wipe out a family's savings. It is common knowledge that Medicare patients have difficulty paying the uncovered share of medical costs. Even supplementary insurance coverage often comes up short of covering the costs of doctors and hospitals. Now attention has turned to pre Bold Bush made right choice O James J. m - Kilpatrick Justice Kentucky legislature may give sentencing authority to judges WASHINGTON: Remember when they called him a nerd? When he was mocked as the gutless wonder? Does everyone recall those days in 1988 when critics said George Bush was indecisive? The caricature came back to mind a week ago last evening, when the real George Bush stood up. "I am therefore directing that the United States eliminate its entire worldwide inventory of theater nuclear weapons .. . The United States will withdraw all tactical nuclear weapons from its surface ships and attack submarines ... I am directing that all U.S. strategic bombers immediately stand down from their alert posture ... I am terminating the development of the mobile Peacekeeper ICBM Nuclear threat diminished It is a fair assumption that before announcing these steps, Bush privately had obtained assurances from Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin that the Soviet leaders would respond in kind. The threat of nuclear holocaust has not ended in some degree it will never end but overnight that awful, awesome possibility has been greatly diminished. In this cynical city, cynical motives at once are assigned to Bush's initiative. Several Democrats have announced plausible candidacies against him in 1992. To regain the spotlight, and to emphasize the inexperience of his prospective opponents, the Friday address was a useful political ploy. It is further objected that the key proposals really are old stuff. Paul Nitze was trying to sell Ronald Reagan and Caspar Weinberger on naval nuclear disarmament six years ago. The mobile ICBM already was in trouble on Capitol Hill; Bush just got in front of the wave. Remembering how he was criticized for timidity in recognizing the Baltic nations, Bush in this instance wanted to show his leadership. And so on. A simpler explanation is much closer to the mark. Bush felt the time had come to match the dramatic events in the Soviet Union with a dramatic response here at home. The Soviet people are in for a rough winter, both literally and metaphorically. If their morale can be lifted by lessening the tensions of nuclear arms, so much the better. When Americans are surfeited with bad economic news, it makes sense to take to the TV tube with some good news. Bush's directives are indeed good news. These nuclear artillery shells, these nuclear missiles, these shipborne nuclear bombs are not merely to be withdrawn. For the most part they are to be destroyed. Many nuclear weapons will Chances are good that in 1992 the Kentucky Legislature will see a proposal to give trial judges authority to sentence criminals. The change would be a good one. The Task Force on Sentences and Sentencing Practices agreed recently to support the change. It is expected that the proposal will be submitted in October to the Legislative Task Force. That body approves legislative proposals for consideration by the next General Assembly. The plan, if adopted, would be similar to the system used in Ohio and most other states. In state jury-trial cases, guilt or innocence would be determined by the jury. But the judge, not the jury, would pass sentence. Currently, the jury recommends punishment. The trial judge may reduce the sentence recommended, but not stiffen it. i

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