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Opinion: Freedom, taxes and the U.N. Security Council

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

It is a worthy thing to fight for one's freedom. It is another sight finer to fight for another man's. -- Mark Twain

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Ode to Taxes

Tax his cow, tax his goat.

Tax his pants, tax his coat.

Tax his crops, tax his work.

Tax his tie, tax his shirt.

Tax his chew, and tax his smoke.

Teach him taxes are no joke.

Tax his oil, tax his gas.

Tax his notes, tax his cash.

Put these word upon his tomb:

"Taxes drove me to my doom."

When he's gone, he can't relax.

He'll have to pay an inheritance tax. -- Author unknown

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Merci, Monsieur Chirac: In failing to secure a U.N. Security Council resolution explicitly authorizing war in Iraq, the United States dodged a bullet. Merci, Monsieur Chirac. It would have created a presumption that Security Council approval is the necessary prerequisite for the use of American force abroad, and this would have posed incalculable dangers to world peace in the long term.

The Security Council was conceived as the bulwark of peace, but this proved to be a pipe dream. On the rare occasions when the council has acted against aggressors, the United States has done most of the heavy lifting. While the United Nations has performed no effective peace enforcement without the United States, the latter has in many cases upheld the peace without the United Nations. The harsh reality is that American power does much more than the Security Council to preserve the peace. To subordinate the former to the latter would be a terrible mistake.

The world would be anything but safer if a principle became enshrined that deterred the United States from defending Taiwan without Beijing's permission or Poland without Russia's, or Israel without the assent of the United Nations. Happily those most eager to cut us down to size have overplayed their hand and blown their chance to tie us down in the duct tape of the United Nations. Now we can get on with the job of sending a message to would-be Saddams not to bank on the Security Council (or France) to provide them a shield. -- Joshua Muravichik, American Enterprise Institute, in The Wall Street Journal

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Military moms: The death in Iraq of Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa of Arizona, the first woman to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom, was doubly tragic. The single mom left behind two preschool children. Under rules adopted by the Clinton administration, more women in the military are serving closer to combat than ever. This exposes women to unacceptable risks, as the case of Piestewa sadly illustrates. Women POWs also are exposed to risks men do not face. "We've let an ideological drive to achieve perfect equality get in the way of common sense," Family Research Council's distinguished fellow Allan C. Carlson said in USA Today recently. "No other nation has ever put so many women in combat or near combat, and children are paying the price." Women historically have played a vital role in America's military and they should continue to serve where appropriate, but not in or near combat. The Bush administration should revise the military's guidelines on women in combat. (Read the full story at www.frc.org.) -- Washington Update

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Conservatives need not apply: From the claims of supporters of diversity, one might think that law schools are sparing no effort to make sure that campuses ring with contentious voices.

In its upcoming Supreme Court case, the University of Michigan Law School justifies its very substantial preferences for selected racial and ethnic minorities on the ground that a "critical mass" of African American and Hispanic students is needed to assure that all students have the benefit of a variety of views and experiences. But professors even more than students set the intellectual tone in university life. Generating ideas is their job. These same law schools almost uniformly lack a critical mass of conservatives to offer an alternative to the reigning liberal orthodoxy.

We have conducted a study that provides evidence of the ideological imbalance at elite law schools -- of which we have heard no plans to rectify. We reviewed all federal campaign contributions over $200 by professors at the top 22 law schools from 1994 to 2000. During that time, close to a quarter of these law professors contributed to campaigns -- a portion far greater than the average citizen. The proof is stark: As the Anglican church was once described as the Tory Party at prayer, the legal academy today is best seen as the Democratic Party at the lectern. America splits evenly between the GOP and Democrats, but 74 percent of professors contribute primarily to Democrats. Only 16 percent do so to Republicans.

These overall percentages substantially understate the effect of the partisan imbalance at most schools. Republican-contributing law professors are very disproportionately concentrated at two schools, the University of Virginia and Northwestern. In contrast, many other elite schools have few or no politically active Republicans. At Yale, where almost 50 percent of the faculty donate, almost 95 percent give predominantly to Democrats. At Michigan itself the ratio is eight to one. Sometimes the amounts donated can be instructive. In the last six years, Georgetown law professors have donated approximately $180,000 to the Democratic Party, $2,000 to the GOP and $1,500 to the Green Party. Conclusion? Mainstream conservative ideas are no better represented than those on the leftist fringe.

The overall ratio also understates the skewed debate on issues of public concern. Our study finds that professors teaching economics-based subjects like antitrust and corporations are more conservative than their public-law counterparts. This leaves such subjects as constitutional law and international law -- the subjects that set the agenda for debate on the hot-button issues of our time -- with scarcely a conservative voice. -- John O. McGinnis, professor of law at Northwestern University, and Matthew Schwartz, law student at Columbia University, in The Wall Street Journal

Gary Rust is the chairman of Rust Communications.


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