Oh God! Not Ayn Rand!

Much mirth mixed with contempt on the occasion of a public university suddenly discovering a well-publicized gift with a well-known ideological component comes with -- altogether now -- strings attached.

The University of North Carolina-Charlotte was -- way back in 2005 -- one of many schools to accept a business college endowment from the BB&T Charitable Foundation. BB&T Chairman John Allison is a big fan of Ayn Rand. Not suprisingly, Allison has been using the foundation to fund courses and programs on the moral defense of capitalism. In the case of UNCC, this was to include an Ayn Rand Reading Room at the business school.  Again, this was widely known years ago.

Now -- all of a sudden -- the UNCC faculty has noticed the program and is freaking out. Chancellor Phil Dubois -- in the proud tradition of edu-crats -- is waffling and attempting to plead ignorance of the whole thing. That "teaching" Rand and specifically Atlas Shrugged was not to be part of the course offering as he understood it. Whatever.

Better still is the claim from a religion professor that UNCC will look like a "rinky-dink university" for accepting the Allison gift with the Rand element intact. No, UNCC already looked rinky-dink last year when UNCC officials, including Dubois, were caught red handed whoring out the university's transportation studies department. 

UNCC cooked-up a "study" ghosted by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and the local transit authority with the aim of deflating a drive to repeal a local transit tax that would fund light rail construction. Among the future destinations for the trains -- Dubois' UNCC campus.

Maybe an Ellsworth Toohey reading room would be more reflective of UNCC's values and interests.

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  • ||

    I found this statement funny on several different levels and sad on at least as many levels:

    "It's going to make us look like a rinky-dink university," UNCC religious studies professor Richard Cohen said Thursday after UNCC Chancellor Phil Dubois told the faculty council about the gift. "It's like teaching the Bible as a requirement."

  • ||

    I tried to use the Ayn Rand reading room but some guy was hogging it.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Jeff Taylor, nice to see your stuff now and again.

  • ||

    "It's going to make us look like a rinky-dink university," UNCC religious studies professor Richard Cohen said Thursday after UNCC Chancellor Phil Dubois told the faculty council about the gift. "It's like teaching the Bible as a requirement."


    The next thing you know someone will want to teach Shakespere or Milton or want to read Tacitus in a Roman history class. The nerve of these barbarians is just amazing.

  • ||

    With Charlotte being a large banking center and the banking industry looking like the dying railroad industry in Atlas Shrugged, the parallels are quite ominous.

  • ||

    I'm fairly sure that neither banks nor railroads - taken as entire industries - are on the verge of death... unless you plan to keep your cash under your mattress (low APR!) and entrust all your long-distance commodity transport by land to trucks.

  • ||

    Money in your mattress has a low APY, not APR. Unless you loan mattress money to people at a low rate.

    Banking is fine. Unless we have runaway inflation. Then nothing is fine.

  • Colin||

    Ms. Rand would be very upset that you used the word "God" in a sentence about her.

  • ||

    I do all kinds of things with mattress money, and the Feds are never going to bring me down with a structuring charge because of it. Never, I say, never!

    Hmm... maybe mattress money has unanticipated advantages. Although it definitely has to be paper - sleeping on gold is fine for dragons, but less than perfectly comfortable for humans, you know?

  • thoreau||

    I think it's actually a silly string to attach to a gift, but since I'm at a university that will be evicted from the land if we ever stop raising Arabian horses and putting them on display every month, I can't really point fingers.

    I've heard that Harvard actually requires all graduating students to pass a swim test as a condition of some gift from a donor. It could be an urban legend, but with university donations truth is often stranger than urban legend.

  • some guy||

    Nobody expects Ayn Rand.

  • ||

    Snopes says... no. Anyhow, Harvard dropped the swim test a couple of years ago. (An editorial in the Chicago Maroon from 2006 lists the UofC, Notre Dame, MIT, Cornell, Columbia, Hamilton, Dartmouth, Swarthmore, Washington and Lee, and the service academies as the only remaining universities with the requirement.)

  • Abdul||

    Of course an Ayn Rand fan has to attach stupid conditions to his donation. Otherwise, the donatin would just be a personal sacrifice, and no self-respecting objectivist would do that.

    I heard that if you major in Rand studies, you have to defend your thesis with a 40 page monologoue.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Is there any Ayn Rand protagonist who actually has a college degree? Don't they all attend for a while, then storm out because their principles are being violated, or they can't wait that long to unleash their genius?

  • ||

    Oh, come on. If I have billions and allow an educational institution to have a few million, you bet your ass I'm attaching conditions. The funnier, the better, but I'm not above insisting on some political requirements. They don't have to accept my money, after all.

  • ||

    "Is there any Ayn Rand protagonist who actually has a college degree? Don't they all attend for a while, then storm out because their principles are being violated, or they can't wait that long to unleash their genius?"

    No, they always come back after their parents threaten to cutoff their money supply. They then form objectivists clubs and sit around and talk about how the man keeps them down.

  • ||

    Pro,

    Colleges are such money whores, you could attach whatever conditions you like. A friend of mine was a member of the George Washington University tennis team. She was basically a dumb rich jock. She told me a great story about her visit to Notre Dame when she was in high school. She wasn't there as an athlete but as an ordinary student hoping to get in. Since her grades sucked they were pretty dismisive of her and frankly were not that nice to her during her visit. That is until she sat down with the financial aid counselor and informed her that she wouldn't be needed aid that her parents would just be writing a check at which point the counselor was basiclly like "Well let me be the first one to welcome you to campus." Sure enough she got in as a late admit.

  • ||

    One faculty member asked Dubois if he could renegotiate terms of the gift with Allison.

    Dubois said he's planning to talk to Allison about it. But "we would like it not to be the last gift from BB&T."



    My god! It's as if these whores educators have enslaved themselves!

  • robc||

    I've heard that Harvard actually requires all graduating students to pass a swim test as a condition of some gift from a donor. It could be an urban legend, but with university donations truth is often stranger than urban legend.

    Georgia Tech required drownproofing until the year before I got there. Urban legend was drowning death of a dean's daughter, back in the days of yore, but I have no idea if it was true. I do know the class would have killed my gpa, it was a bear.

  • ||

    I do all kinds of things with mattress money,

    Be careful, there, peachy. Look what happened to Elliot Spitzer.

  • ||

    Dubois said he's planning to talk to Allison about it. But "we would like it not to be the last gift from BB&T."

    Shorter Dubois: "Suck it, Allison."

  • robc||

  • Taktix®||

    Colleges are such money whores, you could attach whatever conditions you like.

    And that's the way it should be...

  • ||

    I doubt that Ayn Rand would approve of pouring good money down a rat hole like UNCC. Seriously, why subsidize yet another bunch of tenured Leftist academic parasites? If the aim was to do something to promote "capitalism", you'd have a better chance giving the money to someone randomly selected from the phone book.

  • ||

    "Is there any Ayn Rand protagonist who actually has a college degree? Don't they all attend for a while, then storm out because their principles are being violated, or they can't wait that long to unleash their genius?"

    John & Mike, there are some 30 Objectivists working as University Professors and Lecturers. Not to mention Dr. Tara Smith who has two academic works published by Cambridge University Press.

    You too seem to be confusing Objectivists with Leftist Hippies & their more modern counterparts, likely because you are intellectually more akin to the latter.

  • Brandybuck||

    The question is still not answered: "Is there any Ayn Rand protagonist who actually has a college degree?" Statistics about Objectivist professors are irrelevant to the answer.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Mrs TWC isn't a big O but she did her thesis on Rand? Does that count?

  • robc||

    Brandybuck,

    Galt, Ragnar, and D'Anconia all did. They graduated from Patrick Henry U double majoring in physics and philosophy.

    Im pretty sure it was made clear than Dagny graduated from college too. And maybe Reardon, I cant remember if it came up.

  • robc||

    To add on, I dont think either of the protagonists from Anthem had a college degree. :)

  • ||

    "Is there any Ayn Rand protagonist who actually has a college degree? Don't they all attend for a while, then storm out because their principles are being violated, or they can't wait that long to unleash their genius?"

    The writer sounds suspiciously like a guy who will be graduating with something like a Masters degree in Oriental Literature. Later, he's pissed off that the world hasn't recognized his brilliance. By the way, at the Starbucks, when you ask me if I want milk or soy in my coffee, can you be a little less surly?

  • ||

    Full Disclosure: I've never read anything Ayn Rand wrote, although I did see "The Fountainhead" movie. I picked up "Atlas Shrugged" at the library and it looked way too long (for long-ass fiction, one of the few books I can recommend is "The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoevsky).

  • ||

    Don't forget Dumas! I have read the unabridged The Count of Monte Cristo and the various books in The Three Musketeers saga multiple times. I bought the Oxford World's Classics versions, which are excellent translations, as far as my non-French-speaking self can determine. Anyway, the unabridged books are waaaaaaay long.

  • Charles||

    Jigs,

    I'm pretty sure John is a lawyer. But, hey, whatever, zing!

  • Charles||

    Wait, that's not John. Dammit.

  • ||

    I've never read anything Ayn Rand wrote, although I did see "The Fountainhead" movie.

    The Fountainhead was on not too long ago; it was the first time I had ever watched it from beginning to end. Talk about monumental suckitude...
    If you feel the need to watch cardboard cut-outs for two hours, I recommend you rent a "South Park" movie.

  • ||

    I've heard that Ayn Rand wasn't great at writing dialogue (if I'm wrong, correct me). Maybe she's like Kilgore Trout and "only the ideas are good."
    But still...has anybody here tried to read L. Ron Hubbard? I don't know that Vonnegut based Kilgore Trout on the man, but I flipped through one of his books...wow.

  • economist||

    Get rid of gender and ethnic studies, replace or eliminate about fifty percent of your English and social sciences curriculum, and maybe then I'll listen to your complaint that an Ayn Rand reading room makes your university look "rinky-dink"

  • ||

    Thank you, Jeff Taylor, for a good article. For (some at) the university to accept a donation, then turn tail, is typical modus operandi today. At root, it is dishonest.

    No wonder some at the university don't want to teach Rand, who said "Truth is the hallmark of morality," and whose "Atlas Shrugged" is a monument to that principle, illustrated in all aspects of its protagonists' lives. The principle -- in some characters' (government officials) attempt to deny it -- is also seen in the failure of the US and other countries in the novel.

    The behavior of these people who want to censure Rand but take Allison's money is reminiscent of the behavior of some in Rand's "We the Living." Their behavior, that is, is like that of some of the mini-Stalins of Soviet Russia.

  • economist||

    P Brooks,
    There is only 1 South Park movie.

  • economist||

    Michael Gold,
    I actually preferred "Anthem" to "We the Living". Of course, I've always preferred the optimistic ending, and I'm a light reader anyway.

  • highnumber||

    Charles,
    According to his blogger profile, Mike Laursen is a 46 year old computer scientist living in Mountain View, California who was the Libertarian candidate for California Senate District 13 in 2004, so your reply was right on in spirit, if not in details.

  • Ben Kalafut||

    Does an American Studies course on cod philosophy, new religious movements, or pop culture count?

    I don't read anything here as saying that the donor's conditions were that Ms Rand's sophomoric essay (Galt's speech), with protective layers of novel, be included in the canon with the Nicomachean Ethics or Anarchy, State, and Utopia.

  • ||

    I hope the Ayn Rand Reading Room has good books by real philosophers and economists who understand their fields, as opposed to a shrill writer with a poor grasp of character development and really weird sex views.

  • ||

    with a poor grasp of character development

    lol. But seriously, as a "writer" myself, I've always struggled with this.

  • ||

    I find the UNCC reaction amusing only in the sense that most colleges* will absolutely lay down and grovel for a donor who gives a scholarship to a star athlete or builds them a stadium.

    *I don't know if UNCC has sports teams or not, so I can't say if they would fall into this category.

  • BakedPenguin||

    There is only 1 South Park movie.



    If you're talking about the actual cast, you're right. He might be including "Team America".

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...poor grasp of character development...



    I think her philosophy got in the way of character development. She really only had characters develop in her first two books. By the Fountainhead & Atlas, they were already fully formed and had nowhere to develop.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    A million dollars to get UNCC students to read Atlas Shrugged? What an idiot! At those rates, he could have had them read Anthem for twenty bucks!

  • ||

    You'd have to give me about a million dollars to read Atlas Shrugged through...Yuck.

    Seriously though, it is crazy to have a university engage in apologetics. The fact that it occurs for the left all the time does not make it right when they do it for a right wing darling.

    I do think, and have said many times, that it is shameful that Rand is not taught in more Lit classes. I mean, her early stuff (We the Living) was quite good. Yes, her later stuff became long, drawn out, full of bloated unrealistic speeches and characters made out of the finest oak (this tends to happen to any artist who becomes determined to use their art to shove a political philosophy none-too-subtley down our throats), but it was certainy no worse than Upton Sinclair's stuff or Uncle Tom's Cabin, which are taught all the time. And you'd think feminists in Lit Depts would like Rand, a strong woman in a time that did not promote such thing, as well as a woman who often had strong woman characters.

  • ||

    The problem with Ayn Rand Studies: what if the Departments of American Literature and Abnormal Psychology are on opposite sides of campus?

  • Neu Mejican||

    Mr. Nice Guy after reading Atlas Shrugged?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nhizo7KrZrw

  • ||

    To Jeff Taylor:

    What do you think of the comments following your blog report?

  • Neu Mejican||

    For those who haven't read Atlas Shrugged, the video link I posted above is a fairly dead-on summary of both the content and feel of Galt's Speech.

    The compressed version is here
    http://www.working-minds.com/galtmini.htm

  • BakedPenguin||

    She really only had characters develop in her first two books. By the Fountainhead & Atlas, they were already fully formed and had nowhere to develop.



    Ugh. Speaking of bad writing...

    ...they were already fully formed as she wanted them and had nowhere to go.

  • Zedderoonie||

    Roark didn't graduate the architecture college? I know he jumped off a cliff naked, but was he denied graduation? He worked for the drunk man and designed a gas station, been a long time.

    No, they always come back after their parents threaten to cutoff their money supply. They then form objectivists clubs and sit around and talk about how the man keeps them down.

    I don't think any protagonists did that. Antagonists maybe? Like the bad businessmen of Atlas (Shrugged) who complain when the gov't cuts off the money supply? Or fans of AR (Ayn Rand)? You maybe have experiences with fans of AR doing that? I dunno (don't know).

    Does anyone else think it is coincidental that Ayn Rand can be changed to spell Aryan?

    Those leftists!!!! JK (just kidding) I made that up, but couldn't you see that happening? Remember when the kid in dirty dancing says he doesn't care if the girl is pregnant bc (because) he read the fountain head? I thought it an unfair portrayal of the ideas of the book, but another day another dollar in Holly(dollar)wood!!!

  • Neu Mejican||

    An artist interpretation of Neil's thought processes?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nhizo7KrZrw

  • miche||

    Hmm... maybe mattress money has unanticipated advantages. Although it definitely has to be paper - sleeping on gold is fine for dragons, but less than perfectly comfortable for humans, you know?



    I can sleep on gold, paper or hay, but peas (or soybeans) will fuck up my rest for sure. We libertarian minded princesses need our beauty sleep.

  • Mike Laursen||

    The writer sounds suspiciously like a guy who will be graduating with something like a Masters degree in Oriental Literature.

    By "the writer" do you mean me? I have a computer science degree, but I think Oriental Literature is swell.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Oh, and there wasn't that much snark in my comment.

    I remembered from my reading Ayn Rand that Howard Roark leaves his architecture studies at the very beginning of The Fountainhead. And I thought I remembered that John Galt dropped out of his Physics studies right before graduating, but I guess I'm misremembering the story --

    And there's no way in hell I'm going to spend my precious time re-reading Atlas Shrugged. I value myself too much to sacrifice my time on the altar of inferior aesthetics. (OK, that was snark.)

  • Mike Laursen||

    (for long-ass fiction, one of the few books I can recommend is "The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoevsky)

    I decided to read Moby-Dick because Penn Jillette was always raving about it on his radio show. I'm on page 500-something: Captain Ahab has barely appeared in the story and the fucking whale has yet to make an appearance.

    Toward thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering Penn Jillette! To the last I grapple with thee! From hells' heart I stab at thee! For hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee! :-)

  • ||

    but it was certainy no worse than Upton Sinclair's stuff

    But Sinclair's stuff gets made into awesome P.T. Anderson movies.

  • e||

    Only parasites, mooches and thugs take the light rail!

  • ||

    I suppose for balance we should have a Karl Marx room, eh? And how about that Bear Stearns bailout, boy there's some "objective" deterministic free marketeering at its most grotesque. Oh, the responsibility! I thought the shell-game aka the FED was supposed to prevent that sort of blatant screwing of idiot investors. Why are those slimy scum-sucking gangsters more important than the work-force's inability to afford a doctor?

  • ||

    Randians have no sense of humor.

  • ||

    I think Oriental Literature is swell.

    "Oriental" Literature- that's some sort of code, isn't it? Some kind of filthy preversion, I reckon.

    I would read Ulysses again, before I picked up Rand. Unless I wanted to squash something.

  • Roberto Diego||

    Universities have been teaching such propaganda as Marx for decades without payment. Certainly Marx is an important figure and his ideas should be known. However, it is a sad state for universities that Ayn Rand, who is also an important figure and whose ideas should be known, has to be brought to the university in this way. It is more a commentary on the almost one-sided view of university professors that a failed ideology (Marx) should continue to be advanced while an author who is the preeminent spokesperson for freedom in our society should be virtually banned. Makes you wonder if these "professors" are really the right people to be watch dogging the educations of our children. In fact, we would be censoring BB&T by not allowing the company to do what it does to balance the scales. And we don't want to censor anyone, do we?

  • ||

    Funny thing. I attend a private Christian university in North Carolina, and they has us "study" Atlas Shrugged for two days in the business school orientation. They took two paragraphs out of the money speech out of context and went nowhere with it (it WAS a fluff orientation course).

    Apparently, the books and the money for the course came from BB&T (their stickers are on the inside cover of the books). Word on the street is that the university officials haven't even let BB&T see the campus, they simply did a meet somewhere else. I doubt they'd like to see objectivist money going to a religious school. It's ironic that a christian school essentially lies to get money....

  • dhex||

    They graduated from Patrick Henry U double majoring in physics and philosophy.

    this isn't actually in her book, is it?

    oh man.

    telemachus sneezed, indeed.

  • ||

    Economist: Yes, "Anthem" had a better ending: an ending reflecting benevolence and an auspicious universe. "We the Living" had better-developed characters, though, and it was a very powerful story. Some of the scenes are etched in my memory: Andre catching Kira when she slips on the ice near the university; the description of Leningrad; the scene where one of Kira's relatives is taken away on the train; the scene where Kira listens to the Russian folk music being sung by people on a train... Beautiful... I love the movie version made in 1940's Italy, staring Alida Valli. (Love watching her, too...)

  • ||

    Hey, zoltan what weird Ayn Rand views on sex are you talking about?

    Certainly it's different but I find most modern puritanical views on sex to be weird and Rand's views to be quite... rational.

    I read Rand's view on sex here:
    http://www.aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/sex.html

  • ||

    I hear ya, Roberto, "freedom," in the US: where babies and ruined soldiers from the Iraq "war" are free to die like dogs in the street while Bear Stearns gets a fat payback for their "self interest." I won't go into "failed ideologies," seems the kleptocrats have said more than I could.

    From the CDC
    nfant mortality is used to compare the health and well-being of populations across and within countries. The infant mortality rate, the rate at which babies less than one year of age die, has continued to steadily decline over the past several decades, from 26.0 per 1,000 live births in 1960 to 6.9 per 1,000 live births in 2000. The United States ranked 28th in the world in infant mortality in 1998.1 This ranking is due in large part to disparities which continue to exist among various racial and ethnic groups in this country, particularly African Americans.2

    Examples of Important Disparities
    Infant mortality among African Americans in 2000 occurred at a rate of 14.1 deaths per 1,000 live births.2 This is more than twice the national average of 6.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. The leading causes of infant death include congenital abnormalities, pre-term/low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), problems related to complications of pregnancy, and respiratory distress syndrome.3 SIDS deaths among American Indian and Alaska Natives is 2.3 times the rate for non-Hispanic white mothers.4

    What is the Goal?
    By the year 2010, the goal is to eliminate disparities among racial and ethnic groups with infant mortality rates above the national average, including American Indian, Alaska Native, and Puerto Rican populations. Public health agencies will also continue to monitor infant mortality trends for all racial and ethnic groups.

    Peter Eichenberger
    People and corporations are not equal
    14 MAY 2003 • by Peter Eichenberger
    "The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of opinion that it does."

    United States Supreme Chief Juzstice Waite in Santa Clara County v. The Southern Pacific Railroad 1886.

    With this obscure, curious and profoundly effective U.S. Supreme Court decision began the history of the little-known (and even less understood) idea of "corporate personhood." It was from this astonishing interpretation of an amendment (christened with the blood of Civil War dead over elevating freed slaves to a level of "equality") that many of the modern obstacles facing democracy emerged--exemplified by the recent federal court decision that set campaign finance reform back about 20 years, as well as the statement by Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell that getting corporate money out of politics "constitutes a frontal assault on First Amendment values the likes of which have not been seen in the Republic's history."

    With all due respect to Sen. McConnell, he (as well as many "conservatives") doesn't seem to have a grasp of the Constitution, history nor tradition. The founding fathers were well aware of the power of unbridled capitalism; they knew too well the excesses of the predecessors of corporations, the trading companies such as the East India Company and others--business concerns that had sole proprietorship of vast reaches of the world, enforced by their own armies, navies, laws--even their own flags--economic governments outside of the laws of nations.

    Thomas Jefferson put into words a prevailing sentiment of the day:

    "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

    Indeed, Jefferson was thwarted in his attempt to have a provision in the Constitution forbidding what he saw as a threat to a vulnerable government yet in its infancy--the corporation.

    Yet within 100 years or so, the original intent of the architects of the Constitution had been turned on its head by Santa Clara and we live with the results. Virtually every aspect of the modern life of the United States (and the world) is affected by the ripple of this obscure railroad case, grown to a tsunami of undue influence and privilege.

    "All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others," goes the famous Orwell quote, that serves also as a superb parallel for the results Santa Clara, what many esteemed jurists, Hugo Black and Louis Brandeis among others, saw as a great legal error--or worse.

    Nowhere are the results more damaging than in the famous Buckley v. Valeo (caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=424&invol=1 ) a 1976 Supreme Court case that for the first time equated money with free speech--with enormous consequences for democracy: How can "natural" humans, with much lesser economic means, compete with equal political footing with corporations, 56 of which are among the 100 greatest economic forces on the planet? (Wal-Mart for instance, beats out the nation of Sweden.) The voice of the puny natural human loses every time.

    This crisis of democracy did not happen overnight. After Santa Clara, the modern corporation emerged full-blown into American life with a sudden and ruthless seizure of markets via the big monopolies and trusts of the end of the 19th century. It is true the force of these monopolies were blunted to an extent by the U.S. government and the courts, but the damage was done. Big business was ultimately able to utilize the 14th Amendment and Santa Clara to establish hegemony over law and markets--to the detriment of mere mortals, especially black ones. It took another 100 years, until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to repair the neglect and damage wrought by this hijacking of the intent of both (more on this later).

    Much like the frog in the steadily heated pan of water, laws such as a Wisconsin statute* that placed limitations on corporate money and was widely used in this country, became eroded and eventually disappeared, leaving the mass of the citizenry (and elected officials) believing that the status quo is something eternal.

    But lately corporations have gotten more brazen and cynical of their protected status. One recent famous case involves the sleepy village of Wellfleet, Mass., and weighty Omnipoint Communications, which wanted to put cell phone towers where few, if any, citizens of Wellfleet wanted them. Too bad, said Omnipoint, citing Section 1983 of the 1964 Civil Rights Acts, which essentially says that any person who causes another person to be deprived of their rights is liable to the injured person.

    In another cynical blow to black folks, mighty Omnipoint used an act, passed to repair a hundred years of federal neglect, to trample the wishes of those of lesser means.

    Or consider Kasky v. Nike, a California lawsuit over false statements the mega-athletic equipment maker fabricated to mollify critics of the corporation's overseas labor record. The case is being considered in the Supreme Court now, labor activists on one side and the Bush administration's Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson on the other, predictably urging the court to side with Nike. According to Olson, a sharp distinction between commercial and noncommercial speech is "neither necessary nor desirable".

    If Nike prevails (as almost every whim of corporations seems to), the results do not bode well for the average natural human. Truth, that elusive seldom spotted cottontail, will become an even more endangered species.

    Corporations will have federal courts sanction all sorts of fantastic yarns, much as the press has been recently been given permission to do with the case of Fox reporter Jane Akre and Fox news: Akre was ordered by her superior at a Florida affiliate to report a story on Bovine Growth Hormone that was a falsehood (www.organicconsumers.org/rbgh/akre022103.cfm). She refused, was fired and sued. On Fox's appeal, Fox prevailed, the Florida Court of Appeals saying (correctly) that under the Constitution, the press was under no obligation to report the truth, leaving the major news organization with roughly the same level of factual authority as say, The Weekly World News.

    Well, a sullied news organization like a supermarket tab is one thing; one can choose to read it or not. But when a corporation can weave whatever sort of fiction it wishes, supported by the full legal force of the Constitution and compliant, corporate-owned news sources, where will the busy, preoccupied American find the truth?

    There may be help on the way. Thom Hartmann's Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights discovered that the famous Waite statement was never part of the court records, that the court reporter for Santa Clara County, Mr. John Chandler Bancroft Davis, a graduate of Harvard Law School and an advocate of the railroads, inserted headnotes into the Court File--after the decision was rendered (http://www.commondreams.org/views02/1226-04.htm).

    No one until now ever noticed this bit of legal vandalism and the discovery has enormous implications for the way corporations conduct their business. Suddenly, the fictional equality of corporations with their flesh and blood fellow citizens is just that--fiction, and federal protection under the 14th Amendment simply does not exist. With this federal protection removed, corporations would not enjoy federal protection--they would be subject to local laws.

    The highest hurdle is going to be getting the average too be-numbed American to understand this profound reality, much less give a damn. The next hurdle will be to begin to undo more than a century of ingrained behavior (of citizen and politician alike) and propaganda of the sort that McConnell seems to believe to be true. It will take decades, and the best time to start might well be right now, when the Constitution, (battered as it has been by John Fasccroft's posse), seems to be at its weakest. The time to begin is now. EndBlock

    Peter Eichenberger can be reached at petrblt@hotmail.com.

  • Scooby||

    Thanks, Pete, for that cut and paste blather. Next time, could you maybe just paste in the "Lorem ipsum" filler text? It would be about as applicable to the conversation at hand.

    My alma mater just receive $2 Million to endow the "the BB&T Chair for the Study of Objectivism". I guess Tara Smith's salary is paid for the time being.

  • ||

    ...and yet people take Noam Chomsky seriously...

  • ||

    Hey, zoltan what weird Ayn Rand views on sex are you talking about?

    Certainly it's different but I find most modern puritanical views on sex to be weird and Rand's views to be quite... rational.


    Argh, I was being unclear. By 'sex' I meant the biological designation kind. And what I didn't like is that she technically thinks women want men to have power over them. She illustrates this by saying a woman would (should?) never be happy if she is president, because she has the most powerful position, and therefore, a man can't have it in a personal relationship. I'm pretty sure it's in Capitalism the Unknown Ideal, but I could be wrong. I'm sure I could find the quote if asked though.

  • ||

    Who is Ron Paul?

  • ||

    Waaaa, they are making me read an Ayn Rand book. John Allison is a mean-spirited fascist! That's a violation of my rights! Gah, censorship is such bulls-it. Whatever happened to freedom of speech? I should sue to get BB&T's money without having to read Ayn Rand. Everything she ever said, did, or wrote was wrong! I am soooo superior to her! Watch, I'm going to be so cool taking jabs at her. Here's one. Ayn Rand said that sex is good. But child molestation is wrong! So there, she is obviously wrong, only idiots would believe her. They are so uneducated. They should get a real education because obviously they are stupid.

    Ohhh, I am so upset about this thought control by an evil right-wing corporation that I am shaking! I am going to call my lover Steven on my cell phone and meet him at Starbucks for a latte non-fat vanilla mocha lappaccino with whipped cream and cry and get his loving support and just decompress. Ohhhh...

  • Nah||

    Oh, no! Another conservative failure-cascade above...

    Replacing that with "", would've cut it, I think. Been a notch above, even.

  • Nah||

    ^
    (text between citation marks above got eaten.)

    *"Insert remark that sounded so refreshingly clever and incisively sarcastic within the recesses of my own head, here."

  • kolam143||

    No one until now ever noticed this bit of legal vandalism and the discovery has enormous implications for the way corporations conduct their business. Suddenly, the fictional equality of corporations with their flesh and blood fellow citizens is just that--fiction, and federal protection under the 14th Amendment simply does not exist.

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