Blogs > Cliopatria > Still More Noted Things

Mar 20, 2006 5:19 am

Still More Noted Things

Peter Hong,"How Harvard Could Share the Wealth," LA Times, 19 March, calls on the University to drop tuition, fees, and charges for room and board for all undergraduate students. Given the endowment, it could probably afford to do that, but without a change in admissions policies that overwhelmingly favor the children of privilege, a free education at Harvard is unlikely to send an egalitarian message. Thanks to Nathanael Robinson for the tip.

Donald Rumsfeld was giving some badhistorylessons in"What We've Gained in 3 Years in Iraq," Washington Post, 19 March. My friends, Manan Ahmed, Hiram Hover, and Ahistoricality, hovered over several passages:

The terrorists seem to recognize that they are losing in Iraq. I believe that history will show that to be the case.
Fortunately, history is not made up of daily headlines, blogs on Web sites or the latest sensational attack. History is a bigger picture, and it takes some time and perspective to measure accurately.

Glad you've got that"bigger picture" thing in mind. Wish it had been there five or six years ago.

Consider that if we retreat now, there is every reason to believe Saddamists and terrorists will fill the vacuum--and the free world might not have the will to face them again. Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis.

Godwin's Law alert!

It would be as great a disgrace as if we had asked the liberated nations of Eastern Europe to return to Soviet domination because it was too hard or too tough or we didn't have the patience to work with them as they built free countries.

Two analogies now. I'm invoking Tim Burke's criteria for analogies. If they don't fit; you should quit!

The domestic, fiscal, and foreign policies of the Bush administration give this evangelical Christian Republican a renewed appreciation of the virtues of limited government and restraint. On a tip from Brandon Watson at Siris and verbum ipsum, I'm assigning these readings to GOP policy makers:
Edward Langerak,"A Christian Argument for Political Self-Restraint," 1999;
Linda C. Raeder,"Augustine and the Case for Limited Government," Humanitas, 2003; and
Glenn Tinder, The Political Meaning of Christianity (2000).

As a retired historian who battles insurance companies all the time, I understand Stanley I. Kutler's frustration. But, Stanley, get a grip! In an age of terror, or in any other age, for that matter, an unpaid bill for treatment of your sunburn in Hawaii doesn't justify threatening to bomb the insurance company's building. Thanks to David Davisson at Patahistory for the tip.

Finally, I don't follow South Park, but it was hard to avoid last week as Scientologist Isaac Hayes resigned as its voice for the character, Chef, and its show spoofing Scientology was removed from Comedy Central's schedule, reportedly under pressure from another Scientologist, Tom Cruise. Judge for yourself. Here's the show:"Trapped in the Closet." Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for the tip.

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More Comments:

Rebecca Anne Goetz - 3/21/2006

Although few Harvard students receive Pell grants, very very few students actually pay the full sticker price for a Harvard education. I'll try to look up some stats this afternoon.

Ralph E. Luker - 3/20/2006

Yes, I agree that the proposal may have merit. It would have effects beyond the university, putting pressures on other private institutions that are not nearly so well endowed per student.

Robert KC Johnson - 3/20/2006

I agree with Ralph's point, but I still think the proposal might have some merit.

Nathanael D. Robinson - 3/20/2006

Pain? Perhaps. But not all feel the costs of tuition/fees as a potential prohibition. Moreover, I wonder what other costs a family might incur beyond $160,000 to send one child to Harvard.

Ralph E. Luker - 3/20/2006

$160,000 sounds like a lot of money and, to me, it is. But only 7% of the university's student body receives Pell Grants, the best measure of its admission of students from low-income backgrounds. As Hong says, CalTech, Columbia, and Stanford do a much better job of recruiting students from low economic families.

Robert KC Johnson - 3/20/2006

I don't have the demographics of Harvard's student body. But assuming tuition and fees of $40K per year, that's $160,000 for a 4-year period. Obviously there are more children of wealthy parents at Harvard than in the population as a whole, but my guess is a majority of the current student body feels some pain from tuition/fees.