One of mankind's greatest achievements is the elimination of the scourge of smallpox. The disease is not quite extinct. Two vials of the bacillus are kept in strictest security, one here and another in Russia, while the scientific community argues whether the last remaining examples of this dangerous life form should be extirpated or kept for further study.
Another toxic substance, responsible for as many deaths (and here, by country), is being kept alive on the UW-Madison campus: socialism. The Havens Center has a big-box pharmacy full of the stuff. The difference is that Havens is not studying a dead culture but actively promoting its spread to the larger populace.
Havens' head socialist, Prof. Erik Olin Wright, has been elected president of the American Sociological Association. This chaired professor has written a 394-page book on Marxist strain of the disease, Envisioning Real Utopias. (Tip to the Althouse.)
Not sure that Prof. Wright will want to paste onto the book's jacket this review from Dissent Magazine:
The book is startling and depressing evidence of what has happened to American academic Marxism, at least its sociological variant, over the last thirty years. It has become turgid, vapid, and self-referential. Wright lives in a bubble of like-minded sociologists and political theorists.
... his critique [of capitalism] reads like a lecture at the hootenanny weekend of the Socialist Hiking Club, Berkeley Chapter.
... the conservative nightmare of radicals taking over the university has in part come to pass. But if this book exemplifies academic Marxism, conservatives can rest easy. We should all fear, however, what it suggests about the contemporary university and its scholarship.
Oooh, an intellectual kill shot! (BTW, Dissent is no neo-conservative magazine.)
Yes, The Havens Center, home to the Chomsky/Pivens/Zinn shrine, is applying the electro-shock paddles to Lenin's leathery chest. The Havens Center is offering an eight-part series titled, "Renewing Socialism for the 21st Century: Alternatives to Capitalism and How to Get There."
So you see, they don't just teach theory at our flagship state university. There's also some practical hands-on training.
Hey, run riot, socialists! (Oh, Pivens already recommended that?) But where is the UW's equivalent of Stanford's Hoover Institution? Havens' closest rival is the ecumenical Wisconsin Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy, a relative upstart. (No, the Center is not dormant, it just appears that way from its website. Prof. Donald Downs is scrambling to find resources to update the site -- a problem that the tax-supported Havens Center does not have.)
Lest we cavil about the distinctions between socialism and communism, consider this definition:
The idea of the sharing of incomes and government management of resources exists with little distinction from communism and its euphemistic partner, socialism. In practice ... the same problems plague both as freedom becomes necessarily usurped and trampled ... Because of socialism's inherent failures, it tends to resort to extreme measures. Communism is essentially Marx's name for socialist-like systems.
Lenin makes a good lookin' corpse, doesn't he? Better dead than read (pun intended).
Speaking of socialist troublemakers ...
What does it say about Progressive Dane's ticket that 2 of its 9 endorsees operate under an ethical storm cloud? I will agree with the WI State Journal that 26 months is too long to be subjected to an investigation. Justice delayed is justice denied and all that. But how DOES Mike Verveer get reappointed to the Alcohol Licensing Commission and the Ethics Board? The Ethics Board!
He won't be charged with a crime, but his actions are troubling. He was separated from his job with the district attorney's office for good cause. Here is an assistant D.A. advising a suspect not to cooperate with the police? Mike Verveer once was viewed as a future state rep, maybe congressman. No more.
The other troubled Prog is Ald. Brian Solomon. The Justice Department is investigating him for sexual assault. Yes, a woman can make unfounded accusations. But is a paid-up Progressive Dane member allowed to say that?
Just imagine the outrage if these two were running under the GOP banner.
Penny stupid and pound foolish
Meanwhile, next door at the asylum:
by Dances with Mice Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:58 pm
Foreclosures continue, unemployment is high, poverty and homelessness are growing at an alarming rate, and home values are decreasing while property taxes continue to go up.
Some of the interesting solutions we are hearing about are a new library when readership is going on-line, a train station complex despite the fact that no train will be stopping there, and $300,000 from our rainy day fund to set up rent-a-bike stands for Trek.
Anyone else see something wrong with this picture?
Well put, Mr. Mice. At the same time, our city government is throwing $300,000 of taxpayer money at a program to "stabilize" the Mansion Hill neighborhood by subsidizing the conversion of rental housing into owner-occupied. The idea of the Neighborhood Small Cap TIFF program is to "encourage urban homesteading," Ald. Bridget Maniaci said at the January 18 Council meeting.
Ald. Judy Compton, a real estate professional, correctly countered that "this area is going to take care of itself."
One of the beneficiaries of this government largesse when the program was offered to the Bassett neighborhood is well-paid government employee Scot McDonell. The County Board chair has pitched his hopes for the county executive's office on winning the government-employee vote.
Gov. Walker, Legislators: consider reducing the next shared revenue check to the City of Madison by at least $600,000 -- the combined amount of the Rent-a-Bike and Yuppie Subsidy programs. Call it the Taxpayer Relief Act -- relief from rampant acts of socialism!
Happy birthday, Mr. President
The 100th anniversary of a truly transformative president is Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 6. Here is a sampling of his wit and wisdom: