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Waco Wars

SHOWDOWN CITY
Re: Hunter Baker’s Considering the Unthinkable:

As a direct descendant of Baylor’s founder, Henry Lee Graves, I am shocked and saddened to see that this institution, which was founded on Christian theology, is facing this kind of tumult. Mr. Sloan has worked hard to bring this University back to it’s roots, and in the process has increased it’s place in academia.

I too hope that the Regents remember that they endorsed this vision for transforming Baylor, and continue to let Mr. Sloan do his job.
K. Stearns
Salt Lake City, Utah

Excellent, if depressing, report from inside the “Baylor bubble” by Hunter Baker.

People ask me, “What is the deal with Baylor?” My feeling is that most of the faculty senators are of an age where they’d like back the go-along, get-along days of Uncle Herb (Herbert Reynolds, the former president), with pretend controversies and tempests in teapots, instead of the current regime of research, national attention, and WORK. Of course, Waco tends to have stupor-inducing warmth and humidity, even worse than D.C., so perhaps an executive who really wants ideas and results is a bit too much anyway.

By firing Dr. Sloan, the “Baylor community” will demonstrate that what’s most important is, if you’ll allow the phrase, high-quality mediocrity. Let’s be good — just not too good. The “ethos of the Bubble,” if you will. Baylor has long been a high-enough-quality liberal-arts school, so why go spoiling all that in pursuit so some unknown unknowable called “excellence”? Really.

Of course, Dr. Sloan, being both a student of holy writ and a cum laude graduate of Baylor, cannot be too surprised, as I’m sure he knows this scripture from John’s Gospel, 4:44: For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.
Meg Quinn
Baylor Class of 1993
Dallas, Texas

Well, Mr. Baker gives an interesting interpretation of what is happening at Baylor. The reality is that Robert Sloan’s goal all along has been to turn Baylor into an extremely (extremist?)conservative, evangelical University. His hiring practices have been dubious to say the least, and some have suggested illegal. This is yet another battle in this country between old-style conservatives and the new evangelical conservatives that are trying to force a theocracy down everyone’s throat. If you want a more accurate reading of what is going on at Baylor, grab a Texas Monthly from October 2003 and read it.
Ben Berry
Washington, D.C.

Hunter Baker replies:
This sort of response is one of the main problems at Baylor. Many Baptists have so badly warped the notion of separation of church and state, they now think that a private university should be prevented from hiring Christian scholars capable of applying their faith to research and classroom. If this gentleman had a clue what kind of scholars were being hired, he wouldn’t spout these reprehensible talking points. I know many of these faculty and they can’t be capsulized as right-wing, evangelical, or fundamentalist. Some are Catholic, some liberal Democrats, and at least one has been rather unorthodoxically Jewish.

I’m happy for this letter because it shows the world the kind of benighted, provincial, stereotyping that has been trotted out by men not fit to shine Robert Sloan’s shoes.

Meg Quinn hits the nail on the head referring to the prophet without honor in his own country. Although Robert Sloan has a long history at Baylor and was long a beloved figure, many of his old friends and neighbors have turned on him with a viciousness that is difficult to understand. I’m reminded of a song by Morrissey: “We hate it when our friends become successful.” (By the way, what sort of evangelical extremist quotes Morrissey?)

FROG-MARCHED
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Marchons, Marchons:

The poor French! So many opportunities to joke about, yet so little time and energy.

Reportedly, Jay Leno said, “France has accused the U.S. of being rude and abusive to them and they’re taking it personally. And remember, every time an American is rude and abusive, they’re taking a job away from a Frenchman.”

Not funny is the Sept. 2003 assessment — “Our War With France” — of New York Times foreign-affairs correspondent Thomas L. Friedman. In part, he said, “It’s time we Americans came to terms with something: France is not just our annoying ally. It is not just our jealous rival. France is becoming our enemy…. France wants America to sink in a quagmire there [in Iraq] in the crazy hope that a weakened U.S. will pave the way for France to assume its ‘rightful’ place as America’s equal, if not superior, in shaping world affairs.”

Neither is Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer’s “Why The French Act Isn’t Funny Anymore.” In that July 6 piece, he said, in part, “[French President Jacques] Chirac wants not only to make France the champion of the oppressed, in general, against the great American hegemon but also to make it, in particular, the champion of Arab aspirations against American imperialism . . . Chirac is charting a course-a collision course with America.” France is now America’s enemy. It has been for some years. Indeed, it is red with frustration over its continuing irrelevance and impotence in Europe and the world. And besides being envious about America’s position of power and influence, France is genuinely deluded about becoming a world super-power.

But the French seem culturally and psychologically stuck with being contrarians and pompous horses’ patoots, though now very dangerous ones.
C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

That rude Lance Armstrong had better not apply for a French visa!
Jack Hughes
Chicago, Illinois

PENALTY KICKS
Re: Eric Anest’s Soccer Thugs:

In his review of Franklin Foer’s book, Eric Anest makes mention of the rivalries between Celtic and Rangers fans in Glasgow.

However, either he or Mr. Foer have made some cracking errors.

1. He describes Rangers fans as “Scottish” and Celtic fans as “Irish.” Both Celtic and Rangers are affiliated to the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football Association. Both of them draw roughly equal numbers of supporters from Northern Ireland, who can indulge their sectarian hatred in relative security on somebody else’s patch.

2. The reason for this hatred is the deep and lasting Protestant on Catholic sectarianism that still exists in the West of Scotland as the result of mass Irish immigration in the 19th century. It is social, not religious, in nature and has nothing to do with the circumstances of the founding of either club – Rangers was founded as a boys’ club in 1872, Celtic as a welfare group in 1888. However, they became identified with sectarianism when the management of Rangers elected to follow a policy of not signing Catholics in the early part of last century, a policy that lasted until 1989. The man who broke the mold was none other than Mo Johnson, sometime MLS Champion with Kansas City Wiz, now on the coaching staff of the Metrostars. One can see why he likes life in the States.
Martin Kelly
Glasgow, Scotland

I was amazed at the sloppiness of the book review of Franklin Foer’s, How Soccer Explains the World. The Rangers-Celtic rivalry is one of the most intense, but Celtic is not an Irish team. Both clubs are located in Glasgow — Rangers has traditionally been the Protestant-supported team and Celtic has traditionally been the Catholic-supported team. If Rangers has had a Catholic player, it would only have been in the last 10-15 years. I agree that the chants are quite ugly, but they are generally not related to Northern Ireland. When Rangers hired their first black player several years ago, their fans had to abandon the use of the chant, “I’d rather be a Darkie than a Tim (Catholic).”
Troy Lovell
Valrico, Florida

BETWEEN IRAQ AND A LIBERAL PLACE
Re: Tom Bethell’s The Rival Fanaticisms of Our Day:

Mr. Bethell makes a lot of good points in his article on Iraq and presents his arguments quite well. So well that I’m inclined to agree with a lot of what he says. He is correct that Iraq will probably be better off under a strongman (like Iran was under the Shah) and that the cultural makeup of Islamists precludes any thought of self-governance. He is also correct in his assertions concerning the liberals in this country and that is where his arguments become interesting. Bush has taken on more of a job than he actually should have in Iraq, that is true. What Bush wants to accomplish will require doing it the way the British did back in the 1800’s in India.

Alas, we live in a different age now and do not have the moral fortitude to accomplish something so radical anymore. We also have a contentious anti-American media and social elite who want nothing better than to destroy the Great Experiment called The United States and replace it with a fiefdom along the lines of the Dark Ages but without the religious facade like the Islamists have. Of course, that is merely my opinion and some will probably disagree with it. However, Mr. Bethell’s arguments makes sense.

Maybe, after Bush wins (or maybe even before) he should have a deadline for pulling out. Is this cut and run? Maybe. Or it could be sound strategic advice to let the Iraqis fight it out among themselves. They’re basically toothless now and so disorganized that they would pose a threat more to themselves than us. Maybe. Then we could focus on the real threats to freedom, Michael Moore and the elitists in this country. With friends like them, who needs terrorists?
Pete Chagnon

… If Mr. Bethell would care to see Charles Krauthammer at his best, he should tune into the last twenty minutes of “Special Report with Brit Hume” on the Fox News Channel. I can only assume that if he has ever watched that program, he’s early-on lost interest trying to assimilate some relatively unbiased news and interviews. But if he will persist until “The Fox All-Stars” segment, he will often see Krauthammer crossing swords with such liberals as Mara Liasson and especially Juan Williams, both of NPR. The resulting crossfire of opinions is truly “Fair and Balanced!”

As for the rest of Mr. Bethell’s opinions and prognostications, “Phtttbt!”
Bob Johnson
Bedford, Texas

In his “fanaticism” column, Bethell chants the tired old cliché of moral equivalence, i.e., that the Americans are just as bad as the Soviets, the Christians were just as bad as the Muslims during the Crusades, etc. Except that Bethell has got it worked out that the neo-cons are just as bad as the terrorists.

I am sick to death of clichés parading as intellectual analysis, where safe time worn formulas of apparent evenhandedness and balance are substituted for studying hard enough to find out the truth. Trust me … the moral levels of the neocons and the terrorists are not equal, and any simpleton could figure the difference. So you probably can guess what I think of Bethell.
Grant Hodges

WOMEN OF THE WORLD, UNITE
Re: Steve Nikitas’s letter (under “We’ll Always Have Paris”) in Reader Mail’s The Gaul of Some People:

Mr. Nikitas comments in his reader response that France as well as numerous other countries face the same problem of declining populations, which is linked to low reproductive rates. Very good, and adequately observed. However, his analysis that this is rooted in socialism and self-centered human behavior is simply outrageous. Why do women not want to have children? According to Nikitas it is selfish feminism. Funny, I thought it might have to do with the fact that capitalism has failed to integrate women into the labor force, and respect their biological function at the same time. Women are working double and triple shifts all over the world. I would hardly call that selfish.

The fact that capitalism is male-centered and inflexible cannot be understated. As long as that is the case women will have to make a choice between children and career, or kill themselves combining both. It is quite fascinating to watch women in the United States reproducing more than their counterparts in Europe. They have not understood that all of capitalism is tied to reproduction. As long as women reproduce we have consumers, and human capital. So how about speaking the truth, Mr. Nikitas? If women are the reason why the free market can flourish, why not reward that contribution? European women are just one step ahead of U.S. women. They don’t believe that they have been valued in the past. Women around the world (including U.S.) are more afflicted by poverty and low wages. They are predominately caretakers as well as workers. The fact that in some countries women have realized their true position in society can only be applauded.

To sum it up: Capitalism is faulty and as a model incapable of adjusting to women’s needs. It has been build on the premise that women will sacrifice themselves to bear and raise children, and to take care of people for free. Unpaid labor has never been acknowledged. It is time for a change in a capitalism that includes both genders, and reflects a more holistic analysis of the problem.
— unsigned

IT’S A FREE REPUBLIC
Re: Donna Gruber’s letter (under “Sandy Land”) in Reader Mail’s Berger Fried:

I’m sure Donna Gruber has nothing but good intentions by warning the Editors about articles being re-posted and linked to at FreeRepublic.com.

Since it’s obvious she’s been to that website, it’s also obvious she hasn’t read its mission statement and its policies.

It’s a website for like-minded conservatives, and others, to post and link to articles and discuss them with other members. And since it’s on the Internet, most content from other Internet sites are free to be used. You should read copyright laws more Ms. Gruber.

Also, if Mr. Pleszczynski doesn’t want the members of FreeRepublic.com, such as myself, to be allowed to re-post entire articles or post excerpts or even only link to them he’s free to contact the owner of the site who will be more than happy to let the members know TAS is not eligible for such activity and his software will automatically keep this from happening. But very few publishers restrict their usage on FreeRepublic.com (N.Y. Times, L.A. Times, The Onion, just to name a few).

Also, Ms. Gruber, if you look around the Internet publishing world, all kinds of websites and bloggers constantly use excerpts, quotes and link to articles. It’s common practice. And, it creates great word of mouth about the website. I’ll bet good money that many, many Freepers (as they are called) that first read TAS online from a post in FreeRepublic.com are daily readers now and even subscribers to the magazine.

But again, Wlady has the power to stop what you see as a crime and the Jim Robinson, the owner of FreeRepublic.com, will be happy to oblige.

In any event Donna, don’t be a lurker…I encourage you to sign up as a member (it’s free) and join in the fray! You can have a cute nickname and it’s fun.
Greg Barnard (no, I won’t tell you my FR nickname)
Franklin, Tennessee

READ THE LABEL
Re: Al Malick’s letter (under “Sandy Land”) in Reader Mail’s Berger Fried:

Yet another Lefty complaining that the Spectator is biased. Why does he think we’re reading it? Sorry the Spectator isn’t the New York Times, Mr. Malick, but those of us in the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy want to get our marching orders from our own kind.

A couple of points, Mr. Malick, just so there’s no confusion on your part:

The “Plame kerfuffle” is over. Her name being leaked to the press isn’t really that big of a deal. I know, it hurts that your boy Joe Wilson turned out to be a bigger liar than Mr. Clinton, but stop beating a dead horse, all right?

Halliburton? VP Cheney? I suppose our wonderful allies the French should have gotten the contracts rebuilding Iraq instead. So the man has contacts in construction firms. Not unlike Mr. Kedwards has contacts in the Botox and trial lawyer fields.

Medicare, Medicare, Medicare! Geez, you’d think the Prez had completely cut Medicare from the budget! You Lefties just can’t get over the fact that a Republican President did what your Democratic Presidents have never been able to do, even with Hillary’s secret meetings to socialize our health care system.

The point is, Mr. Malick, it isn’t the Spectator’s job to report on the above “abuses”, because ABCCBSNBCCNNMSNBC/The New York Times/LA Times/Boston Globe et al. already have them covered. My advice is that in the future, know what you’re reading.
Joel Natzke
Kansas City, Missouri

A LITTLE NIGHT READING
There has been some discussion as to what was contained in the documents that Mr. Berger inadvertently stuffed in his clothing and inadvertently read at home. Never fear, they will turn up in about six to eight months on Hillary’s night stand. Then with mock surprise turned back to the National Archives.
Ron Hellesvig
Sedalia, Missouri

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