ISLAND OF THE BANNED
Maria Margaronis writes from London: The last time the British government suspended habeas corpus was in 1971 in Northern Ireland, where hundreds of republicans were imprisoned without trial. The policy was abandoned four years later after it turned out to be a valuable recruitment tool for the IRA. New Labour’s Prevention of Terrorism Act, adopted on March 11, allows the government to issue “control orders” against British and foreign citizens, restricting their contacts and movements or imposing house arrest, as long as the orders are rubber-stamped by a judge. Fiercely resisted by the House of Lords, both opposition parties and many Labour MPs, the bill was forced through hours before the deadline for releasing foreign terror suspects, some held without trial since 2001. The act now renders them banned persons, so that the public cannot know how they’ve been treated–or how harmless some of them may be. Apart from violating fundamental liberties, the act will increase fear and resentment among British Muslims, who have been told by a government minister that they must now accept more searches on the street. And it will further institutionalize torture: The Home Secretary acknowledged that the government uses “evidence” about terrorism suspects obtained by torture offshore. The intelligence services–whose assessment of the terrorist threat Blair darkly exaggerates–have taken care to distance themselves from the act. But if there is an attack, Blair will be able to say that he took drastic action–even if it was exactly the wrong kind.
Jon Wiener writes: Conservatives have long complained about the small number of Republicans on the faculty at Harvard. My best guess is that this is the result of differences in innate ability. You don’t have white men in the NBA, you don’t have Jewish farmers and you don’t have Republican professors at Harvard. (I know there are Jewish farmers on the kibbutzim, but there are also Republicans in the Business School.) The facts are indisputable: In the 2004 election, Harvard employees gave more than $1 million to the Democrats and only about $43,000 to the Republicans. That’s 96 percent Democratic. So why do so few Republicans excel on the Harvard faculty–home over the years to forty-one Nobel laureates? Scientists say there are definite differences between our brains. Republican brains tend to be better at creative accounting, while Democrats are better at postmodern theory. Some Republican groups say there are no innate differences. For them, it all comes down to bias and discrimination. If we teach young Republicans just the way we teach young Democrats, and give them the same opportunities, they can succeed. But other Republicans have been willing to concede that Republicans may be hard-wired to earn gigantic salaries for doing essentially nothing. Republicans may simply lack the drive to try to meet the eighty-hour workweeks demanded of top Shakespeare scholars. Of course there are other factors, such as socialization. Republicans are brought up by parents who value insider trading but not gender studies, corporate welfare but not postcolonial theory. Now Republicans have succeeded at raising the issue of their exclusion from the Harvard faculty. But that very success could create new problems. Other groups will sense Harvard’s vulnerability to outside pressure. Where will it stop? What will Harvard do if it faces a campaign claiming the school has to hire more women?
FUN AMONG THE NEOCONS
You may not be ready for this, but it appears America will soon boast another neoconservative magazine. This one will be a spinoff of The National Interest, a quarterly for foreign policy wonks founded by founding neocon Irving Kristol, father of William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard. The latest issue of The National Interest features a scathing critique of the neoconservatives’ Iraq delusions and miscalculations and their doctrine “that the United States can be made safe only by making other nations accept American values.” This attack reflects the views of the magazine’s new proprietor, the Nixon Center, which pushes a “realist” foreign policy orientation at odds with the evangelical bent of orthodox neocons, who preach with one voice that the Iraq War will bring democracy and enlightenment to the Middle East. The article sparked the resignation of ten members of The National Interest‘s editorial board, including Francis (The End of History) Fukuyama, who has announced that he will co-found a rival journal called The American Interest, prompting William Kristol to quote his father as saying this country can’t have too many neocon magazines. “Soon,” Kristol fils prophesied, “there are going to be more neoconservative magazines than neoconservatives.” We agree, and we predict that The American Interest will beget The Democratic Interest, which will beget The Strategic Interest, which will beget The Corporate Interest, which will beget The Global Interest, which will beget The Selfish Interest, The Compound Interest, The Lack of Interest, The Monthly Gold Standard and The End of History as We Know It Weekly.