Tuesday, March 25, 2003 :::
ADDICTED TO SOCIALIST MEDIOCRACY. I was also going to blog about the remarkable opposition from Oxford's academics to the notion of "top-up fees" (see previous post): tuition in all but name. Under sensible proposals from the Blair government Oxford (and other good universities) will be able to set tuition at a maximum of £3,000 per year -- or a miserly $4,500. Last time I checked annual tuition at Oxford's supposed competitors, it was $24,630 at Harvard, at Yale $27,130, at Chicago $ 28,510. But these are "private universities" you might say, and the good people of Britain are taxed -- and some of that money goes to higher education, so that comparison is not fair. Well, even a good state school like SUNY Stony Brook charges $8,300 for out-of-state residents and international students and a heavily subsidized $3,400 for New York residents. The University of Virginia Oxford should take a hard long look around the world. On the continent of Europe, despite its ancient scholarly traditions, there are no good universities as such. Sure, there are smart people in Europe, and of course there will be the odd good professor, and in cases of exceptional leadership the odd excellent department or lab. But hindered by systematic brakes in the system, it is impossible for a university as a whole to be world-class in Europe. The same fate awaits Oxford if it does not move to full privitization as soon as possible. That there is such a fierce debate over the most modest of proposals --introducing $4,500 annual tuition for its three-year undergraduate course-- which will only be introduced years from now, demonstrates that Oxford has major psychological problems. It does not need to introduce a £3,000 annual top-up fee. It needs to call a spade a spade, privatize itself tomorrow and start charging £15,000 per year for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. PS: The true cost of attending a university such as Oxford is probably at least $50,000 per student per year.
THE WAR PLAN. Wondering what the US is planning to do once troops get to Baghdad? Answer: find and kill Saddam and the leadership in so far as they are not dead already: "Defense sources say that U.S. forces will rush to Baghdad as quickly as possible to try to corner Saddam and flush him out into the open; if a coup or assassination fails to dislodge him, U.S. air and ground forces plan to launch more strikes against critical targets inside the capital in an effort to kill him. A senior U.S official told Time that covert U.S. intelligence personnel have infiltrated Baghdad, hunting in the shadows for the Iraqi leaders. 'We've had some folks on the ground over there now for weeks,' the official says. "
THEIR IDEAS HAVE CONSEQUENCES TOO. Meet Sayyid Qutb, the deceased anti-modern Egyptian ideologue who inspires Islamists around the world. A must-read. Cultural conservatives will recognize must of the positions of such philosophers as Eric Voegelin, Thomas Molnar and Leo Strauss in some of the criticism Qutb levies against the modern world. Of course, his solution, and much of his historical analysis, differs dramatically from theirs. But we shall have to come to terms with the conservative critique of modernity one way or another. This intellectual debate is yet to begin, although Roger Scruton's little book The West and the Rest makes an important beginning (despite its silly title).
(Link via Tom G. Palmer)._
DO WE NEED AN ANGLOSPHERE ARMY? It's too early to analyze these things, and I am no military expert, but so far all accidents in the war have involved British helicopters, troops and now the RAF aircraft hit by an American patriot. Some collisions are undoubtedly unavoidable in such a complex war, but it cannot but arouse suspicion that the Brits have so far been involved in every accident, although there are only about 40,000 British troops versus more than 250,000 Americans -- obviously the better integrated forces are, the smaller the chance of accident. It is time for formal integration of at least parts of the US, UK and Australian forces? Do we need a few Anglosphere divisions, which can be used in future operations where the Anglosphere Alliance will fight for liberty with the continental Europeans sitting safely on the fence? Are good men and women dying needlessly because we do not yet have such an integrated army? Questions we will have to address in the aftermath of this war.