Boston Globe Editors on Harvard and the Qaddafis The Boston Globe' editorial board argues that the Harvard faculty members who acted as consultants to the Qaddafi government should be reprimanded. "Like any institution of higher learning, Harvard needs to zealously protect the freedom of speech and expression of those in its community. But it shouldn’t be afraid to draw some sharp lines to prevent violations of human rights," they write, noting that, in the 1980s, the school disassociated itself from companies working with the apartheid regime in South Africa, and kept ROTC off its campus until it accepted openly gay soldiers. Right now, Harvard jealously guards the use of its brand by outsiders, but "shies away from interference with those who use its letterhead," say the editors. "This is a weakness, not a strength."
Nial Ferguson on Social Media as a Jihadist Aid Newsweek's Niall Ferguson points out that while the Internet and social networking have been credited with spawning and facilitating the recent Arab uprisings, they also are the forums through which dangerous and violent messages are shared. Ferguson writes that "the murderous mob in Mazar-e Sharif found out about the burning of the Quran in Florida" through the Internet, and "before Facebook took down a page called 'Third Palestinian Intifada'--which proclaimed that 'Judgement Day will be brought upon us only once the Muslims have killed all of the Jews'--it had notched 350,000 'likes.'" Al-Qaeda-sponsored magazines "Resistance" and "Inspire" offer advice and encouragement to aspiring jihadists and Anwar al-Awlaki's YouTube videos have inspired several acts of violence and attempted terrorism. "In the new mash of civilizations, our most dangerous foes are the Islamists who understand how to post fatwas on Facebook, email the holy Quran, and tweet the call to jihad," he declares.
Ross Douthat on the Perfect Conservative Budget New York Times columnist Ross Douthat notes the challenge American leaders currently have of achieving a budget that balamces the goals of growth, austerity and opportunity. Douthat argues that Paul Ryan's proposed budget "goes two for three--striking a plausible balance between the dual imperatives of growth and fiscal discipline." The goal for Republicans, he writes, should be to figure out how to include "economic mobility" in this plan. Where Ryan's plan falls short is that "too much of the budget's austerity is born by downscale Americans" and repeals "the Obama health care plan without replacing it, throwing the uninsured back into a broken insurance marketplace." Douthat suggests, rather, a Republican plan should focus on cutting aid for oil, natural gas, alternative energy as well as agricultural subsidies, and offering a good alternative to Obamacare. "Conservatives will deserve to win the looming fiscal battle only if they find a way to budget not only for austerity, but for opportunity as well."
Christopher Dickey on the Arab World's Long Road Ahead At The Daily Beast, Christopher Dickey observes how unsure American and other Western leaders are about how to handle the current Arab revolutions. He argues that, as the movement is not likely to have a happy ending anytime soon, there are certain truths the West should come to terms with. First, Westerners must reject the imperialist and "quasi-racist" notion that Arabs are incapable of governing themselves--"T=the protests, uprisings, and revolutions we've seen in the last few months are entirely Arab, focused on Arab interests, and the governments that eventually emerge will be, too," Dickey suggests. He also points out that today's Arabs--the under-30 majority--"are connected to the world and to each other to an extent never before imagined by their parents, by their rulers, or by the Western powers who thought those rulers were secure." These young Arabs see themselves as "global citizens" and want to be entrepreneurs. "But nobody in the West can make these things happen for them," writes Dickey. "And nobody will."
Timothy Hasci on What Makes a Schools Chancellor Successful University of Massachusetts history professor Timothy Hasci questions how one can truly assess the success of a schools chancellor or superintendent, in light of Cathleen Black's recent departure from her leadership position in the New York City system just three months in. He gives examples, in today's New York Times, of several former chancellors, pointing out that the success of their careers did not necessarily correlate with the success of the schools they were in charge of. "Americans' forward-looking disposition has many advantages, but one downside is that we tend to avoid problems as they develop and then either rise to the occasion (think World War II), or take half-hearted steps before moving on (think of New Orleans)," Hasci argues. "School reform requires long-term efforts, but instead we look for a George Washington to fix our schools through intelligence, strength of will and, more recently, going after the right enemies (namely unions)." The truth is, no one person can be the hero and, instead of looking for one, we should focus on research-proven methods to improving school performance.