sexta-feira, outubro 01, 2004

The Racism of "Diversity"

Tuesday January 14, 2003
By: Peter Schwartz

The notion of "diversity" entails exactly the same premises as racism -- that one's ideas are determined by one's race and that the source of an individual's identity is his ethnic heritage.

President Bush faces an ideal opportunity to take a principled position on the issue of racial "diversity." As his administration ponders whether to support the legal challenge, now before the Supreme Court, to the University of Michigan's affirmative action policies, he should go further and raise a moral challenge to the entire notion of "diversity." Instead of timidly wavering on this question, in fear of being smeared by Democrats as racist, President Bush should rise to the occasion by categorically repudiating racism -- and condemning "diversity" as its crudest manifestation.

It is now widely accepted that "diversity" is an appropriate goal for society. But what does this dictum actually mean? Racial integration is a valid objective, but that is something very different from what the advocates of "diversity" seek. According to its proponents, we need "diversity" in order to be exposed to new perspectives on life. We supposedly gain "enrichment from the differences in viewpoint of minorities," as the MIT Faculty Newsletter puts it. "It is the only way to prepare students to live and work effectively in our diverse democracy and in the global economy," says the president of the University of Michigan. Minorities should be given preferential treatment, the university's vice president says, because "learning in a diverse environment benefits all students, minority and majority alike."

These circumlocutions translate simply into this: one's race determines the content of one's mind. They imply that people have worthwhile views to express because of their ethnicity, and that "diversity" enables us to encounter "black ideas," "Hispanic ideas," etc. What could be more repulsively racist than that? This is exactly the premise held by the South's slave-owners and by the Nazis' Storm Troopers. They too believed that an individual's thoughts and actions are determined by his racial heritage.

Whether a given race receives special rewards or special punishments is immaterial. The essence of racism is the idea that the individual is meaningless and that membership in the collective -- the race -- is the source of his identity and value. To the racist, the individual's moral and intellectual character is the product, not of his own choices, but of the genes he shares with all others of his race. To the racist, the particular members of a given race are interchangeable.

The advocates of "diversity" similarly believe that colleges must admit not individuals, but "representatives" of various races. They believe that those representatives have certain ideas innately imprinted on their minds, and that giving preferences to minority races creates a "diversity" of viewpoints on campus. They have the quota-mentality, which holds that in judging someone, the salient fact is the racial collective to which he belongs.This philosophy is why racial division is growing at our colleges. The segregated dormitories, the segregated cafeterias, the segregated fraternities -- these all exist, not in spite of the commitment to "diversity," but because of it. The overriding message of "diversity," transmitted by the policies of a school's administration and by the teachings of a school's professors, is that the individual is defined by his race. What, then, is a more loyal adherence to that message than the desire to associate with members of one's own race and to regard others as belonging to an alien tribe?

If racism is to be rejected, it is the premise of individualism, including individual free will, that must be upheld. There is no way to bring about racial integration except by completely disregarding color. There is no benefit in being exposed to the thoughts of a black person as opposed to a white person; there is a benefit only in interacting with individuals, of any race, who have rational viewpoints to offer."Diversity," in any realm, has no value in and of itself. Investors can be urged to diversify their holdings -- but for the sake of minimizing their financial risk, not for the sake of "diversity" as such. To maintain that "diversity" per se is desirable -- that "too much" of one thing is objectionable -- is ludicrous. Does unimpaired health need to be "diversified" with bouts of illness? Or knowledge with ignorance? Or sanity with lunacy?

The value of a racially integrated student body or work force lies entirely in the individualism this implies. A racially integrated group implies that skin color is irrelevant in judging human beings. It implies that those who chose the students or the workers based their evaluations only on that which reflects upon the individual: merit. But that is not what the advocates of "diversity" want. They sneer at the principle of "color-blindness." Whether the issue is being admitted to college or getting a job at a corporation or being cast as an actor on TV shows, the "diversity" supporters want such decisions to be made exactly the way that the vilest of racists make them: by bloodline. They insist that whatever is a result of your own choices -- your ideas, your character, your accomplishments -- is to be dismissed, while that which is outside your control -- the accident of skin color -- is to define your life. Their fundamental goal is to "diversify" -- and thus to undercut -- the standard of individual achievement with the non-standard of race.

As a result of their efforts, the creed of "diversity" is metastasizing. There are now demands for "linguistic diversity," under which English teachers grant equal validity to ungrammatical writing -- for "diversity" in beauty pageants, under which the unattractive are not discriminated against -- for "diversity" in oratory contests, under which mutes are not excluded. These egalitarian crusaders for "diversity" seek to wipe out a standard of value as such. They want to negate genuine, life-serving values by claiming that non-values must be given equal status.

Is this the philosophy that will "prepare students to live and work effectively"?

Racial "diversity" is a doctrine that splits people into ethnic tribes, which then battle one another for special favors. If President Bush is eager to demonstrate his disagreement with the racist views of a Strom Thurmond, let him stand up and denounce all forms of racism -- particularly, the one that underlies "diversity."
Mr. Schwartz, editor and contributing author of Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution by Ayn Rand, is chairman of the board of directors of the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

É nesta perspectiva que tem que ser vistas as chamadas "ações afirmativas" como a lei de cotas para negros em serviços públicos no Brasil: como afirmação do racismo como política pública.

segunda-feira, setembro 27, 2004

Multiculturalism's War on Education

Thursday September 23, 2004

By: Elan Journo

Multiculturalism seeks to inject an anti-Western dogma into today's curriculum.Back to school nowadays means back to classrooms, lessons and textbooks permeated by multiculturalism and its championing of “diversity.” Many parents and teachers regard multiculturalism as an indispensable educational supplement, a salutary influence that “enriches” the curriculum. But is it?

With the world’s continents bridged by the Internet and global commerce, multiculturalism claims to offer a real value: a cosmopolitan, rather than provincial, understanding of the world beyond the student’s immediate surroundings. But it is a peculiar kind of “broadening.” Multiculturalists would rather have students admire the primitive patterns of Navajo blankets, say, than learn why Islam’s medieval golden age of scientific progress was replaced by fervent piety and centuries of stagnation.

Leaf through a school textbook and you’ll find that there is a definite pattern behind multiculturalism’s reshaping of the curriculum. What multiculturalists seek is not the goal they advertise, but something else entirely. Consider, for instance, the teaching of history.

One text acclaims the inhabitants of West Africa in pre-Columbian times for having prosperous economies and for establishing a university in Timbuktu; but it ignores their brutal trade in slaves and the proliferation of far more consequential institutions of learning in Paris, Oxford and elsewhere in Europe. Some books routinely lionize the architecture of the Aztecs, but purposely overlook or underplay the fact that they practiced human sacrifices. A few textbooks seek to portray Islam as peaceful in part by distorting the concept of “jihad” (“sacred war”) to mean an internal struggle to surmount temptation and evil. Islam’s wars of religious conquest are played down.

What these textbooks reveal is a concerted effort to portray the most backward, impoverished and murderous cultures as advanced, prosperous and life-enhancing. Multiculturalism’s goal is not to teach about other cultures, but to promote--by means of distortions and half-truths--the notion that non-Western cultures are as good as, if not better than, Western culture. Far from “broadening” the curriculum, what multiculturalism seeks is to diminish the value of Western culture in the minds of students. But, given all the facts, the objective superiority of Western culture is apparent, so multiculturalists artificially elevate other cultures and depreciate the West.

If students were to learn the truth of the hardscrabble life of primitive farming in, say, India, they would recognize that subsistence living is far inferior to life on any mechanized farm in Kansas, which demands so little manpower, yet yields so much. An informed, rational student would not swallow the “politically correct” conclusions he is fed by multiculturalism. If he were given the actual facts, he could recognize that where men are politically free as in the West, they can prosper economically; that science and technology are superior to superstition; that man’s life is far longer, happier and safer in the West today than in any other culture in history.

The ideals, achievements and history of Western culture in general--and of America in particular--are purposely given short-shrift by multiculturalism. That the Industrial Revolution and the Information Age were born and flourished in Western nations; that the preponderance of Nobel prizes in science have been awarded to people in the West--such facts, if they are noted, are passed over with little elaboration.The “history” that students do learn is rewritten to fit multiculturalism’s agenda. Consider the birth of the United States. Some texts would have children believe the baseless claim that America’s Founders modeled the Constitution on a confederation of Indian tribes. This is part of a wider drive to portray the United States as a product of the “convergence” of three traditions--native Indian, African and European.(*) But the American republic, with an elected government limited by individual rights, was born not of stone-age peoples, but primarily of the European Enlightenment. It is a product of the ideas of thinkers like John Locke, a British philosopher, and his intellectual heirs in colonial America, such as Thomas Jefferson. It is a gross misconception to view multiculturalism as an effort to enrich education. By reshaping the curriculum, the purveyors of “diversity” in the classroom calculatedly seek to prevent students from grasping the objective value to human life of Western culture--a culture whose magnificent achievements have brought man from mud huts to moon landings. Multiculturalism is no boon to education, but an agent of anti-Western ideology.

Elan Journo is an editor and writer for the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, CA. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

(*) Os sujeitos são caras-de-pau mesmo: inventando uma mentirada a la Darcy Ribeiro sobre a formação dos EE.UU. ...

Este tipo de picaretagem, eu conheço bem aqui no Brasil: distorcer a História a tal ponto de TUDO que tiver raiz européia-ocidental parecer falso, prostituído, repressor e toda cultura diferente (que merece ser estudada, mas não admirada sobre as demais) passa, automaticamente, a ser o oposto, "redentora", "democrática" etc. A conversa mole citada acima de mostrar a beleza da arquitetura asteca, sem falar nada, nadinha, nadica de nada de sua estrutura social na qual os sacrifícios humanos tinham papel preponderante na mesma é um mero exemplo, a pontinha do iceberg de uma transgressão intelectual grosseira, maniqueísta, uma manipulação terceiro-mundista... Engraçado como esta porcaria vem do próprio EE.UU. que, à par de sua excelente contribuição para o mundo, também cria e difunde lixos assim. Estes são, seletivamente, adotadas pela matungada latino-americana. Pra variar, só podia ser coisa de professor de Humanas...

quinta-feira, setembro 23, 2004

Preocupação ambiental dá dinheiro

Tratamento dos efluentes líquidos na Eliane: desenvolvimento sustentável

Foto: Divulgação
Estar em dia com as mais rígidas normas da responsabilidade ambiental não é apenas uma obrigação. É também uma boa receita para cortar custos. Um grupo de 26 empresas catarinenses investiu R$ 2,2 milhões em ferramentas de Produção Mais Limpa (PML) e conseguiu obter um retorno cinco vezes maior. Com a ajuda do Instituto Euvaldo Lodi (IEL) da Fiesc, as companhias identificaram 225 pontos que poderiam ser melhorados nos seus processos industriais. O investimento retornou rapidamente, com a redução dos resíduos sólidos, do consumo de água e de energia elétrica. "Os benefícios ambientais e econômicos alcançados pela implantação da PML superaram nossas expectativas", comemora Leandro Medeiros, diretor industrial da Eliane, uma das companhias que participa do projeto. Segundo João Stramosk, presidente da Metalúrgica Riosulense, de Rio do Sul (SC), a identificação precisa dos resíduos gerados na produção resultou em um retorno de cerca de R$ 1,5 milhão por ano. A metodologia do PML, seus resultados e o potencial para identificar inovação nas empresas serão apresentados no seminário "Caminhos para Inovação Tecnológica e Sustentabilidade", que acontece dias 22 e 23 de setembro em Joinville (SC). (Sílvia Lisboa)

Link relacionado: Newsletter diária - 20/09/2004

quarta-feira, setembro 22, 2004

Verdinhas para os verdes

por Joel Mowbray

Depois de um ano sem igual em matéria de manchetes denunciando casos de impropriedade financeira, seria razoável supor que um escândalo em cujo centro estivessem uma importante organização internacional, milhões de dólares e acusações de sonegação fiscal haveria de receber o mesmo destaque. Mas se a referida organização é o famoso grupo ambientalista Greenpeace, a mídia se cala de imediato.

Dois meses atrás, a entidade sem fins lucrativos Public Interest Watch (PIW), cuja tarefa é fiscalizar o dinheiro público, denunciou ao Internal Revenue Service [N. da T.: o IRS é o equivalente americano da Receita Federal] o envolvimento do Greenpeace em vultosas transações financeiras com seus vários subgrupos, tudo para contornar a lei fiscal americana. Para explicar o caso, a PIW também lançou um relatório chamado "Paz Verde, Dinheiro Sujo: Transgressões Fiscais no Mundo das ONGs", que oferece detalhes de como o grupo ambientalista transferiu, ao longo de três anos, US$ 24 milhões de contribuições isentas do pagamento de impostos para despejá-los em atividades sujeitas a tributação.

Muito parecido com a Enron e sua assombrosa estrutura de organizações de fachada, o Greenpeace possui uma enorme rede de entidades estabelecidas por todo o mundo, unificadas pelo Greenpeace International, que em 2000 teve um orçamento operacional de US$ 134 milhões.

Nos Estados Unidos, há dois grupos principais: Greenpeace Inc. e Greenpeace Fund Inc. Nenhum dos dois paga impostos ao governo federal, mas há uma diferença importante: as doações para o segundo podem ser abatidas no imposto de renda, ao passo que as contribuições dadas ao primeiro não. Nos termos do IRS, isto significa que o dinheiro doado ao Greenpeace Fund Inc. - conhecido como organização 501(c)(3) (esses números vêm do texto da lei fiscal correspondente) - pode ser deduzido do imposto de renda de quem contribui, ao passo que os fundos doados ao Greenpeace Inc., classificado como entidade 501(c)(4), não podem.

Portanto, claro está que é muito mais difícil levantar fundos para uma empresa do grupo 501(c)(4), já que, neste caso, os doadores não contam com muitas vantagens.

É por isso que o IRS adota regras muito rigorosas relativamente à maneira como podem ser empregados os donativos entregues a uma entidade 501(c)(3). Grupos 501(c)(3) limitam-se, basicamente, a promover atividades de cunho caritativo, religioso ou educacional. Eles até podem transferir recursos para entidades 501(c)(4), desde que todo o dinheiro proveniente dessas doações submeta-se às mesma restrições que incidem sobre todas as atividades das entidades 501(c)(3).

É aí que o verde do Greenpeace começa a virar geleca: segundo o PIW, quase todo o dinheiro livre de taxas levantado pelo grupo ambiental é transferido à sua organização irmã que promove todas aquelas atividades espetaculosas - e tipicamente ilegais - voltadas para a mídia, como invasão e destruição de propriedade, atividades estas que não nos parecem ter muito a ver com caridade ou ensino.

De acordo com as declarações de imposto de renda de 1999 do Greenpeace Inc. e do Greenpeace Fund Inc. – as mais recentes de que dispomos –, mais de US$ 4 milhões foram transacionados entre os dois grupos. O Greenpeace Fund Inc., organização 501(c)(3) – que obviamente teve muito mais facilidade para captar recursos, pelos motivos já expostos – passou à sua irmã Greenpeace Inc. US$ 4,25 milhões em 1999, o que, grosso modo, representou 30% do orçamento desta última no mesmo ano.

Segundo dados colhidos pelo PIW em vários formulários de declaração de impostos e prestação de contas do Greenpeace referentes ao período 1998/2000, o braço 501(c)(3), Greenpeace Fund Inc., transferiu um total de US$ 24 milhões a outros subgrupos do Greenpeace que também não podem solicitar contribuições passíveis de dedução no imposto de renda.

Mike Hardimann, presidente do PIW, tem uma definição muito concisa para os malabarismos contábeis do Greenpeace: "É uma forma de lavar dinheiro, essa é que é a verdade".

Não é de surpreender que um desfalque de US$ 24 milhões no cofres públicos não desperte nenhum interesse na mídia, e que haja tanta falta de interesse diante da divulgação dos nomes de peso que custeiam o Greenpeace? Empresas bem estabelecidas, de sobrenomes de pedigree como Rockefeller, Merck, Mott, MacArthur, Packard e Turner já contribuíram com somas elevadas, obtendo isenção fiscal e possibilitando ao Greenpeace uma movimentação mais fácil de seus recursos.

Por conta dos deveres legais que competem a tais grupos – isto é, assegurar a utilização devida dos fundos sujeitos a isenção fiscal –, a quantidade de matérias saborosas que essa bagunça poderia gerar é coisa nada desprezível. Mas a mídia solta um bocejo coletivo diante de tudo isso.

Uma rápida busca nos arquivos de notícias Nexis revela a existência de apenas doze reportagens, contando jornal e televisão, que têm como assunto a denúncia do PIW sobre o Greenpeace. E a única pessoa que queimou as pestanas pensando no assunto foi o incansável colunista Deroy Murdock, na National Review Online.

É possível, claro, que o Greenpeace saia limpo dessa história. Mas também pode ser que não. O velho jornalismo investigativo veria aqui o início promissor de uma escavação. É pena que o evidente viés esquerdista da mídia deixe claro que isso não irá acontecer.

Publicado em Townhall, edição de 21 de novembro de 2003
Tradução: Maria Inês de Carvalho

quinta-feira, setembro 09, 2004

Após Beslan

After Beslan
Russia's horror
Sep 9th 2004 From The Economist print edition
Nobody should excuse what happened in Beslan—but Chechnya still needs a solution
“THEY have declared war on us,” said one Russian television anchorman as he began his report on the massacre in Beslan. And indeed, the terrorists who devastated a school and its hostages on September 3rd wrought carnage of proportions usually seen only in wartime: the death toll, in what is only a small town, may exceed 500.
Even wars are rarely this cruel. They have rules, sort of, one of which is to avoid harming civilians where possible, and especially children. The terrorists in Beslan deliberately went for the most innocent and defenceless targets; they timed their attack, on the first day of the school year, to catch the maximum number; they tortured their small captives by refusing them all food and water; and when one of the explosives they had rigged in the school gymnasium went off, apparently by accident, they shot fleeing hostages in the back before blowing the building apart. If this were war, such bestial, inhuman acts would richly deserve the name of war crimes.
Errors and omissions
The world should recognise and affirm that. Yet it is also important to draw other lessons from Beslan. One is that the Russian security forces made mistakes that may have cost many lives. They had not established how many hostages or terrorists there were, they did too little to secure the area and bring in emergency services, they even allowed armed civilians to join the siege. That may have forced their hand when the terrorist bomb exploded (see article).
Just a week earlier, the blowing-up of two Russian airliners by suicide bombers had made little difference to government policies or to Russians' lives, besides a perfunctory increase in identity checks on passengers arriving at Moscow airports from the south of Russia. Beslan, however, has shaken the country's leadership to the core. “This is a total, cruel and full-scale war that again and again is taking the lives of our fellow citizens,” said Vladimir Putin, Russia's president.
The language of war can unify a nation. Like George Bush, who declared “war on terror” after September 11th, Mr Putin is putting his country on a war footing. He has promised “measures aimed at strengthening our country's unity”, better co-ordination of forces in the northern Caucasus, and “entirely new approaches to the way the law-enforcement agencies work.” And, as before, he has striven to link Russia's problems to America's: “What we are facing is direct intervention of international terror directed against Russia.” In effect, he wants “9/3” to be seen as Russia's 9/11.
But that is disingenuous, and may even be dangerous. The verified links between Chechen terrorists and al-Qaeda are few and tenuous. Intelligence sources doubt that the “Islambouli Brigades” that claimed responsibility for the two aircraft bombings last month actually did the deed. The Russians claim that ten of the hostage-takers in Beslan may have been Arabs, but no proof has been offered besides indistinct pictures and some sounds that just might be Arabic. All the signs are that the mastermind was Shamil Basayev, a Chechen who has organised a series of terrorist attacks, including on a hospital in Budyennovsk in 1995 and a theatre in Moscow in 2002.
Governments that go to war have a duty not only to win, but also to stop future ones breaking out. And that means understanding their root causes—which is not at all to imply excusing or condoning them. Stressing the Chechens' links with al-Qaeda lets Mr Putin wriggle out of acknowledging that America's and Russia's terrorist threats are more different than they are alike. Al-Qaeda's jihad is the product of complex circumstances, in many countries, in which America's foreign policy was only one contributory factor.
Russia's conflict in Chechnya is home-grown, nurtured in a republic that has been systematically destroyed in the struggle for power. Russia has tried to wipe out Chechnya's separatists, first through direct military force, and more recently through “Chechenisation”—ie, foisting the problem on to a local strongman (the latest luckless candidate, Alu Alkhanov, was put in place in rigged elections only two weeks ago). But the result has been to breed an anarchy in which soldiers and separatists alike kidnap and murder the innocent with impunity.
Crackdowns on rebels hiding in neighbouring republics have simply spread the lawlessness. The Beslan raiders included not just Chechens but Ingush and other northern Caucasians. Their evil deeds may now revive the old conflict between mainly Christian Ossetians and mainly Muslim Ingush. “Chechenisation” was meant to contain Chechnya; now it threatens to engulf the region. Yet Mr Basayev's Islamic fundamentalism is borrowed from abroad; it would attract few sympathisers were it not for the misery created at home.
Mr Putin said after Beslan that “we showed ourselves to be weak, and the weak get beaten.” The implication is that he will now be even tougher in Chechnya. Not only is that likely to stir up more terrorism; it also ignores one of the conflict's main drivers, which is cash. It suits certain Chechens, particularly the Kadyrov clan that now in effect controls the republic, to keep the war going, in large part because they make money out of it. It suits many in Moscow who connive at and benefit from the corruption, smuggling and worse in Chechnya. And it suits some Russian commanders and law-enforcement bosses who get their cut from Chechen oil wells, arms sales and the bribes that everyone—terrorists included—pays to get through the checkpoints that dot the northern Caucasus.
Part of the solution in Chechnya must be to break today's nexus of perverse incentives that do so much to keep the war going. That means not ever-tougher controls on the whole population, in a vain attempt to root out terrorists, but starting at last to tackle the top-to-bottom corruption that makes a joke of existing controls. Mr Putin seems sometimes to recognise that his armed forces are part of the problem, but his preferred solution still seems to be to impose control, through a Chechen placeman, rather than try a new approach.
What should that approach be? Ultimately, extreme autonomy, possibly leading to properly negotiated independence, should not be ruled out, if that is what most Chechens want. But right now, most just want peace. Simply making the republic independent would not only reward terror; it would not work, as Chechnya is too shattered to function on its own. Pulling the troops out would leave a bandit state, worse than the one that operated in 1996-99. Yet throughout the conflict, Mr Putin has refused to talk to moderate Chechens. Potential interlocutors have either turned extreme or lost support. Moreover, when Mr Putin calls Chechnya an “international” problem, he is right—though not in the way he claims. Ask Muslims around the world what aggrieves them, and they will mention Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, even headscarves in French schools...and Chechnya. Russia's conflict may not have started with foreign terrorists, but it has given them fodder for their own trouble-making.
That also gives western leaders an interest in helping to end it. One thing they must do is to keep telling the truth. They should offer sympathy and assistance to the Russians as victims of terrorism, not least in better training for their security forces. But even after Beslan, they should not condone Russia's human-rights abuses in Chechnya, and they should urge Mr Putin to seek out moderates with whom to talk. Perhaps after an interval, they might look for a more active involvement in the northern Caucasus. Russia has reached a dead end in Chechnya; if western offers of peacekeepers, human-rights monitors, financial or other assistance can help it to back out again, they would be well worth making.
Mr Putin will resist outside “interference”. But the Russians need help in Chechnya. And the one thing more tragic even than September 3rd would be if Budyennovsk, Moscow and now Beslan keep happening, over and over again.

[ - Thursday September 9th 2004]

Não há indícios de um choque civilizacional, como expressou Huntington? E, em que pese a falta de tática de Putin, os terroristas serão defendidos por algum grupo anti-establishment no Ocidente? Com a Rússia não tem (e nunca teve) lero-lero. O que se verá daqui para a frente será um massacre da população inocente da Chechênia. Tão inocente quanto os massacrados de Beslam. Este é o contra-senso da guerra ao terror, mas haverá outra forma? Espero que sim...
Interessante neste momento de compaixão é ver que nossos jornalistas não tem o mesmo "crivo crítico" contra Vladimir Putin como tão bem expressam contra George W. Bush...