In today’s newspaper (LA Times, Thursday, September 13, 2007) there is an article revealing the withdrawal of Erwin Chemerinsky as being the new dean of the Irvine campus law school. This is a most unfortunate development for all concerned. So why did this happen, why this turn around? Lets itemize who looses and who gains. The Irvine campus has been in the news for one campus problem after another. This campus needs to settle down and get it right for a long time so the effect of time smooths down the craggy remembrances we all have of past events. This most recent development creates a huge rough edge.
For Erwin Chemerinsky, the withdrawal from starting a new law school must be a shock, a personal hurt, and a minor insult to his professional reputation. If I were Erwin Chemerinsky’s lawyer, I would propose to my client legal action against the Irvine University.
For the chancellor, who at that level of involvement in an educational institution, the job is mainly politics and to survive in that position, one must not make too many political mistakes. This is a serious political mistake for a number of reasons. First, the campus faculty, who tend to side with the liberal side of things just, might be quite upset. Second, most faculty, worth their pay, would not stand for religion and politics entering into the decision making process for selecting top quality deans. This should especially be true for public institutions and the last time I checked, the people of California owned Irvine University. This leads nicely to talking about the importance of the people surrounding the Irvine campus. Orange County, it is some times claimed, is a conservative voting area. Does that mean that the people in the geographical service area, which the campus claims to service, must have a conservative dean or worse yet, a milk toast, offend no one, dean? I think not. We already have a conservative law school at Chapman University and a conservative Dean for that law school. My point is this; I do not think the people in the service area will be happy with this decision. For the customers, both parents and students, this decision might diminish the importance of obtaining a degree from Irvine.
Who can trump the people of California? Well the chancellor, being a politician, must make the donors, local industry leaders, trustees, legislature, and governor happy. The people of California show their viewpoint, typically far removed from the process unless they feel personally affected. This current situation, I believe, will motivate the few community people one would categorize as politically active. Parents who are thinking of suggesting their child go to Irvine might choose another campus. Students who understand what is taking place might scratch Irvine off their list. So the few community leaders, parents and students will most assuredly not put immediate pressure upon the process. I put my bet on the trustees and powerful community leaders for pressuring the chancellor. It is these people who can and will trump, and trample what is best for us all.
It has been reported in the news that Erwin Chemerinsky had his offer rescinded because he was perceived as being either too liberal, too controversial, or other factor (something we do not yet know about). Why are one’s political credentials a determiner factor? Well one can argue that law is the foundation for politics in our country. Ok, so what? What it probably means is that Erwin Chemerinsky has viewpoints that some other people do not share. I guess it is abhorrent that we include anyone else in our group that is not a lemming. It is humane nature that we gravitate toward like-minded people. Even people that look similar hang out together. An educated person likes and cherishes new ideas and viewpoints, a sort of positive spiral toward enlightenment (if done correctly). So how much sense does it make to surround yourself with like-minded people? A well-educated person typically realizes their innate propensity to embrace people who are mirrors of them but at a rational level a well-educated person balances the animal instinct with a decision to value people that are different. A person who values knowing more about life will be open to different viewpoints and this necessitates hearing from people that might not normally be in one’s social circle. This further labels the chancellor’s decision a bone headed one, a non-educated decision.
I will attempt to now draw a conclusion as to whether the liberal or conservative viewpoints are more important to society today. The definition of a conservative is “it is all about me”. The liberal viewpoint is “it is all about us”. When you think about conservative, think gated communities. When you think about liberal, think about open multi cultural integrated society. When you think about conservative, think about NRA. When you think about liberal think about gun control. When you think about conservative, think about stopping stem cell research. When you think about liberal, think about advancing stem cell research. When you think about conservative think about impeding environmental concerns. When you think of liberal think of people who want to minimize our impact upon this great Earth. When you think of conservative associate that term with management and business owners. When you think of liberal think union. Conservative agenda is let me keep what I have worked so hard for. Liberal agenda is we share our riches with others so others will not war with me. When you think of the conservative line of thinking draw the parallel of what is going on in Iraqi (All about me, not willing to share).
A rich private institution, Chapman University, must have a conservative faculty base, and a conservative dean of their law school. The rich embrace conservatism for conservatism speaks for the rich. It is galling that the public institution, Irvine University, is not allowed to have a liberal dean to help balance the southern California education environment. But there again, the conservative agenda tries to rule over the rest of us instead of with us.
The conservative agenda, if taken forward into the future might result in class warfare. The lower class and the middle class are becoming one. There is a very large rich upper class that is becoming a polarized element in our society. So whom do you think put pressure upon the UCI chancellor, liberal or conservative elements?
The conservative agenda, right now, is stupid if tallied in total for what is best for this country. The liberal agenda is based an enlightened view of life, an educated view of our society and our role as struggling individuals in this absurd world we are all actors in.
My final point is this. The conservative agenda right now is keeping our society stagnant, even moving backward. The liberal agenda tends to push society into making all of us live out our lives better for all of us. I think the reversal of the appointment of Erwin Chemerinsky is a further attempt of the conservatives to keep us stagnant and not advancing forward and the same can be said for the Irvine campus and I suspect the reasons are personal, devoid of intellect and thus short sighted.