Professor Joseph Nye Of Harvard in the WSJ: US Has Energy For Two Centuries

WASHINGTON – Is the “shale gas revolution” now underway in America really such a big deal? You bet it is. Harvard Professor Joseph Nye, former Dean of the School of Government, stated in a WSJ op-ed piece, (Shale Gas is America’s Geopolitical Trump Card, June 9, 2014), that the perfected, made in the USA technologies, (hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling), that now enable American energy companies to extract natural gas, and oil from vast rock formations, (in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, North Dakota, and other states), almost overnight transformed the US energy outlook.

From depleted resources to super abundance

From quite recent dire projections of dwindling reserves leading to scarcity, and therefore to more and more (expensive) energy imports, in the blink of an eye, we have now entered an era of super abundance:

“Ten years ago —writes Nye— many experts were speaking of “peak oil”  –the idea that even reserves in Saudi Arabia had topped off. The US was regarded as increasingly dependent on energy imports and was building terminals to import high-priced liquefied natural gas. Instead, North America is now building terminals to export its low cost LNG, and the continent is expected to be self-sufficient in energy in the 2020s, according to a broad consensus of energy experts. The Energy Department estimates that the country [America] has 25 trillion cubic meters of technically recoverable resources of shale gas, which when combined with other oil-and-gas resources could last for two centuries”. [bold added]

Two hundred years of oil and gas  

Got that? The consensus now is that America has about two centuries –that’s two hundred years– of relatively cheap, domestic energy; while only a few years ago experts were predicting the exhaustion of national oil and gas reserves, and therefore the necessity to buy most of the energy we would need to keep the economic engines running from other producers, with profoundly negative balance of payments and energy security consequences.

Great news

Of course, energy is only one of the building blocks of a healthy economy. (And we still need to import oil, hopefully most of it from North America: namely Canada and Mexico, and no longer from OPEC).

Still, abundant domestic energy is a very big deal. The private sector-led shale gas revolution is probably the best economic news America has had in the last 20 years.




Forget Global Warming – America Should Reduce Carbon Emissions In Order To Improve Public Health

WASHINGTON – Most Americans do not know that much about global warming. Likewise, most Americans do not have clear opinions as to whether global warming is man-made, what problems it has caused and will cause, and what should be done about it.

Regulating carbon

Indeed, several opinion polls reveal that global warming and climate change are way down the list of issues that people in America are concerned about.

In the light of this public opinion context, President Obama’s June 2 policy initiative to cut down CO2 emissions by regulatory fiat, as opposed to introducing legislation aimed at achieving this goal, looks like a daring move.

Coal will be penalized

Without getting into the many technical details, the upshot is quite simple. Whatever the benefits down the line, in the short and medium term, regulations will hurt some energy sector, coal first and foremost. This means that jobs will be lost in the coal mining industry, (very significant in some states such as West Virginia and Montana), the closing down of older, high emissions coal-fired power plants, and a lot more. Do consider that America still gets about 40% of all its electricity from coal.

Higher prices

Apart from the direct hit on the coal sector, it is also obvious that the regulatory obligations to switch to cleaner, (and still more expensive), technologies for electric power generation will translate at least in some regions into higher electricity prices, that will be viewed by most opponents as a “global warming tax”.

Pay more? For what?

And here is the political rub. As indicated, most Americans do not feel strongly about global warming. Therefore the idea that they will have to pay for the cost of stopping it or reversing it may not look very appealing. In fact it will be strongly opposed. We see already the arguments: “Obama’s crazy policies will kill jobs while they will impose an unnecessary economic burden on businesses and consumers”.

No global warming benefits

That said, it gets worse. By its own calculations, the US Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA), the federal body put in charge of regulating emission, has estimated that all these new policies, curbs and de facto taxes on coal, will change almost nothing when it comes to global emissions. Therefore, the impact of this new US policy on the larger goal of stopping global warming is practically zero.

It is indeed clear that, unless China, India and other emerging economies adopt stringent standards, global emissions will continue to grow, and therefore the goal of stopping, let alone reversing, global warming will not be achieved, whatever America decides to do today.

Regulations will be challenged

So, here is the situation. Using unprecedented regulatory prerogatives that –rest assured– will be challenged in courts throughout the 50 states, the Obama administration says it wants to impose costly burdens on several economic sectors, with the goal of stopping global warming. And yet, the EPA, its chief enforcer, admits that the impact of this policy on global warming will be almost zero.

This does not look like a political winner.

Happy environmentalists

Sure enough, Obama’s initiative will please the small but well-organized and well-funded US eco-lobby. There will be millions of Americans who will be enormously pleased. They view carbon based energy as evil. Therefore, anything aimed at reducing its use is most welcome. And it is also true that this minority has the support of the liberal media establishment, most opinion leaders and a slew of experts and academics. And all this matters politically.

And, of course, in combination with other Democrats, these groups create political majorities in traditionally left-leaning states on both coasts: California, Oregon, New York, Massachusetts, etc.

But, even if we grant that in many politically relevant states there is genuine political support for curbing carbon emissions, these new regulations will be strongly opposed in many states.

And this is largely because the administration is unable to make a credible case for what it wants to do. Indeed, as powerful and vocal as the anti-carbon coalitions are in several key states, they do not constitute a national majority. Not even close.

Some opinion leaders have argued that, by enacting CO2 restrictions, America “will set a good example”, that will force China and India to follow suit. Really? And so we create a de facto carbon tax in the hope that this will inspire others? This is silly.

Focus on public health benefits

In my view the only way in which the Obama administration may be able to create a broader coalition of clean energy supporters is by dropping the dubious anti-global warming goal of these regulations, while enhancing the public health benefits.

Yes, noxious emissions may or may not  increase global warming. However they do have a demonstrable and mostly negative impact on the health, well-being, and life expectancy of those who are directly exposed to them.

Emissions make you sick

Here the science and therefore the policy argument in favor of reduction is a lot stronger, and therefore a lot more cogent. Indeed, if we look at China and India, we can see the dreadful impact of unregulated power generation. These countries have horrible rates of respiratory problems affecting mostly children and old people. They have high incidence of asthma and various forms of cancer.

Now, this is an argument that most Americans can understand. “Do you still want cheap power generated by dirty coal, even though this means that you will die younger because of the emissions?”

Higher electricity costs are OK, if this means improved health

Again, I am no expert on how this information can be presented in an accurate and understandable way to the general public. But in my judgement it will be a lot easier to find allies for a lower carbon economy by showing the public health advantages of clean energy.

All considered, higher electrical bills are a small price to pay if the alternative is having lower utility costs but also having your children sick with chronic respiratory diseases –children who may die younger as a result of the noxious emissions generated by coal-fired power plants.

 




Susan Rice: Bergdahl Served With “Honor And Distinction” Because He Volunteered – Really?

WASHINGTON – The whole “liberation of Bowe Bergdahl” operation was supposed to be good public relations for President Obama. Instead, in the blink of an eye, it turned from heart warming end-of-the -long-war story into a gigantic fiasco for the Obama administration.

Fiasco

It turns out that the US went to great lengths to free a deserter about whom nobody who served with him has anything nice or even charitable to say. And the President, who should have known all this, still went ahead and made a high profile White House announcement about the regained freedom of a good American soldier held in captivity by the evil Taliban, with Bergdhal’s parents on his sides. So these are the people this President believes deserve special recognition? Deserters?

Obama defends his decision

Taken aback by the strong reactions about what was supposed to be good news, but still hoping that the general public will get tired of the story of how the administration traded 5 senior Taliban commanders held at Guantanamo Bay for 1 US soldier held by the Taliban who may actually be tried for desertion, Obama stood his ground.

Indeed, in subsequent days, the President reaffirmed –actually with defiance– that this was the right thing to do. You see, we are Americans. We do not leave any of our own behind, no matter who they are or what they did. We just do not do that, under any circumstances.

Why the White House statement? 

Well, this may be a good argument about working towards the liberation of any POW, Bergdahl included. But if it is so, if this is routine, established practice, what was the point of inviting Bergdahl’s parents to the White House in order to make the announcement of the end of the long ordeal of a good American held in captivity ?

If Obama knew about Bergdahl’s at least questionable service record, what was the point of describing him as a brave soldier who had to endure 5 long years in the hands of the Taliban?

Sadly, in all this Obama looks clueless, and therefore silly.

Susan Rice does it again

But, wait, for there is more. Indeed, Susan Rice, Obama’s National Security Advisor, looks even worse. She did say on CNN, after the prisoners exchange and the eruption of the controversy, that Bowe Bergdhal was a good American soldier who had served “with honor and distinction”. Really? A soldier who voluntarily abandoned his post in a war zone and disappeared served with “honor and distinction”?

“Honor and distinction”

When given a chance to explain what she meant, Ms. Rice said this:

“What I was referring to is the fact that this was a young man who volunteered to serve his country in uniform in a time of war. That is itself a very honorable thing”.

Ah, you see, that explains it. What Ms. Rice really meant is something like this: All members of the United States Armed Forces, no matter their actual record during their service, served with “honor and distinction” , because they all volunteered in a time of war. Bergdahl volunteered and so, no matter what he did or did not do during his service, he served “with honor and distinction”.

Explanation worse than the statement

This “explanation” is preposterous, lame and silly. Think about it, according to Ms. Rice, all enlisted men or women, whatever their record during their service, automatically are recognized as having served with “honor and distinction” by virtue of the fact that they volunteered. Imagine this: while wearing the uniform, you committed war crimes. But, hey, you volunteered, and so you served with “honor and distinction”.

The honorable thing would have been for Ms. Rice to apologize for having said something really out of place, in the light of what she knew or should have known about Bergdahl’s desertion.

Remember the Benghazi story?

But no. She wanted to defend an absurd statement by explaining it. And so she said another preposterous thing.

Of course, it is impossible not to connect this implausible characterization of Bergdahl’s military record with her deceitful explanation of the “Benghazi Attack” a few years ago, in September 2012.

At that time, she went on several TV shows repeating  a misleading story about what caused the (September 11) attack against the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the death of the US Ambassador and three other Americans. The point of that fabrication was to protect the President who was running for re-election.

This time she did not say that the characterization of Bergdahl as a very good soldier came from some “talking points” she had been given. But the result is the same. She lost credibility.

Loss of credibility

There you have it: as a result of yet another botched affair, the President lost credibility; the National Security Advisor lost credibility.

In the broader context of “red lines” about the use of chemical weapons in Syria that have been crossed, inconclusive “negotiations” with Iran bent on acquiring nuclear weapons capabilities, token reprisals against Putin who acts like the neighborhood bully regarding Ukraine, while we offer meals ready to eat and socks as military aid to the Kiev government, (this is not a joke), all this makes me sad.

 




Putin’s “Isolation” Ended – President Poroshenko Should Realize That Eastern Ukraine Is Lost

WASHINGTON – National Security Advisor Susan Rice said a few days ago in a TV interview that the goal of Western sanctions against Russia is to force Putin to stop his meddling in Eastern Ukraine and to give Crimea back to Ukraine.

Punishing Russia?

She added that Russia is isolated because Europe and the US stand together in condemning Moscow’s aggression.

Isolated. Indeed. As a result of these truly “heavy sanctions” , (yes, I say this in jest), signalling Europe’s displeasure, CEOs of major European companies (Siemens, for instance) felt an obligation to go and visit Putin.

Business as usual with Putin

And Putin, while excluded from the traditional annual G 8 summit, was still invited to France to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landing. And he was also invited to have dinner with French President Francois Hollande. Such is the heavy punishment for aggression against weaker countries!

Europe is trying to help

Of course, one might argue that all this is for a good cause. You see, thanks to Europe’s good will, Putin had a chance to meet with Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s new President, in the context of the gathering of world leaders to celebrate D-Day’s 70th Anniversary. And, hey, it looks as if Putin was nice enough to talk to Poroshenko. And —can you believe this— the Russian President is embracing a softer approach on relations with Ukraine. Isn’t this great?

Ukraine is all alone

No, it is not great at all. Poroshenko should understand that Putin won while he and the West lost. In fact the West did not lose. It did not even engage.

The West, while willing to support sorry-looking Ukraine economically, will do nothing serious to stop Russia’s support for the insurrection in Eastern Ukraine, let alone force Putin to give Crimea back. (Susan Rice may say it and repeat it. But, in so doing, she will only look silly).

Eastern Ukraine is lost

I said it before: Eastern Ukraine is a festering wound that cannot be healed. It would be wise for Poroshenko to proceed with a painful but in the long run healing amputation. There is no way that Russia will stop supporting the separatists in the East. And these separatists, emboldened by Putin’s help and aware of Western passivity, have no incentive to stop demanding independence.

Realistically, unless it wants to create something like Syria’s hell with thousands of civilian casualties and tens of thousands of refugees, plus the guarantee of Russia’s direct intervention, the Kiev government should know by now that it has no chance to prevail militarily.

And Putin of course has even more leverage. In order to survive, Ukraine needs Russian gas. It has no other option.

Accept territorial losses and focus on the economy

Aware of all this, Poroshenko should be realistic. By now he should have understood that he will get no real help from the West where it would really matter: reconstituting Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Therefore he should come to terms with the simple fact that the East is lost, just as Crimea is lost. Accept the loss and focus on fixing the rest of the county.

If Poroshenko really believes that the mild sanction imposed by the West will force Putin to “be nice” and give back what he has taken without suffering any real consequences, then he is a fool.

Europe and America have accepted the results of Russian aggression

As for America and Europe, it is clear that implicitly they treat Putin’s misbehavior as a case of “bad manners” on an almost “domestic” issue that does not affect them that much.

In fact, they privately recognize that Russia had a case regarding the “unjust” way the borders were drawn after the collapse of the old Soviet Union. They only object to the inelegant way Putin went about reclaiming land, (that they privately agree really belongs to Russia).

However, as long as Putin’s appetites go only as far as claiming a few pieces of old Russia, beyond symbolic gestures aimed at affirming displeasure with “bad manners”, nobody is going to care, let alone act.

End of America’s leadership

So much for a new world order in which the unilateral use of force to settle disputes would not be allowed. So much for America as the guardian of this new world order.

And so much for Pax Americana, in this age of penury, crushing debt, myopic leadership and retreat.

 

 




Can Italy Get Out Of Its Economic Hole?

WASHINGTON – The Italian economy is still a sorry mess. But the Italian political scene has improved, somewhat. The question is whether better leadership will have an impact on this battered country. The answer is: probably not.

Strong political leadership

The Democratic Party, (the leading center left political force, born out of the ashes of the old Communist Party), now led by newish Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, did very well in the recently held elections for the European Parliament.

The Democratic Party got 40%, essentially a vote of confidence expressed by most Italian voters. Compare that to the dismal showing of the French Socialist! Even better for Renzi, the populist 5 Stelle movement, the “anti-everything” force that would like to send all politicians to prison and start all over did not do well. It did not even hold its own. In fact it lost votes (20%) compared to its brilliant results (25%) in the latest domestic political elections.

A new direction?

So, here we have a young, dynamic, no-nonsense Prime Minister, who is really, really determined to enact major reforms and a country that believes in him and follows him.

This should be great news, right? Well, yes. Except that the Italians are famously good at saying the right things while practicing the opposite.

Corruption everywhere

Take corruption. You would think that a new Prime Minister who brought in a brand new team not tainted by the backroom deal-making occurring at the national level (Renzi used to be the Mayor of Florence) would want to clean house and really put an end to the established practice of kickbacks and fraudulent bids for public works.

Well, may be, one day he will. But not yet.

Scandals

Major scandals involving public works just emerged in Venice and in Milan. In both cities (once upon a time symbols of the efficient, hard working North) different groups are trying to get hold of lucrative contracts. In Venice it is about a huge flood barrier. In Milan it is all about the 2015 World Expo. And it is always the same story. Mayors and other public officials get money under the table for steering lucrative contracts to the right people.

The case of Venice

In Venice it is all about the large contracts related to the construction of a major flood barrier that in the future should protect the historic city from rising water levels. Giorgio Orsoni, Venice Mayor, along with 34 (yes, 34) other officials, entrepreneurs and assorted politicians, are now under investigation for alleged bribes and kickbacks.

The sheer number of people potentially involved suggests that corruption is not an issue of “a few bad apples”. It suggests that corruption is “a system”. Whenever there is a major project  involving large amounts of public funds, (more than US $ 3 billion in the case of the flood barrier for Venice), elected officials get  something under the table so that designated contractors can “win” a bid.

This practice is so deeply engrained in Italy that it seems almost impossible to eradicate it. And yet, as everybody knows, efficient, competent and reliable government is an impossible dream anywhere corruption dominates. This is true in Nigeria, in India, in Ukraine and in Italy.

How to fix the economy?

But what about Renzi’s plans to re-energize the economy? Well, here you have another “mission impossible” type of project. Renzi has plans to incentivize investments and hiring through changes in taxation and labor rules. But it will be hard to get Italy growing again. (For the record there has been zero growth in the last several years).

In large part this is because most of its sectors, often dominated by small and medium-sized companies, are not competitive. Not much is spent on R&D and therefore there is little innovation. Energy costs are high. Labor costs are high. Add to this excessive taxation, a regulatory mess and bureaucratic inefficiency and you get the full picture.

Staggering unemployment

Well, here are the scary facts. Italy’s unemployment is at 13.6%  (figures reflect data for the first quarter of 2014) –this is a 40-year high. Youth unemployment is at 46%. And in the South it gets a lot worse. Unemployment is at 21%, while youth unemployment is at 60.9%.

Got that? These are third world-like catastrophic numbers. It is clear that a young person living in the South of Italy has no chance to get a job.

Bad enough for you? Well, there is more. Italy’s national debt is over 130% of GDP. Try and pay that back with the non existent surplus produced by a perennially weak economy that is essentially on respirator.

It would take a miracle

So, here is the picture of today’s Italy for you. A country with antiquated institutions, a non competitive economy, sky-high unemployment, rampant corruption, and a colossal public debt.

I wish Prime Minister Renzi and his team best of luck. They certainly need it. In fact, more than luck they will need some kind of a miracle.

I would not count on the good will of the Italians. After all, today’s Italy is the result of their actions.




Bringing Home The Only US POW Held By The Taliban May Turn Out To Be A Bad Decision

WASHINGTON – The May 31 announcement of the liberation of Army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl who had been held by the Taliban since 2009 –that is 5 long years– was supposed to be an unadulterated “feel good” story. President Obama made the announcement at the White House, having invited there Bergdahl’s parents. Perfect photo-op and headline: “President Obama personally delivers great news to anguished parents”.

Happy ending?

Bergdahl’s liberation looked like a heart-warming, “end of the ordeal” story –a happy ending story that fits well within the more or less accepted narrative of the longest American war now mercifully coming to a close.

Indeed, Bergdahl was the only US soldier held by the Taliban. As we are closing down the Afghanistan conflict, it seems appropriate that America negotiated at this time a prisoners exchange deal with the Taliban, (5 Taliban combatants held at Guantanamo freed, in return for 1 US prisoner), so that Bergdahl could be free.

So, happy ending? Well, not quite. Believe it or not, many Republicans (and some Democrats) in Congress do not like this deal at all.

What about the law?

First of all there is an issue of proper procedure. In open violation of the law, Obama failed to give the prescribed 30 day notice to Congress before finalizing the deal involving the liberation of the 5 Taliban senior members held at Guantanamo.

Negotiating with terrorists?

Then, beyond this (not insignificant) abuse of power issue, others question the policy rationale supporting this action. Is America now negotiating with terrorists? Our we legitimizing the Taliban by dealing with them as equals? With this precedent, are we now encouraging more kidnappings of Americans, so that they can be swapped later on for other terrorists held in America?

This is not a regular POW

But wait, there is more. And it gets worse. Indeed, it would appear that sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is not at all the American hero caught in battle by the enemy –a hero who bravely endured the hardships of captivity for 5 long years. This is no John McCain taken prisoner and then tortured by the North Vietnamese, after his plane was shot down during a bombing raid, finally coming home.

A deserter?

According to many (although unofficial) reports, prior to his capture by the Taliban, Bergdahl had expressed to his Army comrades and in some writings his disillusionment about America, the war, its purpose, and more. A few soldiers who served with him in Afghanistan had nothing nice to say about him during lengthy TV interviews. And it is established that he was captured by the Taliban after having left his camp without any authorization. Although we do not know his motives, all this looks bad. Very bad.

Indeed, if these allegations are credible, there may be enough here to charge sergeant Bowe Bergdahl with desertion in a time of war, a crime that may deserve the death penalty according to Art. 85 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

No longer a good story

You see what a mess this story has become? This is no longer about “bringing our POWs home”. This is about liberating 5 dangerous Taliban leaders in exchange for a man of questionable patriotism who may possibly be a deserter, a soldier who was taken prisoner by the Taliban because of his unjustifiable actions, (leaving his base without any authorization).

Did Obama consider all this?

Now, one would hope that President Obama knew about all these angles before he authorized this swap. However, if he considered how controversial this deal could become, why on earth would the President put his personal signature on this prisoners’ exchange by inviting Bergdahl’s parents to the White House, this way guaranteeing that Bergdahl’s liberation would become front page news, with Obama’s name for ever attached to it?

Careful consideration?

May be the President knows a lot more about this story than we have been told. May be there is nothing to the allegations that Bergdahl is in fact a deserter. May be he is in truth just an unlucky POW who suffered 5 years in captivity and who has been rescued thanks to the relentless efforts led by Obama, the Commander-in-Chief.

And may be the President has good reasons to believe that most Americans are inclined to agree with him that liberating 5 Guantanamo prisoners in order to get the freedom of 1 American soldier is a good deal.

This may turn out badly

Quite frankly, I hope the President made a good decision based on a careful assessment of all the facts. I really hope he acted wisely. Because if it is not so, if it turns out that Bergdahl is a deserter, or may be just an unhinged, mentally disturbed person who caused a lot of troubles because of his reckless behavior, Obama is not going to look good. In fact, he is going to look incompetent, or worse.

 




Most US University Professors Are Democrats – Not Good For Students Who Need To Be Exposed To Diverse Ideas

WASHINGTON – Most liberal arts departments in American universities claim that they offer students the unique opportunity to expand their horizons through unbiased teaching. They also claim to be neutral training grounds within which young minds learn the skills that enable them to test the value of different ideas. Through this wonderful, mind opening process the various opinions that will be formed down the line by each student will be the result of careful consideration enlightened by rigorous scholarly research.

The left dominates

Well, all this would be really nice if it were even remotely true. In reality most liberal arts departments in American universities are composed of academics who, whatever their scholarly accomplishment, made up their minds long ago on issues of “social justice”, “progressive politics”, “capitalism”, “oppression of minorities”, and what not. Most of them long ago embraced a left-wing view of the world, and this point of view is usually reflected in what they teach and how they teach it.

One point of view

Unfortunately, when it comes to the mind-set of those whose job is supposedly to help young people expand their horizons, we see that most of them share the same ideology. And this assessment is not just based on anecdotal evidence picked up here and there. We are about talking statistically proven quasi-unanimity.

Ivy League: 96% for Obama in 2012

Do you want some facts? Well, take this morsel, extracted from a longer quote cited in the WSJ.  In his recent (May 29) Harvard commencement address, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg lamenting an increasingly intolerant environment in many American universities (intolerant of conservative opinions, that is) pointed out that “in the 2012 presidential race,  according to Federal Election Commission data, 96% of all campaign contributions from Ivy League faculty and employees went to Barack Obama”.

There you have it: 96% for Obama!. These are majorities that only a North Korean leader can aspire to. From this data the emerging picture is that at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Dartmouth and other super prestigious schools there is only one point of view. In these great places of higher learning there is only one dominant ideology. Only the left has a voice.

Freedom of choice?

Of course, all Americans, including university professors and administrators, are free to believe what they want. But when in prestigious universities there is only one voice, I would say that it is hard for students to be exposed to diverse ideas, so that they can make up their own minds later on as to what they find more convincing.

Granted, Ivy League schools, by themselves are not all of America. But they are a very important piece of it. These are the quintessential elite schools attracting some of the best students on the basis of the superior quality of their faculty.

Group think

But how can there be superior teaching in an environment where everybody thinks the same? Virtual unanimity on political predilections suggests group think. Group think leads to indoctrination. And indoctrination has nothing to do with real teaching about analysis and scholarship. Finally, the rigid ideological make up of these places also suggests that conservatives need not apply.

Party schools

But in the final analysis this depressing scenario of leftwing orthodoxy suggests something much worse. These universities by default have become the Western (perhaps milder but still dangerous) equivalent of the “party schools” of old communist countries. These were openly places of indoctrination. Their stated goal was to form the future loyal functionaries and party leaders. And we have seen the disastrous effects of forced orthodoxy.

Freedom of choice?

In America we are free to choose, of course. You do not have to apply to an Ivy League school, if you do not like how and what they teach there.

However, when many if not most high quality higher education institutions offer only one type of intellectual menu, I fear that we basically lost our freedom of choice, while we get the same results of soviet-era “education”: close-minded intellectuals who made up their minds long ago on almost everything.

These teachers are zealots. They do not help their students, and certainly they do not help us to better understand the larger social and human context they describe and analyze.