Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Political Complexion

College freshman are becoming slightly more ideological according to this study which finds that conservatism, while still not the majority stance among college undergrads, is embraced by more freshmen today than at any time in the history of the survey:

When asked to characterize their political views, 43.3 percent of college freshmen identified as "middle-of-the-road," dropping 1.7 percentage points from 2005 to the lowest value since this was first measured by the CIRP in 1970. Both "liberal" (28.4 percent) and "conservative" (23.9 percent) each increased by 1.3 percentage points from 2005 (an increase of 16,900 students nationally). Not only is the percentage of students identifying as "liberal" at the highest level since 1975 (30.7 percent), but the percentage identifying as "conservative" is at the highest point in the history of the Freshman Survey. This indicates that freshmen are moving away from a moderate position in their political viewpoints.

For the students' answers to specific questions see the study at the link.


The Second Holocaust

Benny Morris tells us what he believes the intermediate future will be for Jews in Israel:

The second Holocaust will not be like the first. The Nazis, of course, industrialized mass murder. But still, the perpetrators had one-on-one contact with the victims. They may have dehumanized them, over months and years of appalling debasement and in their minds, before the actual killing. But, still, they were in eye- and ear-contact, sometimes in tactile contact, with their victims.

The second Holocaust will be quite different. One bright morning, in five or 10 years' time, perhaps during a regional crisis, perhaps out of the blue, a day or a year or five years after Iran's acquisition of the bomb, the mullahs in Qom will convoke in secret session, under a portrait of the steely-eyed Ayatollah Khomeini, and give President Ahmadinejad, by then in his second or third term, the go ahead.

The orders will go out, and the Shihab III and IV missiles will take off for Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Haifa, and Jerusalem, and probably some military sites, including Israel's half-dozen air and alleged nuclear missile bases. Some of the Shihabs will be nuclear-tipped, perhaps even with multiple warheads. Others will be dupes, packed merely with biological or chemical agents, or old newspapers, to draw off or confuse Israel's anti-missile batteries and Home Guard units.

With a country the size and shape of Israel, an elongated 8,000 square miles, probably four or five hits will suffice: no more Israel. A million or more Israelis, in the greater Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem areas, will die immediately. Millions will be seriously irradiated. Israel has about 7 million inhabitants. No Iranian will see or touch an Israeli. It will be quite impersonal.

Read the rest of Morris' piece at the link.

And of course it's not just Israel which is at grave risk. Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is now threatening to destroy the U.S. and he's working on the nuclear weapons that will give him the capability to do it. If the belief that Saddam had WMD was sufficient reason for the Democrats to vote to topple the leadership in Iraq, how much more convinced must they be that Iran must be dealt with similarly?


On Love

Gideon Strauss has a lovely little meditation on love at Comment. For those who enjoy reading love stories will also enjoy reading Anne Dayton's essay on stories she loves.