There were lots of compelling responses delivered by the defenders of various UNC Centers at yesterday’s inquisition in Chapel Hill, but one of the best came from Dean Jack Boger of the UNC Law School.
“Boger pointed out that the law school’s Banking Institute was created to support the banking industry in North Carolina. ‘We don’t ask that center to consider socialism as an alternative or to talk about the dissolution of large banks,’ he said. Boger also pointed out that public health professors advocate against sugary drinks in the fight against obesity.”
Boger’s observation neatly highlighted the central absurdity of the ideological attack on the various UNC Centers launched by surrogates for right-wing financier/politico and wannabe UNC prez, Art Pope: Pope has already won. It is already the mission of a vast swath of the UNC system to support, defend, apologize for and train the future leaders of North Carolina’s corporate business establishment.
The university system works hand-in-glove on a daily basis with giant, profit-making corporations and small businesses throughout the state to produce its technology and its workers. Heck, scores of corporations got their start in the university system as did Pope and his chief assistant John Hood. Indeed, one can make a compelling argument that it has, in many ways, become the central and overriding mission of the UNC system to nurture and fuel North Carolina’s increasingly greed-driven and exploitative economy.
Given such a backdrop, the organized campaign of right-wing attacks against a few outposts of public-spirited people working to curb some of the excesses of that economy, speak on occasion for human rights and train a few advocates to do likewise in the future is downright preposterous.
Are Pope, his minions and the rest of the state’s right-wing establishment really so sensitive that they can’t tolerate even such a modest degree of backtalk?
In one of the darkest and most memorable moments of The Godfather saga, Michael Corleone’s consigliere Tom Hagen responds to his boss’s expressed desire to eliminate additional foes who are already on the run by saying: “I mean you’ve won – do you want to wipe everybody out?”
To which Michael replies: “I don’t feel I have to wipe everybody out Tom, just my enemies.”
The current campaign against the UNC Centers feels very much as if it is driven by a similar spirit.