Commentary

Right-wing paranoia drives attack on UNC centers

UNCThere 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.

This is from the account in Raleigh’s News & Observer:

“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.

9 Comments


  1. LayintheSmakDown

    December 12, 2014 at 8:56 am

    I think the real question should be are Fitzsimon, his minions and the rest of the state’s radical left-wing establishment really so sensitive that they can’t tolerate even such a modest degree of scrutiny? If these “centers” are really there for altruistic reasons that benefit all North Carolinans, wouldn’t they be able to stand up to a bit of questioning? If there is nothing to hide and they produce tangible benefits, won’t they be able to easily make their case?

  2. Alex

    December 12, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Exactly right ! There is tremendous fat in the UNC system…..way too many high-paid administrators doing essentially nothing. The recent academic scandal is testimony to that fact.

  3. Donald Ball

    December 12, 2014 at 9:21 am

    “Fitzsimon, his minions and the rest of the state’s radical left-wing establishment”

    If you think this represents the radical left-wing, you really have no idea what you’re talking about.

    In answer to your last: the supposition is that the benefits may be intangible, higher order (thus difficult to measure), or inherently subjective, so a rational-sounding business case can be made to eliminate them. It is, of course, telling that centers flattering the prejudices of the powerful were not under consideration by this committee.

  4. Alan

    December 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    TIN…FOIL…HAT…CRAZY…TALK…. from the far-right loons who obsessively must be 1st to post on just about every topic. You kids are just far too transparent…

  5. Alex

    December 13, 2014 at 8:30 am

    My grandfather used to say that someone who calls other people names generally does that because he has nothing to say of any importance himself.

  6. LayintheSmakDown

    December 14, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Yes, I have learned to just skip over Alan/ML’s comments as they are meant to take away from the conversation rather than add to it.

    Donald, we should not be sinking dollars into these ventures if they are just named as something to make us “feel good” while paying the administrators huge dollars. Just look at Gene Nichol and his huge houses in the Triangle and at the beach, if you are that concerned with poverty why should you be paid at that level?

  7. Cabral

    December 15, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Several points: To Layinthesmakdown – Sinking dollars??? information provided to the BOG subcommittee documented that UNC Centers and Institutes produce $7.00 in return for every $1.00 they are allocated. And what does Gene Nichol’s income have to do with an issue of STATE responsibility. The state has a responsibility to serve and address the needs of those who may not be able to do so for themselves. If Gene Nichol was to quite tomorrow these problems would remain, so he isn’t the problem. At least Nichols pushes the state to take address its responsibilities.

    Additionally, if the BOG had particular questions about some of the Centers, why not do what everyone else with an ounce of common sense does — pick up the %$#@# phone and ask for explanations. The reason the BOG is being excoriated in the press is a reflection of how transparently political and ideological the “show trials” have been.

  8. LayintheSmakDown

    December 15, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Cabral,
    Those $7 of grants are still typically from taxpayers. Whether it is from the State or Feds it is still a dollar confiscated from the American people.

    Gene Nichols’ income comes from the state funding and it is crony bureaucracy at its worst. I am sure you understand just insert the progressive line of CEO and Corporation for Director and Poverty Center and the light bulb may go off for you.

    The BOG is operating like all parts of the government should, out in the open where all can see it. I for one think it is great to call these people into an open forum where all can hear what they say. There are way too many back room deals that take place in the halls of government. What you are upset about is that it is now the progressive causes that are finally being questioned rather than given carte blanche to do whatever they please.

  9. Alan

    December 16, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Since when has ANYTHING from LSD or Alex added to ANY conversation here? You reflexively respond to just about EVERY single topic here with an obsession about being 1st to post like some kindergarten kid. I don’t think there’s a single person who visits this site would give you an ounce of credit for being a concerend citizen vs. the paid political bloggers that you so obviously are.

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