An Independent Policy Forum held on 3/7/08. Peter L. Hays, Associate Director of the Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies, and Theresa Hitchens, Director of the Center for Defense Information, discuss the implications that the U.S. takedown of a malfunctioning satellite have for a potential arms race in space.
The Civil Rights revolution was a pinnacle of American history, freeing African Americans from centuries of disenfranchisement. Yet, according to linguist John McWhorter, it has had a tragic side effect. As racism recedes as a serious obstacle to black advancement, many black Americans have been misled into a self-destructive ideological detour. Has affirmative action fostered the cults of Victimology, Separatism, and Anti-Intellectualism? Have false assumptions and low expectations conditioned black students for low achievement? If racism is to be dealt a final death blow, what strategies must Americans black and white pursue?
Begun in the 1960s, government affirmative action policies are now in retreat in California, Washington, Florida, and many other states and localities in the U.S. Will such changes end America's racial divide or merely intensify it? Can the American Dream be colorblind or are racial preferences necessary to right the wrongs of past discrimination? Is affirmative action a force for fairness and justice or instead merely a "feel good" policy that cloaks the real barriers to social and economic advancement for the most disadvantaged? Ward Connerly and William Bagley, two distinguished members of the Board of Regents at the University of California, will debate this very timely and crucial issue.
Thirty years after the civil rights laws of the 1960s, race may still be the most divisive social issue of our time. Black unemployment, illegitimacy, crime, and school drop-out rates remain multiples of those for whites. Proposition 187's ongoing legal battles, Governor Pete Wilson's pledge to abolish affirmative action in state government, the O.J. Simpson trial, and the California Civil Rights Initiative attest to the continuing ability of race-related issues to polarize public debate. In contrast to the optimism that followed the civil rights movement of the 1960s, many today even doubt the possibility of an America characterized by widespread racial harmony.
In this Independent Policy Forum, bestselling author Dinesh D'Souza will address these and other issues, based on his new, widely acclaimed book, The End of Racism. Is racial prejudice innate, or is it culturally acquired? Is it peculiar to the West, or is it found in other societies? What is the legacy of slavery, and does contemporary America owe African-Americans compensation for it? Have government affirmative action programs helped or harmed minority groups as well as the general public? Has the civil rights movement succeeded or failed to overcome the legacy of segregation and racism? Can persons of color be racist? Is racism the most serious problem facing black Americans today, and if not, what is? Is racism an increasing or declining phenomenon?
Mr. D'Souza will chronicle the political, cultural, and intellectual history of racism. Do current government policies intended to combat the harm of racism actually help, or do they instead perpetuate a cycle of impoverishment and dependency, and hence, racial stigmatization? In his talk, Mr. D'Souza will chronicle the history of racism, examine the failed policies that have helped spread it, offer a way out of the deadlocked debate about race, and set forth guiding principles to create a more harmonious, multiracial society.
What happens when government goes unchallenged, and when questions regarding present or proposed policies go unasked? With the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War, for example, Americans are increasingly wary of foreign conflicts. Yes, American forces are still active in Somalia and are being called for in the Balkans and elsewhere. To understand how government officials may seek to shift public opinion on unpopular programs, John MacArthur has found understanding the precedents set during the war against Saddam Hussein to be most insightful.
In his presentation, Mr. MacArthur will draw upon his widely acclaimed book, Second Front: Censorship and Propoganda in the Gulf War, to scrutinize the government's campaign to tightly control the American media during Operation Desert Storm. With a reporter's critical eye and a historian's sensibility, he will trace decades of press-government regulations during Vietnam, Grenada, and Panama which helped set the stage for restrictions on Gulf War reporting and for a government public-relations triumph.
In his talk, Mr. Macarthur will detail the behind-the-scenes activities during Operation Desert Storm by the U.S. and Kuwaiti governments as well as the media's being co-opted while its rights to observe, question, and report were heavily restricted far beyond and needs to protect American lives. He will demonstrate how, despite a torrent of words and images from the Persian Gulf, Americans were systematically and deliberately kept in the dark about events, politics, and simple facts during the Gulf Crisis.
Drawing upon frank and startling interviews, Mr. MacArthur will discuss how the Pentagon, after locking out the press in Grenada and Panama, pooled, censored, and escorted the media under armed guard in the gulf to a degree seldom seen before in America's wars. As a result. the media may have merely become glorified government stenographers, uncritically accepting such stories as the Kuwaiti babies being snatched from incubators by Iraqui soldiers, the precision of "smart bombs," the exaggerated size and morale of Hussein's forces, and the nature of losses on both sides. In revealing the workings of propoganda, Mr. MacArthur will question the impact and need for such extraordinary government power.