- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Sliding down the Hilltop

As a Georgetown University alumnus (College of Arts and Sciences, 1990), I read Richard Wolffs Op-Ed article, "Still Jesuit?" (April 9), with great interest and sadness. I fully agree with his thesis. This slide toward secularism has been ongoing since my time there. I was not surprised in the least to hear that John J. DeGioia (who was dean of students when I studied there) had been named president of the university.

The least of all my reasons to attend Georgetown was its Jesuit character. At 17, I knew very little of the Jesuit philosophy other than their strong belief in education. Soon after my arrival at the Hilltop and progressively throughout my four years there, I came to cherish the presence of a Jesuit priest on each dorm floor, a crucifix in many of the classrooms, the "Jez Rez" right outside my dorm window and the incredibly diverse backgrounds of the Jesuit educators on campus. The Campus Ministry Agape retreat program literally changed my life, and I still donate my full annual contribution to Georgetown to the Campus Ministry. The true liberal arts curriculum that every student is required to follow at Georgetown owes its purity to the Jesuit philosophy.

Each year, I hear more tidbits about the changes at Georgetown and the marginalization of some of the excellent Jesuit faculty. I hope (and pray) that the university rediscovers its roots, to which it owes its reputation as an outstanding liberal arts college. The notion that a Catholic education has a limited ability to produce an enlightened, well-rounded, well-educated and savvy graduate is startlingly narrow-minded and dangerously "politically correct." I would expect more from my alma mater.



In his April 9 Op-Ed article, "Still Jesuit?" Richard Wolff criticizes the decision to appoint John J. DeGioia, a layman, as the university´s new president. Mr. Wolff suggests that, by failing to appoint a Jesuit to the post, Georgetown is betraying its Catholic heritage and its dedication to the principles of the Society of Jesus.

I disagree. Where is a Jesuit more likely to be able to follow St. Ignatius´ dictum to build "men for others" in the classroom, where he can have direct interaction with students, or in an endless series of cocktail parties, golf outings and dinner cruises on the Potomac?

After all, the main task of a university president, like that of a political candidate, is fund raising: prospecting for money, discovering money and asking for money. A university president does not engage in scholarship; he barely has time to reflect on the meaning of his own life, much less for exploring the eternal questions. His encounters with students are rare and brief.

It seems that Georgetown University has made a rational and wise decision in choosing Mr. DeGioia, an able administrator whose entire career since high school has been spent on the Hilltop, rather than one of the dwindling number of Jesuit priests, to be its president. To better preserve Georgetown´s Jesuit heritage, leave the teachers in the classroom; put the bureaucrats in the front office.



Only Chinese Christians worthy of human rights crusade?

I read with much interest A.M. Rosenthals Commentary column about American businesses and the Clinton administration placing principal above principle in dealings with China, which places the oppression of people above all ("Colliding national visions," April 9).

Although I concur with his account of man´s inhumanity to man Chinese-style, I question the wisdom of his concluding paragraph. Does his call for beknighted Christians to take up their swords to free their anointed brethren imply that the millions of China´s unwashed should be fed to the dragons?

If such is the case, I suggest Mr. Rosenthal reread the not-so-tidy history of the Crusades before he tries to rally troops around the cross.



Global warning skeptics have facts on their side

Columnist John Leos amateur psychoanalysis of those who dare to question his belief in "global warming" only confirms skeptics suspicions ("Global fog with political fallout?" Commentary, April 7).

I am sure many readers would be curious to hear Mr. Leo´s proposals on exactly what U.S. politicians should do to alter fluctuating solar radiation levels and changes in the Earth´s orbit that astrophysicists cite as the most likely causes of global temperature change.

Not surprisingly, the only evidence he cites to support his own beliefs are two opinion polls: one of probable Republican primary voters in five states, the other a poll of 18-25 year olds by the Environmental Defense Fund For the benefit of poll-watchers like Mr. Leo, there are fewer than 1,000 climatologists in the entire world, and in a survey of more than 400 of them, only 10 percent said they were convinced we are witnessing global warming In a recent survey of American climatologists from 36 states, 9 out of 10 agreed with this statement: "Scientific evidence indicates variations in global temperature are likely to be naturally occurring and cyclical over very long periods of time." While these professional climatologists may not have considered Mr. Leo's "overwhelming evidence" of "drastic" global warming, I somehow doubt his poll results will change their minds.

For those old-fashioned enough to prefer that science be based on empirical evidence rather than opinion polls or easily manipulated computer models, 20 years of accurate and truly global satellite data show no increase whatsoever contrary to all of the theories on which these computer models are based

Daytime highs have in fact fallen since 1940. The Department of Agriculture's National Arboretum has published a revised Hardiness Zone Map using data from 14,500 government stations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that show safe cropping areas have moved 100 miles south, not north. This data has been confirmed by Dr. Robert Balling of the prestigious Laboratory of Climatology at Arizona State University and George Maul of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

Precise Antarctic ice-core data show that while warmings and carbon dioxide (CO2) increases are indeed correlated, the CO2 increases lag the warmings by about 10 centuries. So much for the cause-effect relationship so dear to the hearts of global warming promoters. Pseudo-psychological attacks on those who disagree with your issue positions are always a weak ploy, and no substitute for empirical evidence.


Great Falls


Surveillance planes need escort

In light of the April 4 story, "Crew scurried to destroy data of 'crown jewel," specifically as it concerns the increasingly aggressive pattern of Chinese interceptors intimidating U.S. aircraft based in Okinawa, why hasnt anyone proposed a role for U.S. escort aircraft? Do the Navys standard operating procedures (SOPs) preclude escort protection? Does Bill Clintons anti-military legacy include inflexible SOPs? He seems to have reinvented everything else.



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