Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan and Her College Thesis

As I write this, Elena Kagan is President Obama's nominee for a life-long appointment to the United States Supreme Court, the ultimate legal authority in the nation. She has no prior judicial experience but is apparently known to President Obama through Harvard University. Consequently, I was interested when politcal web site RedState.com provided an electronic download of her college thesis titled, "To the Final Conflic: Socialism in New York City, 1900-1933." I downloaded the thesis from RedState.com before Princeton University demand that it be removed for copyright reasons.

Ms. Kagan's this is an interesting read although a bit long. It provides an interest history of the American socialist movement and its association with labor unions and industrial organizations.

Her thesis makes me wonder whether Ms. Kagan actually believed or currently believes any of this stuff or was merely fulfilling a requirement for a degree. Some of her words can clearly be interpreted as pro socialist. Some of her words go beyond mere reporting and analysis to advocacy. If she were a nominee for a life-long appointment lacking any judicial experience by any other president, this thesis would likely be ignored. However, seeing the direct connection between the Obama White House and the powerful Service Employees International Union (SEIU) labor union--among others--this thesis may be telling.

Why do I mention SEIU? Because it spun directly out of the American Federation of Labor (now the AFL-CIO), which is mentioned in her thesis. Both the SEIU and member organizations of the AFL-CIO, such as AFSCME, are major contributors to Washington politicians with over 90% of the funds going to a single political party.

Here is a snippet from the Conclusion of her thesis, starting on page 127, which I believe is being quoted within the fair use limits of U.S. copyright law. My comments are highlighted.

In our own times, a coherent socialist movement is nowhere to be found in the United States (true when she wrote the thesis in 1981 during the Cold War but perhaps no longer true since the election of President Obama with help from various labor organizations). Americans are more likely to speak of a golden past than of a golden future, of capitalism's glories than of socialism's greatness (and examples of socialism's greatness would include ...?). Conformity overrides dissent; the desire to conserve has overwhelmed the urge to alter. Such a state of affairs cries out for explanation. Why, in a society by no means perfect, has a radical party never attained the status of a major political force? Why, in particular, did the socialist movement never become an alternative to the nation's established parties? (could it be because there is scant evidence of any of the socialist's policies and methods ever producing a successful and sustainable state?)

After lamenting the demise of various socialists groups, Ms. Kagan's thesis ends with the following section from page 130.

... The story is a sad but also a chastening one for those who, more than half a century after socialism's decline, still wish to change America. Radicals have often succumbed to the devastating bane of sectarianism; it is easier, after all, to fight one's fellows than it is to battle an entrenched and powerful foe (are the majority of Americans today's "entrenched foe"?). Yet if the history of Local New York shows anything, it is that American radicals cannot afford to become their own worst enemies. In unity lies their only hope.

By their own words, be they known? I certainly support the right of anyone to hold whatever political views they want. However, if someone is potentially appointed for a lifetime to the Supreme Court, I would like the views of the nominee to be clarified.

More Elena Kagan Information:

Other views:

No comments:

Post a Comment